China tests H-bomb

Atomic weapons were used just twice in warfare, more than half a century ago. The Cold War almost came to their use a number of times, but never past the point of launch readiness. Since the end of the Cold War, nuclear bombs became more a propaganda piece, with the possession of weapons signifying an implied threat to use them and the entrance of the possessing country into the club of elite world powers.

On this day, June 17, in 1967 China successfully detonated its first hydrogen bomb, becoming the last of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, after the U.S., Russia, France and UK to join that exclusive club of nuclear powers.

For all five powers, possession of the weapons is an end in itself, affording them respect on the world stage. Few scenarios exist where the use of the weapons would be a viable option: “You can’t have this kind of war”, President Dwight D. Eisenhower remarked early in his term, “There just aren’t enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.”