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W80 thermonuclear warhead, photo published in Hansen's The Swords of Armageddon

Chuck Hansen (May 13, 1947 - March 26, 2003) was the compiler, over a period of 30 years, of the world's largest private collection of unclassified documents on how America developed atomic and thermonuclear weapons.


Hansen's documents were obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and since his death have been housed at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.[1][2]

In 1988, Hansen wrote the book U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History,[3] which, along with great detail about the process of developing, testing and administering atomic weapons was critical of the U.S. Defense Department, the Atomic Energy Commission, and some other government agencies. In the book Hansen reported that the early years of nuclear testing were less successful than claimed; bombs failed, or yielded smaller or larger explosions than anticipated or announced, and attempts to develop a radioactivity-free bomb were unsuccessful.[1][2] U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History is currently out of print, but it is available on compact disk through his publisher.

A second compilation of Hansen's material was published on compact disc as Swords of Armageddon in 1995. While Hansen´s U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History was very instructive, Swords of Armageddon contains much more information and details about nuclear weapons developed by United States. It is in its second revision.[4][5]


  • Hansen, Chuck (1988). US Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History. Aerofax. ISBN 0517567407.
  • — (2007) [1995]. Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development since 1945 (PDF: CD-ROM & download available) (2nd ed.). Sunnyvale, CA: Chukelea Publications. ISBN 978-0-9791915-0-3.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Christopher Reed. Chuck Hansen: Obsessive collector whose files told America's A-bomb secrets The Guardian, 25 April 2003.
  2. ^ a b William J. Broad. From Cold War to Nuclear Nostalgia The New York Times, December 12, 1989.
  3. ^ Jeffrey G. Barlow. U. S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History (Review) The Journal of Military History, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan., 1989), pp. 105-106.
  4. ^ Hansen, Chuck, "Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development since 1945" (CD-ROM & download available). PDF. 2,600 pages, Sunnyvale, CA, Chucklea Publications, 1995, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9791915-0-3 (2nd Ed.)
  5. ^ "Chuck Hansen's Swords of Armageddon". Retrieved December 18, 2013.

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