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From the Observer archive: this week in 1953

The incalculable perils of war The thermo-nuclear explosion set off in Russia on August 12 has shattered most of the assumptions on which the atomic policy of the West has so far been uneasily based. We still do not know whether at this moment the Russians – or the Americans – possess a hydrogen bomb in a form which can be carried and delivered by existing aircraft. We do know that in the race for the development of the hydrogen bomb Russia and America are now running neck and neck; we must assume that both will soon possess these unparalleled instruments of destruction.
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