Herman Kahn

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Interview with Herman Kahn, author of On Escalation, May 11, 1965

Herman Kahn (February 15, 1922July 7, 1983) was an American Jewish futurist and nuclear theorist. He was one of the founders of the Hudson Institute and an employee of the RAND corporation. He is most known for his work On Thermonuclear War.

Quotes[edit]

  • The usual image of war today held by many experts as well as most laymen can be summed up in the phrase "orgiastic spasm of destruction," or, "spasm war." Many believe that if one single button is pressed all the buttons will bee pressed, and that some 30 minutes or so later missiles will rain enough destruction to terminate the defender's existence as a nation; subsequently, some minutes or hours later, a similar rain of death and destruction will annihilate the attacking nation. Within perhaps an hour or two the war will be effectively over-both combatants having received death blows-with only one question left; "How bad will the radiation be for the rest of the world?"
    • Herman Kahn. " Thinking about the unthinkable." Horizon Press.(1962) pg: 59


  • "The Russians aren't dedicated world dominationists. You know, they just sort of want it on account of a sentimental way, you know, but not like 'By God, we got to have it!' It just doesn't make sense for them to really push too hard, you know, but just to push easy."
    • Herman Kahn. " The Worlds of Herman Kahn: the intuitive science of thermonuclear war. " by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi , pg: 11


  • He flips to a drawing of a spindly boy wearing oversized glasses, hugging an ABC primer, and sniffing a daisy. This is the enemy. " The first [mistake] is to assume that he is a sort of cretinoid idiot, who can't see, think, or anything. It might be a fair, if dangerous, assumption that the enemy is at least as stupid as we are."
    • Herman Kahn. " The Worlds of Herman Kahn: the intuitive science of thermonuclear war. " by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi , pg: 11


  • The next picture is a Goliath with four arms, reading a book, lofting a 1000-pound dumbbell, aiming a pistol at a target, painting a picture. The enemy can do everything. "He's a giant, seven feet tall with four arms, each with two biceps. Each arm can, of course, be used simultaneously."
    • Herman Kahn. " The Worlds of Herman Kahn: the intuitive science of thermonuclear war. " by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi , pg: 11-12


  • He ambles along the platform."Lots of times people say about systems analysis, why don't you guys do an experiment? What the hell are you sitting here figuring things? Why don't you go out and run an experiment? Well we'd love to run experiments,but there are two difficulties. One, in realistic experiments, people get shot down. That's not the major difficulty. We're willing to do it." The audience laughs. "We are. The real difficulty is we're talking weapons which aren't in existence yet."
    • Herman Kahn. " The Worlds of Herman Kahn: the intuitive science of thermonuclear war. " by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi , pg: 12



External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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