Interview with Thomas Schelling

By Paul Walker 14/06/2013

In an interview with Thomas Schelling, the CTBTO Faces interview series presents one of the most influential thinkers of nuclear weapons strategy, nuclear deterrence and game theory during the Cold War. Schelling, aged 92, is a U.S. economist and professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy and arms control at the University of Maryland, United States. From 1948 to 1953, Schelling served with the Marshall Plan in Europe, then the White House, and the Executive Office of the President. Later Schelling joined the Department of Economics at Yale University before being appointed Professor of Economics at Harvard and then at Maryland. In 1993, Schelling received the Award for Behavior Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Schelling also received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2005 for his research on game theory.

Schelling was interviewed by CTBTO Spokesperson Annika Thunborg in Vienna in November 2012. An advocate of nuclear deterrence, Schelling explains how nuclear weapons policies developed in the first decades of the Cold War. He shares his impressions of the impact of nuclear bombings at the end of World War II and how memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki played a role during the Korean War. He also stresses the importance of game theory when promoting cooperation in disarmament.