President George W. Bush is taking flak from the media (and others) concerning the recent nuclear arms treaty with Russia that calls for significant reductions in the size of our strategic stockpiles. Thus, it would be useful at this point to review how past Presidents dealt with these unique weapons.
When Dwight Eisenhower took the national helm from Harry Truman in 1953, the United States had only a handful of nuclear weapons. President Eisenhower's national defense strategy called for the creation of a superior nuclear capability. He got what he wanted but was surprised that the size of the "strategic stockpile" had grown to almost 3,500 weapons by the time he left office in 1961. (A few of them had explosive yields equivalent to 23 megatons of TNT.)