The United State probably thought it had gotten its one way ticket to becoming the World Super power forever, after it created the nuclear bomb and used it in Hiroshima, Japan. However, not long after that, Russia was quick to follow suit with its own nuclear weapons and the likes of Great Britain and China soon joined.
To control the number of countries that could create such nuclear weapons, the Non Proliferation Treaty NPT, was signed. In spite of the NPT, some countries have gone ahead to produce their own nuclear weapons in total defiance of the recommendations of the treaty.
However, the US, Russia and Great Britain are still among the countries with the largest nuclear weapons as can be seen in the write up that follows. Note that there is a lot of secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons so most of the figures mentioned below are educated guesses.
Back in 1949, Russia, the USSR, tested it s first nuclear weapon and this sparked the race for nuclear weapons in the world. By 1986, Russia had about 45 thousand nuclear warheads. Russian is presently estimated to have a total nuclear warhead of 5 thousands. Of the total number of tactical warheads available, only approximately 1800 are strategic operational based on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) enforced in 2011.
United States of America
The USA was the first country to create a nuclear weapon and up to date the only country to have used a nuclear weapon in war. It tested its first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan during the Second World War. The highest amount of nuclear weapons owned by the US peaked during the cold war to about 31 thousands warheads. These days, the US is no longer involved in nuclear testing but has opted for Stockpile Stewardship. Going by reports from New START, the US has approximately 1,642 deployed warheads and about 2800 non deployed warheads. Its total number of nuclear warhead is currently 4,800.
For France, owning nuclear weapons is part of its prestige and it tested its first weapon in 1960. France did a lot of nuclear test between the 1960s and the early 1990s.It presently owns 290 warheads deployed at sea. Most of France’s weapons are in submarine.
China’s first nuclear weapon was first tested in 1960 and it claims to maintain a policy of no first use. The Chinese consider their ownership as a way of discouraging any form of nuclear attacks. It presently has 180 operational nuclear warheads and a total nuclear warhead of 240. However there are unconfirmed reports that say that China may have as much as 3000 nuclear weapons hidden in undisclosed locations. China uses land air and sea to deploy its nuclear weapons.
After the Indo Pakistani war in the 1970s, Pakistan embarked on nuclear weapons program. After India developed nuclear weapons in the 1960s, the then Pakistani leader swore that Pakistan will produce nuclear weapons at any cost. Its first nuclear tests were conducted in 1998.Pakistan currently has 200 nuclear warheads.