Ever since the destruction of Hiroshima in 1945, states all over the world have been faced with the issue of whether or not to acquire the ‘absolute weapon’ for themselves. The question of ‘going nuclear’ has been especially acute on the Korean peninsula, with its history of conflict, division and great power meddling. Has any one of the two Koreas, or both, ever attempted to acquire nuclear weapons? Did either of them decide to abandon that quest? If so, when and why? These are the questions that motivate this paper.