The nature of the forces which bind nucleons together within the nucleus of an atom have been discussed in detail. The characteristic properties of the nucleons, such as spin, interaction range etc. and the meson theory of nuclear forces are described. The present researches indicate that the force between two nucleons in a many-nucleon system is not very different from the force between two free nucleons. Researches related to the origin of nuclear forces based on the meson theory are now mainly concerned with the role played by the heavier mesons and the two pion exchanges in the middle region around 0.7 fm. (10/sup -13/ cm).