Cold War

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Many of the military technological advancements that have been made in the last 60 years can be attributed to the Cold War. Much of the technology developed during the period of the Cold War is still in use today by the military and government. Advancements in offensive technology are well known to just about everyone in the way of nuclear energy harnessed in the form of the nuclear bomb, but little is known about the battle for information during the Cold War. The Cold War produced some of the most advanced technology used in the fields of detection and reconnaissance in history. The United States' detection and reconnaissance technology played a major role against communism during the Cold War, and these types of technology still play roles today.

A cold war is an ideological conflict with military standoffs while keeping diplomatic relations open. The Cold War consisted of two sides (or Superpowers); the first was the United States, who believed in and practiced capitalism, the opposing side was the Soviet Union, who believed in and practiced the idea of communism. Many historians dispute the start time of the conflict; however, it began some time after World War II and dragged on until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. The Cold War Project Group Online claims "the advancement of technology during the Cold War was greater than that of any one time period" ("The Arms Race"). The war developed nuclear missiles and many other technological advancements taking the world into a new era, the Nuclear Era. It was estimated at one time the United States and the Soviet Union could nuke the world seven times over; the governments realized the pointlessness of so many nuclear missiles and turned their attention toward other ways to get an upper hand in the conflict. Tensions ran high during this time; without military confrontation, research and resources were redirected towards other fields of technology such as detection systems, surveillance equipment, and underwater technologies.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, other wise known as NORAD, is a series of radar stations in North America that were built in 1950s. NORAD is a joint United States and Canadian organization that provides warnings and aerospace control for North America. The North American Aerospace Defense Command consists of three joint radar systems: the Pinetree Line, McGill Fence, and Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line). Pinetree Line was completed in 1954 and is made up of 33 stations across southern Canada. The McGill Fence was completed in 1957 and consists of Doppler radar (for low-flying air crafts and missiles) along the 55th parallel of North America. Thanks to the DEW line system of radars, North America is given about three hours before largely populated cities are reached by aircraft or missile from the Soviet Union. On September 12, 1957 NORAD came online in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. NORAD played an unusual role during the Cold War. On July 31, 1979 Ronald Reagan visited NORAD. During Reagan's visit asked if the United States had any defense against a missile attack and was told that U.S. has no defense against nuclear attack, except for the threat of retaliation (Fitzgerald 20). Soon after taking office, Reagan "launched the largest peace-time military buildup in American history" and gave the go ahead on the Strategic Defense Initiative also known as Star War (Fitzgerald 148). Star War utilized laser and satellite technology to push Soviet missiles off course and stop them from hitting their intended targets. Although the project was scraped by the United States, both the United States and the Soviet Union put billions of dollars into the project thus contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The role that NORAD has taken to today is quite different form its earlier role during the Cold War. In 1989 NORAD suffered from cut backs because of the cuts to military funding...
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