Cold War Arms Race

Topics: Cold War, World War II, Nuclear weapon Pages: 7 (2339 words) Published: November 15, 2012
Drew Valerio
Prof. McNally
History 268
September 6, 2012
The Cold war dated from 1947-1991. It was characterized by both political and military superiority between United States, which was backed by its NATO allies, and Soviet Union that led the communist side. The cold war was mainly started after the success of the alliance that was formed against Nazi Germany. This competition supremacy on nuclear warfare attracted other countries that also started making nuclear weapons due to the tension that existed in the world. Both sides directed huge sums of money to their military budgets with each side trying to outdo the other. History of the cold war

The relation’s gap between United States and Soviet Union were widened by their philosophical differences in both economic and political ideologies. As a result, each country started suspecting the other as fears of attack by opposing sides rose to greater heights. These differences prevented them from coming to a mutual understanding, something of which could have reduced their rivalry. Some of the key policies that widened this rivalry were for example, the case of Cuban missile crisis. In addition, immediately after World War II the United States had monopolized the existing knowledge concerning the raw materials that were required to develop nuclear weapons. The United States thought that by owning nuclear weapons concessions as well as fear may be drawn from our counterparts but this was not the case. The Soviet Union started by trying to match nuclear weapons capabilities by working on the atomic bomb silently with a steady supply of uranium coming from Eastern Europe which provided hope to the Soviet Union. Although the project was so expensive for the country, they succeeded in making an atomic bomb. In 1949 the Soviet Union detonated their first nuclear bomb, an aspect that caught the world unaware (Phillips, 2010). Arms race

The decision by United States to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945 signalled the starting of the cold war and also triggered many main aspects of the cold war. A tense moment followed when both superpowers began competing with each other in terms of nuclear arms in 1949 when USSR tested its nuclear bomb that was known as ‘Joe one’. The weapon matched was called “Fat man” which, was dropped by United States in Japan during WWII. Once each country began to realize that their weapons matched their counterpart’s weapons, they each started funding for research that was directed towards making stronger nuclear weapons that were capable of mass destruction. This resulted in increased quantities, and quality of nuclear arsenals. The move saw both countries starting to develop a hydrogen bomb. The United States was the first to detonate a hydrogen bomb in 1952 and following this move; the Soviet Union intensified their efforts to develop a more powerful nuclear bomb. In August 1953, the Soviet Union surprised the whole world by detonating a thermonuclear device despite not being a hydrogen bomb as many were expecting. Furthermore, in 1955, the Soviet Union exploded a hydrogen bomb an aspect that ended speculation that the country had been working on such a device (Ringer, 2005, p.67). The next major development followed in 1957 when USSR launched the first satellite called ‘sputnik’. This was the largest satellite that the world had ever seen, and in addition, developed long-range inter-continental ballistic missiles. These missiles were regarded as a more advanced platform of nuclear weapons and were a more effective delivery system in comparison to strategic bombers that were initially used at the starting of the cold war. The Soviet Union was therefore, able to prove to the world that they had the ability to launch a missile to any part of the world after they launched Sputnik in earth orbit. Following this incident, each country started concentrating on advancing the level of technology that was used to develop nuclear weapons....
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