Nuclear Arms Race

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UNIT 9 ARMS RACE AND THE
NUCLEAR THREAT
Structure
Objectives
Introduction
Background to the Nuclear Arms Race
9.2.1
9.2.2
9.2.3

The Beginning : Birth of the Nuclear Arms Race
The Manhatten Project
Rationale for the Arms Race in the Post War Period

The Nuclear Arms Race : How it is different from all the
Previous Arms Races in History
9.3.1
9.3.2.
9.3.3.

The Trinity Test
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings
'New York Times' and the Trinity Test

Different Phases of the Nuclear Arms Race in the Post-War Period 9.4.1
9.4.2
9.4.3
9.4.4
9.4.5
9.4.6
9.4.7
9.4.8

Fear of the Soviets and Communism
1945 to 1953 : Period of US Monopoly
1957 to 1968 : Period of 'Missile Crisis' and the ICBM Race
1968 to late 1970s : Period of MIRV and ICBM Race
1981 : Reagan's Strategic Modernization Plan
1983 : Militarization of Space-Reagan's Star War Programme
1984-1991 : Nuclear Arms Race in the Gorbachev Era and the last days of collapsing Soviet Union.
1991 to 1997 : Nuclear Arms Race after the Collapse of Soviet Union

Nuclear Arms Race in the Third World and South Asia
9.5.1
9.5.2
95.3
9.5.4

Acquisition of Nuclear Capability by China and start of Arms Race in South Asia India, Pakistan and the Nuclear Arms Race
'Domino Theory' in South Asia
General Complexion of Arms Race in South Asia

Let Us Sum Up
Key Words
Some Useful Books
Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises

9.0 OBJECTIVES
This unit deals with Arms Race and the Nuclear Threat in the present day world. After studying this unit, you will be in a position to:
understand the background to the nuclear arms race;
explain how the nuclear arms race is different from all the previous arms races; discuss the different phases of the nuclear arms race in the post-war period; and emarnine the nuclear arms race in the Third World and especially in South Asia.

9.1 INTRODUCTION
This unit on 'Arms Race and Nuclear Threat' is part of Block 3 which deals with what is called the 'Cold War Period'; i.e., after the Second World War and the emergence of what is termed as Superpower Dominance. In Unit &'World War 11: Causes and Consequences (Emergence of Super Powers)' you have read about how the USA and the USSR emerged as Superpowers in international politics after the end of the Second World War.

In Unit 7 : 'Cold War: Meaning, Patterns and Dimensions', you have learnt how the collapse of Germany and its allies in 1945 led to the emergence of what has been termed as 'Cold War' between the-two main powers of the post-1945 international order

*

i.e. USA and USSR. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which was dealt with in Unit 8 of this block was a consequence of the cold war power bloc politics. One thing common to the post-1945 international order as well as the pre-1945 world was the arms race. When studying about World War I and 11, you would have surely read about the arms race which was both quantitative and qualitative in character. It would also have been noticed that the arms race in its qualitative dimension in both the world wars was itself one of the greatest causes of the two wars. From the invention of dynamite by Sir Alfred Nobel of the Novel Industries in the First World War period, to the invention of rockets by Germany in the Second World War, it is the search for the ultimate weapon which could win all wars that constituted the greatest push for the arms race. In this madness scientists, nations, people, soldiers, politicians all fell prey and ended up only killing greater and greater number of civilians. In the present unit, we will concentrate on the arms race in the post-1945 international order. As has been stated before, this quest for a qualitatively more destructive weapon was the greatest motivating factor in bringing the world a step closer to war, be it the First or the Second World War. The key difference in the arms race before 1945 (i.e. in the interwar period) and after 1945 was the nuclear dimension. Prior...
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