Nuclear Arms Race

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In order to maintain peace and stability in the world, there must be a balance of power between countries. The Nuclear Arms Race started because there wasn't a balance of power after World War II. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon (New York: Oxford University Press: 1989) 5.The United States was the only country, at that time, which possessed nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union feared the United States would dominate the world so the Soviet Union developed a nuclear bomb of their own. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon (New York: Oxford University Press: 1989) 5. This started the Arms Race, in which both countries attempted to gain the upper hand in terms of the number of nuclear warheads each possessed. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon (New York: Oxford University Press: 1989) 5. The nuclear arms race was instrumental in shaping the Cold War. Many feared where the Cold War was going with the belief that the more nuclear weapons one had, the more powerful one was. Both America and Russia massively built up their stock piles of nuclear weapons. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon (New York: Oxford University Press: 1989)5. However, the Arms Race ended when several treaties in arms reduction were passed and the Soviet Union pulled out due to lack of money. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon (New York: Oxford University Press: 1989) 5. Fearing a nuclear war, arms negotiations began in an attempt to lessen the tension. Up until these treaties, many lived in fear of nuclear warfare as the bombs and artillery of the United States and Soviet Union increased to record numbers. Martin J. Sherwin, A World Destroyed (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press: 2004) 16

The United States became the first country in the world to use nuclear weapons when they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Atlantic Unbound, "Hiroshima and Nagasaki," available from http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks/hiroshima.htm; Internet; Accessed April 13th, 2011.These bombs had been dropped by planes but it soon became clear that it would be far more effective to use rockets as a means of delivering the weapon to its target. Rockets were cheaper, faster and more difficult to destroy in the air. Bill Yenne, Secret Weapons of the Cold War: From the H-Bomb to SDI (New York: Berkley Publishing Group: 2005) 40.The Soviet Union was extremely concerned by these developments. Although they had exploded their first atomic weapon in 1949, they were a long way behind the United States in nuclear technology. They had concentrated on producing large missiles that could travel long distances. Although these missiles were inaccurate and their size made them difficult to conceal, it was possible that the sheer power of these weapons and the fear that they evoked, may have stopped a nuclear war. Bill Yenne, Secret Weapons of the Cold War: From the H-Bomb to SDI (New York: Berkley Publishing Group: 2005) 63.

The world greatly changed when the United States exploded the H-bomb in 1952. This one bomb was smaller in size than the Hiroshima atomic bomb but 2500 times more powerful. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon (New York: Oxford University Press: 1989) Pullout page in center. The Russians produced an H-bomb in 1953 and the world became a much more dangerous place. Around this time, the United States produced a bomber, the B52, that could fly six thousand miles and deliver absolute destruction. Bill Yenne, Secret Weapons of the Cold War: From the H-Bomb to SDI (New York: Berkley Publishing Group: 2005) 77. This development required massive financial funding from the government which was something that America could afford to do and Russian could not. Russia concentrated on producing bigger bombs which was a far more cost effective procedure. Martin J. Sherwin, A World Destroyed (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press: 2004) 105.

In October 1957, the world was introduced to the threats of a missile attack when...
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