Significance of Cuban Missile Crisis

Topics: Nuclear warfare, Nuclear weapon, Cold War Pages: 6 (1470 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Significance of Cuban Missile Crisis
-This was an intense period where nuclear war could break out at any time. -A rash decision by any side could spark off war between the USSR and USA and in turn nuclear weapons might be deployed. -Fortunately, the leaders made rational decisions to resolve the crisis. -After the Cuban missile crisis, both sides realized the danger of nuclear war and began to talk more about peaceful co-existence.

-A hotline was established bet the USSR & the USA to make immediate telephone communication easier. -This is to allow leaders from both sides to communicate more effectively and prevent any events like the Cuban missile crisis from happening again -It marked the beginning of a thaw, albeit a small one, between the USSR and the US.

What were the results of the crisis for the wider international situation? -A general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War. -Marked the first time in the Cold War period that the US and the USSR worked together to lessen international tensions, caused primarily by MAD.

-Both superpowers faced economic problems caused by the expensive arms race. -The USSR was finding the expense of keeping up with the Americans crippling. -The Americans were beginning to realize that there must be a better way of coping with communism than the one which was having so little success in Vietnam. -The nations of Western Europe were also worried because they would be in the frontline if nuclear war broke out.

-Bans on nuclear testing, anti-ballistic missile systems, and weapons in space all attempted to limit the expansion of the arms race. -However, these treaties were only partially successful.
-Both states continued building massive numbers of nuclear weapons, and new technologies such as MIRVs limited the effectiveness of the treaties. -Both superpowers retained the ability to destroy each other many times over.

Why did the nuclear arms race continue despite the dangers revealed by the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Strategic issues
-The nature of nuclear war
-Nuclear war-fighting systems
-Strategic bombers
-Other strategic nuclear powers
-Civil defence

Evolution of Nuclear Strategy
-The Arrival of the Bomb & the Transformation of War
-Towards a Policy of Deterrence: Monopoly, Stalemate & Massive Retaliation -Limited War: Objectives & Means
-Surprise Attack
-Nuclear Strategy in crisis
-The End of the Cold War
-A Second Nuclear Age

Nuclear Strategy during Cold War
-Soviet threat (increasingly formidable military power after 1945) defined US policy & military strategy. -Both Soviet & NATO governments regarded nuclear weapons as useable instruments of war.

Theories and contributions
Bernard Brodie
-Establishing the basics of nuclear strategy
-Architect of nuclear deterrence strategy
-Strategy in the Missile Age outlined the framework of deterrence -Saw the usefulness of the atomic bomb not in its deployment but in the threat of its deployment. -Argued that preventative nuclear strikes would lead to escalation from limited to total war -Concluded that deterrence would lead to a more secure outcome for both sides. -Nuclear capabilities can provide the stasis necessary for deterrence

Nuclear Strategy
-Nuclear Deterrence
-Massive Retaliation
-Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
-1st Strike / 2nd Strike (Nuclear Triad)
-Decapitation Strike
-Flexible Response
-Counter-force / Counter-value Strikes
-Arms Control

-Deterrence theory holds that nuclear weapons are intended to deter other states from attacking with their nuclear weapons, through the promise of retaliation. -Problem: Retaliation (revenge), morality & the problem of credibility

Massive Retaliation

-Dulles stated that the U.S. would respond to military provocation "at places...
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