The Nuclear Arms Race Information

Topics: Nuclear weapon, Nuclear proliferation, Cold War Pages: 4 (1433 words) Published: March 31, 2013

The nuclear arms race began during World War II when the United States was informed that the Nazis may be building a weapon of mass destruction, the atom bomb. The US, realizing that the Nazis could possibly develop this weapon making them unstoppable, started its own nuclear weapons program, called the Manhattan Project. The US won the first nuclear arms race when they tested the first nuclear weapon on the Alamogordo Bombing Range in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Only two nuclear weapons were actually used during war, the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the Sixth and Ninth of August 1945. The loss of life was enormous, as even the Americans did not know the full effect of these weapons of mass destruction. There are still people dying from radiation related diseases as a result of these nuclear weapons dropped over 50 years ago. These bombs are of relatively low yield compared to the weapons of today. At around 20 kilotons each, these weapons levelled two cities. The most powerful modern weapons are around 20 megatons, and can start fires in dry paper, leaves, and grass up to 100 kilometers away from the center of the blast.

What are the possible effects of a full scale nuclear war between the world's superpowers? A prediction made by many scientists would be the possibility of a "nuclear winter." In a full scale nuclear war, that is a war with the detonation of 10,000+ megatons, a vast cloud of dirt, smoke, and radiation would cover the earth, blocking out the sun. This would last for four plus months, and anyone surviving the war and the radiation for this long would face starvation, as almost all plant life on earth would die. The temperature of the earth's surface would drop drastically, as the inland temperature could reach -30 degrees Celsius, and near any ocean the temperature would be moderated, but storms many times greater than those of today would level anything not already destroyed. This projected...
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