Cold War and Nuclear Arms Race Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1996 Words
Date:  2022-05-16

The major cause of the nuclear arms race can be traced on the destructions of two Japanese cities by the American Atomic bomb at around 1945. The cities were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The destruction began the arms race between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The situation compelled an entire generation to grow under the shadow of great catastrophe considering that it lasted until the signing of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty towards the end of 1990. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also lead to the surrendering of Japan, a situation which suggested that the United States of America had undergone significant advancement of military armament. The race saw the profound ideological difference between the United States of America and the U.S.S.R. Joseph Stalin's position of ruling the U.S.S.R also made the situation worse. He was considered as a ruthless dictator whose major concern was on fighting their enemies and increasing their rule over other nations allied to the Soviet Union.

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July 16th, 1945, marked the creation of the first atomic weapon as a result of the fruition in the United States of America (American Museum of National History, 1). The test for the weapon was done at a place known as Alamogordo in New Mexico specifically in a site referred to as the Trinity. The arms race had two aims. One was on ending World War II and the United States acquiring full control of all other nations. The control also took note of the foreign policies. In consideration of the race existing between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, President Harry Truman in 1947 made an authorization which compelled the U.S. to aid any anti-Communist forces that were in Greece and Turkey. The expansion of Truman's policy was focused on justifying support for any nation which was threatened by the Soviet's expansion. The United States built on the policy and changed it to a containment method. It officially became the official policy against the U.S.S.R. The threat to the policy was on the Russians who managed to obtain top-secret blueprints of the original Truman Trinity design.

The Soviet Union, therefore, took a counter-step to the United States by detonating its first atomic weapon at a place called Semipalatinsk Test Site based in Kazakhstan. The event saw the ending of America's monopoly of the atomic bombs and official launch of the Cold War. Therefore, the events which characterized the 1950's arms race focused on the Cold War. The United State of America and Russia found themselves in a kind of superpower rivalry with the former testing the first thermo-nuclear atom bomb in 1952 and defeating the Russians in the creation of the "Superbomb." The definition of the political climate became more defined in 1954 when the Secretary of State to the United States of America, John Foster Dulles announced the massive retaliation policy. The basic understanding of the policy was premised on the massive nuclear response to any attack from the Soviets. The policy was met with some challenges which to date are documented as the most important by-product of the Cold War. An example of the challenge was on the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which is abbreviated as the ICBM. The ICBM's received support with the thermo-nuclear bomb, the inertial guidance machines particularly those that were defined by the difference in weight, the impact of inertia and the influence of the force of gravity (Atom Central, 1). Another support was also received from the powerful booster engines with specific concern being on the multistage rackets. The result saw the ballistic missiles becoming more powerful with the ability to destroy 8000 km away. The ICBM became the symbol of the United States' arsenal for about 30 years due to its powerful nature.

The Soviet Union again responded to the steps which were made by the United States by detonating a nuclear device which was estimated at 58 megatons. The megatons are the equivalence of more than 50 million tons of TNT. It can also be opined to be more than the explosives which were used during the WWII. The kind of weapon was the largest nuclear weapon at the time hence had a great threat not only to the United States but the whole world. Many nations saw the weapon as an act of intimidation by the Soviet Union. The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agreed to meet and devised a plan on how to limit their nuclear testing and measures which would reduce the arms race. The race was already a threat to the whole world. In 1962, there was a serious Cold War confrontation between the United States of America and the U.S.S.R. The confrontation was referred to as the Cuban Missile Crisis. It came after the realization by the United States that the Soviet Union were in the advanced stages of positioning nuclear missiles in Communist Cuba. The situation forced the U.S. to send a naval blockade to stop the Soviets from carrying out the plan. In October 22nd the same year, the U.S. military decided to station their alert at DEFCON 3 from where Castro also mobilized all the Cuban military forces. On October 24th, the ships belonging to Soviets docked the quarantine line but received orders from Moscow. They were instructed to hold their positions while getting backing by a Soviet Submarine (BBC, 1).

The American forces were also given instructions to set DEFCON 2 which was the highest in the American history. On October 26th, Khrushchev also received an additional cable from Castro with the urge of a nuclear first strike against the United States in case of an invasion of Cuba. The next day saw an accidental flight of a u-2 spy plane in Russia. It was shot down over Cuba even as the crisis ended on October 28th of 1962. Khrushchev made a speech in which he informed the citizens about the efforts which were taken in dismantling the Soviet Missiles in Cuba. He further stated their lack of insistence on the demands concerning the removal of the U.S. missiles which were based in Turkey. The Cuban Missile crisis taught the two powerful nations that risking nuclear war based on the political pursuit was dangerous and should seek mechanisms of addressing their differences without threatening the stability of the world. The crisis also ended the risking events on nuclear war by the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Even after the missile, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. went further to superimposed their competition on the local conflicts which existed in other parts of the globe. Africa, in particular, was the target of both the two warring parties. Newly independent countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo received military assistance from both the United States and the U.S.S.R. The military assistance led to what was termed as the America-Soviet competition in the third world. The civil war in Angola and the Somali-Ethiopian War over the Ogaden region led to Cuba and China assuming significant positions (Frank, 1). The Cuban government played an important role while aligned to U.S.S.R. On the other hand; China was deep wary hence considered the side of the United States of America. The final friction of arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union was noted in the early 1980s after the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan with the aim of establishing a Communist regime.

President Ronald Reagan, therefore, took the step of announcing the Strategic Defense Initiative referred to like Star Wars. The initiative was envisioned as a satellite-based nuclear defense system and was known for destroying the incoming missiles and warheads particularly those in space. In August 1985, the Soviet Union made an announcement pertaining the nuclear testing moratorium. Two years later, the Soviet President one Mikhail Gorbachev and the then U.S. President Reagan signed an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (Swift, 1). There was also the signing of the first arms accord by both Washington and Moscow and emphasized on the elimination of the entire nuclear weapons which had been made by both the United States and U.S.S.R. In 1991, the United States and the Soviet again reached an agreement where they signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Act.

In consideration of the argument pertaining the arms race, it is clear that it involved two major parties, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The two were concerned about superiority concerns a situation which led to the bombing of Japanese cities as a way of proving the American strength. The arms race was viewed as dangerous not only to the two warring fronts but the entire world. The weapons that were created by both the United States and the U.S.S.R. were powerful and could lead to severe destructions. One of such destructions was almost noted in Cuba, but the American government acted with speed after realizing the intent of the Soviet Union. Cuba and China were some of the countries that found themselves in the center of events (Perlo-Freeman, 1). The drawn is justified by the role they played in the influence of U.S and U.S.S.R. in the African warring states. The arms race was also seen to require massive economic resources. The two great nations, therefore, risked leading the world to bankruptcy considering the large sum of money spent on developing the atomic weapons. It is also worth noting that the nuclear arms race was at the center stage of the cold war. Many nations believed that the more weapon they owned, the greater ability they had in winning wars over other enemy states. There was a significant change in the world when the United States bombed Hiroshima in 1952 considering that the bomb used was almost 2500 times powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

When the Russians participated in the production of Hiroshima bomb a year later (1953), the world turned to a more dangerous place. The United States later developed a bomb which could fly at least 6,000 miles and leave a payload impact. Such developments intensified the Cold War coupled with fear amongst the citizens. The fear was spread across the world whether one was from a powerful or weaker nation. The powerful countries had powerful enemies hence making the severe impact on the citizens inevitable. The 1957 introduction of the fear of missile attack after the launch of Sputnik led to many people not knowing what to do considering how unsafe the world had become. The missile led to the Inter-continental ballistic missile. The kind of missiles also influenced the American decision of building the DEW line around the Arctic Defense and Early Warning Machines to guard against being found unaware of the Soviet's attack (Holloway, 1).

Therefore, the arms race was an insignificant step considered by the world most powerful nations based on the consequences it had on the warring fronts and the globe in general. Some of the negative effects were experienced by other nations like Japan while others were prevented, for example, the case of Cuba. The arms race finally decayed based on the associated consequences and matters of economic concern. The consequences were too evident, and the world could not risk further in destroying the environment and even costing human lives. On the part of the economy. The United States had a stronger economy compared to the Soviet Union. At around 1980's, the Soviet could not put further with the race considering the massive financial investments they used in acquiring the dangerous weapons hence chances of economic collapse. They, therefore, had to pave the way for re-alignment of the East-West relations and allow the signing of various arms agreements (History Learning Site, 1). Further to the argument. Individuals like Einstein played a significant role in the cause of nuclear disarmament. He saw the arms race as a battle which would end with the destruction of civilizations hence presented resenting views towards...

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