The Arms Race and the Warsaw Pact

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  • The Arms Race and the Warsaw Pact
    • The US initially had a monopoly of nuclear weapons, Soviet emergence as a nuclear power (1949) led to start of Arms Race
    • Significance of nuclear arms race
      • 1. Up to 1949, US thought it could use its nuclear weapons to deter Soviet attack
      • 2. Meant that US military figures decided the best strategy in the event of war with the Soviet Union was to use nuclear weapons
      • 3. By mid-1950's, development of nuclear weapons to include bigger warheads and missile delivery systems meant any nuclear war could destroy both sides resulting in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
      • 4. Meant any military confrontation between both sides could rapidly escalate to nuclear war
      • 5. Meant that USA and Soviet Union had to find ways of stopping disputes turning into nuclear wars
    • Formation of Warsaw Pact
      • Collective defense strategy involving Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, E.Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania and Bulgaria
      • Set up on 14 May 1955 following W. Germany's entry to NATO on 9 May 1955
    • Significance of the Warsaw Pact
      • Formation of Warsaw Pact meant there were now two opposing alliances in Europe separated by the Iron Curtain
      • Both alliances planned for military action between the other, including use of nuclear and conventional weapons
      • Warsaw Pact gave Soviet Union direct control over armed forces of satellite states, thus strengthening grip of Eastern Europ
  • Timeline
    • 1945 - US drop two atomic bombs on Japanese cities
      • 1949 - Soviet tests its first atomic bomb
        • 1952 - US develops H-bomb (hydrogen bomb)
          • 1953 - Soviet Union develops H-bomb

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