Topic 5: The Development of Atomic and Nuclear Weapons

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  • Created by: Rita Ora
  • Created on: 15-02-17 16:40
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  • Topic 5: The Development of Atomic & Nuclear Weapons.
    • 1) Why were the bombs used?
      • 1) US forces suffered heavy losses and Japanese troops refused to surrender.
      • 2) USA had already tried conventional bombing.
      • 3) 1/4 of houses in Japan destroyed but Japanese would still not surrender.
      • 4) Truman decided to use the atomic bomb to bring the war to an end as quick as possible. He had advised that there would be huge casualties suffered.
      • 5)War party in Japan rejected peace terms.
      • 6) USA had spent millions of dollars developing the bomb.
      • 7) Demonstrate to Soviet Union that they had the most powerful weapon in the world.
    • 2) Effects of the atomic bombs.
      • 1) Devastated 2 cities.
        • 2) Hiroshima-80,000 people killed.
        • 3) Nagasaki-40,000 people killed.
      • 4) Japan surrendered.
      • 5) Stalin was furious, these events contributed to the beginning of the Cold War.
      • 6) Sparked off a nuclear arms race.
      • 7) It appeared to make conventional weapons redundant but...
        • 8)...because of the devastation it brought to the 2 cities in Japan nuclear weapons weren't used in the 2nd half of the 20th Century.
    • 3) Criticisms of the use of the bombs.
      • 1) Americans dropped the bombs on mainly civilian cities.
      • 2)The 'peace party' wanted to discuss peace terms.
      • 3) Japan was already on the verge of defeat due to the conventional bombing.
      • 4) Led to appalling casualties through radiation sickness.
      • 5) Led to a dangerous nuclear arms race.
    • 4) The arms race, 1945-60.
      • 1) The atomic bomb gave the USA a lead in the nuclear arms race.
      • 2) The Soviet Union spent a fortune on developing atomic bombs.
        • 3) By 1949, the USSR had tested its own atomic bomb (at least 5 yrs ahead of American prediction).
      • 4) Prompted Truman to order the development of an even more powerful weapon, the Hydrogen bomb (H-bomb).
        • 5) By 1953, the USA had tested its 1st H-bomb, within months, the Soviets had developed the same weapon.
      • 6) Both countries (USA & the USSR) poured money into the development of nuclear weapons.
    • 5) The arms race, 1960-90
      • 1) Long range heavy bombers, US B-52.
      • 2) Intercontinental ballistic missiles (I.C.B.Ms)
      • 3) Submarine launched missiles (S.L.B.Ms) These could be launched from under the sea. The 1st British submarine was known as Polaris.
      • 4) Mutually Assured Defeat (MAD.)
        • 5) No side could afford to attack 1st when they knew that the attack would destroy itself too.
        • 6) Acted as a deterrent against nuclear war.
    • 6) Star Wars.
      • 1) President Reagan ordered research to be started on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
        • 2) It was scheme to develop methods of destroying Soviet satellites and attacking missiles in flight.
          • 3) System not developed but the threat was enough to force the Soviet to concede defeat.
    • 7) The importance of nuclear weapons.
      • Changes:
        • 1) Weapons, far more powerful than conventional weapons.
        • 2) The superpowers had the capacity to wipe out each other and the world several times over.
        • 3) Theoretically, conventional weapons and armies were now redundant.
        • 4) More spending to develop nuclear weapons.
      • Continuity:
        • 5) MAD theory meant that nuclear weapons acted as a deterrent to nuclear war.
        • 6) Increased the use of conventional weapons.
        • 7) All wars in the 2nd half of the century used conventional weapons.
    • 8) Attempts at arms limitations
      • 1) Later 1960s-1970s, the period of detente (improved relations).
      • 2) Superpowers realised the danger of a nuclear war.
      • 3) 1968-Non-proliferation Treaty.
      • 4) 1972-SALT1 (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks).
      • 5) 1979-SALT 2.
      • 6) 1987-Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).


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