Nuclear Arms Race and Cold War

Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Effects on Cold War, Nuclear defence strategies, Nuclear arms treaties

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  • Created on: 15-01-12 08:39
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July 1945 alamogordo desert test new mexico first ever atomic bomb
Atomic bomb Hiroshima Nagasaki August 1945
August 1949 USSR successful test for atomic bomb
October 1952 UK tests first atomic bomb
November 1952 US thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb
August 1953 USSR thermonuclear bomb
November 1953 British RAF equipped with atomic bombs
Emphasis shifted to means of delivering these weapons, particularly by missiles
Means of delivery were aircraft, ballistic missiles fired from bases on land and similar missiles
fired from subs
Development of nuclear-powered subs of very long range and capacity to stay at sea for long
periods meant almost no target would be safe from attack from a source which was itself hard
to detect and destroy
Individual missiles equipped with multiple warheads each capable of being directed at a
different target (MIRV, multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles)
Anti-missile missiles (ABMs anti-ballistic missiles) developed
Cruise missiles designed to fly low and at great speed to penetrate defense systems
August 1957 USSR ICBM
October 1957 Sputnik launch
December 1957 US ICBM
April 1958 British nuclear weapon tested
1959 US Titan and Atlas ICBMs
1960 US Polaris submarines capable of launching missiles from under water
1961 USSR explosion of multi-megaton bombs
1962 US protected launching sites for Minuteman rockets
Year Country Weapon Delivery system
July 1945 USA First A-bomb test
August 1945 USA A-bomb
August 1949 USSR First A-bomb test
October 1952 Britain First A-bomb test
November 1952 USA First H-bomb
August 1953 USSR First thermonuclear
November 1953 British RAF equipped with A-bombs
August 1957 USSR Intercontinental ballistic missile
October 1957 USSR Sputnik
rocket technology
December 1957 US ICBM

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April 1958 UK Nuclear weapon test
1959 US Titan and Atlas ICBMs
1959 US Minuteman missile
1960 US Polaris subs
1961 USSR Multi-megaton bomb
March 1961 USSR Anti-ballistic missile test
December 1962 US Anti-ballistic missile test
1962 US Protected launching sites for
minuteman rockets
Oct. 1964 France First a-bomb test
Oct 1964 China A-bomb test
1964 France Nuclear bombers
June 1967 China Thermonuclear
c.…read more

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On the whole USSR held advantage in tanks and guns and Americans in tactical nuclear weapons
At the time Soviet invasion of Western Europe feared greatly
Warsaw Pact plans that have come to light were offensive: assault by some 60 divisions
envisaged reaching the French border in 13-15 days and the Atlantic and Pyrenees in 35 days.…read more

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Rocket Strategic Forces though only four long-range missiles ready for use
Nuclear bluff, but understood nuclear weapons meant the two would destroy one another
Soviets effectively adopted strategy of deterrence
1962 Marshal Sokolovsky claimed Soviets would at once carry out nuclear strikes on all kinds of
targets while on land the Army would take the offensive with all types of forces
After Cuban missile crisis Soviet gov accepted nuclear war would not necessarily mean triumph
of socialism
Year Treaty Countries Content Implications
August Limited…read more

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June 1979 SALT II US, USSR Limit of 2400 on all types
If one side built up to the limit
of strategic delivery of 1200 MIRVs, it could only
vehicles on each side, tohave only 120 bombers
be reduced to 2250 by Six months later USSR
1981, within these invaded Afghanistan so SALT
figures 1320 limit on 2 never submitted to senate
total number of MIRVs for ratification (but followed
and bombers carrying in practice)
long-range missile, but Modest success: slow pace
no more than…read more

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Principle of deterrence debate:
o Possibility of surprise first strike
o Capacity for retaliatory second strike
o Question of survival by means of nuclear shelters and civil defence
o Long-term consequences of nuclear war
In a situation where everything depended on the success of deterrence, development of
effective defence could have a destabilizing effect on relations between superpowers
If one superpower could launch a first strike on the other and be confident of defence against
retaliatory second strike, the balance of terror was disturbed
Late…read more

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Nuclear war couldn't be fought without destroying states which took part in it
Gave US and USSR much in common--neither wanted to wage nuclear war
Before nuclear age, a situation in Europe where two alliances confronted one another across
sensitive frontiers and at any time an incident might have escalated into conflict would have
ended in war
During cold war conflicts didn't end in war because neither side could accept nuclear war
But nuclear weapons proved powerless outside Europe and in indirect confrontations between
superpowers…read more


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