NUCLEAR ARMS RACE - WHY DID an ARMS RACE DEVELOP

why did a nuclear arms race develop?

a2 history with edexcel

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Why did an arms race develop?
INTERNATIONAL Growing hostility between the
TENSION superpowers.
Arms were viewed as necessary to
safeguard the interests of East and
West.
The nuclear age increased the
destructive power of the weapons
available and increased the feeling
of vulnerability.
Soviet secrecy and boasting spurred
the US on.
The H-bomb developed as a result
of the Soviet challenge over Berlin,
the Fall of China and the Korean War.
Each viewed the other's nuclear
capabilities with anxiety and
believed defensive needs required
superiority.
Concessions for summits required
superiority, as well.
NATIONAL Pride ­ both sides saw the arms race
CONSIDERATIONS as an opportunity to raise national
prestige and secure their reputation
in world affairs.
Each side tried to impress the
so-called 3rd world with the benefits
of Communism or Capitalism.
Technological achievement was a
way of measuring these benefits.
PERSONAL SOVIET UNION UNITED STATES
CONSIDERATIONS Khrushchev ­ constant boasting was More susceptible to the pressures of
a reflection of his own personal democracy.
insecurities as leader. Eisenhower ­ fear of `bomber gap' led
April 1956 ­ Khrushchev informed to an increase in defence spending.
the British Prime Minister's wife that Even when it was safe, Eisenhower
Soviet missiles could easily reach found it difficult to reduce spending
Britain. due to continuing public fears of Soviet
His need to strengthen his own superiority.
position meant he felt it necessary Kennedy ­ youth and inexperience
to develop nuclear weapons made him feel vulnerable to Soviet
technology. manipulation.
DOMESTIC The groups who benefited from
FACTORS armaments orders gained
considerable power and influence.
USSR ­ armed forces were able to
exert influence within the Soviet
government because defence

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Attempts to cut spending were
strongly resisted as Khrushchev
found out in 1964.
USA ­ large sums of money to
manufacturers, scientists and the
armed forces ­ employment of over
30 million American civilians.
Military-industrial complex was able
to wield enormous control over
American politics.
Eisenhower ­ unable to reduce its
power.…read more

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