Tensions in the Arms Race

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  • Created on: 01-06-14 17:11
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Arms Race Tensions
Caused Tensions Did not cause tensions
It was a vicious circle. One side developed a Deterrence Principle. This was principle on
new nuclear weapon, and the other side would which nuclear warfare was based. This was the idea
desperately try to catch up. Failure was not an that both sides knew what the other was capable
option would admit inferiority to the other if failed.
of, therefore they didn't use nuclear weapons
Missile Gap. There was a perceived missile gapHad the same amount. To an extent, both had
to the USSR's advantage. This created fear in the roughly the same amount of nuclear weapons, and
US that were behind in the Arms Race. This was thus as Churchill said, there was "equality in
fuelled by Khrushchev's potenkinism, boasting of annihilation", and Mutually Assured Destruction
the Soviets nuclear superiority when in fact they did
(MAD) , ie the idea that both could destroy each
not the quality or quantity of the USA (eg Moscow other, assured that they would get involved.
Air Show), and excerbated by the Gaither Report,
confirming the "gap" and called the US a "second
power", and called for a massive arms build up.
Although Eisenhower and Kennedy knew this they
couldn't admit it they had gained this information
through spying, further it justified high defence
Vienna Summit Berlin Crisis. The Soviets Neither wanted a nuclear war. Both
wanted the West out of Berlin, and Khrushchev Khrushchev and Eisenhower demonstrated they did
threatened to give access routes for WB to East not want a nuclear war:
Germany, thus forcing the US to have to talk to · Khrushchev "They are only two options.
East Germany, who didn't recognise them as a Peaceful co existence or the most
country. Although he was talked down, he reissued destructive war in history. There is no
it at the Vienna Summit, where he met Kennedy for third way". This was one of the reasons he
the first time and thought he could be bullied and advocated peaceful co existence.
reissued his threat. Kennedy was not to be bullied, · Eisenhower "What the hell do you do
and responded with threat of nuclear force "if with a world after a nuclear war?" As a
that's true, then it's going to be a cold winter" former General, he knew the dangers of
thus introducing the threat of nuclear force in Berlin nuclear warfare, having experienced in
and increasing tensions. WW2.
Brinkmanship. This was part of the No rollback/Brinkmanship. Despite the
Eisenhower/Dulles foreign policy of "New Look".promises, rollback and brinkmanship seems to be
This meant being constantly prepared to go to war, election rhetoric. There was opportunities for this in
with a build up of nuclear force (More bang for theHungary, Poland and East Germany, yet the US
buck). Dulles described it as "going to the edge never got involved for fear of nuclear war.
without starting a war is the necessary art".
This increased fear and thus tensions as it seemed
the US was prepared for nuclear warfare.
Ideological. If the arms race was lost, it proved Korean War. When MacArthur, the General in
that your ideological system was inferior to the charge of NATO forces in Korea, suggested the
other, and thus was a battle of ideologies. use of nuclear weapons, Truman fired him despite
his high approval ratings compared to Truman's

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Berlin Wall. Kennedy was relieved he did not
have to use nuclear weapons in Berlin after it was
built, he said: "a wall is hell of lot better then a
war" privately.
Paper Tiger. China/Mao described the US as
this it appeared tough with its nuclear weapons,
but cannot use them for fear of war.…read more


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