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1945 9 USA had a monopoly of atomic weapons. Atomic testing continued
e.g. 1946 atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean.
1949 Soviets produced an atomic bomb.
1949 USA developed a new bomb, the H Bomb (hydrogen bomb). Tested in `52.
NATO defensive military organization. All members agreed to defend each other
in case of Soviet attack.
1952 Soviets test the Hbomb. (Only 9 months after the US test....)
Mid 1950s first peak of the arms race: nuclear weapons and delivery systems
developed by USA. Widely available by early 60's (e.g. placed in Turkey, '62)
1955 Warsaw Pact established in response to NATO forces build up.
1957 SU launched the first satellite in space Sputnik. Start of space race.
1957 SU tested the first ICBM. The US responded quickly with its own ICBMs,
although, in the:
Late 50s US propaganda promoted the idea of a `missile gap'. (To justify higher
spending....) GREAT ALARM IN THE WEST IN THE LATE 50's. Khrushchev aimed
to prove that Soviet technology was superior to Western technology. It was all
part of his plan of peaceful competition.
1960 U2 Spy crisis revealed the intensity of the arms race planes aimed to
detect SU missile sites by flying over Soviet territory at high altitude.
1961 Kennedy ordered massive investment in arms and space race. He aimed to
get a man on the moon by 1966 and money was poured into the missile and
1962 US placed missiles in Turkey. Shortly after Khrushchev decided to place
missiles in Cuba. Some warheads already on the island, although not assembled,
when U2 spy planes revealed the missile sites to Kennedy's government.
Cuban missile crisis proved the dangers of brinkmanship world on brink of
Beginnings of détente Both leaders careful to avoid direct hostility. Telephone
hotline set up.
1963 Test Ban Treaty but this only referred to nonproliferation (spreading) of
nuclear power to other countries. No real control on the arms race.
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arms race kicked off again. Brezhnev (new Soviet leader) massively
1965 onwards US intervention in Vietnam no nuclear weapons used, but
massive use of military airpower bombing to destroy supplies & use of
chemical defoliants to destroy the jungle.
1966 SU developed AntiBallistic missiles that could shoot down ICBMs. These
were followed by MIRVs these carried more than one warhead so they could hit
more than one target and were, therefore difficult to shoot down.…read more