A2 Government and Politics: NUCLEAR

A2 Government and Politics: NUCLEAR

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  • WMD - Defined by the UN in 1948 as meaning Nuclear, Biological or Chemical weapons or any other weapon with similarly destructive capabilities.
  • Nuclearisation - Increase in nuclear capabilities
  • Horizontal Proliferation - More states become nuclear
  • Vertical Proliferation - One nuclear state develops more nuclear weapons
  • IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - UN attempt to persuade all countries apart from permanent 5 to never develop a nuke, and submit to inspections from the IAEA
  • SALT - Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty
  • MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction
  • NUT - Nuclear Utilisation Treaty
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Nuclear World Order

Order of States becoming Nuclear:

  • 1945 - USA develop first nuclear weapon
  • 1949 - USSR develop nuclear weapon
  • 1952 - Britain receive nuclear weapons from USA
  • 1960 - France develop nuclear weapon
  • 1964 - China develop nuclear weapon (now all Permanent UNSC Members)
  • 1970 - NPT refused to be signed by Cuba, North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel

Other Nuclear Nations (as of 2010):

  • India (before 1998), Pakistan (1998), Israel, North Korea
  • Iran hope to develop nuclear weapons within the next 2 years

Note: Libya, Iraq, South Africa and Brazil have all given up their nuclear labs/weapons.

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Some Nuclear Facts

The first use of a nuclear weapon - Hiroshima 1945

Deterrence - Both sides fear each other equally, consequences will never be the same

For Successful Nuclear Deterrence - Both sides must think the other will use nukes, and both sides must think that each could totally destroy the other at the same time.

Cuban Missile Crisis averted - By President Khrushchev sent a telegram to Kennedy offering to remove nukes from Cuba if same done in Turkey

States to have given up Nukes/Nuclear Labs - Libya, Iraq, South Africa, Brazil

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Areas of US/USSR Cooperation during Détente

Hotline between the Presidents

Start of Disarmament Talks (SALT)

Partial Test Ban Treaty

1970 NPT

  • NPT states can share nuclear energy technology
  • Saves money to not have nuclear weapons
  • Most states were in either NATO or Warsaw Pact for protection                       (see Extended Deterrence)
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Did Nuclear Weapons keep from Cold War from going


  • Nukes produced concept of "limited war" - full military power is restrained
  • US+USSR deterred from any full scale conventional or nuclear attack
  • Hiroshima led to moral repugnance - USA didn't use nukes on Korea when USSR did not have nukes, so MAD wasn't a factor.
  • Each side was fearful of the consequences of nuclear war


  • The existence of nuclear weapons just increased "proxy wars" - an indirect conflict between US and USSR using other states as the battlefield (Afghanistan, Vietnam)
  • Anti-war feeling was the reason the Cold War didn't go hot, after WW2 people were weary of more bloodshed
  • The bipolar structure of the two evenly matched alliance systems was responsible for keeping peace, not nuclear weapons.
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Anna Killick



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