Arms Race

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Timeline of Arms race (1)

  • Aug 1949- USSR detonates its first atomic bomb. Causes great concern in USA. US intelligence thought that USSR would not be able to develop a bomb until 1953.
  • 1951- US Strategic Air Command develops policy of "constant readiness". SAC commander Curtis Le May identifies 6000 targets in USSR.
  • Nov 1952- USA detonates the first Hydrogen bomb (1000x powerful than atomic bomb)
  • Aug 1953- USSR detonates its own H-Bomb
  • Mar- 1954 - USA develops H-bomb small enough to be dropped from a bomber.
  • Sept 1954- USSR drops a test H-bomb from a bomber
  • July 1956- USA develops a U-2 Spy plane to spy on Soviet weapons development
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Timeline of Arms race (2)

  • May 1957 - USSR develops the first ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile)
  • Oct 1957- USSR launches the Sputnik satellite into orbit. USA shocked by Soviet advances in "space race". USSR now has technology to launch rockets out of Earth's atmosphere and guide to a target. This technology would be applied to missiles with nuclear warheads.
  • Jan 1958- USA puts a satellite into orbit
  • 1959- USA develops sophisticated Atlas and Minutemen ICBMs. USA also develops Polaris missiles which can be fired from a submarine. USA alarmed at USSR having more nuclear missiles than USA. Eisenhower knows this isn't true but doesn't tell the public.
  • April 1961- Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes first man in space.
  • Oct 1961- USSR detonates largest H-bomb ever seen with more power than all explosives in WW2.
  • Oct 1962- Cuban missile crisis
  • 5 Aug 1963- USA/USSR sign Nuclear test ban treaty in Moscow.
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