Developing of weapons technology
USA - Hydrogen Bomb
- 1950, Truman announced the USA would build a hydrogen bomb. Successfully tested in November 1952.
- This was prompted by the Berlin Blockade of 1948-9, the establishment of the People's Republic of China in October 1949, and the discovery of a Soviet nuclear spy ring.
Delivering the bomb by plane
- From 1953, 40% of the US defence funds were allocated to the air forces. By 1955, the USA owned the B52 Stratofortress, the first bomber with intercontinental range.
- Strategic Air Command (SAC) became the USA's main nuclear strike force.
- The Soviets could not compete with SAC but responded in 1956 with the TU20 Bear.
Development of rocket technology
- May 1957, Soviet Union successfully tested the world's first incontinental ballistic missle (ICBM).
- 1957 USSR launced Sputnik into satellite, and later in the year Sputnik II with dog Laika.
- By 1959: Soviet Strategic Rocket Force was a new section of the Soviet military.
- 1961 - Yuri Gagarin became first man in space.
Developing of weapons technology continued...
The 'missile gap' 1957-61
- The USSR's success led to US fears that the Soviets had more advanced military technology.
- USA was not far behind: possessed more nuclear weapons and launched own satellite in 1958. The USA also developed its own ICBMs.
- Government intelligence gathered by U2 spy planes revealed that USSR had few bombers and operational missilles.
- The USA deployed intermediate range ballistic missiles in Britain, Italy and Turkey.
- In 1960, USA deployed Polaris, the world's first submarine-launched ballistic missile.
- By 1965, the USA had 630 strategic bombers whilst the USSR had 200.
By the early 1960s the arms race had reached the point of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
Balance of terror
- US confidence about its nuclear superiority in the 1950s led the Eisenhower administration to introduce the doctrine of massive retaliation (1954).
- Involved the use of brinkmanship.
- Kennedy rejected massive retaliation.
- Favoured a flexible response strategy - not just an all out nuclear attack.
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
-By the mid-late 1960s, the USA and Soviet Union had reached the position of mutual assured destruction.
The Impact of the Arms Race on the Cold War
Stablising effects +
- Prevented direct US-Soviet confrontation
- Presence of nuclear weapons caused superpowers to respect other's areas e.g. Hungary.
- Cooperation: Removal of nuclear missiles from Cuba and Turkey (1962-63), Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963), and the Washington-Moscow 'hot line'. (1963).
Destablising effects -
- Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb led to a spiralling arms race.
- The culture of secrecy surrounding it led to superpowers fears that the other side had military superiority.
- Encouraged brinkmanship which could have resulted in total devastation.
- The cost of nuclear weapons imposed huge financial strains on both sides.
- Nuclear weapons did not stop other forms of superpower competition e.g. US support for anti-communist regimes in South Vietnam, South Korea and Taiwan.
The Causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
The Cuban Revolution, 1959
- By the mid-20th century, the USA owned much of the Cuban economy. January 1959, Batista, a ruthless military dictator, was overthrown by the revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro.
Growing US-Cuban Tension, 1959-61
- Castro's meeting with Nixon in April 1959 did not go well.
- Castro wanted to make Cuba independent of US influence.
- February 1960: Castro signed a trade deal with the Soviet Union to nationalise US interests in Cuba that were worth over $1 billion.
- July 1960: USA imposed economic blockade on Cuba, thereby refusing to buy its sugar.
- Early 1961: Castro formally embraced communism.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion, April 1961
- 1961, Kennedy authorised a CIA-backed invasion of Cuba. Aim was to spark a popular revolt. THe Anti-Castro Cuban exiles were overwhelmed by the Cuban army and air force. A humiliation for Kennedy.
Operation Mongoose, Operation 1961
- Secret programme - destablise Cuban regime - Jan-July 1962 - 60,000 acts of sabotage.
Soviet nuclear weapons on Cuba, 1962
- Installed 24 55-4 medium range ballistic missiles and 16 longer-range 55-5 missile launchers.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962
What influenced USA's actions?
- Soviet missiles based in Cuba could hit most of USA's large cities.
- Attack from Cuba would reduce USA's warning time from 30 minutes to 3 minutes.
- Kennedy needed a foreign policy success after the Vienna Summit, Berlin Wall + Bay of Pigs.
- Kenendy established a naval blockade.
- 24th October: American forces go to DEFCON2 (one short of war).
- 26th October: Khrushchev sends letter to Kennedy to promising to remove Soviet missiles if US lifts the blockade and publically pledges to never invade Cuba.
- 27th October: Kennedy states he will make a statement saying that the US will not invade CUba if USSR removes missiles from Cuba. Also, secret assurance that US would remove missiles from Turkey.
- 28th October, Khrushchev accepts Kennedy's terms.
The Results of the Cuban Missile Crisis - Leaders
- Much needed foreign policy success, but did not boast.
- 10 days after crisis, Democrats won Senate.
- Accepted that Cuba would remain under communist control.
- Kennedy agreed to remove US missiles from Turkey.
- Although the Soviet action had removed US missiles from Turkey, the Soviet military never forgave Khrushchev. They regarded the Cuban venture as ending in humiliating faliure and this was a factor in Khrushchev's removal from office in 1964.
- Castro had been furious with Khrushchev - he had not been consulted about the removal of the missiles.
- Reinforced Cuba's dependence on the USSR, which continued to provide economic aid to Cuba.
The Results of the Cuban Missile Crisis - Policies
The 'hot-line' agreement, June 1963
- Between Washington and the Kremlin, so that the US and the Soviet leaders could contact eachother immediately and hold discussions.
- The aim was to ensure any misjudgements could be resolved. Nixon and Brezhnev used the 'hot-line' during the India-Pakistan war in 1971.
The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, August 1963
- The two superpowers and Britain signed the treaty, which banned them from conducting nuclear tests in the atmoshphere, underwater, or in space.
- However, underground testing was still permitted.
- There was no reduction in armaments.
The beginnings of Detente
- Both sides were keen to establish better relations, leading to a period of detente in the 1970s.