The Arms Race

Manhatten Project

The Manhatten project was made from 1942 to 1945. It was a project made by American scientists, who were refugees from fascist regimes. They used the element Plutonium-239 to create the atomic bomb. They were able finally succeed to control the fission chain reaction. They first tested the atomic bomb on New Mexico on July 16 1945. Then they had tested the second time by dropping it on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It turned out to be successful and in their favor to make demands for free elections in order to show their power against the Soviets.

Melita Norwood – a spy

Melita Norwood was a spy for the Soviets that went to Britain and worked with people on creating the atomic bomb in 1943. Melita had sent documents and information regarding to the atomic bomb to the Soviets, which allowed them to test their atomic bomb in 1949

Baruch Plan

The Baruch plan was created in 1946 by the US  for the international control of atomic weapons, such as the bomb that was created by the two Superpowers. This was to control the competition by attempting the UN to watch over the nuclear arms (the bombs) in order to maintain nuclear monopoly. However, this was declined by the Soviets, so this meant that control of the nuclear weapons was impossible.

Internal and External factors that build the Arms Race…

External factors of the Arms race – the buildup of arms by both sides was a response due to the growing hostility between the Superpowers. The fact that the age of nuclear bombs could potentially be improved even stronger leads to more invulnerability. The US had a nuclear monopoly until USSR had created their own. Soviet secrecy about boasting their nuclear strength increased US concerns that they had to do better than them. The desire for nuclear superiority was the only was to reinforce their defenses. However, at 1980 USA government announced to create the Star Wars initiative to shoot down the bombs.

Internal factors of the Arms race – it could be possible that the advantage of resources, as well as the economy and armaments industry that would help instead of the external factors. Armed forces in the USSR are capable to exert influence within the Soviet government as they regard the need for defense as high priority. Attempts to reduce the amount of spending on arms, and threaten the military, was strongly resisted, especially by Khrushchev. In the USA, the arms race had given large sums of money to manufacturers, scientists to the point where it lead to employment of over 30 million. This military industrial complex helped to wield massive control over US politics.

 USSR’s First Lightning and US responses

The first lightning was named after the successful testing of the atomic bomb by the Soviets. However, USA were surprised that the Soviets were able to create the atomic bomb at a much earlier date. Due to the pressure that USSR were on equal grounds with the USA in holding the atomic bomb, this lead to the creation of Hydrogen bomb by the USA in 1952. The Hydrogen bomb was 1000 times stronger than a normal atomic bomb, that had long lasting  radiation effects. The USA tested their Hydrogen bomb at 1952, following by USSR that tested their one at 1955.

Nature of the conflict

We could say that the nature of conflict during the Cold War was the inventions of the Arms Race, continuously improving their bombs and make it stronger, until they found a new type of bomb, the Hydrogen bomb. The main nature of conflict between these powers is to strengthen their defenses and force each other into submission, a tool for negotiating with each other to give, but it seems impossible as they both hold the Hydrogen bombs. So it was a matter of how many bombs they were capable of creating.

Missile Gap – was it over for the USA?

The missile gap predicted by the USA began to believe that USSR had superior missile capabilities that threatened USA. They predicted that USSR probably had more missiles in numbers and a better improvement in technology in advance. Eisenhower feared that if they didn’t reassess their nuclear bombs and try to gain advantages over USSR in weapon capabilities, they would no longer be capable to deter, nor even prevent the Soviet missiles attack against them.

USA had responded to this fear by creating the ABM (anti ballistic missiles) which were designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles.

Beginning of the MIRV

The Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (aka MIRV) was created to increase the chances of the nuclear missiles to hit their intended targets. USSR wanted to create its own MIRV in 1975,  which led to a new intensity of the Arms race. By 1981 USSR had made 6800 warheads, and the USA created 7000.

End of the Cold War…

USSR couldn’t bear the continuation due to the costs of the Arms race. This had limited the USSR to produce more nuclear arms, and so the constant pressure of trying to match US’ capability had undermined the Soviet economy and brought about the collapse of the USSR, ending the Cold War with USA in gaining advantage over the USSR.

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