JP – The Arms Race

The Manhattan Project:

In 1941, the U.S began to develop the atomic bomb. The project was given the code name “the Manhattan project”, with research done by leading scientists such as Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi. As the project developed, nuclear facilities were placed in areas such as Tennessee, Hanford, Oakridge and Washington-with the main assembly plant installed in New Mexico, Los Angeles. Over $2 billion was spent on the project and employed over 120 000 people. This was hidden from the public and it was agreed by Roosevelt and Churchill that Stalin must not know about it. However, espionage allowed the soviets to know about the development of the atomic bomb.

On July 16, 1945, scientists of the Manhattan project gathered in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and tested the world’s first a-bomb. The bomb was dropped from a 100 feet tower and causing damage to the area enclosed within a 200 miles radius and word had quickly reached President Truman at Potsdam. 

Melita Norwood:


Melita Stedman Norwood holds the record for being the longest serving soviet spy in Britain; serving the USSR for more than 40 years.

She was responsible for gathering and exposing information to the KGB-the Committee for State Security, the main security agency of the USSR, about the development of Britain’s atom bomb project.

The Baruch Plan:

In 1946, the US had put forward the Baruch plan-a proposal to the USSR proposing the end of developing and using nuclear weaponry.  Noticing the threat that the world was in, after both superpowers had developed atomic bombs capable of wiping away human existence, the US proposed the Baruch plan as a means of establishing peace.

The Soviet Union denied the proposal, having intentions of developing their weaponry thus heightening tensions between the two superpowers.

International and External factors that built the Arms Race (Pages 169-170; Steven Phillips):

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.

First lightning and America’s response:

Lightning was the Soviet Union’s first nuclear weapon test. In the west, it was code-named Joe-1, in reference to Joseph Stalin. It was test-exploded on August 29, 1949, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR. When news surfaced about the devemeopment of this new weaponry, this sparked controversy when President Harry S. Truman had discovered about the bomb (via espionage) and warned Americans about an “atomic explosion (that) occurred in the USSR.” hoping for the west to not know about this, the Soviets did not take this issue light heartedly. Once the Soviets had finished their project in developing an atomic bomb, they were soon expected to create the worlds first hydrogen bomb.

As a means of defence, the American government founded the ‘Green Room’-a secret test made to help the US Air Force detect any other Soviet atomic tests in development.




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