A History Of Nuclear Weapons Essay

1404 words - 6 pages

Though most people have never thought much about it, mankind nearly became extinct in a war that had no actual fighting; this war got the name the Cold War (SV; SV). The Cold War was the building tension between the United States and the Soviet Union some years following WWII. Nuclear weapons had a substantial influence on the Arms Race during the Cold War. At its peak, the two super-powers had enough nuclear weapons to kill everyone on Earth! Though the Cold War had many different aspects during the stockpiling of weapons, the most influential was the invention of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear Weapons research started in the United States with the creation of the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was started when a scientist from the UK came to the United States with the idea of creating a new, more powerful bomb. The first test was done in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. This test showed the world that we had new technology that could be extremely dangerous for our enemies. The Soviets tested their first nuclear bomb four years later in 1949 (“Nuclear Warfare”).
The Arms race continued and soon the weapons started to become much more deadly than anyone could have every predicted. “From 1951-1965 the U.S. averaged producing 2,108 nuclear weapons a year,” (Lindley). On May 12, 1951 the first Thermonuclear Hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb, was tested in the United States; this bomb was so much stronger than the atomic bomb that research stopped soon after its invention (SV;SV). Soon the research shifted to submarine-launched ballistic missiles called SLBMs that were first tested in 1960 but were soon to be outclassed by a new, more advanced type of weapon (“Nuclear Warfare”).
Inter-continental ballistic missiles began to become the next best thing in warfare when they were created in 1968 in the United States. These missiles could carry several nuclear warheads and hit multiple targets after flying across the ocean into the enemy territory; therefore, they became one of the key points in negotiations between countries (SV; conjunctive adverb, SV.) (“Nuclear Warfare”) By the end of 1982, the United States had created a single nuclear warhead that had the energy equivalent to 4 billion tons of TNT (Weiss).
With the extreme power of these weapons, both sides tried to create defenses to the potential attacks on their countries. The United States took the first step in 1983 with what is now called the Star Wars program. Star Wars was an idea that we could send a satellite into space that would shoot lasers into either the nuclear warheads or the fuel systems of Inter-continental ballistic missiles, diffusing them in space rather than causing us harm. This program was dropped in the early 1990s when it became evident that the technology to do such a thing was not yet invented (Jameson). The Soviet Union was never far behind the United States with nuclear technology; but, the majority of their research and testing was done behind closed doors and...

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