The Causes And Effects Of Nuclear Weapons

1738 words - 7 pages

The Effects of Nuclear Weapons During the Cold War Nuclear Weapons played a prime factor in the rise of the Cold War and ultimately our lives today. Some say the Cold War started during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 (Kennan 36). Others say it was when Russia dropped its first atomic bomb. Though most believe that it started after the United States and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were no longer allies after World War II.Causes of Cold War After World War II one must examine the motives of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Stalin's number one goal was to rebuild his weakened nation. Russia had by far lost the most lives and money because of the war. Twenty million were dead and over a quarter of Russian's capital equipment was lost. The last thing Russia wanted was another war. In order to protect Russia Stalin kept control of Eastern Europe. He set up friendly communist governments throughout the Red Army's grasp. To the Americans this was seen as a foreshadowing of a communist takeover of Europe. Within thirty years Germany had attacked Russia twice. "Russia viewed the U.S. as a resurgence of Germany, because of its hostile intentions toward communism" (Walton 12). Thus, Russia's occupation of Eastern Europe can be justified (Walton 11-13). The United State's goals after World War II were to create a lasting peace, and to establish the ground rules for world trade. The United States wanted to be able to freely trade among the whole of the world. Foreign nations were viewed as markets for American business and industry. America saw communism as a mortal threat that must be contained (Walton 10-11). The United States was also faced with the fact that the weak post-World War II Britain handed it the role of world police. Being the only nation with nuclear weapons capabilities was a prime factor in the way the United States would view the Soviet Union and communism as a threat that could be easily crushed if necessary. This would soon all change (Walton 13-14).Arms Race On August 29, 1949 the Soviets had successfully exploded their first atomic bomb. America no longer had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. By late 1949, the U.S. had stockpiled 200 fatman-type bombs (Chronology 1). The race towards nuclear supremacy was on. The Russians would now come to the tables for talks on how nuclear weapons should be tested, but no decisive decisions would be made until later. In 1949, the main concern of the Truman administration was to get congressional approval for the United States joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; NATO. The belief was that if Russia invaded Western Europe that the United States would respond with atomic weapons. This would nullify any Russian attack. But the Russians had the bomb too. They would most likely use it on us if we did on them. With NATO America could speak for all of Europe with a much more powerful voice (Walton 66). As the world worried over the fear of...

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