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The Unparalleled Effect Of Nuclear Technologies And Politics On The Outcome Of The Cold War

1349 words - 5 pages

Of all the contending issues that fed the flames of the conflict that made up the core of the Cold War, none of them affected the outcome so much as the development and testing of nuclear arms and the politics surrounding their handling. After the long years of fighting during World War II, many of the old world powers were greatly weakened. The United States’ detonation of Little Boy and Fat Man over Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, brought the worlds attention and showed American superiority in technological and military might (atomcentral.com). Capabilities like this were far out of reach for any other country and would come to be one of the major factors in determining the balance of world power. Other countries coveted the influence the United States had come to hold. Primarily a country with completely different world views and way of life than that of the United States. This country was the newly formed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Widely known as the U.S.S.R., they soon began to gain with the United States in terms of nuclear technologies. A rivalry began between these two nations, to become the undisputed world power. This rivalry would be apparent on a global scale for many years into the future, surfacing through the many altercations that were the Cold War. Although the Cold War, as a whole, was made up of many facets, the one primarily effecting the outcome was the same principal reason for the United States’ original placement as a world power: the possession of advanced nuclear technologies. A deadly race began between these two countries, a race for nuclear dominance, a race that would define the Cold War.
On September 3rd, 1949, the president of the United States of America, Harry S. Truman, announced successful testing by the Soviet Union of an atomic bomb one month previously, the United States was no longer the only nuclearly capable nation. Almost ten years later, the U.S.S.R. shocked the world again when on October 23rd, 1961, they tested the largest thermonuclear device ever to be created or detonated. Known as the Tsar Bomba, or King of Bombs, it was constructed in less than 14 weeks, and carried a load equal to 50 megatons of TNT (tsarbomba.org). While detonating such a bomb brought the U.S.S.R. to a place almost alongside the United States in terms of technological advancement, it also proved inefficiency of large payload nuclear weapons and ushered in the age of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The research for such weapons started during World War II under Nazi Germany, and after the war the U.S. gathered up the scientists apart of the V-2 Rocket program in hope of possessing the same technology themselves. Starting with the Redstone missile program, and finally resolving with the Pershing Missile System, the United States hoped to be able to carry a nuclear payload into Russia in light of the U.S.S.R.’s new nuclear capabilities. Activated March of 1963, the first Pershing Missile system and...

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