Think About Nuclear War Essay

990 words - 4 pages

Think About Nuclear Arms Control The book begins speaking of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs quickly ending World War II. Then the United States proposed to give up its bombs through the Baruch Plan, but could not give up the knowledge of how to make them. The Baruch Plan failed. The Soviets proposed a plan, but that failed due to the US not trusting the Soviets.After World War II, the Soviets seized control of Eastern Europe; even today people in the West are not sure how much of the Soviet motive was offensive and how much was defensive. In any case, the Red Army occupying Eastern Europe was enormous, and in the late 1940's the Western European countries had almoste no armies at all.In spite of this threat, Americans and Western Europeans still felt reasonably secure. The U.S. was the only country able to build atomic bombs and was in the process of building some. If the worst happened and a war did break out, the U.S. would win certainly. Since every country knew this, no one wanted war.The biggest part of the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is deterrence. Since the early 1950's, each nation has maintained peace by threatening to retaliate and wreak terrible destruction if the other country attacks. Both countries learned to build fusion or hydrogen bombs.By the early 1950's the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviets was underway and has continued ever since. The launching of Sputnik destroyed Americas' confidence that the U.S. was ahead in the arms race, because that meant the Soviets would ICBMs. People were worried that in a few years there would be a missle gap in favor of the Soviets.Even worse, experts were worried that the Soviets might actually attack the United States when they achieved a "first-strikecapablilitie." If the Soviets build enough ICBMs to strike every U.S. bomber base simultaneously, it would be possible for them to win World War III in an hour's time.The greatest crises between the U.S. and the Soviet Union occured in October of 1962. It was called the "Cuban Missile Crisis." The Soviets secretly put nuclear missiles in Cuba, while saying repeatedly that they never would. They hoped the United States would not uncover the lie before the missles were ready for launch; at that point the U.S. would not be able to do anything.But the U.S. found out about the missiles in time. President Kennedy decided to reject the first choice his advisors suggested, an immediate air attack on the missiles in Cuba. Instead he tried a public demand for their removal and a naval blockade of Cuba to prevent any more missiles from arriving. He knew he could still order the air attack if his first effort failed.After an extremely tense few days,...

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