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Us Aircraft During The Cold War

2367 words - 9 pages

From the end of World War II until 1989, a silent war raged between the great countriesof the United States and the Soviet Union. When the United States dropped the first atomicbombs on Japan, it not only ended the second World War but began the Cold War (Gaddis 23).In 1946, the Russians in the United Nations proposed a ban of all atomic weapons, thedestruction of all stockpiles, and the reduction of all armed forces to one-third. Harry Trumanand his administration flatly rejected this, saying that it was simply insincere propaganda(Gaddis 94). Congress even went so far as to assume that the Soviet Union would never be ableto produce an atomic bomb (Kirk 29).Henry Wallace, then the Secretary of Commerce, warned Truman not to act tough againstthe Soviet Union (Beschloss 35). However, on February 28, 1946, Secretary of State JamesByrnes hinted in a speech to Congress about the beginning of a new harder policy towards theSoviet Union (Gaddis 71). Truman even supported Winston Churchill, who had just been votedout of office by the British Labor Party for making his famous 'iron curtain' speech where heaccused Stalin of enslaving the countries of Eastern Europe behind an iron curtain ofcommunism (Gaddis 77). This chain of events led to the eventual rise of the Cold War.On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched the satellite 'Sputnik' intoorbit. This seemed to have the potential for a major shift in the strategic balance of powerbetween the two superpowers (Gaddis 153). In 1955, the Soviet Union actually tested the firsthydrogen bomb successfully (Kirk 32). Sometime after World War II, Stalin decided not to tryto catch up to the United States in building massive amounts of bombers, but would try todevelop long-range missiles that could carry nuclear weapons. This program was only partiallysuccessful, since major problems in guidance and extremely high costs prevented the SovietUnion from ever having a sufficient number of these missiles to have first-strike capabilitiesagainst the United States (Kirk 50). By simply having these missiles, however, the Soviet Unionaccepted military inferiority while trying to convince the United States that they were the onesoperating from a weaker position. The bluff worked, and the Americans began increasingproduction of nuclear weapons and long-range B-52 bombers, and began strengthening militarybases in strategic positions around the globe, such as Alaska and western Europe (Beschloss 61).During the Cold War, America developed ever-increasingly better planes than what wereever seen before. They developed extremely high altitude reconnaissance planes, capable ofachieving almost unheard of altitudes. The bombers developed were capable of 10,000 mileround trips deep into the heart of the Soviet Union and could hold tons of bombs, even nuclearbombs (Kotz 27). America also created a type of fighter, called the fighter-bomber, whichcould attack ground targets (Sullivan 38). The U. S. developed some of the...

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