COLD WAR INVESTIGATION
Nuclear Arms Race
An arms race is a competition between two or more countries for military supremacy. Each party competes to produce superior numbers of weapons, larger armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation, “as described by http://en.wikipedia.org”. During the cold war there was a nuclear arms race between the U.S.S.R and the United States. Throughout my essay I will be explaining why the United States and the U.S.S.R became involved in an arms race, the aims of the arms race, why this arms race continued, the advancements in technology and weaponry, which contributed to the arms race and how the arms race came to an end.
The nuclear arms race began with the Americans under the leadership of Harold Truman dropping the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the Sixth and Ninth of August 1945, which levelled two cities and is still killing people today of radiation related disease. Once Stalin and the U.S.S.R saw the power and extent of damage caused by these weapons of mass destruction the U.S.S.R began its own nuclear weapons program, so that it could compete with the power of America’s arsenal. In turn the United States began to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon related devices to improve the efficiency of there nuclear weapons the amount that they had, which began the nuclear arms race.
The main reason for the nuclear arms race was to have the most and best nuclear weapons in order to have unsure, superior first strike capability (the ability to disable the enemy’s military force so that they would be unable to retaliate). After both sides had an adequate first strike capability they developed a second strike (a nuclear force that could be used to retaliate against a surprise first strike attack), so that if either the United States or U.S.S.R launched an attack on the other, then they would be able to retaliate so that both nations would be destroyed. This was defined as the M.A.D concept which stood for Mutually Assured Destruction. I believe it is best explained by Carl Sagan famous analogy describing the overkill in the arms race with the "two men standing waist deep in gasoline; one with three matches, the other with five." The other reason why the arms race continued was because, the arms race wasn’t just a race too see who could make the greatest arsenal of nuclear weapons. It was also a competition between Capitalism and Communism as the more powerful your arsenal was the more powerful your country was seen as being and as a result of this the arms race turned into a competition between Capitalism and Communism to see which system of government produced the smartest, hardest working and superior people.