Essay on Nuclear Weapons


The existence of nuclear weapons changed the way war is fought for the whole world drastically. Following the successful atomic bombing of Japan in 1945 by the United States of America, the race for arms between the two major powers went skyrocketing. The fight for power and existence itself caused a disconnect between the USA and the USSR. The political differences between the two countries had affected international relations significantly beforehand by each other being on opposite ends of a political spectrum. The support offered to each other in hatred of other leaders slowly disintegrated as political views came to surface. The presence of nuclear technology further damaged already weak relations between the two superpowers by means of threats to ingrain fear to one another in the prospect of a nuclear war, causing competition in nuclear and rocket technology and the security of one’s own country was also in question. The threats said to ensue fear of a war helped drive the weakening relations between two of the largest world powers.

To begin, Nikita Khrushchev many times exaggerated the nuclear power the soviets to threaten the Americans, the Americans were no less and responded back with similar threats. As mentioned by Timothy Naftali, “Photographs of Soviet bases proved that the Soviets were way behind in the missile race.”  The race for nuclear weapons caused leaders to overstate the development of their weaponry to other countries. To ensure Russia’s competition and place as a major power in the world Khrushchev threatened Americans by telling them the power of Russia’s nuclear weapons. Nikita states to a group of school teachers, “we have rockets which can land precisely at a pre-set target 13,000 kilometers away. This, if you want, is a warning.”  The warning given by Khrushchev showed that nuclear war was really a possibility for the American peoples and the technology that they had for these weapons was high end and they could destroy the American peoples livelihoods. To counter the threats posed by the USSR the US would make their own words of aggression. John Foster Dulles has said “would strike back "at places and with means of our own choosing."”  This shows that to answer back to a Russian missile, the US wouldn’t be afraid to launch one of their own. 

Moving forward, the competition for more efficient destruction and therefore more efficient bombs and missiles caused great competition. The US created a hydrogen bomb and the USSR followed quickly. The US declared that they had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on November 1, 1952 and the soviets followed closely and announced its hydrogen bomb capabilities on August 8, 1953.

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