Y13 Christmas Discussion

Cold War Arms Race

Cold War Arms Race

So, having done your reading on the role of the Arms Race (esp. p.111-112 of handout), I want to know your thoughts on its significance. A reminder of the questions:

•Did atomic diplomacy really work? (“Atomic diplomacy”- use of the threat of atomic weapons to force other nations to stop doing something, or threaten them into submission.)
•Did the world benefit from the Arms race?
•Would the Cold War have been so cold if the arms race had not been so accelerated?
•To what extent did the nuclear arms race make the world a more dangerous place in the years 1949-1963?

You must contribute valid opinions (backed up with some examples) on at least 2 of these 4 topics, but the more you discuss the better!

Don’t forget also- first lesson back you’ll be sitting a selection of questions from knowledge tests 7-10 on our previous unit of work, so do some Christmas consolidation!

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13 responses to “Y13 Christmas Discussion

  1. hey, this is tammy making her first blog of mr caves blog
    i feel slighlty weird for doing this, but the others made me do it.im not actually going to answer the questions, because this is really supposed to be a fun blog!

    Although obviously the arms race did make things more dangerous, because of nuclear weapons!!

    am looking forward to our lesson being gatecrashed by the concert, really do think we should go with mr caves idea of an elf video thng:)

    happy xmas

    • Did atomic diplomacy really work?

      To a certain extent atomic diplomacy did work as each side backed down at some point during the cold war through threat of nuclear attack. However, it obviously wasn’t effective enough as the cold war went on for as long as it did and both powers went on provoking each other.

      Did the world benefit from the arms race?

      Some might say that the arms did benefit the world as the ‘mutually assured destruction’ made it seem as though any relatively major war would result in global nuclear war, so in some respects the arms race prevented other wars from developing.

      Would the cold war have been so cold if the arms race had not been so accelerated?

      Developments in the cold war may have not taken so long if only one power had nuclear warheads or the gap was so big between them that threat was inexistent.

      To what extent did the nuclear arms race make the world a more dangerous place in the years 1949-1963?

      The arms race heightened the scare of danger through nuclear war but mutually assured destruction effectively prevented any real danger from occuring, even in 1962 when the cold war became its hottest with the cuban missile crisis, no missiles were actually launched.

      My contribution seems inferior to other peoples, it looked like a lot more in my book..

  2. This is my contibution to the blog

    Atomic diplomacy worked on the weaker nations such as China, which was evident when the threat of nuclear action against them by Dulles resulted in finally ending the Korean War. However, when it came to the two nations who were really involved in the development of nuclear weapons, USA and USSR, it didn’t work as well. This is evident by the Cuban missile crisis as both countries knew that they had strong enough nuclear weapons to use on the other one and were unwilling to back down because it would affect there image as a political leader. The only thing that stopped all out nuclear war was the fact that it would have devastating consequences on the civilians of the two countries. Therefore showing that atomic diplomacy would only work, between the USA and USSR, if the leader of that country had a conscience and they were able to come to a satisfactory compromise with the other.

    The world could be said to have benefitted from the arms race in the fact that the power of the weapons meant that the two sides were unwilling to do anything to aggravate the other. However, the simple fact that these two strong minded countries had the means in which to wipe out everything but the cockroaches meant that the negatives pretty much outweighed the positives in my opinion.

    The cold war wouldn’t have been so cold if the arms race had not been so accelerated, this is evident by the fact neither country wanted to aggravate the other because of the awesome power that there weapons possessed. Also, the focus of each country had now shifted from what I can do to annoy the enemy to what I can make that is better than the enemies. This meant that during events such as the Hungarian uprising the USA didn’t get involved like they usually would and focussed instead on improving there arsenal.

    The nuclear arms race made the world a more dangerous place in the years 1949 -1963. This is because even though the two sides were unwilling to use their weapons it didn’t necessarily mean that they wouldn’t, as the USSR would always be cautious that the USA had already used their atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 which was both near to them and showed that if provoked the West would strike. Also, the USA would be cautious that the USSR may have more weapons than they were letting on because they have always been a secretive nation. Nevertheless, there was a possibility of an accident that would see one of the countries own bombs blowing up on its own soil and could therefore lead to an unprovoked attack on the other nation due to a need for anyone but your leader to be blamed for the incident.

  3. To an extent, nuclear diplomacy did work. It stopped conflicts because of the dreadful potential that nuclear weaponry had. However, it did nothing to ease Cold War tensions, or to improve relations between the USA and USSR. Instead, both sides seeked to increase their nuclear capabilities in order to make their threats to each other even more terrifying. Furthermore, both powers wanted to know how truthful the opposing power was being, and never fall behind technologically. This meant that they resorted to espionage, which in turn led to even more bad relations (e.g. U2 spy plane incident).

    Did the world benefit from the arms race?
    In a way, the arms race’s extreme nature has stopped another world conflict. MAD was just too frightening a prospect to risk, which in turn has meant no world conflicts since WW2. However, nuclear weaponry is now so widespread, that countries who could be considered dangerous to the rest of the modern world have nuclear capabilities, which has happened because of the arms race. MAD was what preserved peace before, but not all groups care about their own plight as long as they take some people with them (e.g. Al-Qaeda).

    Would the Cold War have been so cold if the arms race hadn’t been so accelerated?
    Although the arms race’s rapid acceleration deterred warfare, it is unlikely that either power would have waged all out war on each other. The USSR had suffered huge losses in WW2, and wouldn’t have wanted to face the might of their former allies, America, at risk of getting destroyed. Furthermore, the rest of the world wouldn’t have let it happen so soon after such a devastating world conflict. There would have been however, more indirect conflicts between the nations, similar to the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as neither nation wanted to directly face the other.

    Was the world a more dangerous place?
    The world was made a more dangerous place in 1949-1963 because of the arms race. Its growth had meant that ICBMs were at their most advanced stages, as were the nuclear warheads themselves. Therefore, the technology had been created, only needing a good enough reason in the eyes of either power to consider using such destructive weapons.

    Then along came the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was the point at which full scale nuclear was at its most likely stage, as the USSR had installed missile pads within easy reach of the USA’s major cities. However, this was merely a defensive measure by the Soviets after the USA had missile pads installed in Turkey. All it took for the crisis to end however, was some diplomatic ultimatums which would suggest that both sides were actually reluctant to start a thermo-nuclear war. Khrushchev took no action when a spy plan strayed into Soviet territory, and JFK did not respond when a spy plane was shot down over Cuba. Furthermore, the arm race’s escalation to this point led to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, which in fact limited the danger of nuclear war.

  4. Atomic diplomacy did work in that neither country resorted to using nuclear weapons during the cold war. Without the constant threat of mutualy assured distruction (MAD) America and the USSR could have easily wiped each other out, killing millions of civillians in the process. However, the cuban Missile crisis shows just how fine a line the two superpowers were treading. As soon as the US saw a threat, they were desperate to make the first move even though they didnt know what the Soviets were planning. Just the tiniest misstake could have plunged the world into nuclear war. This proves that the nuclear arms race had not made the world a safer place, instead it was a time of extreme fear and tension, when no one knew what move would be made next

  5. To a certain extent “atomic diplomacy” did work, because as a result of the dangers of possible nuclear war, both the USSR and the US refrained from direct, armed confrontation. “Atomic Diplomacy” also seemed to prevent nuclear war, because through the “MAD” (mutually assured destruction) policy, it caused both superpowers to rethink their nuclear strategies, and in turn create a more flexible range of responses.
    However, it becomes clear through the “Cuban Missile Crisis” of 1962 that “atomic diplomacy” simply would not always work. For both countries came to the brink of nuclear war, despite nuclear threats from President Kennedy, thus showing that more would have to be done, in order to achieve complete “detente”.

    The world did benefit from the “Arms Race”, because despite the danger posed by nuclear war, new weapons were developed, such as intercontinental bombers and the hydrogen bomb. The “Arms Race” also benefited the world, because it showed the world the terrible consequences that nuclear war could bring, and thus showed both the US and the USSR that their “MAD” policy simply would not work in the prospect of “detente”.

    The Cold War clearly would not have been so “cold” if the arms race had not been so accelerated, because it was the increasing threat of nuclear war that made the world so dangerous. John Lewis Gladdis supports the idea that the development of the Cold War was solely dependant on the accelerating arms race through the quotation, “This pattern of tacit co-operation among bitter antagonists could hardly have emerged had it not been for the existence of nuclear weapons”.

    The nuclear arms race made the world a more dangerous place in the years 1949 – 1963, because not only did it bring both the US and the USSR to the brink of nuclear destruction, but it also showed the world the terrible consequences if they were to enter into a nuclear war. Thus making the process of “detente” all the more valuable to both leaders.

  6. Atomic Diplomacy didn’t really work between the USA and USSR because both countries had enough atomic weapons to wipe out the other countries. However, the USA still had nuclear superiority. This led to both countries needing conventional arms, so atomic diplomacy didn’t work within the two superpower nations, as shown in the Korean & Vietnam wars. However, atomic diplomacy would have been successful for other countries with a lack of atomic weapons, scaring them into submission, as shown with the end of the Korean War.

    I feel that the world didn’t benefit from the arms race as a lot of money was directed into the production of atomic weapons, where they could have been used to improve economic problems and living standards in the country. It also made people live on the edge meaning that no one felt secure as their country could easily be blown up, however it could be seen as a good thing as people were less likley to use confrontation in a debate. This leads to less fighting.

    If the arms race hadn’t been accelerated the cold war wouldn’t have been so bad. In a desperate attempt to be better than the other country, both used atomic weapons. This ledf to a race between the USA and the USSR which was quickly accelerating so that they would become superior. THis race put pressure on the countries relationships, and therefore it woth worse, with no one side believing in the other, and using tactical decisions and lies to try to outnumber the other country.

    The nuclear arms race made the world a very dangerous place in the years 1949-1963 because the weapons that the USA dn USSR possessed were life-threatening and always improving. The relationship between the two countries was also getting worse, making the chance of a war more likely. Also the use of weapons by the USA on Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows that the weapons could be used if an attack was provoked by another country.

  7. Atomic Diplomacy did work between the two superpower nations the USA and USSR. It worked for many reasons, for example it prevened full scale war which was shown in the two world wars with millions of deaths. Although it created huge tensions between the two nations it prevented one another from starting a conflict. The reason it worked was because of the MAD effect (mutually assured destruction). The two countries feared the consequences too such an extent that it stopped one another from fighting in a conflict with huge loss of life.

    I feel that in many ways the world did benefit from the arms race. The improvement in technology did cause bigger cold war tensions between the countries. However in a way it brought the cold war to an end because without these terrifying possibilities being brought to reality the two superpowers would have never feared each other enough to stop trying to “out do” each other. Also the improvement in technology benefited the world with the space race and satelites being launched. Humans accross the world use space technology in lots of ways and science has improved drastically because of speed at which the two nations learned rocket science.

    It could be argued that If the Arms race hadnt been accelerated the Cold war would have lasted much longer. In my opinion this is true because the two superpowers got to a stage in development of weapons that each side realised that the science and destructiveness couldnt get much higher. The bombs were ultimately able to wipe out millions in one go and although while the arms race took place tensions were higher than ever between the two countries, i believe that without it the Cold war would have gone on much longer and the arms race would have come at a later date anyway eventually.

    The Arms race made the world a very dangerous place in the year 1949- 1963. The thought that a missile sent from another country would leave the ground and give everyone in the strike zone just 5 minutes before complete annialation was obviously a terrifying thought for everyone. However because of the arms race it has shown most countries in the world the destructive power that superpowers have and has in many ways prevented military loss of life in a large scale.

  8. I think the world did benefit from the arms race in many ways. It is true that a lot of money went into the arms race which placed a significant burden on the populations of the superpowers. However, this money ultimatley made the nations much more advanced. Not only in the way of nuclear weapons but also through science. It was in 1957 that both Sputnik 1 and 2 were lanched by Russia, a revolutionary move in space science. It also benefitted the world in that due to the extreme scale of the arms race it had such an impact on the countries involved that they would go to great efforts to stop anything on this scale from happening again, and this is proved correct as there has been nothing on the same scale since.

    In my opinion, ultimatley the arms race did make the world a more dangerous place in 1949-63. This can be argued in that the superpowers were overly cautious with one another for fear of the other side using their atomic weapons. Therefore both countries were more wary to use any violence against one another out of fear making the world a safer place in that regard.
    However, on the other hand i do think the world was ultimately more dangerous as there was such a vast amount of nuclear weapons developed during this time that the superpowers had an incredible amoount of power. And just the fact that they had these nuclear weapons available, whether they used them or not the world was still more dangerous simply due to their existence.

  9. To a certain extent, Nuclear Diplomacy was a success as neither of the two superpowers resorted to using nuclear weapons through out the course of the Cold War. Although it created huge tensions between the two, neither wanted a full scale war as they knew how catastrophic the effects could be. Nuclear diplmocay could be seen as more effective in terms of the smaller countries as they would not have had any nuclear weapons to retaliate with. In this case, the fact that the USA and USSR would threaten countries with nuclear weapons was successful as the couintrues would have had no choice but to gove into thier demands. However, Nuclear Diplomacy did nothing to ease Cold War tensions or to improve relations between the two superpowers. Because of this, both countries wanted to have the best and most effective nuclear weapons so that thier threat would be bigger than than the other.

  10. The art of atomic diplomacy was uesd heavily in the reign of Trumen and Eisenhower and was a cost affective way to maintain peace between the west and the USSR. Exmaples of how affective it was is results in the korean war using nucler weapons as a means to force the chinaes to back down when they attcked the US and NATO troops. It also kept both superpowers in check with each other through the policy of MAD (mutually assured destuction).

    In my view the arms race made the world a more dangerous place between 1949-63 as both side’s soared to new heights to give birth to more powerful and destructive nucler weapons. The hydrogen then the lithum bomb pushed the tension between the superpowers to the brink and with leaders such as khrushchev using ‘nuclear sabre rattling’ and Dulles ideal of Blankmanship made the world a more scary place to live.

  11. Atomic diplomacy helped resolve some issues for example bombing the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It also meant the threat of the bombs made the soviets compromise and left them with few options. However in some cases it made the soviets more anxious and protective. It also meant Western Europe would be able to rely on the US rather than the soviet union.

    The world may have benefited from the arms made which caused a threat however the arms race was really a waste of time and money because the weapons created were never used. However it meant the threat and power of the bombs made would make it too dangerous for any of the countries to do anything with the arms they possessed.

    The cold war wouldnt have been so cold if the arms race hadnt accelerated beaacuse without the threat of the devistation nuclear weapons could cause it would be easier for war to begin. The world still faced a danger of nuclear weapons because scientists were developing bigger and better weapons that would cause great devistation if used.

  12. “Did atomic diplomacy really work?”

    Atomic diplomacy does work in a sense that direct conflict between the USA and Russia never occured, and I feel that the threat of Nuclear weapons did help to avert this. Neither side wanted to resort to violence as the consequenses of nuclear war were very serious. Millions of lives could, and probably would be lost if both sides began using their massive amounts of nuclear weapons on each other.
    It also played a role in conflicts such as the Korean war, where the threat of a nuclear attack persuaded China to back down and negotiate.

    “Did the world benefit from the Arms race?”

    Yes and no. The world benefitted from the arms race in a sense that technology advanced a great deal during the arms race. Space age technology developed to a point where both sides were able to send humans into space. During the arms race the first man made satelight Sputnik 1 was sent into orbit. Since then we have come to rely on satelights for many aspects in out life such as watching or making a phone call. There are currently an estimated 25,000 man made satelights orbiting our planet.
    The arms race has left another more negative legacy however. The weapons which were developed during this time hasn’t gone away, nor has the know how on how to build them. As more countries around the world are building the nuclear weapons the risk of them falling into the wrong hands (such as a terrorist network) increases.

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