The Nuclear Arms Race

Research by Heather Neal

United States vs. Soviet Union

By the time America and the Soviet Union where recognized as enemies, each country was developing ways to defend themselves against the other. The cold war was said to have been led by fear while the arms race was the same. The Soviet Union and the U.S. competed to have the advantage over the other in nuclear missiles until both sides had enough to destroy the world.

At the Starting Line

The United States was the only country with nuclear weapons at the beginning of the cold war. This gave them the upper hand on the Soviet Union because they where the only ones with a weapon that could do so much damage with little ally casualties. The Soviets learned about this weapon by sending spies onto U.S territory. Soviets began developing a similar weapon to defend themselves against the American nuclear weapons.

The Development of Defences

"An arms race denotes a rapid, competitive increase in the quantity or quality of military or naval power..." ( Staff 2009). With every weapon the United States built, the Soviets would develop one of the same sorts shortly after. The two powers where head to head, fighting to be on top. At the end of the 1950's, American Intelligence estimated that, in the event of a Russian missile attack, 20 million Americans would die and 22 million would be injured. By the 1960's, the missile numbers on both sides where outrageous. However, the Russians put all their money into increasing the number of missiles they had while the Americans put their money into making more quality missiles (History Learning Site 2013). Dweight D. Eisenhower, the president of the United States, said, "We are piling up these armaments because we do not know what else to provide for our security." (Altschuler 2007).
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Falling Towards the Finish Line

United States and Soviet Union agreed that the extensive numbers in weapons was dangerous. They agreed to make a reduction. Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the general secretary of the Soviet Union, proposed a 50% decrease. The president was in favor of this proposal, however he was still attached to the security that the numerous weapons provided for the country (Altschuler 2007). The SALT I treaty was the first of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the soviets and Americans which was finalized in May of 1973. This Froze the number of missiles in each country, put limitations on ballistic missiles, and put regulations on anti ballistic missiles so they could only be used for defense against missiles launched by other countries. SALT II finalized 1979. This treaty was set more specific limitations since the Soviets had more missiles but America had more quality missiles. After the treaties the weapons numbers slowly decreased. The race was coming to an end. "...the war never broke out again and the race to stockpile weapons finally ended in the early 1900's." (Cold War Museum Writers).

Works Cited Staff. "Arms Race". 2009. Web. March 2014.
Grant, R.G. The Cold War. Arcturus Publishing, 2007. Print.
"Nuclear Arms Race". History Learning Site. 2013. Web. March 2014.
"Nuclear Arms Race". American Museum of Natural History. Web. March 2014.
Altchuler, Glenn C. "How the Arms Race Came to an End" The Baltimore Sun. 21 October 2007. Web. March 2014.
"Arms Race". Ducksters. March 2014. Web. March 2014.
Murad, Lindsey. " SALT I and II" Cold War Museum. Web. March 2014.

A Safer World.

During the cold war Americans and Soviets raced to have the best nuclear weapons in numbers and in quality. Both the Soviet Union and the United States where terrified for the security of their territory and lives. The only way they could agree to end the arms race was to slowly dissolve it's existence. The end of the arms race left the people of the world with the assurance that they would not be threatened with a nuclear attack and live to see the next day.