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The Nuclear Arms Race Deterrence, Détente and Star Wars.

Date post: 25-Dec-2015
Author: lydia-louise-snow
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The Nuclear Arms Race Deterrence, Détente and Star Wars
  • Slide 1
  • The Nuclear Arms Race Deterrence, Dtente and Star Wars
  • Slide 2
  • OVERVIEW In this lesson we examine: Beginnings of the arms race The case for deterrence Motivations for non-proliferation Arms control The effects of Star Wars
  • Slide 3
  • Beginnings The US had a monopoly on atomic weapons from 1945 until 1949, when the Soviet Union exploded its own nuclear device. Early fission weapons, such as Fat Man or Little Boy had yields of 12.5 kilotons of TNT and were delivered by bombers By late the 1950s certain fusion weapons had yields of 24 megatons approximately 1,000 times more powerful than fission weapons and were delivered by guided missiles As nuclear weapons became more powerful and accurate, how did this affect their possibility of use?
  • Slide 4
  • The case for deterrence 1.Defense against nuclear attack is virtually impossible safety can be achieved only by avoiding conflict 2.The power of nuclear weapons increases the possibility of retaliation by nations who possess such weapons 3.The destruction in nuclear retaliation greatly exceeds the value of any gains achieved by the initial attack - mutually assured destruction As the Cold War increased in tensions, so did the arms race. Major reasons for deterrence were:
  • Slide 5
  • Short-range Fired from artillery cannons or mobile rocket launchers (MRBM) Often carried only one nuclear warhead Long-range Fired from fixed missile sites (IRBM & ICBM). Some ICBMs carried multiple warheads (MIRV) Fired from submarines (SLBM) Dropped by long-range bombers (dummy bombs & cruise missiles) The case for deterrence Why was there such a need for the different types of nuclear weapons delivery? Nuclear weapons were delivered by several different means
  • Slide 6
  • Both NATO and Warsaw Pact powers heavily developed and built technologies to counter these different threats; thus the arms race was not only limited to nuclear weapons but also associated weapons and technologies. Once rocket and guidance technology developed throughout the 1950s to 1960s, nuclear missiles went from being MRBMs to IRBMs and then onto ICBMs that contained about 10-15 MIRV warheads capable of hitting multiple targets from a single missile At the height of the Cold War during the 1960s, the US had around 30,000 nuclear warheads; the combined number of nuclear warheads among all nations was around 70,000 with each warhead capable of 20x the damage done at Hiroshima Deterrence led to an increase in the number, strength and sophistication of nuclear weapons The case for deterrence If nuclear weapons increase in number and complexity, what becomes a significant and dangerous possibility? Why?
  • Slide 7
  • Towards non-proliferation Cost Nuclear weapons are complex and expensive to maintain Even with a reduced stockpile of missiles, it now costs the US about $35 billion USD per year to maintain its nuclear arsenal Proliferation The greater the number of nuclear weapons = the greater the possibility of spreading nuclear weapons Political or religious extremists may obtain nuclear weapons
  • Slide 8
  • Nuclear weapons are too powerful even limited use results in fallout and nuclear winter e.g. the Chernobyl reactor meltdown in 1986 resulted in local environmental damage and the global spread of fallout Towards non-proliferation How do you control nuclear weapons from spreading without giving up deterrence?
  • Slide 9
  • Arms control Context Question: From the point of view of the US and the USSR, how might reducing the nuclear stockpile be beneficial for domestic development?
  • Slide 10
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) (1970) global treaty signed by many nations that agreed not to become armed with nuclear weapons and for nuclear-states not to attack non-nuclear powers unless they were allied with a nuclear power Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) (1969) talks between the US and USSR which led to two documents: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) (1972) regulated quantity and deployment of radar and detection systems but permitted further research; an attempt to prevent the arms race to extend beyond nuclear weapons Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (1972) limited deployment of land and naval deployed nuclear weapons but permitted their improvement and refitting SALT II Agreement (1979) limited total numbers of fixed nuclear missile launchers and naval-deployed nuclear weapons; treaty was not ratified by the US Congress, but both powers agreed to abide by the treaty Arms control Premier Khrushchevs calls for peaceful co- existence did not initially result in nuclear arms control. From the 1960s onward, President Nixons dtente (reduction of tension) led to the process of nuclear weapons control that would continue even after Nixon.
  • Slide 11
  • The Helsinki Accords 1974 During the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 35 nations, including the US, USSR and Canada agreed to the de facto national boundaries that had existed since the end of World War II Effects This ended the controversy over the existence of West Germany and East Germany as promised by the Yalta and Potsdam agreements The Accords were used as a defense by Eastern European countries against future Soviet interference in their affairs any interference could be interpreted as a violation of national boundaries, human rights and sovereignty Arms control How did the culture of arms reduction during the 1960s and 1970s affect Cold War tensions?
  • Slide 12
  • Context Question: In WWI, how did the Entente powers overcome the stalemate of trench warfare? Re-escalation
  • Slide 13
  • After President Reagans election in 1983, the US government proposed research and development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to detect and defend against missiles that had already been fired. Re-escalation
  • Slide 14
  • Space-based To use sensors for detection and guidance To use attack satellites against missiles To use space-based mirrors to direct ground- based lasers against enemy missiles Ground-based To use a supercomputer for guidance and control To use lasers and high- speed projectile weapons Star Wars as it was nicknamed, was a layered defense of two major systems: Re-escalation
  • Slide 15
  • Reactions Domestically, the project was seen as expensive and impossible - e.g. the projected total cost might have been $100 billion USD to $1 trillion USD Internationally, the USSR protested that SDI was a violation of the ABM treaty of 1972 Re-escalation How would the SDI project have hastened the end of the Soviet Union even though most of the technology was only at the planning phase?
  • Slide 16
  • 1.What were the principles of nuclear deterrence and how did these motivate the US and USSR in the nuclear arms race? 2.What problems did the superpowers realize with nuclear deterrence? What steps did they take towards finding a solution? 3.Why did the US pursue the SDI program? How did this affect the USSR? Re-escalation