Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Did the existence of nuclear weapons prevent the Cold War from becoming a hot war between the superpowers?

Did the existence of nuclear weapons prevent the Cold War from becoming a hot war between the superpowers?

Ratings: (0)|Views: 37 |Likes:
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Naomi Petropoulos. Originally submitted for BA (Hons) History with English at University of Ulster, with lecturer Professor Klaus Larres in the category of Historical Studies & Archaeology
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Naomi Petropoulos. Originally submitted for BA (Hons) History with English at University of Ulster, with lecturer Professor Klaus Larres in the category of Historical Studies & Archaeology

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See more
See less

10/27/2013

 
Page 1 of 11
Abstract
When historians discuss the Cold War, it is impossible to escape the role of andoverwhelming threat from nuclear weapons in the conflict. This research therefore aims toexplore whether or not the existence of these nuclear weapons prevented the Cold War from becoming a hot war between the superpowers. The thesis which this discourse discusses isthat the existence of nuclear weapons did help to prevent the Cold War from becoming a hotwar; however it was not the only factor in the prevention. In order to explore this thesis aspecific methodology has been utilised.This methodology involves discussing key topics within specific headings. Theseheadings are,
Europe and U.S.S.R.
 – 
Economic Effects of World War,
 
The Atomic Bomb,Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
 
Religion and Morals in the Creation and Maintenance of Nuclear Weapons,
 
The Nuclear Arms Race,
 
World Annihilation due to Retaliation?
and
The
 Need for Careful Diplomacy on the World’s Stage
.
The key topics are discussed within thetimeframe of 1945 to 1960. These key topics are; the effects of World War II and thedropping of the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the religious identities of theU.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. with reference to the moral implications of nuclear deterrence and/or attack; the implications of the Nuclear Arms Race and the threat of world annihilation; andthe diplomatic strategies of the two superpowers. From these key topics some conclusionshave been derived.These conclusions support the thesis outlined. If the U.S.A. was to pursue nuclear aggression or overly aggressive diplomatic relations, it would have been counter-productiveto its policy of containment. The U.S.S.R. and U.S.A.s unique identities meant that theideological war going on between the two developed into a religious war also. With this,morality and religion became highly important in each superpower 
s decision making. Thismeant that the destruction caused by the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki displayedthat opting for nuclear war had massive moral and religious implications which couldultimately lead to mutual annihilation. Despite the knowledge of how powerful these nuclear weapons were, the Nuclear Arms Race displayed that fear and awe was not enough. Instead, amixture of nuclear weapons, careful diplomacy, knowledge of the past and changes inleadership (Soviet in particular) were needed in order to prevent the Cold War heating up.
 
Page 2 of 11
Did the existence of nuclear weapons prevent the ColdWar from becoming a hot war between the superpowers?
The following essay will discuss the thesis that the existence of nuclear weaponsdid help to prevent the Cold War from becoming a hot war; however it was not the onlyfactor in the prevention. The thesis will be discussed with reference to events which occurredin the Cold War between the years 1945 and 1960 inclusive. The thesis will also be discussedwith reference to the economic restraints placed on Europe by the effects of World War IIand the effects of the dropping of nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Themoral and religious implications of nuclear deterrence and/or launching of a nuclear attack will be debated with refer 
ence to the two superpowers’ re
ligious identities. The Nuclear ArmsRace will be overviewed with reference to the nuclear policies followed by each of theleaders of the superpowers. The implications of the nuclear technological advancements, if anuclear war was initiated, will also be mentioned here as well as the threat of worldannihilation through any ensuing retaliation. Finally, the diplomatic strategies of the twosuperpowers will be explored with reference to key speeches. In order to carry these tasksout, the term
superpower 
must first be defined.According to Carl T. Dahlman,
a “superpower is a country with an exceptionalcapacity for successfully pursuing its interests around the world.”
1
This capacity is gained
from the country’s econo
mic and military superiority over other countries.
2
During the periodof the Cold War and in particular the period being discussed in this essay, there were onlytwo superpowers in the world. These were the United States of America (U.S.A.) and theSoviet Union (U.S.S.R.). Of these two countries only the U.S.A. emerged from World War IIwith a stable and flourishing economy.
Europe and U.S.S.R.
Economic Effects of World War
The effects of World War II economically were especially felt by the Europeancountries of Britain, France and Germany. Each of these countries were in need of restrainingtheir expenditure; and all were in need of some level of economic aid. With the collapse of 
1
 
Carl T. Dahlman, ‘Superpower,’
Key Concepts in Political Geography 
, (London, 2009), p.99
2
 
Dahlman, ‘Superpower,’ p.108
 
 
Page 3 of 11
the Nazi government, the ensuing power vacuum led to most of the German people goinghungry. Many of the industries and cities had been destroyed by advancing armies and bombing campaigns; leaving many homeless and without an income. Germany was indesperate need of rebuilding, but it was not alone in this.Through its efforts in the war Britain emerged economically overstretched byoverseas commitments.
3
The bombing efforts on U.K. cities by Hitl
er’s Luftwaffe had left
many destroyed or badly damaged and in need of urgent rebuilding. The same was true for France as the German occupation during the war had resulted in damage in its towns and
cities. France’s overseas commitments in North Africa and South
-East Asia had also provedeconomically straining. Europe was in an economically precarious situation however thesame could be argued for the U.S.S.R. despite its superpower status.Although the U.S.S.R. was able to maintain its superpower status and gain controlover its economy in the post war years, it had suffered huge losses during World War II.Huge numbers of casualties would have led to economic consequences as it can be presumedthat males of military age were working within the Soviet industries prior to the war.
Although the Soviet Union did not officially release its statistics, “calculations m
ade on the
 basis of population distribution by age and sex in the 1959 U.S.S.R. census seem to
indicate losses of from 15,000,000 to 20,000,
000 males of military age in World War II.”
4
 This loss was from the estimated 1940
’s
population of 194,100,000.
5
Such a catastrophic lossof life as this can only be compared with the proportion of population losses suffered at thecities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The aftermaths of the atomic bombs being dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saw a drastic casualty rate. The Occupying Authority of Hiroshima released figures
3
 
Jim Tomlinson, ‘Labour and the International Economy II: Balance of Payments,’
Democratic Socialism and Economic Policy: The Attlee Years 145-1951
, (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 64-65.
4
Britannica Educational Publishing
‘World War II Casualties,’
World War II: People, Politics and Power 
, ed.William L. Hosch, (New York, 2010) p. 248.
5
 
Nicolas Spulber ‘The Socioeconomic Framework,’
Russia’s Economic Tran
sitions: From Late Tsarism to theNew Millennium
, (Cambridge, 2003), pp.158-159.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->