Were it not for the Cold War, this essay would have been handwritten and solely used

book sources. The threat of war spurred the technological advances of both nations. Many common objects we use in our everyday lives originated from advancements and inventions during the Cold War. The microwave oven, GPS navigational systems, and the internet are just a few of the tools that came out of the period. The technological impact on the Cold War can be traced back to the development and use of the nuclear bomb by the United States during World War II. In 1938, Otto Hahan and Fritz Strassmann discovered the process of fission for Uranium. Thus Germany had the potential to create a form of an atomic weapon. To counter Germany’s moves, the U.S. set out its own agenda. (“The Manhattan Project.”) By 1941, however, Germany had a heavy-water plant, high-grade uranium compounds, and capable scientists. It seemed like they were on verge of creating an atomic weapon at any moment. The devastation of the war, however, and problems with leadership hindered progress, and the U.S. was able to take the lead. Not as evident was the collaboration between Churchill and Roosevelt to sabotage Soviet Programs. In June of 1942 Army Corps of Engineers started the Manhattan Project which would be headed by General Leslie R. Groves. (“Manhattan Project.”) On July 16, 1945 the first bombs of uranium and plutonium were successfully tested. The U.S. used the device to end the War by dropping it on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. The dropping of the bomb also served as a message to the Soviet Union that the U.S. had the “big guns” and was capable of using them. With the defeat of Germany and Britain still in a period of reconstruction, the United States and the Soviet Union would be championing for world influence and power. It was clear that both sides needed to improve military technology.

Hamid Ali Physical distances between the nations and the desire not to lose lives caused the research into long distance weapons. In January of 1946, the U.S. first launched its version of the V2 rocket. The German engineer behind the device Wernher von Braun surrendered to the U.S. army and revealed his secrets. Conversely, the Soviets developed V-2 rockets in 1947. They called that model the R-1 and the last model in the series, the R-5 had a range of 750 miles. This research led to the first inner-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), the R-7, in August of 1957. The Soviets now had the capability of launching a nuclear warhead in Russia and having it reach a target in the U.S. Two months later, the Soviets put the first man-made object into space, Sputnik. (“Sputnik Satellite Blasts into Space.”) There was immediate unease that the U.S. was not safe from a nuclear attack from above. The satellite circled the Earth every hour and a half, and it was over the U.S. seven times a day. Both the general public were afraid of the very rockets that put Sputnik into orbit could also launch nuclear warheads at the U.S. The Soviet Union, however, stated that the purpose of Sputnik was for research. Both them and the U.S. had committed to launching satellites for the benefit to scientific knowledge and a Soviet delegate was meeting with an American team in Washington on the day Sputnik was launched. The strategic capabilities that space offered was too hard too ignore, nevertheless. It was clear that the United States needed to step up efforts and be on a level above the Soviets; the Space Race had begun. The threat of nuclear war from above prompted the U.S. Armed Forces to look to the capabilities of computers. With many advancements in airplanes and aeronautical engineering, the U.S. had not kept up with anti-aircraft weaponry. It was difficult to calculate the trajectory of these weapon systems because of all the factors that had to be

Hamid Ali considered. (A.J. Murphy, Colin) Computers would be a very helpful tool in crunching these numbers and tightening up the country’s air defenses. The US Army commissioned many school and universities to develop these technologies. In 1946 J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly developed the Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Engineering. (“Cold War Experience: Technology.”) This computer could perform 5,000 additions or subtractions per second and was able to calculate the trajectories of artillery shells and was used for nuclear weapons research. The major drawback to the ENIAC, however, was that it was absolutely massive and impossible to move from the basement of the building in which it was housed. The solution came in 1958 when Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments patented the first integrated circuit. The modern microchip that is the heart of all modern computers was born. A second scientific revolution was started during the Cold War that led into the digital age of today. For the first time technology was seen as a potent weapon and threat for war. The Cold War was a battle of wits between governments and politicians as well as between scientists. Were it not for these advances World War III might have indeed broken out. Works Cited: “Manhattan Project.” Spartacus Educational. September 4, 2002. < http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmanhattan.htm> (December 8, 2007) “The Manhattan Project.” National Atomic Museum. 2003. < http://www.atomicmuseum.com/Tour/manhattanproject.cfm> (December 8, 2007) “Cold War Experience: Technology.” CNN. 1998. <

Hamid Ali http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/experience/technology/> (December 8, 2007) “Sputnik Satellite Blasts into Space.” BBC. Oct. 4, 1957. < http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/4/newsid_2685000/26851 15.stm> (December 9, 2007) A.J. Murphy, Colin. “Technology During the Cold War.” Piedmont Communities. < http://www.piedmontcommunities.us/servlet/go_ProcServ/DBPAGE=page&MO DE=display&GID=01304001151018410132003284&PG=0130400115101841013 2095461&START_COUNT=1> (December 9, 2007)