Nuclear Strategy in the Cold War A Handout
1952 • Americans explode an H-Bomb • 1000 times more powerful than A-Bomb
1953 • Soviets explode an H-Bomb
1955 • U2 spy plane goes into service for the CIA
1957 • Sputnik • first satellite • (USSR)
1958 • ICBM • first intercontinental ballistic missile • (USA)
1960 • Polaris • American missile launched from submerged submarine
1960 • Triad System • an arsenal of ground, air and water-based missiles
Massive retaliation • American commitment to hit the USSR with everything in their arsenal if Russia launched an offensive
Flexible response • A more sane approach. American commitment to use either conventional weapons or nuclear weapons depending on the level of force necessary.
Mutually Assured Destruction • Logical result of the nuclear arms race. Both the USSR and USA have enough weapons to totally destroy their enemy. Therefore no war will start. It would be MADness.
1949 • USSR developed its own A-Bomb. US no longer had a monopoly on nuclear power.
1957 • USSR had a rocket capable of launching a nuclear warhead that could reach continental USA
1962 • Cuban Missile Crisis revealed that strategy of massive retaliation was too dangerous. Flexible response was more appropriate.
Co-operation • Both sides agreed to a Test Ban Treaty (1963) and a Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (1968) • A hot line was installed between the White House and the Kremlin to allow a quick coordinated response to potential trouble spots. • US allowed Soviets a free-reign in Eastern Europe.
Korea (1950) • Korea erupted into civil war. USSR and China backed the north; US backed the south
Berlin (1961) • Soviets sealed off West Berlin with a wall. Hope for German re-unification dashed. This was a provocation to the USA.
1949 – Partition of Germany becomes permanent German Democratic Republic Federal Republic of Germany
Cuba (1962) • Soviets exported nuclear weapons to Cuba which could hit American targets. Another provocation to the USA.
Vietnam (1964) • Civil war in Vietnam escalates. USSR and China back the north; US backs the south.
Behind the Iron Curtain • Despite their nuclear superiority the Americans did not use massive retaliation. They stood by while Soviet tanks crushed anti-Soviet uprisings in Eastern European nations. Americans did not have the resources or stomach to challenge the Soviets in their own backyard.