Arms Race Facts

Arms Race Facts
The term "arms race" generally applies to a situation where one nation-state devotes a significant part of its resources to achieve military parity, or near parity, with another nation-state or states. In the modern world, arms races have at least been partially blamed for the causes of World War I and World War II, although traditionally the thinking is that parity acts as a deterrent to war. During the Cold War, the arms race referred to the buildup of the American and Soviet armies and their allies, NATO and the Warsaw Pact respectively. During the 1960s, the arms race segued from being predominantly conventional into a nuclear arms race. Nuclear arms reduction treaties in the 1970s and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 all but ended the nuclear arms race, at least between the United States and Russia.
Interesting Arms Race Facts:
During the nuclear arms race, the idea of nuclear "triad" nations developed: a triad nation is one that is capable of delivering nuclear weapons via intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines, and bomber jets.
The Soviet Union did not develop their first nuclear/atomic weapons until 1949.
By the 1970s it became clear that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to "win" a nuclear war. Because of this, American military leaders argued that pursuing a policy of "Mutually Assured Destruction" by achieving parity, or near parity, with the Soviet nuclear arsenal would deter them from initiating a first strike.
"Dead Hand" was the name of the Soviet automated first-strike program.
By the early 1970s the Soviets reached parity with the Americans in the number of missile launchers, but surpassed them in terms of megatonnage around the same time, meaning that the Soviet missiles were more powerful than the Americans'.
The United Kingdom developed a nuclear weapons program in the 1950s, while France and China did so in the 1960s.
Although China was a communist nation, the Soviets were highly opposed to a nuclear China and considered attacking their nuclear facilities in the 1960s.
Many historians believe that the height of the nuclear arms race was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.
As a result of the negotiations that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Americans agreed to take their nuclear weapons out of Turkey and Italy and the Soviets agreed to never again attempt to nuclearize Cuba.
The 1970s nuclear reduction treaties, such as SALT I and SALT II, did little to reduce the threat of nuclear annihilation. Although the treaties limited the size of the arsenals, both countries developed more powerful and accurate nuclear weapons.
There is little doubt that widespread nuclear war would have and still would today create widespread destruction and probably bring down most of the world's governments, but there is no consensus over how vast the destruction would be. Since the 1950s most nuclear nations developed missile defense alongside their nuclear arsenals, but of course they have yet to be tested.

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