aponDuring last 50 years of development, the nuclear bomb, as the ultimate weapon became the peacekeeping force on the earth. The nuclear bomb was developed in Manhattan project during the WW II and was successfully tested in the New Mexico on July 16 1945. At this point started the change of nuclear weapon from ultimate weapon to political weapon. USA decided to use the atomic bomb to defeat Japan in order to save around 500.000 lives of American soldiers that were needed to end the war and in the summer 1945 the USA dropped two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The nuclear weapon raised the confidence of USA but president Truman did not ordered its mass production because at that time he saw no explicit political function for the bomb. USA even tried to internationalize control of the bomb under the UNITED NATIONS but the Soviets were reluctant to support American plan for two reasons. To stop soviet nuclear program before developing the first soviet bomb would give Americans permanent lead in nuclear weapons technology. Soviets believed that instruments of force always have political capabilities. For the Kremlin weapons were political tools.
This led Americans to the same conclusion. The beginning of Cold War created several political functions of nuclear weapons: nuclear deterrence, alliance building, and international prestige.The Nuclear Bomb was developed as the weapon of war at the end of the Second World War. Nuclear Deterrence was than the natural function of nuclear bomb. The atomic bomb had a function of natural deterrence at the early beginning of Cold War when Soviets did not have nuclear weapons.
The Soviets would not attack West Europe because they would risk war with USA and USA had atomic bomb that was seen by Soviets as the essence of deterrence. USA also believed that if Soviets finish their own bomb they would not be deterred by USA and its nuclear arsenal therefore the West Europe would become vulnerable. After the Soviets detonated its own bomb in September 1949, the Truman administration abandoned its policy of natural deterrence and ordered the development of more powerful hydrogen thermonuclear bomb. Since Soviet nuclear bombs deterred US deterrence, Truman sought a way to restore deterrence. He ordered a study by the Department of States policy planning staff and the result, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL PAPER 68 (NSC-68), went to Truman in April 1950. It recommended that conventional forces at home and in West Europe should be dramatically increased.
The loss of nuclear deterrence meant that conventional forces hat to deter a Soviet attack on Western Europe. However, in 1952 John Foster Duller argued in an article A policy of Boldness that the deterrence could work without using large and expensive conventional armies. The Soviets should believe that USA has capability do inflict horrible devastation in retaliation. Therefore, Eisenhower named Dulles the secretary of state in 1952 and accepted his nuclear strategy. Eisenhower ordered rapid increase in the production of nuclear weapons and airplanes capable to deliver them.
This was called more bang for the buck. The deterrence was enhanced and less conventional forces in Europe reduced the threat of military attack by the West upon the Soviet Union. It was the best way to prevent WW 3.At this point, more important than weapons became a coalition of countries that agree to protect each other or to attack some enemy. Both major powers realized that the possession of nuclear weapons endowed them with alliance building capabilities.
The major nuclear powers could offer protection. No nuclear states would fit under one or the others nuclear umbrella. The Soviet Union organized its East European satellites into Warsaw Pact in 1955. In addition to NATO, USA established security treaties with Japan in 1951,Australiacc, and New Zealand (ANZUS) in 1951, and with Southeast Asian states (SEATO) in 1954. Both superpowers extended their deterrence and gained access to the foreign policy processed of their allies.Nuclear weapons also serve to enhance prestige of any state.
Prestige serves two important political functions. First, it makes any government less willing to oppose the prestigious state. Prestige increases foreign policy accomplishments, producing even more prestige. The second important political function of prestige is a low cost foreign policy that brings compliance by foreign governments.
The political benefits bestowed on the USA and Soviets were followed by other states. GB independently developed nuclear weapons after WW 2 and exploded its first bomb in 1952. British saw three political benefits from having their own nuclear weapons. Prestige. Nuclear weapons would preserve the majesty and reputation of GB as a world power. Nuclear weapons would gain Britain membership in the nuclear club. As a member group, it would have access to any treaty negotiations conducted by the superpowers.
France under Charles the Gaulle and China under Mao Zedong desired the same political benefits nuclear weapons gave Britain. Nuclear weapons allowed both France and China to Break away from their dependence on their superpower patrons, giving them their ticked to independence. De Gaulle pulled his troops out of NATOs integrated command in 1966. China also wanted to accelerate its own nuclear program.
The Soviets refused on all counts. The polemics increased between 2 Communist parties and in 1960, the Soviets withdrew their aid funds and personnel taking their blueprints with them. In 1964, China joined the nuclear club just four years after France. Nuclear weapons also gave China the status and prestige to attract Communist states and parties to its side.
In the 1960, the USA and Soviets shared a common interest in stopping the nuclear proliferation to preserve their deterrent capability, alliance leadership, and prestige. The Antarctic treaty in 1960 kept that continent demilitarized. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Seabed Arms Control Treaty of 1971 did the same for those areas. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT 1) of 1972 froze the number of Soviet and US strategic missiles.
SALT 2 of 1979 limited both sides to 2250 nuclear weapon launchers. The Intermediate Nuclear Force 9INF) Treaty of 1987 resulted in the destruction of all Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing 2 missiles.Arms control also enhanced deterrence because with limited offensive weapons neither side would have capability of first strike. The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START 1), which limited Russian and US nuclear power reduced the military budgets. START two signed in Jan 1993 by presided BUSH and Yeltsin calls for another reduction.
These limitations had to keep world as bipolar as possible to avoid unpredictable shifts of power and danger. Cuba, South Africa, Israel, India, Pakistan, Brazil, and Argentina were not among countries that signed NON-proliferation treaty in 1968. Argentina and Brazil engaged in a prestige race to become South Americas first nuclear power but nuclear programs were bankrupting therefore both countries dropped their programs.
Pakistan and India both try to match in power to deter each other. South Africa started its nuclear program 1974 because of Soviet expansionist threat but in 1990 the threat disappeared therefore South Africa was the first and only state to give up the ultimate weapon. South Africa has signed NPT in July 1991. Even signing NPT has not kept Syria from pursuing its own program and developing nuclear weapons.
Iran and Iraq also signed NPT and hid their nuclear program from inspectors. After the Gulf War in 1991 inspectors were astonished by Iraqs nuclear program and they believed that if Saddam had wait 1-2 years to start producing nuclear weapons that would give him the leadership in Arab world and he could organize and lead an alliance against Israel. The increasing proliferation of nuclear technology in areas of simmering regional conflicts increases the probability of nuclear war. During the 50 years of existence, the real function of nuclear power was changed from direct use as a weapon of war through deterrence tool to the ticket to nuclear club that means the sing of superpower.
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