Friday, April 23, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The nuclear arms race was central to the Cold war . Many feared where the Cold War was going with the belief that the more nuclear weapons you had, the more powerful you were. Both America and Russia massively built up their stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
The world greatly changed when USA exploded the H-bomb in 1952. This one bomb was smaller in size than the Hiroshima atomic bomb but 2500 times more powerful. The Russians produced an H-bomb in 1953 and the world became a much more dangerous place.
However, it is possible that the sheer power of these weapons and the fear that they evoked, may have stopped a nuclear war.
USA produced a bomber - the B52 - that could fly 6,000 miles and deliver a nuclear pay-load. Such a development required massive financial backing from the government - something which America could afford to do and which Russia could not. Russia concentrated on producing bigger bombs - a far more cost effective procedure.
In October 1957, the world was introduced to the fear of a missile attack when Sputnik was launched. This was to lead to ICBM’s : Inter-continental ballistic missiles. As a result, America built the DEW line around the Artic - Defence and Early Warning system.
At the end of the 1950’s, American Intelligence estimated that in a Russian missile attack, 20 million Americans would die and 22 million would be injured.
On 25 June 1950, the young Cold War suddenly turned hot, bloody and expensive. Within a few days, North Korea's invasion of South Korea brought about a United Nations' "police action" against the aggressors. That immediately produced heavy military and naval involvement by the United States. While there were no illusions that the task would be easy, nobody expected that this violent conflict would continue for more than three years.
Throughout the summer of 1950, the U.S. and the other involved United Nations' states scrambled to contain North Korea's fast-moving army, assemble the forces necessary to defeat it and simultaneously begin to respond to what was seen as a global military challenge from the Communist world.
Though America's Armed Forces had suffered from several years' of punishing fiscal constraints, the end of World War II just five years earlier had left a vast potential for recovery. U.S. materiel reserves held large quantities of relatively modern ships, aircraft, military equipment and production capacity that could be reactivated in a fraction of the time necessary to build them anew. More importantly, the organized Reserve forces included tens of thousands of trained people, whose World War II experiences remained reasonably fresh and relevant.
In mid-September 1950 a daring amphibous invasion at Inchon fractured the North Korean war machine. In the following two months UN armies pushed swiftly through North Korea. However, with victory seemingly in sight, China intervened openly, and the Soviet Union not-so-openly, on the side of their defeated fellow Communist neighbor. The UN was thrown back midway into South Korea. Early in the new year, the Chinese army was in turn contained and forced to retreat.
By the middle of 1951, the front lines had stabilized near where the war started twelve months earlier. Negotiations began amid hopes that an early truce could be arranged. But this took two more frustrating years, during which the contending forces fought on, with the U.S. Navy providing extensive air and gunfire support, a constant amphibious threat, relentless minesweeping and a large logistics effort.
Finally, on 27 July 1953, with a new regime in the USSR and the blunting of a final Communist offensive, negotiations concluded and fighting ended. However, the Cold War, considerably warmed up by the Korean experience, would would maintain its costly existence for nearly four more decades.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The Cold War was the result of a clash between communism and capitalism, two opposing world-views. Another cause of the build up to the Cold War was the intransigent attitude of both sides. The Soviet Union was extremely concerned about its security after having been invaded twice.