The Arms and Space Race - What was really going on during the Cold War

Essay by krisworldHigh School, 12th gradeA, March 2004

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When on the 6th day of August 1945 the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, some 66,000 people died almost instantly after the explosion and the subsequent firestorm. The power of nuclear weapons was instantly apparent and it would bring about an entirely new era in worldwide arms. It brought around a bitter Cold War of words and competition that would last some 45 years between the two former wartime allies: the United States of America and the Soviet Union. This rivalry brought about the feverish development of arms and space exploration equipment so technologically advanced that it would change the world forever. The key objective for the development of these weapons was to prevent the enemy from declaring war. These weapons acted as the symbols of each nation's technological prowess which did, with the evolution of time, encourage and propel an attitude of rivalry between the two countries.

The Arms Race represented to the core what each of the countries believed: that their weapons, systems and infrastructure were grossly superior. This therefore led both nations to create new arms which would, given that neither country could agree on or restore diplomatic relations, act as deterrence to the other nation. Given the scope of the surrounding circumstances, the Arms Race's products were the fruit of that rivalry. They were the pride of each nation and the sheer chagrin of the other. The arms and space races were and are the lasting symbols of the greater rivalry between the two nations. Weapon system which was, like most weapons of the period, designed to deter the USSR. According to the successive United States Presidents, it had never been the intent of the United States to launch a nuclear-tipped missile against another nation

When in 1957 the...