This essay is about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Essay by hfvira06High School, 10th gradeA+, October 2003

download word file, 9 pages 5.0

The story of the 1963 nuclear test ban treaty has its origins in the last year of World War II. On July 16, 1945, the United States for the first time exploded an atomic bomb, at Alamagordo, New Mexico. Later, on August 6 and 9, the United States dropped the only atomic bombs ever used in wartime--on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The end of the war came very shortly thereafter, but so also did the realization that the United States had developed the most dreadful weapon ever devised by man. Thus, from the very end of World War II, men and governments began to seek a way to outlaw or control this newly developed power. Contributing greatly to the urgency of these efforts was the development of a so-called Cold War, an ideological struggle for power and influence which aligned the Soviet Union against its former wartime allies in the West, led by the United States.

While the Cold War was not a physical conflict, as World War II had been, it was nevertheless dangerous because the tension, hostility, suspicion, and fears which it generated might easily, many believed, evolve into a shooting war. If that occurred and nuclear weapons were used, it would, some contended, destroy civilization. But despite strenuous efforts, particularly by the United States government and its allies, nothing in the area of nuclear arms control was achieved for several years. During that period nuclear weapons were further developed, becoming more sophisticated and destructive. The need for controls became more and more urgent.

The initial proposals for controlling nuclear energy came from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. On November 15, 1945, a Three-Power Declaration called on the United Nations to establish a commission to deal with issues of atomic energy. The...