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Ebba Kurt (12)

Lec 6

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University of Toronto St. George
Ebba Kurt

HIS344 – Conflict and Cooperation in the International System Since 1945 Lecture 6 – Challenges of Nuclear Warfare • no strategy to follow for nuclear warfare – fight their way forward blindly without knowing what to do with the nuclear weapons • by early 50s both sides recognized that they must develop coherent nuclear strategy and align strategy with FP • even of nuclear technology changed the nature of the war – limited nuclear war or full scale nuclear war ◦ entertained idea of limited nuclear war – world will be saved by attacking each others' military forces and nuclear capabilities but not states, civilians or economy ▪ by so doing they hoped that nuclear war could be survived and victorious war can be attained without tragic consequences ▪ tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield ▪ successful nuclear war would never work in reality because it means that many more limited nuclear wars would follow – precedent is set, one side managed to win ▪ if you repeat this process the final result will be the same as fighting a full-scale nuclear war – annihilation at a slower scale ▪ even if this did not happen, if one side felt that they were clearly losing a limited nuclear war, they would undoubtedly launch all of their nuclear missiles to reverse the current ▪ therefore, outcome will always be the same – mutually assured destruction ◦ full-scale nuclear war – annihilate your opponent, economy, civilian, infrastructure ▪ such a war would ensure the annihilation of the whole world – even if the world wasn't destroyed immediately by nuclear detonations, the nuclear winter that would be brought about could last up to a hundred years, destruction of the world as well • if these were the only two options to fight nuclear war ◦ US – from 1945-6, identified some aspects that could be a coherent strategy ◦ since air power has developed so well, surprise air attack – build up deterrent factor, if they launch surprise attack the consequence would be so powerful as to destroy their own state ▪ not first-strike capability but second-strike capability ▪ main purpose is not to win a war, but to prevent one – use nuclear weapons for that purpose, build so many bombs that no state would ever dream of attacking ◦ both American strategy of deterrence and potential of retaliation didn't work because Stalin never saw nuclear weapon as tool to build up strategy – is political tool to blackmail USSR ▪ Soviet Union throughout 1950s challenged the US, for 4 years they operated under American nuclear monopoly but never shrank from challenging US • best example is Korean war • allAmerican military branches would work together for one goal – destruction of their opponent (USSR) ◦ air force, navy and army could never work together due to jealousy of resources between all three branches of the military ◦ in 1950s first time where all three arms cooperated and strike against Soviet Union – British incorporated as well (had a few bombs, would be asset for US) ◦ massive retaliation theory – wipe out USSR from the map (since deterrence didn't work regardless of the fact that they didn't have a bomb) ▪ one more challenge and their entire nation would be wiped out ▪ US identified no less than 8 000 targets – civilian, political, economic and military centres – launching 8 000 bombs would have meant the destruction of most ofAsia • entire Eastern Bloc would have been targeted (including Communist China) ▪ such a plan would never work – annihilate all Communist states, no politician would ever allow this to happen • massive retaliation theory was untenable because ◦ lack of flexibility – small border skirmish could launch the destruction of the world ◦ loss of credibility – the minute you didn't use massive retaliation, your credibility would be gone, no state would pay attention to you ◦ in political and military terms, this invites preemptive strike – even if they had 10 000 nuclear bombs and USSR only had 10, the only solution for USSR would be to kill the Americans as they sleep • only feasible nuclear strategy – flexible response • Stalin would never allow army to develop nuclear weapons – didn't see it as feasible tool for military purposes ◦ once he died, by 1955 they had a solution • the only solution for USSR, given fact that they are disadvantaged in terms of number of missiles and bombs, is preemptive strike – holds right for self-defence, would justify everything when they're in a tight spot to launch surprise attack ◦ this invites further isolation and military alliances against you • by early 60s Khrushchev changes his policy, USSR needs to have a flexible response as well ◦ much better to avoid nuclear war than to invite one ◦ going back to deterrence rather than preemptive strike and work out differences with US • both sides had a viable nuclear strategy, but how do you implement this strategy and how do you deliver the nuclear bombs ◦ bombers have to have proper design to make sure plane is capable of flying, reaching target and still come back (neither side wanted to launch kamikaze attack) ▪ US and USSR are separated by two oceans, 10 000 km or 7000/8000 km ◦ when you make a plane capable of flying 10 000 km it has to have proper speed and room enough for a bomb ▪ has to make plane that can launch thousands of bombs (if not nuclear at least conventional shells) • missiles need to have fuel, volatility, slightest shake could blow a missile up ◦ proper guidance and accuracy – only useful if it can accurately reach the intended target ◦ intercontinental ballistic missiles have precision of 300 m – quite accurate ◦ missile has to be capable of flying 10 000 km but, again, no room for bomb • nuclear arm of the US – building bombers of traversing the distance and dropping bomb on Soviet targets ◦ brand new bombers - “the peacemaker” ▪ 8 engine bomber that would be able to drop an atomic or hydrogen bomb ▪ B-47 (2500) and B-52 (successful design – BUFF = Big Ugly Fat Fucker) • built enough of a bomber force to threaten USSR • USSR kept pace for a while – M4 (the “Bison”, Russians called it the “Hammer”) ◦ military, political scandal – USSR only had 7 planes but kept flying in circles over Moscow, US counted 100 planes, thought that USSR had at least 500-600 bombers ▪ clear military superiority, Eisenhower administration was criticized – poured billions of dollars into the defence budget and building up the military and bombers ▪ altogether USSR built 97 M4 bombers, US built 3200 bombers – clear indication of absolute lack of balance, US retained superiority throughout ◦ in the 70s US politicians knew that US retained clear superiority over the USSR but used the scandal as a pretext to build even more bombers • same applies to missile development – October 4 1957, launched first satellite into orbit using the German technology, R7 – first true intercontinental missile ◦ shocked US, once more East-West gap, doubted ability to defend the homeland – Khrushchev attitude didn't help, made bombastic claims that they were producing missiles like sausages ▪ not a good idea if you are looking for diplomatic, political settlement • both sides resorted to putting missiles on submarines • impossible for either side to prevent nuclear attack on each other – nuclear technology became so important that both sides ensured the destruction of the other ◦ accelerated accumulation of weapons – both sides thought solution was to build more missiles since couldn't prevent the other side from building more (security dilemma) ▪ nuclear overkill – peak production of US had 45000 warheads, USSR had 25000 ▪ mutually assured destruction – since neither side could win a war, most tangible balance of power, neither side could launch an attack and neither side could back down ▪ this only came about in the 70s, prior to that there was always possibility for nuclear showdown – several crises even in the 80s • political uncertainties ◦ Eisenhower came to power by criticizing the Truman administration by painting it a
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