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Nature of Nuclear Weapons

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Political Science
John Haines

International Relations: Week 11 - November 30 , 2010 Nature of Nuclear Weapons - Nagasaki and Hiroshima only two instances where nuclear weapons were used o Truman decision to use nuclear weapons was a war-time decision, primary concern was to end the war and to destroy Japan o The use of nuclear weapons against Japan cannot be separated from the conditions of the end of the war J Z}}ZoZZL }L]]}LoZL[ Left no room for negotiating the end of the war o Goal was also to save American lives because an invasion of Japan was deemed extremely costly in terms of U.S. casualties o Way also for the U.S. to tell the Soviets that the U.S. was the number one superpower in the world - Images of mushroom clouds have entered the collective consciousness of humankind - Mass destruction caused by nuclear devices have changed strategic relationships since - Effect of nuclear bombs o 1. Blast itself o 2. Heat radiation producing fires surrounding the blast o 3. Nuclear radiation which causes lasting damages - A nuclear bomb can work in two ways: o 1. Fission o 2. Fusion Much more powerful o In both instances what is needed is highly enriched uranium (HEU), cannot be found in nature, process to enrich uranium so that a nuclear explosion is possible o Key scientific discovery regarding condition of nuclear explosion happened just before WWII Key discovery led first to a British weapon to develop nuclear weapons then handed off to U.S. J Manhattan Project, cooperative project that brought large number of scientists from all over the world to California - Evolution of nuclear strategy was heavily influenced by technology o Technology increased dramatically with development of H-bomb, nuclear fusion technology, powerful enough to destroy any city in the world in a flash o Delivery system changed also, after 1957 with Sputnik, delivery system changed from aircraft to missiles o ICBM, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, defence against such an attack became impossible One missile carrying one nuclear bomb, then development of MIRV, one missile carrying multiple nuclear devices
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