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Lecture 22

History 1401E Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Nuclear Arms Race, Cuban Missile Crisis, Mutual Assured Destruction

Course Code
HIS 1401E
Karen Priestman

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History 1401
“The Collapse of the Soviet Union”
- Nixon and Brezhnev
- Willy Brant (West Germany)
- Ostpolitik (1969)
- Helsinki Accords: 1975
- Nuclear arms race helps to “keep the Cold War cold” because it drives the ifnluence of detente
Nuclear Arms Race
- Atomic bombs
- US: 1945
- First to test with the atomic bomb
- Soviets: 1949
- Influenced the US’ tension and hurt superiority
- Hydrogen bombs
- US: 1952
- Soviets: 1953-55
Arms race focused on making these weapons more deployable, accurate, larger range!!!
- Sputnik: 1957
- ICMB: 1957
- Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
- Allowed Soviet Union and US to strike each other directly
- Escalates arms race, danger, etc
- Gets to the point of Mutually Assured Destruction
- Doesn’t matter if they built more weapons, the threshold was complete
annihilation and they’d already reached it
- United States had less weapons more they were more deployable (higher tech), Soviet
Union had more but they were less deployable
- Cuban Missile Crisis: Kennedy and Kruschev backed down (KRUSCHEV FIRST)
- Star Wars
- US President Reagan tried to create a defensive system that would intercept nuclear
weapons in space/in the air before they reached their target
- Soviets believed that it was possible, and because they believed it was possible they
began pouring money into the arms race which they could not win
- Soviet Union’s economy was so weak — before and during arms race — but had been successful
for decades at hiding how weak it really was
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