The significance of the nuclear war threat

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The significance of the nuclear war threat

The significance of the nuclear war threat

Theory[ edit ] This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. October Learn how and when to remove this template message Under MAD, each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate with equal or greater force.


The expected result is an immediate, irreversible escalation of hostilities resulting in both combatants' mutual, total, and assured destruction.

The doctrine requires that neither side construct shelters on a massive scale. The doctrine further assumes that neither side will dare to launch a first strike because the other side would launch on warning also called fail-deadly or with surviving forces a second strikeresulting in unacceptable losses for both parties.

The payoff of the MAD doctrine was and still is expected to be a tense but stable global peace. The primary application of this doctrine started during the Cold War s toin which MAD was seen as helping to prevent any direct full-scale conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union while they engaged in smaller proxy wars around the world.

It was also responsible for the arms raceas both nations struggled to keep nuclear parity, or at least retain second-strike capability.

The significance of the nuclear war threat

Proponents of MAD as part of U. Since the credibility of the threat is critical to such assurance, each side had to invest substantial capital in their nuclear arsenals even if they were not intended for use. In addition, neither side could be expected or allowed to adequately defend itself against the other's nuclear missiles.

This MAD scenario is often referred to as nuclear deterrence. The term "deterrence" is now used in this context; [5] originally, its use was limited to legal terminology.

No decisive war is possible that will not entail even upon the victorious Power, the destruction of its resources and the breakup of society.

Discovering the Missiles

War has therefore become impossible, except at the price of suicide. In Augustthe United States accepted the surrender of Japan after the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Four years later, on August 29,the Soviet Union detonated its own nuclear device. At the time, both sides lacked the means to effectively use nuclear devices against each other.

However, with the development of aircraft like the American Convair B and the Soviet Tupolev Tuboth sides were gaining a greater ability to deliver nuclear weapons into the interior of the opposing country.

The official nuclear policy of the United States became one of " massive retaliation ", as coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower 's Secretary of State John Foster Dulleswhich called for massive attack against the Soviet Union if they were to invade Europe, regardless of whether it was a conventional or a nuclear attack.

Having a three-branched nuclear capability eliminated the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a first-strike attack; this, in turn, ensured the credible threat of a devastating retaliatory strike against the aggressor, increasing a nation's nuclear deterrence.

In his book On Thermonuclear War he advocated a more reasoned approach to nuclear warfare and was understood by some of his critics to be a nuclear war hawk in his writings. He did however hold a profound belief in the possibility of success in the event of a nuclear war.

He used the concept of the Doomsday Machine as an "idealized almost caricaturized device" [17] to illustrate the danger of taking MAD to its extreme. He writes, "I used to be wary of discussing the concept for fear that some colonel would get out a General Operating Requirement or Development Planning Objective for the device".

Strangelove parodies some of Kahn's work, and the titular character makes parodic references to Kahn's research, as in this quote from the film after the United States mistakenly launched a nuclear attack on the USSR: Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent, for reasons which, at this moment, must be all too obvious.

Unlike Kahn's device, it was not based on radioactive cobalt, but it was self-activated and could not be stopped. InPresident John F. Kennedy increased funding for this program and raised the commitment to 50 percent of SAC aircraft. This program continued until Between andbomber wings had approximately one-third of their assigned aircraft on quick reaction ground alert and were able to take off within a few minutes.Significance of Cuban Missile Crisis-This was an intense period where nuclear war could break out at any time.

-A rash decision by any side could spark off war between the USSR and USA and in turn nuclear weapons might be deployed. Mutual assured destruction or mutually assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and .

Nuclear weapons The new nuclear age. A quarter of a century after the end of the cold war, the world faces a growing threat of nuclear conflict. Mutually Assured Destruction: History, Timeline, and Significance The military doctrine of mutual assured destruction was instrumental in maintaining peace during the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear weapons loomed large.

The BBC examines how much of a threat North Korea really poses to the US and regional powers and tries to unpick the bluster from the serious intent in its rhetoric.

The more likely crisis, Allison said, would come if North Korea were to sell a nuclear warhead, or nuclear material, to an organization capable of smuggling a bomb into the U.S.—or if North Korea tried itself to move a bomb into the U.S., as a kind of insurance policy against American action on behalf of South Korea.

Mutual assured destruction - Wikipedia