How Far Was the Nuclear Arms Race a Threat to World Peace 1949-1963?

1775 Words8 Pages
How far was the nuclear arms race a threat to world peace 1949-1963? The period of 1949 to 1963 saw increasing developments in nuclear technology by the Soviet Union and the Americans. The word ‘race’ meant that both superpowers aimed to match each other and gain the upper hand in terms of nuclear missile technology. Nuclear arms were seen as a form of scare tactic against the opposition as they both felt threatened by each other’s ideological capabilities. It was also used as a defence mechanism in case of future attack. The race can also said to have produced numerous treaties between the superpowers, and these factors seem to suggest that the arms race had a stabilising effect and did not threaten world peace. However, it is also argued that it made the world a more dangerous place, and consequently threatened world peace. The word ‘dangerous’ is defined as an unsafe threat to the world and human population. This is demonstrated through the questionable policies such as Brinkmanship, Massive retaliation, and how the culture of paranoia and secrecy caused both sides to constantly create more nuclear weapons to feel protected against the other side. The role of each side reacting to the other during the nuclear arms race proved to be a threat to world peace. One crucial feature of the race was the difference between what each side perceived of the other, and what the actual reality was. It is clear that mutual over estimation of each side’s capabilities led to an environment in which the usual mood was to increase their own arsenal, based on the assumption that the opposing side was superior. This resulted in a reaction from the other side on the assumption that the opposing side was building up to gain a measure of superiority. Because of this, the nuclear arms race spiralled out of control due to the mistaken perceptions of both superpowers, and resulted in
Open Document