US-Soviet Nuclear Competition

 

Failure of International Control

-        “Baruch Plan,” 1946

o     USSR: Ban bomb before controls

o     US: Establish controls, then reduce stockpiles

 

Testing History (year of 1st test)  

Country

Fission

Fusion

Interval

US

1945

1952

7

USSR

1949

1955

6

UK

1952

1957

5

France

1960

1968

8

PRC

1964

1967

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICBM Race  

Country

Missile

Year

 Fuel

US

Atlas

1959

L

 

Minuteman I

1962

S

USSR

R-7/SS-6

1960

L

 

RT-2/SS-13

1968

S

L - liquid fuel

 

 

S- solid fuel

 

 

 


 

US “Superiority” in Nuclear Weapons

-        US possessed more weapons in 1950s and better “delivery systems”

o     B-36 inter-continental bomber deployed in 1951

o     Soviet bomber-aircraft were not inter-continental until 1957

-        US ICBMs developed earlier and with greater power

-        US had bases in Europe and Asia for bombers and missiles

o     No comparable Soviet bases near US until Cuba in 1961

 

Dynamics of Arms Race

 

“Mutual Fear of Surprise Attack” (T. Schelling)

-        each side fears “bolt from the blue”

-        but “bolts” are unlikely

 

“Competition in Risk-Taking” (T. Schelling)

-        regional crises as signals of “resolve”

o     Korea, Taiwan, Berlin

o     US refuses to concede

-        role of nuclear retaliation

o     Eisenhower’s “Massive Retaliation” doctrine

§       use would use superior nuclear force to respond to aggression

§       alliance insecurity

o     Kennedy’s “Flexible Response” doctrine

§       Search for limited nuclear and non-nuclear options

§       Reassure allies

 

 

Cuban Missile Crisis

-        Soviet attempt to gain “parity” with US

-        US under greater nuclear threat?

-        Did perceptions matter more?

 

After the CMC

-        Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963

-        1964 “Assured Destruction” doctrine in US

o     US could assure the destruction of Soviet military and industrial power after a surprise first strike on US

o     US had sufficient forces for Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)

§       General and crisis stability

§       Avoid first strike incentives

-        NPT, 1968

 


Détente and Parity

-        Soviet ICBM force stronger

-        US relative power ‘perceived’ as shrinking

o     US war in Vietnam prolonged

o     COW CINC measures drop

-        Imperative for arms control and political settlements

o     SALT I & ABM Treaty, 1972

§       Lock-in MAD

§       Effective ABMs create instability

o     Do numbers matter in nuclear weapon?

§       US critics feared SALT ICBM imbalance

§       Overlooked US MIRVed warhead advantage

o     European settlements

§       1970 FRG-USSR treaty

§       1971 Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin

§       1972 FRG-DRG treaty

§       1975 Helsinki Final Act

o     1973 Paris Accords on Vietnam

 


Fall of Détente

-        Third World competition

o     Middle East (1973 Arab-Israeli War)

§       US nuclear alert

o     Cuban troops in Angola (1975) & Ethiopia, (1978)

o     Sandinista victory in Nicaragua, 1979

-        SALT II Accords signed (June 1979)

o     Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, (Dec. 1979)

o     SALT II withdrawn from Senate

-        European nuclear deployments

o     1977 Soviet SS-20s

o     1979 NATO “dual track”

o     INF deployments in 1983

 

“2nd Cold War”

-        INF deployments create social movement in Europe & US against arms race

-        Soviet actions in Latin America & Afghanistan

o     Support for Nicaragua, leftist rebels in El Salvador

-        US defense buildup

o     MX missile

o     SDI program

 


End of Cold War

-        Soviet changes

o     1985 Gorbachev in power

o     Liberalization internally

§       perestroika and glasnost

o     Openness to arms control

§       Avoid economic decline

§       Concept of mutual security

§       “New Thinikng

-        US Changes

o     democracy promotion

o     US costs of defense buildup

o     effects of protests

-        Arms Control Progress

o     1987 INF treaty

o     1988 Soviet unilateral troop reduction

o     START

-        1989 in Eastern Europe

o     Communist regimes abdicate in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, & E. Germany

-        German Unification in 1990