The Cold War

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Transcript The Cold War

The Cold War as Total (Virtual)
War: Prospect of Nuclear War
The Post-World War Two Condition
for Almost Fifty Years
The Cold War as Total (Virtual) War:
Prospect of Nuclear War
• Main Nuclear Weapon (NW) effects
– Blast (supersonic shock wave)
Overpressure and extremely high-speed winds
– Thermal (extremely high temperatures)
Non-ionizing radiation (Infrared and Visible)
– Prompt ionizing radiation (from the bomb’s nuclear
– Delayed radiation (fallout from the radioactive fission
• Other special effects
– EMP, ionospheric changes, …
Nuclear Strategies of the United States
and the Soviet Union
• Mutual Assured Destruction:
– Deter an attack by threatening to destroy the
state, regime, civil society, and population of
the adversary
– Small but invulnerable nuclear armed forces are
required capable of surviving an adversary’s
first-strike nuclear attack and retaliating against
civilian targets.
US/USSR: Each Pursues a
Counterforce Strategy
• Objective: Eliminate the nuclear forces of
the adversaries
• Why? 1) Attempt to limit damage of an
adversary’s nuclear forces by destroying
them; Clausewitz goes nuclear
2) Reinforce deterrence
3) Protect allies by demonstrating a will to
use or threaten nuclear weapons and war
Balance of Nuclear US/SU
Nuclear Forces: 1990
• United States
• Soviet Union
– 1903 launchers (air,
sea, ground)
– 2,500 launchers (air
and ground)
– 12,477 strategic
– 10,271 strategic
Failure of Arms Control to Limit
Nuclear Forces
• SALT I: Failure to limit the number of
• START: Failure to limit warheads and
Multiple Independently Targeting Vehicles
European Theatre Nuclearized
• US and NATO Forces deploy thousands of
so-called tactical nuclear weapons which
are in the kiloton range (Hiroshima bomb)
• The Soviet Union and satellites states in
Europe equally position short and longrange nuclear missiles and nuclear weapons
in Europe
The Cold War Extends to the
• The United States signs over 40 collective security
treaties to balance Soviet alliances around the
• The United States and the Soviet Union become
the world’s largest suppliers of arms to states
around the globe
– The US sustains the nuclear forces of Britain
– France and Israel, allies of the US, develop their own
nuclear forces with some unofficial assistance from the
United States
Then Why Did the Cold War End
without a World Nuclear War?
• Political crisis within the Soviet alliance system
and within the domestic order of the Soviet Union
– External crisis: Nationalism of Soviet satellites no
longer can be contained
– Internal crisis;
• Russian nationalism rejects Soviet imperial system as too
• Soviet federal system collapses into independent national states
Crisis of National Conflicts
Deepened by Economic Crisis
• The economic and technological growth of the
Western liberal states vastly exceeds the
increasingly slow economic and technological
development of the Soviet Union and Communist
centralized economies
• Western capitalist markets foster growth and
technological progress more effectively and
efficiently, with less corruption, than centralized
economic systems
The Limits of Total War and
Military Force
• The formidable Soviet army disintegrated
• Nationalism triumphs over military force which is unable to
contain this political force
• The economic burden of the vast Soviet military system and
the inefficiencies of a centralized economic system contribute
to the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War
• In December, 1991, the Soviet Union is dissolved as a state
and implodes into 15 independent nation-states
• The former satellites of the Soviet Union in the Warsaw pact
also regain their national independence
• The West and East Germany are integrated into the Federal
Republic of Germany
Theoretical and Policy
Implications of the Cold War
• Empires -- that is -- rule of populations by foreign
military forces have all failed
• The tendency toward total or pure war continues
– Nuclear proliferation increases: North Korea, Iran
joining India, Pakistan, and Israel
– Terrorism has also emerged as a global challenge
Part I: Classes 7-11 Will Outline
Alternative Theories to Explain Security
Realism and Neo-Realism
Classical (market) Liberalism
Institutional Liberalism
Marxism and class conflicts arising from
the unequal distribution of wealth and
power as a consequence of global markets.