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History 483 Research Paper


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Scientists and Diplomats Opinion About Sharing Secrets with Russians
In considering the problem of controls and international collaboration the question of paramount concern was the attitude of Russia. Dr. Oppenheimer pointed out that Russia had always been very friendly to science and suggested that we might open up this subject with them in a tentative fashion and in the most general terms without giving them any details of our productive effort. He thought we might say that a great national effort had been put into this project and express a hope for cooperation with them in this field. He felt strongly that we should not prejudge the Russian attitude in this matter.At this point General Marshall discussed at some length the story of charges and counter-charges that have been typical of our relations with the Russians, pointing out that most of these allegations have proven unfounded. The seemingly uncooperative attitude of Russia in military matters stemmed from the necessity of maintaining security. He said that he had accepted this reason for their attitude in his dealings with the Russians and had acted accordingly. As to the post-war situation and in matters other than purely military, he felt that he was in no position to express a view. With regard to this field he was inclined to favor the building up of a combination among like-minded powers, thereby forcing Russia to fall in line by the very force of this coalition.(Williams and Cantelon 61)
Scientists Recommendations For Use of Bomb
ii. TOP SECRET RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE IMMEDIATE USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONSJune 16, 1945You have asked us to comment on the initial use of the new weapon. This use, in our opinion, should be such as to promote a satisfactory adjustment of our international relations. At the same time, we recognize our obligation to our nation to use the weapons to help save American lives in the Japanese war.(1) To accomplish these ends we recommend that before the weapons are used not only Britain, but also Russia, France, and China be advised that we have made considerable progress in our work on atomic weapons, that these may be ready to use during the present war, and that we would welcome suggestions as to how we can cooperate in making this development contribute to improved international relations.(2) The opinions of our scientific colleagues on the initial use of these weapons are not unanimous: they range from the proposal of a purely technical demonstration to that of the military application best designed to induce surrender. Those who advocate a purely technical demonstration would wish to outlaw the use of atomic weapons, and have feared that if we use the weapons now our position in future negotiations will be prejudiced. Others emphasize the opportunity of saving American lives by immediate military use, and believe that such use will improve the international pros- pects, in that they are more concerned with the prevention of war than with the elimination of this specific weapon. We find ourselves closer to these latter views; we can propose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war; we see no acceptable alternative to direct military use.(3) With regard to these general aspects of the use of atomic energy, it is clear that we, as scientific men, have no proprietary rights. It is true that we are among the few citizens who have had occasion to give thoughtful consideration to these problems during the past few years. We have, however, no claim to special competence in solving the political, social, and military problems which are presented by the advent of atomic power.(Williams and Cantelon 64) (Williams and Cantelon 63)
Effects of Bomb's use on Political Structure in America
IN THE SHORT TERM, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had the heaviest impact not on the American public at large, but on two elites: political leaders in the executive branch entrusted with foreign and military policy, and the scientific community associated with the Manhattan Project. The reactions of these two groups have shaped American military and domestic nuclear policies ever since. Political leaders reaffirmed the 1945 decision to use nuclear weapons as a major instrument of our foreign policy; they determined to cling to the American nuclear monopoly; they adopted Churchill's world view that saw the Soviet Union as America's antagonist in an emerging bipolar division of the world; they both linked and subordinated nonmilitary applications of nuclear power to military demands, giving nuclear research an almost exclusively military orientation that lasted the better part of a decade.(Clarfield, and Wiecek 81)
Challanges with Soviets postwwII
iv. Truman's awesome task was complicated by the emergence of the Soviet Union as a potential adversary, and the growth of a conception of American national security that was global in nature and that defined any move by the Soviets outside their existing east European sphere as a threat to America's vital interests.(Clarfield, and Wiecek 82)
Earliest Evaluation of Use Against Soviets
vi. But Stalin kept large elements of what remained of the Red Army at forward bases in eastern Europe. Western analysts seem to have believed that 175 Soviet divisions were poised to move at the instant a new war broke out. Whether this many troops actually were deployed is debatable. But with even one half of this force, the Soviets could have swept almost unopposed to the English Channel in a matter of days. If Soviet cities were hostage to American bombers, western Europe, vital to the United States, was hostage to the Red Army. The result was an uneasy stalemate. Though frequently threatened by serious political crises in the last years of the decade, this de facto truce remained intact in part at least because neither side believed that it could win a military victory at an acceptable cost.(Clarfield, and Wiecek 87)
Soviet's Resolve to Use the Bomb
a. Although the West had doubts about the military usefulness of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, archival evidence confirms that the Soviet Union would have used nuclear weapons from the outset had war broken out in Europe. Ironically, this has tended to support the view that the West's nuclear posture over 40 years of rivalry with the Soviet Union actually had a stabilizing effect.(Schneider)
Origins of Deterrance Strategy
b. With relations between the two superpowers tense, military men and some in the academic community turned their attention to the role nuclear weapons might play in future wars. The first and the most forward-looking of this new group of strategic thinkers was Bernard Brodie, who published a pathbreaking essay on the issue in 1946. In The Absolute Weapon: Atomic Power and World Order, Brodie predicted the rapid proliferation of nuclear weapons and saw little hope that a reliable defense against them could ever be developed. Defense against them being impossible, he argued that it would be suicidal to use nuclear weapons in warfare, for this would invite retaliation. Brodie concluded that once the United States lost its monopoly, atomic weapons could not be used in an offensive mode but could function solely as a deterrent to attack. The only sensible strategy for a nuclear power to follow, he therefore maintained, was to concentrate on developing the capacity to retaliate with devastating effect against any nation foolish enough to strike first. Technology, it seemed, had made nuclear war obsolete. "Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars. From now on its chief purpose must be to avert them. It can have almost no other useful purpose."(Clarfield, and Wiecek 83)
Reaction of Soviets Getting Nuclear Weapons...Escalation
c. AS SECRETARY OF STATE, Dean Acheson had used the sudden end to the U.S. atomic monopoly in August 1949, when the first Soviet test was detected, to initiate a reappraisal of security policy. One outcome was the development of thermonuclear weapons in order to maintain superiority for as long as possible; another, adopted after the start of the Korean War, was a sustained rearmament program to reduce dependence upon this superiority before its inevitable loss. The Eisenhower administration criticized this stance as unnecessarily expensive in its reliance on conventional forces and constraining in its reluctance to exploit America's prime strategic asset. This was summed up by the stalemate in Korea, where self-imposed limitations left the Americans fighting in a framework that played to the communists' advantages. In a famous speech of January 1954 Dulles asserted, "The way to deter aggression is for the free community to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of its own choosing."1 America's means of choice appeared to be "massive retaliatory power" (hence the policy's label of "massive retaliation"). To its critics, the obvious flaw lay in the excessive dependence placed on the credibility of U.S. nuclear threats, even as it declined when the Soviet Union acquired its own massive retaliatory power.(Freedman 18)
China Gets the Bomb
d. The day after the Kremlin's purge, China had exploded its first atomic device over Lop Nor, a salt-encrusted lake bed in the barren Taklamakan Desert. Although U.S. intelligence had anticipated this event for some weeks, it nevertheless intensified a principal fear of contemporary Washington-the image of an aggressive China threatening the security of Southeast Asia.This fear, however exaggerated, reflected deeply rooted perceptions. Johnson and his advisers viewed China in 1964 much like Truman and his advisers had viewed Russia after World War II-as a militantly expansive force to be contained until mellowed by internal forces or external pressures. LBJ had stressed this theme in a public address on Peking's atomic test on October 18. "No American should treat this matter lightly," Johnson had warned. "Until this week only four powers [ America, Britain, Russia, and France] had entered the dangerous world of nuclear explosions.""Whatever their differences," the President had said, "all four are sober and serious states, with long experience as major powers in the modern world.""Communist China," he had added after a long pause, "has no such experience."2(VanDeMark 24)
Less Caution American Attitudes Towards the Bombs
k. The Secretary (Dulles) further stated explicitly that atomic weapons would be considered "conventional" when retaliating and should (he felt) be used in both the general or local war "whenever and wherever it would be of advantage to do so, taking account of all relevant factors.(Gurtov 59)
Threats of Using the Bomb, though not actually willing to do so
l. Reading from a prepared statement at a press conference on the morning of November 30, Truman said that the United States would continue to support the U.N. effort to halt aggression in Korea, take steps to strengthen its own defenses and those of its allies, and assured the Chinese Communists that the West had no aggressive designs on them. But the U.N. forces had "no intention of abandoning their mission in Korea," he concluded, and they would take "whatever steps necessary to meet the military situation."36"Will that include the atomic bomb?" asked Jack Dougherty of the New York Daily News."That includes every weapon that we have," replied Truman."Mr. President," asked Dougherty, "does that mean that there is active consideration of the use of the atomic bomb?"(Wainstock 102)
Result of Cuban Missle Crisis
i. What did the US learn from the crisis and what came after? Both the US and the Soviet Union were deeply disturbed by the crisis and several developments followed rapidly in its wake. A hot-line between the White House and the Kremlin was installed. Emphasis was placed on stabilising the superpower nuclear relationship and progress was forthcoming from arms talks. In 1963, the Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed and, despite Vietnam, the two superpowers gradually moved towards détente and SALT.(Dobson, and Marsh 73)
Fight for Control over the weapons post-war
The military and scientific establishments fought for control of atomic energy after the war. The military proposed an Atomic Energy Commission within the Department of Defense that would take charge of nuclear energy. The May-Johnson Bill introduced in Congress in 1946 represented the military view that weapons were of the highest importance and that the secret of the bomb could be preserved only through military control.(Williams and Cantelon 71)
Inability to undue nuclear breakthroughs or even prevent escalation had been lost by exclusion of Soviet Union.
The opportunity for international control of atomic weapons at their birth was gone, frozen for over a decade by the icy storms of the Cold War. The collapse of negotiations at the United Nations a year after the introduction of the Baruch Plan and President Harry S. Truman's Failure to achieve any disarmament agreement with the Soviet Union had driven the issue out of the international forum until 1952.(Williams and Cantelon 72)
Ending American Monopoly
While defining the atomic project as a patriotic deed, Stalin promised to raise the role of science and the status of leading scientists. Stalin apparently understood that the copy of the American 'Fat Man' was just the first stage of work 'on a Russian scale.' In fact, Kurchatov's team moved along parallel tracks, developing an original Soviet device, although, when it came to the decision to test, they preferred the 'Fat Man' as a proven model. From the beginning, Stalin seemed to aim not simply to end the American monopoly, but to turn the Soviet Union into a nuclear superpower second to none.(Gaddis, Gordon, May, and Rosenberg 48)
Ethos for Stalin's intense nuclear drive.
Stalin engaged in the nuclear race with the United States as he had done with other great projects in his life: with thorough preparation, concentration of all resources, and determination to prevail against high odds. After overcoming the setback of Hiroshima, he surpassed the contemporary Western leaders in grasping the new requirements for organization and technology dictated by the nuclear age. While the US president enjoyed the American monopoly and relaxed in confidence that the Soviet Union would not repeat the American technological miracle for many years, Stalin created in just three years a gigantic new complex capable of competing with the United States, a country of virtually unlimited technological and economic resources.(Gaddis, Gordon, May, and Rosenberg 49)
Soviet victories lead to mass worry.
While the Democrats had ‘lost’ China to Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949, the Soviets had consolidated their power in Eastern Europe, challenged the West with the Berlin blockade and broken the American monopoly on the atomic bomb. Finally, a series of fears reflected a lack of confidence: fear of appeasement in the face of a new totalitarian challenge to democracy, fear that the economic crises of the 1930s might recur and lend weight to communism as a viable alternative to capitalism, and fear that decolonisation would weaken Britain and France and provide new opportunities for communism in the Third World.(Dobson, and Marsh 23)
The response to all these factors was National Security Council Resolution 68 (NSC-68), one of the most important, most debated and arguably the most seriously flawed documents in recent American history. This had three serious and dangerous implications for US containment policy. First, the flexibility of Kennan’s original version was lost because, in transforming containment from a selective to a perimeter fence strategy, the traditional hierarchy of interests became so blurred that national and global security became indistinguishable. Thereafter, policymakers persistently failed to distinguish between geopolitical and ideological containment. Second, militarisation had profound implications for the means by which the US would combat communism. To rely on nuclear weapons threatened to lead the US into an appeasement trap because, unless it were prepared to start nuclear war as an indiscriminate response to every challenge, irrespective of the importance of the interests at stake, it would be forced to yield to Soviet pressure. Each time that happened, it would lose credibility and invite the Kremlin to push harder, particularly as the Soviet nuclear arsenal began to offset the strategic advantage of the American. Consequently, contrary to Kennan’s ideas, the US and its allies had to develop conventional force capabilities to supplement the nuclear deterrent and be prepared and able to act wherever communism threatened. This militarised version of containment dominated both the rest of the Cold War and American society as a vast military-industrial complex developed to service the demands of NSC-68.
continue on military industrial complex.
Also, to enhance the capabilities of the Free World, new alliances were sought and existing ones strengthened. In September 1950, America bolstered its commitment to conventional defence in Europe, in part to give heart to allies there and in part to persuade them to accept West German remilitarisation.(Dobson, and Marsh 24)

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