The Main Advancements Brought By The Cold War

War is not necessarily bad, it also has its good sides. There is such a war in history. It has no flames and no soldiers died. That is the Cold War, a game between the two great powers of the United States and the Soviet Union. The two great powers have raised human technology to unprecedented heights in the competition.

A discovery by nuclear physicists in a laboratory in Berlin, Germany, in 1938 made the first atomic bomb possible, after Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassman discovered nuclear fission(History, 2009).The United States dominated the Manhattan project because of concerns that Hitler began to develop nuclear weapons. Top physicists from all over the world began to join the Manhattan project and began to develop nuclear weapons.July 16, 1945,The United States’ first atomic bomb was successfully tested in the desert of New Mexico, known as the Trinity nuclear test, It makes us ushered in the Atomic Age (New internationalist).

Scientists at Los Alamos had developed two distinct types of atomic bombs by 1945—a uranium-based design called “the Little Boy” and a plutonium-based weapon called “the Fat Man.”Although Nazi Germany has been defeated, the war between Japan and the United States in the Pacific still continues. In late July, President Harry Truman called for Japan’s surrender with the potsdam declaration The declaration promised “prompt and utter destruction” if Japan did not surrender.However, Japan did not choose to surrender.On August 6, 1945, the United States used a bomber to cast the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan, the 'little boy.' When Japan did not immediately surrender, the United States again used a bomber to cast a second atomic bomb in Nagasaki,the 'Fat man' (New et al.,).

Two nuclear bombs killed 120,000 people in Japan, and many later died of nuclear radiation.The devastating power of nuclear bombs caused Japan to surrender on August 15 (John, S, 2009), World War II ends (Michelle, H, 2013).

The speed at which the Soviet Union developed nuclear weapons shocked American scientists.In response, the United States began to develop a weapon that is thousands of times more powerful than a nuclear bomb. This weapon is hydrogen bomb.The US tested its first fusion bomb (code-named ‘Mike’) in 1952. More than 450 times the power of the Nagasaki bomb, it obliterated Elugelab atoll in the Marshall Islands.Not to be outdone (John, F, 2008), After one year, the Soviet Union also tested a more powerful nuclear bomb.

As the arms race intensified, in the 1960s, nuclear bombs no longer needed bombers to transport.By the 1960s both had developed intercontinental ballistic missiles which could be launched far away from their target, and submarine-launched missiles which could sneak up without any radar warning. At this time, the arms race is almost reaching an uncontrollable level, and the United States and the Soviet Union are completely capable of destroying any country (New et al.,).

Cuban Missile Crisis

In 1962, a Cuban missile crisis that shocked the world occurred in the Caribbean. It was caused by the deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles, Raytheon missiles and Jupiter missiles by the United States in Italy and Turkey in 1959. The Soviet Union deployed missiles in Cuba in order to regain a city.On October 14, two American fighters discovered the fact that the Soviet Union deployed missiles in Cuba and took a lot of photos (John, F, 2008).

The United States recognized this huge threat and began a complete blockade against Cuba. The US President ordered that US bombers carrying nuclear warheads enter the sky around Cuba,The Soviet Union also accelerated the speed of transporting missiles and Soviet bombers to Cuba.

In the next few days, the situation was extremely tense, and the United States and the Soviet Union were beside the nuclear button, and the whole world was at stake (New et al.,).On October 26, the Soviet Union began to seek compromise. Khrushchev wrote a letter to Kennedy and wrote a second letter on the 27th. In order to reject the contents of the second letter, Kennedy chose to reply only to the first letter(Jim, H, 1995).

Khrushchev understood the meaning of Kennedy. From November 11, 1962, the Soviet Union began to withdraw weapons from Cuba, and the United States also lifted the blockade against Cuba (New et al.,),the Caribbean has calmed down.

End of the nuclear weapons competition

With the continuous increase in the number of nuclear weapons, thousands of protesters took to the streets to oppose the existence of nuclear weapons (New et al.,).In 1985, after Gorbachev came to power, the Soviet economy was in a state of stagnation. He knew that the Soviet Union could no longer afford an arms race with the West. He began to cut military spending and disarm the Russian nuclear arsenal. And reached many agreements with President Reagan (New et al.,).

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, the nuclear threat officially subsided.

Impact on modern times

Nuclear weapons in the cold war are the embryonic form of modern nuclear weapons. In modern times, nuclear weapons have stabilized relations between big powers, because the consequences of nuclear weapons are unbearable to any country, so nuclear weapons on the other hand maintain order and peace in today’s world.

The development of nuclear weapons in the Cold War has given people a basic grasp of nuclear energy, which is inseparable from the exploration and discovery of early scientists. Nuclear energy is a sustainable energy source. It is not only an efficient and economical energy source, but also a clean and safe energy source.Power generation is widely used in modern nuclear power, which will provide solutions for future alternative energy sources.In addition, nuclear radiation is also widely used in the medical field, including radiotherapy in the medical field, disinfection, perspective (X-ray, CT), gamma knife(World Nuclear Association, 2017).

The arms race in the cold war has greatly promoted the development of modern science and technology. Without the cold war, human technology will not reach the current level.

Another dramatic arena

Space is another stage in the Cold War arms race.When the Soviet Union launched the world's first satellite Sputnik 1 in October 1957 (Dominic, S, & Piers, B, 2019), the Cold War entered space,This marked the official start of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.Americans are surprised, but more panic.

In response, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Education Act, redesigned the school's curriculum, vigorously cultivated aerospace technology talents, and authorized an additional $ 1 billion in expenditure to promote US science and technology. The space race has increased the United States ’investment in education.

In 1958, the United States launched its own satellite Explorer I, And the establishment of NASA under the order of President Eisenhower (History, 2019). NASA became the driving force behind the U.S. space program.

The Cold War sent humans to the moon

In 1959, the Soviet space program took another step forward with the launch of Luna 2, the first space probe to hit the moon. In April 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth, traveling in the capsule-like spacecraft Vostok 1(History et al., 2019).

On May 5, American astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space, even though he did not land on the moon(History et al., 2019)..At the end of 1962, the United States established the foundation of NASA's lunar landing program, the Project Apollo (History et al., 2019).The U.S. significantly increased funding for space exploration and new jobs after the Apollo program was established(Domic et al., 2019).

Although the Apollo 1 program failed, huge capital investment and a large number of talents have enabled NASA technology to continue to improve rapidly. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and Neil Armstrong was on the moon (The Telegraph, 2017). He left his footprints and won the United States in a landing of about 723 million people.

America is the winner

More active research environment, more effective management, better fuel and machinery technology, and huge investment all determine that the United States is the winner of the space race.After meeting political needs, the United States and the Soviet Union have slowed their pace of space exploration and started to cooperate.

Great influence on modern times

The space race puts human into unprecedented space-space, and puts human on the moon. The space race has enhanced the country's innovation and investment in education, cultivated many outstanding talents, and people's thinking has been further improved.

As pioneers of space missions, the United States and the Soviet Union have helped their allies in space exploration and agreed to other countries to use their space stations for experiments to benefit all humanity.

At the same time, space technology has also been applied to our daily lives. The earth is now surrounded by huge satellite networks that provide continuous broadband communication and high-definition television, data for weather forecasting, navigation and positioning, etc. And, of course, the global positioning system, which has almost changed the lives of people today, navigation, parcel transportation, and self-driving cars are inseparable from it.

Some of the technologies used in astronauts are now also used in daily life, such as artificial mechanical prostheses used by disabled people, high-energy food used by military personnel and laptops' precursors-portable computers. It can be said that without the space race, humankind would not have achieved today.

There is no doubt that through the nuclear weapons race and space race, the Cold War greatly promoted the development of human science and technology, and greatly affected the pattern of the modern world. It can be said that if there is no Cold War, human technology will stay in the World War II period. We must recognize the positive aspects brought by the Cold War and understand the relationship between the nuclear weapons race and the space race and today's human science.


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07 September 2020
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