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Did the possession of nuclear weapons prevent war in Europe after 1945 - Essay Example

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Did the possession of nuclear weapons prevent war in Europe after 1945

There is no doubt that presence of nuclear programs and weapons enabled Europe to take wise decisions after 1945. The best example of European ‘wise decisions’ is no nuclear war has taken place since 1945. If we talk about the nuclear battlefield in the context of British Government, we would analyse the British Army of the Rhine spent much time and effort in trying to imagine what such a battlefield might look like and in preparing to cope with it. The main reason was that British Government was in debt to the USA, due to which it reduced its armed forced to one million soldiers. Beside this, all European countries were aware of the haphazard of nuclear war, since the bombing of ‘Hiroshima’. During the 1950s and 1960s these efforts were taken very seriously, which involved two steps: possessing advanced nuclear weapons and visualising war with and without them. Of course war cannot be fought without them, which means war fought with nuclear weapons. ‘Hiroshima’ bombing is a sample view, which is still giving birth to the haphazard of a single nuclear bomb.
In the context of war at the strategic level the first response was to emphasise ‘counterforce’. Soviet weapons were the strategic targets and senior commanders still talked as though a nuclear war could be ‘won’. Then the danger of this approach dawned with the development of Soviet Union the means of delivering a massive blow against the United States, so the notion of 'riding out' a first strike and then delivering a counter-blow on what could only be empty silos and deserted bomber bases became highly unattractive. The result was a shift back to 'city-busting', holding the people rather than the weapons as hostages; 400 one-megaton weapons able to hit area targets would suffice. This totally amoral doctrine was dressed up under the term Mutual Assured Destruction and its appropriate acronym (MAD). The tactical counterpart to this change of heart took a further five years to mature. It came to be realised that large-scale assault on NATO, while still a deadly danger, was by no means the only or even the most likely contingency. (Barnaby & Holdstock, 2003, p. 39)

At that time the total nuclear stockpile of the United States, at its highest point, had an estimated explosive yield of some 9 billion tons of high explosive and the Soviet stockpile must have been much the same. In the 20 years from 1945 to 1965 nuclear warheads evolved to fill every possible ecological niche on the battlefield and in numbers far greater than any rational person could possibly have considered useful. (2003, p. ...Show more
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Summary

In this essay, the author examines all those factors, which despite nuclear possession helped war prevention in Europe after 1945. The main question for discussion is what were the main reasons behind avoiding war and what were the consequences experienced by Europe in already indulging in war conduct…
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