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NUCLEAR WEAPONS & DETERRENCE I. Why Don’t We Use Our Nuclear Weapons? We’ve got a lot of them, thousands of them, even after “cutting back”. Nuclear weapons can help win wars pretty quickly. We’ve had opportunities to use them in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, which would have insured the victory. They are the most destructive weapons we have. But that reason is not sufficient enough since weapons are meant to be destructive. • A. Destructiveness? • Weapons increase the advantage over the enemy at war. Since the Industrial Revolution have been modified and made more lethal. During WWII there was a great capacity to kill even without nuclear weapons. In WWII destructiveness was the nature of that war and it was a total war. In China, Shanghai was destroyed, and civilian population was targeted. It was believed that if you can hit country’s civilian core, than you can break your enemy’s morale to pull it out of the war. That belief was wrong. German Bombing at Warsaw. o Firebombing § Dropping bombs on the cities and industrial centers harming civilians. This created tremendous fires and the heat was estimated to be very high, 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which even melted the asphalt. Dresden, Germany suffered from such bombing. 35,000 people died. British were the main ones to do Firebombing in Germany. Hamburg was firebombed as well with 50,000 fatalities. USA Firebombed Tokyo, and killed 120,000 people due to a highly flammable material of the buildings. Although this is not a nuclear weapon, it is very destructive. It was considered necessary to win a war. o Daisy Cutters § Even a more lethal weapon of WWII. It explodes before it hits the ground, which causes a massive horizontal spread of energy, and a greater impact, which is more destructive. • B. Battlefield Utility • Nuclear weapons don’t have a battlefield utility, which is not true. After WWII everyone thought that nuclear weapons would be in main use in the future warfare. Countries were thinking of how to obtain the weapons and use them tactically on the battlefield. That’s how TNW was developed. o Tactical Nuclear Weapons § Smaller impact than the nuclear weaponry. But the artillery could be modified to accommodate TNW. USA was accused of using tactical nuclearweapons in Afghanistan, which was not true. Since Nagasaki it hasn’t been used, so they weren’t used in Afghanistan. o Depleted Uranium § This was used by USA. Is used for Armorcoding (grenades, mines…). Depleted uranium is dense and is used to strengthen armor. It leaves very minor radioactive contamination. • C. They’re Wrong/Immoral? o It is Wrong and Immoral to use Nuclear Weapons. • D. A Shift in World Opinion Occurs • After WWII public opinion started to change and turned against nuclear weapons. It wasn’t immediate. The evidence can be seen in USA. When the American population was pulled, and asked whether they agreed with the atomic bombings in Japan, 80% Americans said they agreed. That opinion was based on the fact that USA was attacked and was at war with the enemy that would not surrender. The full impact of the weapons was not understood at that time, but people were tired of losing their loved ones to the wars. They said that it was a new norm in military warfare. When one power has it, everyone wants it. But eventually opinions started to change, and world opinion turned against nuclear weapons. Instead of them becoming main weapons in warfare, a norm of non-use developed. The use of nuclear weapons was universally rejected. When the impact damage of nuclear weapons with non-nuclear bombings, the difference is not that significant. But firebombing did not have a mushroom cloud. Shadows were burnt into the walls after the nuclear weapons impact. The human tragedy went beyond war as well. o Human Tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki § But eventually opinions started to change, and world opinion turned against nuclear weapons. Instead of them becoming main weapons in warfare, a norm of non-use developed. The use of nuclear weapons was universally rejected. When the impact damage of nuclear weapons with non-nuclear bombings, the difference is not that significant. But firebombing did not have a mushroom cloud. Shadows were burnt into the walls after the nuclear weapons impact. The human tragedy went beyond war as well. The Human Tragedy, when the clothes were burnt into the flesh. Human Tragedy went beyond warfare, the killing ,the death. People were still dying from that bomb years later. 70,000 people died from the impact of the bomb, but years later, by the end of 1945, the number doubled, 140,000 people died. Then, in 1950, from Hiroshima alone, 200,000 people died. Years after the war, even when USA was trying to occupy Japan, rebuild it, and make it into a solidfriend, people were still dying. The effects of radiation were the problem. Children who were born after the war were born deformed as the result of the radiation. So, children were put through a lifetime of struggle even though they were not even born during the war. Decline in intelligence declined due to radiation as well. The effects of nuclear weapons were much greater than the were thought to be. Radiation contaminates atmosphere, and thus bombing could hurt USA as well. Once used, nuclear influence cannot be controlled. On-going nature of destructiveness was too much for people to accept. A norm of non-use was established. But people still seeked to obtain nuclear weapons. Russia, Britain, France, China and so on. II. New Norm of Deterrence Understanding that the destruction would happen to both sides. It influenced the balance of power and balance of terror. It was understood that USA and USSR have an ability destroy each other, so that deterrence brought the stability as well. These norms had a universal value and affected the policies of the major powers. Policies had to be in tune with what people wanted, and if people did not want them, politicians couldn’t order the use of nuclear powers. These norms were restraining. It went beyond just nuclear weapons to unconventional and exceptional in their ability to kill. Civilians should never be targeted. Although they do sometimes die in warfare. • Balance of Terror o Understanding that USSR had a potential to destroy USA and vice versa. The threat of destruction stopped both sides from going into war. III. Effects on Policy Policy has to respond


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FSU INR 3003 - NUCLEAR WEAPONS & DETERRENCE

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