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Mutual Assured Destruction

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) reflects

the idea that one’s population could best be

protected by leaving it vulnerable so long as the

other side faced comparable vulnerabilities.

Basically: Whoever shoots first, dies second. The

massive arms race was necessary to keep a nuclear

war from occurring. When the U.S. developed the

atomic bomb, the Soviet Union soon followed. When

the U.S. created the first thermonuclear weapon,

the Hydrogen bomb, the Soviet Union followed soon

after as well. Throughout the Cold War, thousands

of nuclear weapons of mass destruction were built.

From the first time the United States took the

lead in the arms race, “The soviets struggled to

keep up and thereby created the only military

threat to the United States taken seriously by the

U.S. planners” (Jones 115) . “The extreme case…

contemplated the possibility that the Kremlin

might in some future ‘year of maximum danger’

achieve the capability of launching a surprise

attack. Should that happen, given the

fundamentally evil nature of the system, the

Soviets would resort to nuclear blackmail or ‘pre-

emptive’ war. These ideas kept the nuclear arms

race going, raised the risk of war by miscalculation, and

contributed to the proliferation of nuclear and

nonnuclear military technology throughout the

war.” (Jones 115-116) A nuclear war could have

meant an end to a nation and all of the

inhabitants living in it. Previous: Valuable Resources used during the Cold War
---Mutual Assured Destruction---
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To Bomb or To Die: Intro
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