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Encyclopedia > Nuclear warfare
The Titan II Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) carried a 9 Mt W53 warhead, making it one of the most powerful nuclear weapons fielded by the United States during the Cold War.
The Titan II Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) carried a 9 Mt W53 warhead, making it one of the most powerful nuclear weapons fielded by the United States during the Cold War.

Nuclear, or atomic warfare, is battle in which nuclear weapons are used. This has only happened once - the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States of America against the Empire of Japan very shortly before the end of the Pacific War in World War II. Today the term usually refers to confrontations in which opposing sides are both armed with nuclear weapons. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare is much more destructive in both range coverage and extent of damage, and has long-term, severe, damaging effects that can last decades, centuries, or even millennia after the initial attack.[1][2] Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (621x800, 315 KB) Titan II missile with an MK6 reentry vehicle. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (621x800, 315 KB) Titan II missile with an MK6 reentry vehicle. ... Titan II launch vehicle launching Gemini 11 (Sept. ... ICBM redirects here. ... A megaton or megatonne is a unit of mass equal to 1,000,000 metric tons, i. ... B53 W53 physics package The B53 with a yield of 9 Mt is one of the most powerful nuclear weapons built by the United States, and one of the last very high-yield thermonuclear bombs in U.S. service. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter A nuclear weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of fusion or fission. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ... The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of Little Boy. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Anthem Kimi ga Yo Imperial Reign Capital Tokyo Government Constitutional monarchy Emperor  - 1868–1912 Emperor Meiji  - 1912–1926 Emperor Taishō  - 1926–1989 Emperor Shōwa Prime Minister  - 1885-1888, 1892-1896, 1898, 1900-1901 Itō Hirobumi  - 1888-1889 Kuroda Kiyotaka  - 1889-1891 Yamagata Aritomo  - 1906-1908, 1911-1912 Saionji Kinmochi... For other uses, see Pacific War (disambiguation). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

Contents

Types of nuclear war

War

-1... Ramses II at the Battle of Kadesh (relief at Abu Simbel) The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... from Swedish Wikipedia The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... Download high resolution version (819x768, 141 KB)A front view of an M1A1 Abrams, from www. ...

Military History

War Portal   v  d  e 

The possibility of using nuclear weapons in war is usually divided into two subgroups, each with different effects and potentially fought with different types of nuclear armaments.


The first, a limited nuclear war (sometimes attack or exchange), refers to a small scale use of nuclear weapons by one or more parties. A "limited nuclear war" would most likely consist of a limited exchange between two nuclear superpowers targeting each other's military facilities, either as an attempt to pre-emptively cripple the enemy's ability to attack as a defensive measure or as a prelude to an invasion by conventional forces as an offensive measure. It will also refer to a nuclear war between minor nuclear powers, who lack the ability to deliver a decisive strike. This term would apply to any limited use of nuclear weapons, which may involve either military or civilian targets.


The second, a full-scale nuclear war, consists of large numbers of weapons used in an attack aimed at an entire country, including both military and civilian targets. Such an attack would seek to destroy the entire economic, social, and military infrastructure of a nation by means of an overwhelming nuclear attack.


Some Cold War strategists argued that a limited nuclear war could be possible between two heavily armed superpowers (such as the United States and the Soviet Union) and if so several predicted that a limited war could "escalate" into an all-out war. Others have called limited nuclear war "global nuclear holocaust in slow motion" arguing that once such a war took place others would be sure to follow over a period of decades, effectively rendering the planet uninhabitable in the same way that a "full-scale nuclear war" between superpowers would, only taking a much longer and more agonizing path to achieve the same result. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Even the most optimistic predictions of the effects of a major nuclear exchange foresee the death of millions of civilians within a very short amount of time; more pessimistic predictions argue that a full-scale nuclear war could bring about the extinction of the human race or its near extinction with a handful of survivors (mainly in remote areas) reduced to a pre-medieval quality of life and life expectancy for centuries after and cause permanent damage to most complex life on the planet, Earth's ecosystems, and the global climate, particularly if predictions of nuclear winter are accurate. It is in this latter mode that nuclear warfare is usually alluded to as a doomsday scenario. Such hypothesized civilization-ending nuclear wars have been a staple of the science fiction literature and film genre for decades. Human extinction is the as-yet hypothetical extinction of the human species, Homo sapiens. ... Quality of life is the degree of well-being felt by an individual or group of people. ... This article is about the measure of remaining life. ... Nuclear winter is a hypothetical global climate condition that is predicted to be a possible outcome of a large-scale nuclear war. ... This article is about the theoretical world-ending destruction. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ...


A third category, not usually included with the above two, is accidental nuclear war, in which a nuclear war is triggered unintentionally. Possible scenarios for this have included malfunctioning early warning devices and targeting computers, deliberate malfeasance by rogue military commanders, accidental straying of planes into enemy airspace, reactions to unannounced missile tests during tense diplomatic periods, reactions to military exercises, mistranslated or miscommunicated messages, and so forth. A number of these scenarios did actually occur during the Cold War, though none resulted in a nuclear exchange.[3] Many such scenarios have been depicted in popular culture, such as in the 1962 novel Fail-Safe (released as a film in 1964) and the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, also released in 1964. The 1957 photograph of Miss Atomic Bomb, a Las Vegas showgirl with a mushroom cloud dress, has often been used as representative of Cold War kitsch and a symbol of the effects of nuclear weapons on American popular culture. ... Fail-Safe is a novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, published in 1962. ... For the hit 1987 single by Depeche Mode, see the album Music for the Masses Film poster for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 satirical film directed by Stanley Kubrick. ...


History

Main article: History of nuclear weapons

A nuclear fireball lights up the night in a United States nuclear test. ...

Hiroshima to Semipalatinsk

The explosion at Nagasaki, Japan.
The explosion at Nagasaki, Japan.

The United States is the only nation to have ever used nuclear weapons during war, using two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. For more information, see Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1246x1468, 760 KB) if you look closely, you can see a japanese person in the bottom right corner TITLE: Mushroom cloud CALL NUMBER: POS 6 - U.S., no. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1246x1468, 760 KB) if you look closely, you can see a japanese person in the bottom right corner TITLE: Mushroom cloud CALL NUMBER: POS 6 - U.S., no. ... For other uses, see Hiroshima (disambiguation). ... Megane-bashi (Spectacles Bridge) Nagasaki   listen? (長崎市; -shi, literally long peninsula) is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture located at the south-western coast of Kyushu, Japan. ... The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of Little Boy. ...


After the bombings of Japan, it was unclear exactly what status the atomic bomb would have for international relations or military actions. It was believed that atomic weapons could offset the superior forces that the Soviet Union had in Eastern Europe, and possibly be used to pressure Soviet leader Joseph Stalin into concessions. Despite Stalin's palpable fear of the bomb, he too was pursuing his own atomic capabilities at full speed. The Soviets believed that the Americans were unlikely to begin another world war with their limited nuclear arsenal and the Americans were not confident that they could prevent the Soviet Union from taking over Europe even if they did use nuclear weapons. As such, they were not as strong a bargaining chip as was hoped by the Americans. Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from...



Within the United States the authority to produce and develop nuclear weapons was removed from the military control of the Manhattan Project and put instead under the civilian control of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, a unique move which attempted to recognize that nuclear weapons represented a special category of weapons separate from other military technology. This article is about the World War II nuclear project. ... Shield of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. ...


For several years after World War II, the US developed and maintained a strategic force based on the Convair B-36 bomber that would be able to attack any potential enemy from bomber bases in the US. It deployed atomic bombs around the world for potential use in conflicts. Over a period of a few years, many in the US defense community became increasingly convinced of the invincibility of the United States to a nuclear attack. Indeed, it became generally believed that the threat of nuclear war would deter any strike against the United States. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Convair B-36 was a strategic bomber built by Convair for the United States Air Force, the first operational bomber to truly have intercontinental range. ... For other uses, see Bomber (disambiguation). ...


Many proposals were suggested to put all US nuclear weapons under international control—for example, by the newly formed United Nations—as an effort to deter both their usage and an arms race. However no terms could be arrived at that made either the United States or the USSR feel secure—the US was not willing to give up its atomic monopoly, and the USSR did not trust UN inspections on its soil. UN redirects here. ...

US and USSR nuclear stockpiles.
US and USSR nuclear stockpiles.

On August 29, 1949 the USSR tested its first nuclear weapon at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan (see also Soviet atomic bomb project). Scientists in the United States from the Manhattan Project had warned that, in time, the Soviet Union would certainly develop nuclear capabilities of its own. Nevertheless, the effect upon military thinking and planning in the US was dramatic, primarily due to the fact that American military strategists had not anticipated the Soviets would "catch up" so soon. However, at this time, they had not discovered that the Russians had conducted significant espionage of the project from spies at Los Alamos, the most significant of which was done by the theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs. The first Soviet bomb was more or less a deliberate copy of the Fat Man device. Image File history File links US_and_USSR_nuclear_stockpiles. ... Image File history File links US_and_USSR_nuclear_stockpiles. ... is the 241st day of the year (242nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Soviet redirects here. ... The Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Unions nuclear weapons. ... Andrei Sakharov (left) with Igor Kurchatov (right) The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb began during World War II in the Soviet Union. ... Klaus Fuchs ID badge at Los Alamos. ... This article is about the nuclear weapon used in World War II. For other uses, see Fat Man (disambiguation). ...


With the monopoly over nuclear technology broken, world-wide nuclear proliferation accelerated. The United Kingdom tested its first independent atomic bomb in 1952, followed by France in 1960 and then the People's Republic of China in 1964. While much smaller than the arsenals of the USA and the USSR, Western Europe's nuclear reserves were nevertheless a significant factor in strategic planning during the Cold War. A top-secret white paper produced for the British Government in 1959, compiled by the Royal Air Force, estimated that British atomic bombers were capable of destroying key cities and military targets in the Soviet Union, with an estimated 16 million deaths in the USSR (half of whom were estimated to be killed on impact and the rest fatally injured) before bomber aircraft from the United States' Strategic Air Command reached their targets. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... A white paper is a report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. ... RAF redirects here. ... For the film of the same name, see Strategic Air Command (film) The Strategic Air Command (SAC) was the operational establishment of the United States Air Force in charge of Americas bomber-based and ballistic missile-based strategic nuclear arsenal from 1946 to 1992. ...


The 1950s

Though the USSR had nuclear weapon capabilities in the beginning of the Cold War, the US still had an advantage in terms of bombers and weapons. In any exchange of hostilities, the US would have been capable of bombing the USSR, while the USSR would have more difficulties arranging the reverse. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...


The widespread introduction of jet-powered interceptor aircraft upset this balance somewhat by reducing the effectiveness of the US bomber fleet. In 1949 Curtis LeMay was placed in command of the Strategic Air Command and instituted a program to update the bomber fleet to one that was all-jet. During the early 1950s the B-47 and B-52 were introduced, providing the ability to bomb the USSR more easily. A Pratt and Whitney turbofan engine for the F-15 Eagle is tested at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, USA. The tunnel behind the engine muffles noise and allows exhaust to escape. ... The MiG-25 is a Russian interceptor that was the mainstay of the Soviet air defence. ... Curtis Emerson LeMay (November 15, 1906–October 3, 1990) was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of independent candidate George C. Wallace in 1968. ... For the film of the same name, see Strategic Air Command (film) The Strategic Air Command (SAC) was the operational establishment of the United States Air Force in charge of Americas bomber-based and ballistic missile-based strategic nuclear arsenal from 1946 to 1992. ... The Boeing B-47 Stratojet jet bomber was a major postwar innovation in combat jet design, and it helped lead to the development of modern jet airliners. ... B-52 redirects here. ...


Before the development of a capable strategic missile force in the Soviet Union, much of the war-fighting doctrine held by western nations revolved around using a large number of smaller nuclear weapons used in a tactical role. It is arguable if such use could be considered "limited" however, because it was believed that the US would use their own strategic weapons (mainly bombers at the time) should the USSR deploy any kind of nuclear weapon against civilian targets. Douglas MacArthur, an American general, was fired by President Harry Truman, partially because he persistently requested permission to use his own discretion in deciding whether to use atomic weapons on the People's Republic of China in 1951 (as the Korean War was raging).[4] For other uses, see Missile (disambiguation). ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... For other uses, see Bomber (disambiguation). ... This article is about the American general; for the municipality in the Philippines, see General MacArthur, Eastern Samar. ... For the victim of Mt. ... Belligerents United Nations: Republic of Korea Australia Belgium Canada Colombia Ethiopia France Greece Luxembourg Netherlands New Zealand Philippines South Africa Thailand Turkey United Kingdom United States Naval Support and Military Servicing/Repairs: Japan Medical staff: Denmark Italy Norway India Sweden DPR Korea PR China Soviet Union Commanders Syngman Rhee Chung...


Several scares about the increasing ability of the USSR's strategic bomber forces surfaced during the 1950s. The defensive response by the US was to deploy a fairly strong layered defense consisting of interceptor aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles, like the Nike, and guns, like the Skysweeper, near larger cities. However this was a small response compared to the construction of a huge fleet of nuclear bombers. The principal nuclear strategy was to massively penetrate the USSR. Because such a large area could not be defended against this overwhelming attack in any credible way, the USSR would lose any exchange. The MiG-25 is a Russian interceptor that was the mainstay of the Soviet air defence. ... American troops man an anti-aircraft gun near the Algerian coastline in 1943 Anti-aircraft, or air defense, is any method of combating military aircraft from the ground. ... For other uses, see Missile (disambiguation). ... Launch of a Nike Zeus missile Project Nike was a US Army project, proposed in May 1945 by Bell Labs, to develop a line-of-sight anti-aircraft missile system. ... This article is about the video game. ... Skysweeper anti-aircraft gun in firing position Skysweeper, technically Gun, M51, Antiaircraft, was an American 75 mm anti-aircraft gun deployed in the early 1950s. ...


This logic became ingrained in US nuclear doctrine and persisted for the duration of the Cold War. As long as the strategic US nuclear forces could overwhelm their USSR counterparts, a Soviet preemptive strike could be averted. Moreover, the USSR could not afford to build any reasonable counterforce as the economic output of the United States was far larger than that of the Soviets, and they would be unable to achieve nuclear parity. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...


Soviet nuclear doctrine, however, did not match US nuclear doctrine. Soviet planning expected a large-scale nuclear exchange followed by a conventional war which itself would involve heavy use of tactical nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, US doctrine rather assumed that Soviet doctrine was similar—the mutual in Mutually Assured Destruction necessarily requiring that the other side see things in much the same way, rather than believing, as the Soviets did, that they could and would fight a large-scale, combined nuclear and conventional war.


A revolution in nuclear strategic thought occurred with the introduction of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the USSR first successfully tested in May 1957. In order to deliver a warhead to a target, a missile was more cost-effective than a bomber, and enjoyed a higher survivability due to the enormous difficulty of interception of the ICBMs due to their high altitude and speed. The USSR could now afford to achieve nuclear parity with the US in terms of raw numbers, although for a time they appeared to have chosen not to. ICBM redirects here. ... A B61 nuclear bomb in various stages of assembly; the nuclear warhead is the bullet-shaped silver cannister in the middle-left of the photograph. ... For other uses, see Missile (disambiguation). ...


Photos of Soviet missile sites set off a wave of panic in the US military, something the launch of Sputnik would do for the public a few months later. Politicians, notably then-US Senator John Kennedy suggested a "missile gap" between the Soviets and the US. The US military gave missile development programs the highest national priority, and several spy aircraft and reconnaissance satellites were designed and deployed to observe Soviet progress. Sputnik 1 The Sputnik program was a series of unmanned space missions launched by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s to demonstrate the viability of artificial satellites. ... Type Upper House President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R since January 20, 2001 President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D since January 4, 2007 Members 100 Political groups Democratic Party Republican Party Last elections November 7, 2006 Meeting place Senate Chamber United States Capitol Washington, DC United States... JFK redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A military aircraft used for monitoring enemy activity, usually carrying no armament. ... A spy satellite (officially referred to as a reconnaissance satellite or recon sat) is an Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications. ...


The 1960s

RF-101 Voodoo reconnaissance photograph of the MRBM launch site in San Cristobal, Cuba (1962).

Issues came to a head during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The Soviet Union placed medium range missiles ninety miles from the US—a move considered by many as a direct response to American Jupiter missiles placed in Turkey; however, these Jupiter missiles were already somewhat obsolete. After intense negotiation, the Soviets ended up removing the missiles from Cuba and decided to institute a massive building program of their own. In exchange, the US dismantled its launch sites in Turkey although this was done secretly and not publicly revealed for over two decades. Khrushchev did not even reveal this part of the agreement when he came under fire by political opponents for mishandling the crisis. By the late 1960s the number of ICBMs and warheads was so high on both sides that either the USA or USSR was capable of completely destroying the other country's infrastructure. Thus a balance of power system known as mutually assured destruction (MAD) came into being. It was thought that any full-scale exchange between the powers could not produce a victorious side and thus neither would risk initiating one. Download high resolution version (800x809, 178 KB)U.S. reconnaissance photograph of soviet missile sites on Cuba, taken from a Lockheed U-2 spy plane following the Cuban missile crisis. ... Download high resolution version (800x809, 178 KB)U.S. reconnaissance photograph of soviet missile sites on Cuba, taken from a Lockheed U-2 spy plane following the Cuban missile crisis. ... The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo was a supersonic military aircraft flown by the USAF and the RCAF. Initially designed as a long-range bomber escort (known as a penetration fighter) for the Strategic Air Command, the Voodoo served in a variety of other roles, including the fighter bomber, all-weather... For the video game based on the possible outcomes of this event, see Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath. ... Jupiter IRBM mobile missile The Jupiter Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, first tested in 1957, was the United States second Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). ... In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. ... Mutually assured destruction (MAD) is the doctrine of military strategy in which a full scale use of nuclear weapons by one of two opposing sides would result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender. ...


One drawback of this doctrine was the possibility of a nuclear war occurring without either side intentionally striking first. Early warning systems are notoriously error-prone. On 78 occasions in 1979, for example, a "missile display conference" was called to evaluate detections potentially threatening to the North American continent. Some of these were trivial errors, spotted quickly. But several went to more serious levels. It is claimed that on 26 September 1983, Stanislav Petrov received convincing indications of a US first strike launch against the USSR but positively identified the warning as a false alarm. Though it is unclear what role Petrov's actions played in preventing a nuclear war, he has been honored by the United Nations for his actions. A warning system is any system of biological or technical nature deployed by an individuum or group to inform of imminent danger. ... is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Jimi Hendrix song, see 1983. ... Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станислав Евграфович Петров) (born c. ...


Similar incidents happened many times in the US, due to failed computer chips, flights of geese, test programs, bureaucratic failures to notify early warning military personnel of legitimate launches of test or weather missiles. And for many years, US strategic bombers were kept airborne on a rotating basis round the clock until the sheer number and gravity of accidents persuaded policymakers it was not worth it.


The 1970s

By the late 1970s, citizens in the US and USSR (and indeed the entire world) had been living with MAD for about a decade. It became deeply ingrained into the popular culture. Such an exchange would have killed many millions of individuals directly and possibly induced a nuclear winter which could have led to the death of a large portion of humanity and certainly the collapse of global civilization. Nuclear winter is a hypothetical global climate condition that is predicted to be a possible outcome of a large-scale nuclear war. ...


In May 18, 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test in the Pokhran test range. The name of the operation was Operation Smiling Buddha and India termed the test as a "peaceful nuclear explosion". is the 138th day of the year (139th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... Pokhran (also spelt Pokaran) is a city and a municipality in Jaisalmer district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. ... The so-called Smiling Buddha was the first test fission explosion by India on May 18, 1974. ...


According to the 1980 United Nations report General and Complete Disarmament: Comprehensive Study on Nuclear Weapons: Report of the Secretary-General, it was estimated that in total there were approximately 40,000 nuclear warheads in existence at that time with a total yield of approximately 13,000 megatons of TNT. By comparison, when the volcano Mount Tambora erupted in 1815 (turning 1816 into the Year Without A Summer due to the levels of ash expelled), it exploded with a force of roughly 1000 megatons of TNT. Many people believed that a full-scale nuclear war could result in the extinction of the human species, though not all analysts agreed on the assumptions required for these models. UN redirects here. ... A megaton or megatonne is a unit of mass equal to 1,000,000 metric tons, i. ... R-phrases S-phrases Related Compounds Related compounds picric acid hexanitrobenzene Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a chemical compound with the formula C6H2(NO2)3CH3. ... Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska photographed from the International Space Station For other uses, see Volcano (disambiguation). ... Mount Tambora (or Tomboro) is an active stratovolcano on Sumbawa island, Indonesia. ... Development of global average temperatures during the last thousand years. ... Human extinction is the as-yet hypothetical extinction of the human species, Homo sapiens. ...


The idea that any nuclear conflict would eventually escalate was a challenge for military strategists. This challenge was particularly severe for the United States and its NATO allies because it was believed until the 1970s that a Soviet tank invasion of Western Europe would quickly overwhelm NATO conventional forces, leading to the necessity of escalating to tactical nuclear weapons. This article is about the military alliance. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...


A number of interesting concepts were developed. Early ICBMs were inaccurate, which led to the concept of countervalue strikes—attacks directly on the enemy population leading to a collapse of the enemy's will to fight. However, it appears that this was the American interpretation of the Soviet stance while the Soviet strategy was never clearly anti-population.[citation needed] During the Cold War the USSR invested in extensive protected civilian infrastructure such as large nuclear proof bunkers and non-perishable food stores. In the US, by comparison, smaller scale Civil Defense programs were instituted starting in the 1950's where school, and other public buildings had basements stocked with nonperishable food supplies, canned water, first aid, Dosimeter and Geiger Counter radiation measuring devices. Many of the locations were given "Fallout Shelter" designation signs. Also, CONELRAD Radio information systems were adopted, whereby the commercial radio sector would broadcast on two AM frequencies in the event of a CD emergency. These two frequencies can be seen on 50's vintage radios on online auction sites and museums, with many of these radios still in use on tabletops across America. Also, the occasional backyard fallout shelter was built by private individuals. Countervalue refers to the military strategy of targeting ones forces on what the enemy values most, such as infrastructure and civilians. ...


The US also made a point during this period of targeting their missiles on Russian population centers rather than military targets. If the Soviets attacked first, then there would be no point in destroying empty missile silos that had already launched; the only thing left to hit would be cities. By contrast, if America had gone to great lengths to protect their citizens and targeted the enemy's silos, that might have led the Russians to believe the US was planning a first strike, where they would eliminate Soviet missiles while still in their silos and be able to survive a weakened counter attack in their reinforced bunkers. In this way, both sides were (theoretically) assured that the other would not strike first, and a war without a first strike will not occur.


This strategy had one major and possibly critical flaw, soon realised by military analysts but highly underplayed by the US military: Conventional NATO forces in the European theatre of war were considered to be outnumbered by similar Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces, and while the western countries invested heavily in high-tech conventional weapons to counter this (partly perceived) imbalance, it was assumed that in case of a major Soviet attack (commonly perceived as the "red tanks rolling towards the North Sea" scenario) that NATO, in the face of conventional defeat, would soon have no other choice but to resort to tactical nuclear strikes. Most analysts agreed that once the first nuclear exchange had occurred, escalation to global nuclear war would become almost inevitable. This article is about the military alliance. ... -1... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ...


So, while official US policy was that nuclear weapons were "weapons of last resort", the reality was that the lack of strength of conventional NATO forces would force the US to either abandon Western Europe or use nuclear weapons in its defense. Official NATO doctrine had been critically flawed from the outset and nuclear war would have been a very real possibility had actual conflict occurred.


This major flaw, although largely ignored by the military community, quickly gathered public interest and many movies and books were based upon this and several other weaknesses in the policy of mutually assured destruction. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) is the doctrine of military strategy in which a full scale use of nuclear weapons by one of two opposing sides would result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender. ...


As missile technology improved, the emphasis moved to counter-force strikes: ones that directly attacked the enemy's means of waging war. This was the predominant doctrine from the late 1960s onwards. Additionally the development of warheads (at least in the US) moved towards delivering a small explosive force more accurately and with a "cleaner" blast (with fewer long-lasting radioactive isotopes). In any conflict therefore, damage would have been initially limited to military targets, there may well have been "withholds" for targets near civilian areas. The argument was that the destruction of a city would be a military advantage to the attacked. The enemy had used up weapons and a threat in the destruction while the attacked was relieved of the need to defend the city and still had their entire military potential untouched. Radioactivity may mean: Look up radioactivity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Isotope (disambiguation). ...


Only if a nuclear conflict were extended into a number of "spasm" strikes would direct strikes against civilians occur, as the more accurate weapons would be expended early; if one side were "losing", the potential for using less accurate submarine-launched missiles would occur. For other uses, see Submarine (disambiguation). ...


The 1980s

There was a growing shift to the USSR which was slowly gaining an advantage in terms of weapons. The presidency of Ronald Reagan saw a vast military expansion unprecedented in history. Reagan redirects here. ...


Another major shift in nuclear doctrine was the development of the submarine-launched ballistic (nuclear) missile, the SLBM. It was hailed by some military theorists as a weapon that would make nuclear war less likely. SLBMs, which can move with stealth virtually anywhere in the world, give a nation a "second strike" capability. Before the advent of SLBMs, thinkers feared that a nation might be tempted to initiate a first strike if it felt confident that such a strike would incapacitate the nuclear arsenal of its enemy, making retaliation impossible. With the advent of SLBMs, no nation could be certain that a first strike would incapacitate its enemy's entire nuclear arsenal. To the contrary, it would have to fear a retaliatory second strike from SLBMs. Thus a first strike was much less of a feasible option, and nuclear war was held to be less likely. For other uses, see Submarine (disambiguation). ... French M45 SLBM and M51 SLBM Submarine-launched ballistic missiles or SLBMs are ballistic missiles delivering nuclear weapons that are launched from submarines. ...


However, it was soon realized that submarines could "sneak up" close to enemy coastlines and decrease the warning time—the time between detection of the launch and impact of the missile—from as much as half an hour to under three minutes. This effect was especially significant to the United States, Britain, and China, with their capitals all within 100 miles (160 km) of their coasts. Moscow was more secure from this type of threat. This greatly increased the credibility of a "surprise first strike" by one of the factions and theoretically made it possible to knock out or disrupt the chain of command before a counterstrike could be ordered. It strengthened the notion that a nuclear war could be "won", resulting not only in greatly increased tension, and increasing calls for fail-deadly control systems, but also in a dramatic increase in military spending. The submarines and their missile systems were very expensive (one fully equipped nuclear powered nuclear missile submarine could easily cost more than the entire GNP of a third world nation),[5] but the greatest cost came in the development of both sea- and land-based anti-submarine defenses and in improving and strengthening the chain of command. As a result, military spending skyrocketed. IS the order you go to see people in. ... Fail Deadly is a concept in military strategy which encourages deterrence by guaranteeing an immediate, automatic and overwhelming response to an attack. ... Template:Push up GNP redirects here. ... For the Jamaican reggae band, see Third World (band). ...


Post-Cold War

Although the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the Cold War and greatly reduced tensions between the United States and Russia, both nations remained in a "nuclear stand-off" due to the continuing presence of a significant number of warheads in both nations. Additionally, the end of the Cold War led the United States to become increasingly concerned with the development of nuclear technology by other nations outside of the former Soviet Union. In 1995, a branch of the U.S. Strategic Command produced an outline of forward-thinking strategies in the document "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence". Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence is a document produced in 1995 as a Terms of Reference by the Policy Subcommittee of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the United States Strategic Command (current USSTRATCOM, former CINCSTRAT), a branch of the Department of Defense. ...


The former chair of the United Nations disarmament committee states there are more than 16,000 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons ready for deployment and another 14,000 in storage. The U.S. has nearly 7,000 ready for action and 3,000 in storage and Russia has about 8,500 on hand and 11,000 in storage, he said. China has 400 nuclear weapons, Britain 400, France 350, India 95, and Pakistan 50. North Korea is confirmed as having nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many (a common estimate is between 1 and 10). Also, despite denials, Israel is also widely believed to have nuclear weapons. NATO has stationed 480 U.S. nuclear weapons in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and Turkey, with several other countries in pursuit of an arsenal of their own.[6] Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to develop nuclear weapons[2] and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea. ...


A key development in nuclear warfare in the 2000s has been the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the developing world, with Pakistan and India both publicly testing nuclear devices and North Korea conducting an underground nuclear test on October 9, 2006. The U.S. Geological Survey measured a 4.2 magnitude earthquake in the area where the test occurred. Iran, meanwhile, has embarked on a nuclear program which, while officially for civilian purposes, has come under scrutiny by the United Nations and individual states. World map with nuclear weapons development status represented by color. ... For the Jamaican reggae band, see Third World (band). ... is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Recent studies undertaken by the CIA cite the enduring India-Pakistan conflict as the most likely to escalate into nuclear war. During the Kargil War in 1999, Pakistan came close to using their nuclear weapons in case of further deterioration.[7] In fact, Pakistan's foreign minister had even warned that they would "use any weapon in our arsenal", hinting at a nuclear strike against India; the statement was condemned by the international community with Pakistan denying it later on. It remains the only war between two declared nuclear powers. The CIA Seal The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an American intelligence agency, responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, and reporting such information to the various branches of the U.S. Government. ... Combatants  India  Pakistan, Kashmiri secessionists, Islamic militants (Foreign Fighters) Strength 30,000 5,000 Casualties Indian Official Figures: 527 killed,[1][2][3] 1,363 wounded[4] 1 POW Pakistani Estimates: 357-500 killed[5][6] (Pakistan troops) 665+ soldiers wounded[5] 8 POW.[7] The Kargil War, also known...


The 2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff again stoked fears of nuclear war between the two countries. The 2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff was a military standoff between India and Pakistan that resulted in the amassing of troops on either side of the International Border (IB) and along the Line of Control (LoC) in the region of Kashmir. ...


Despite these very serious threats, relations between India and Pakistan have been improving somewhat over the last few years. A bus line directly linking Indian and Pakistani administered Kashmir has recently been established.


Another flashpoint which has analysts worried is a possible conflict between the United States and the People's Republic of China over Taiwan. Although economic forces have decreased the possibility of military conflict, there remains the worry that increasing military buildup and a move toward Taiwan independence could spin out of control. Taiwan independence (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: , Pe̍h-oē-jī: Tâi-oân To̍k-li̍p ūn-tōng; abbreviated to 台獨, Táidú, Tâi-to̍k) is a political movement whose goal is primarily to create an independent and sovereign Republic of Taiwan out of the...


A third potential flashpoint lies in the Middle East, where Israel is thought to possess between one and four hundred nuclear warheads (this has never been officially confirmed by Israel; however, Mordechai Vanunu, the former nuclear technician on whose 1986 revelations much of the above is based, was kidnapped by Mossad agents from Italy, spent 18 years in detention on charges of "grave espionage", and is still forbidden to leave Israel and is subject to severe restrictions—which tends to lend credence to what he told the British Sunday Times). Further, persistent rumors in the international press[citation needed] (likewise never confirmed by Israel) assert that the submarines which Israel received from Germany have been adapted to carry missiles with nuclear warheads, so as to give Israel a Second strike capacity.[8] Israel has been involved in wars with its neighbours on numerous occasions, and its small geographic size would mean that in the event of future wars the Israeli military might have very little time to react to a future invasion or other major threat; the situation could escalate to nuclear warfare very quickly in some scenarios. In addition, the fact that Iran appears to many observers to be in the process of developing a nuclear weapon has heightened fears of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East, either with Israel or with Iran's Sunni neighbours. A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... Mordechai Vanunu in the garden of St. ... For the organization that coordinated pre-state Jewish immigration, see Mossad Lealiyah Bet. ... The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper distributed in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International which is in turn owned by News Corporation. ... USS Los Angeles A submarine is a specialized watercraft that can operate underwater. ... In nuclear strategy, second strike capability is a countrys assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retalliation against the attacker. ... Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. ...


Potential consequences of a regional nuclear war

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that even a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear conflict scenario where two opposing nations in the subtropics would each use 50 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons (ca. 15 kiloton each) on major populated centers, the researchers estimated fatalities from 2.6 million to 16.7 million per country. Also, as much as five million tons of soot would be released, which would produce a cooling of several degrees over large areas of North America and Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions. The cooling would last for years and could be "catastrophic" according to the researchers.[9] The American Geophysical Union (or AGU) is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting (as of 2006) of over 49,000 members from over 140 countries. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The subtropics are the zones of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropic zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitude 23. ... For other uses, see Eurasia (disambiguation). ...


Sub-strategic use

The above examples envisage nuclear warfare at a strategic level, i.e. total war. However, many nuclear powers are believed to have the ability to launch more limited engagements. Total war is a military conflict in which nations mobilize all available resources in order to destroy another nations ability to engage in war. ...


The United Kingdom has reserved the possibility of launching a sub-strategic nuclear strike against an enemy, described by its Parliamentary Defence Select Committee as "the launch of one or a limited number of missiles against an adversary as a means of conveying a political message, warning or demonstration of resolve". This would see the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons in a very limited role rather than the battlefield exchanges of tactical nuclear weapons. The Defence Committee is one of the Select Committees of the British House of Commons. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 lifted nuclear fallout some 18 km (60,000 feet) above the epicenter. ...


British Trident SSBN submarines are believed to carry some missiles for this purpose, potentially allowing a strike as low as one kiloton against a single target. Former Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind argued that this capacity offset the reduced credibility of fullscale strategic nuclear attack following the end of the Cold War. The Vanguard class are the Royal Navys current nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), each armed with up to 16 Trident II SLBMs. ... It has been proposed below that SSBN be renamed and moved to Ballistic missile submarine. ... A megaton or megatonne is a unit of mass equal to 1,000,000 metric tons, i. ... Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind, KCMG, QC (born 21 June 1946) is a Scottish Conservative and Unionist politician and Member of Parliament for the constituency of Kensington and Chelsea. ...


Commodore Tim Hare, former Director of Nuclear Policy at the UK's Ministry of Defence, has described it as offering the Government "an extra option in the escalatory process before it goes for an all-out strategic strike which would deliver unacceptable damage".[10] Main Building - The Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, Westminster, London Tri-service badge of the UK armed forces The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and the headquarters of the UK military. ...


However, this sub-strategic capacity has been criticized as potentially increasing the acceptability of using nuclear weapons. The related consideration of new generations of limited yield battlefield nuclear weapons by the United States has also alarmed anti-nuclear groups, who believe it will make the use of nuclear weapons more acceptable.


Nuclear terrorism

Main article: Nuclear terrorism

Nuclear terrorism by non-state organizations is an unknown factor in nuclear deterrence thinking, as states possessing nuclear weapons are susceptible to retaliation in kind, but sub- or trans-state actors are not. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the possibility that former Soviet nuclear weapons might become available on the black market (so-called 'loose nukes'), while no warheads are known to be have been mislaid, it has been alleged that suitcase-size bombs might be unaccounted for. A similar threat may exist via so-called dirty bombs. Nuclear terrorism denotes the use of nuclear weapons, radiological weapons (dirty bombs), or attacks against local facilities that handle nuclear material with mass destruction in mind. ... Nuclear terrorism denotes the use of nuclear weapons, radiological weapons (dirty bombs), or attacks against local facilities that handle nuclear material with mass destruction in mind. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into underground economy. ... A suitcase bomb is a bomb which uses a suitcase as its delivery method. ... The term dirty bomb is primarily used to refer to a radiological dispersal device (RDD), a radiological weapon which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. ...


References

Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ...

See also

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Bush and Putin suggest potential for World War III

Image File history File links WikiNews-Logo. ... Wikinews is a free-content news source and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. ... The Atomic Age was a phrase used for a time in the 1950s in which it was believed that all power sources in the future would be atomic in nature. ... Deterrence theory is a defensive strategy developed after World War II and used throughout the Cold War. ... Minutes to Midnight redirects here, along with other titles incorporating that term. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence is a document produced in 1995 as a Terms of Reference by the Policy Subcommittee of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the United States Strategic Command (current USSTRATCOM, former CINCSTRAT), a branch of the Department of Defense. ... For other uses, see Four Horsemen. ... The Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons[1] was an advisory opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 8 July 1996. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Nuclear Holocaust is the concept of the eradication of the human race through the means of Nuclear warfare. ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... The 1957 photograph of Miss Atomic Bomb, a Las Vegas showgirl with a mushroom cloud dress, has often been used as representative of Cold War kitsch and a symbol of the effects of nuclear weapons on American popular culture. ... square leg is also a cricket fielding position. ... The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a proposal by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983[1] to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. ... For other uses, see Survivalism (disambiguation). ... A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a weapon which can kill large numbers of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e. ... A nuclear holocaust is often associated with World War III For other uses, see World War III (disambiguation). ... Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth are existential risks that could threaten mankind as a whole, have adverse consequences for the course of human civilization, or even cause the end of planet Earth. ... For other uses, see Disaster (disambiguation). ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
nuclear warfare - information on nuclear warfare at Answers.com (4055 words)
In the history of nuclear weapons, only twice were nuclear arms used in war (the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), and only by one side in the confrontation.
It is in this latter mode that nuclear warfare is usually alluded to as a doomsday scenario.
A key development in nuclear warfare in the 2000s has been the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the developing world, with Pakistan and India both publicly testing nuclear devices and North Korea conducting an underground nuclear test on October 9, 2006.
Nuclear weapon at AllExperts (2702 words)
Nuclear weapons delivery— the technology and systems used to bring a nuclear weapon to its target—is an important aspect of nuclear weapons relating both to nuclear weapon design and nuclear strategy.
Nuclear weapons were symbols of military and national power, and nuclear testing was often used both to test new designs as well as to send political messages.
Nuclear weapons have been at the heart of many national and international political disputes and have played a major part in popular culture since their dramatic public debut in the 1940s and have usually symbolized the ultimate ability of mankind to utilize the strength of nature for destruction.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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