What was the situation in Europe by 1949?
Europe was divided into two camps because of disagreements over how Germany should be governed. The USA supported Western Europe and the Soviet Union supported its satellite states.
How did the tension between the superpowers increase in the 1950s?
Tension increased because both the USA and USSR tried to win military supremacy, which resulted in an arms race that meant each side having such powerful weapons that they could destroy the planet many times over.
Timeline Question 1: When did the USA develop the first atomic bomb?
1945, it was tested before the Potsdam conference and used several days after the conference on Hiroshima.
Timeline Question 2: When did the USSR develop their first atomic bomb?
The first Soviet bomb was detonated on August 29, 1949, shocking the entire world.
Timeline Question 3: When did the USA successfully test the first hydrogen bomb?
November 1952, code-named “Ivy Mike”.
Timeline Question 4: What happened in January 1952?
Eisenhower became US President.
Timeline Question 5: When did Stalin die?
Timeline Question 6: When did the USSR develop the first hydrogen bomb?
Timeline Question 7: What happened in May 1955?
The German Federal Republic (West Germany) joins NATO.
Timeline Question 8: When did Krushchev (new leader of the USSR) make a speech criticising Stalin?
Timeline Question 9: What happened in November 1956?
The Hungarian Uprising was crushed by the USSR.
Timeline Question 10: When did the USA launch its first ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile)?
Timeline Question 11: When did the USSR test its first ICBM?
What consequence did the USA’s successful testing and use of the atomic bomb have on relations between the USA and USSR?
It started an Arms Race and massively increased tension between the superpowers. Initially, it gave the USA the upper hand, but the Soviet Union used spies to get the secret science behind atomic weaponry and so the full nuclear arms race had begun.
What was the effect of the development of hydrogen bombs by both superpowers from 1952-53?
This made the potential effects of a war even more terrible. The hydrogen bomb was 1,000 more powerful than the atomic bomb and so both superpowers could now destroy the entire world. This served to increase tension, not only between the USA and USSR, but across the entire planet.
What consequences did the development of ICBMs have for the Cold War?
This led directly to the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.). Before the nuclear arms race, developing new, more powerful weapons (conventional weapons) had been an attempt to win a potential war. Now, weapons were being developed to try and stop the other side from going to war at all. Because both sides knew the risks involved in using nuclear weapons, they acted as a deterrent.