Cold War Arms Race


FIrst US Atomic Bomb Detonated

July 16, 1945

Began the threat of US nuclear superiority

USSR detonates their first atomic bomb

August 29, 1949

End of U.S. monopoly on atomic threat.

America tests hydrogen bomb


Also known as thermo-nuclear bomb, a significant power increase above a typical nuclear bomb.

Massive Retaliation

January 1954

Idea announced by Eisenhower, fueled the idea of MAD

First ICBM missile launched by USSR

21 August 1957

Named the R-7, was a significant range increase. Posed a major threat to the US because they could strike from farther than they could.

Sputnik put into orbit

4 October 1957

Major soviet advance in space-race, moral shift, showed society that the USSR was a very strong world power.

US develop ICBM technology

9 July 1959

U-2 Incident

1 May 1960

USAF spy aircraft shot down over USSR

First human spaceflight

12 April 1961

Soviets detonate Tsar Bomba

October 1961

An unnecessarily large bomb meant for intimidation

McNamara proposed idea of counterforce


Heavily criticized as only being preemptive.

Cuban MIssile Crisis

October 16 1962 - October 28 1962

Soviet missiles placed in Cuba, and US missiles in Turkey. End results were the withdrawal of missiles from Cuba and Turkey and the creation of the nuclear hotline.

Partial Test Ban Treaty

7 October 1963

Did not include China, but the other major world powers agreed to stop testing nuclear bombs anywhere but underground, partially because of the risk of nuclear fallout, and partially to slow the arms race and move towards détente

USSR develop defensive ABM systems


US develop MIRV systems


Added great accuracy to missiles

Non-Proliferation Treaty

5 March 1970

Nations with nuclear capabilities agreed to not spread nuclear weapons and technology to nations without nuclear capabilities.

USSR develop MIRV technology


Strategic Defense Initiative

March 23 1983

Proposed idea of a laser based anti-missile system, would be an end to MAD. Unrealistic technology, but in combination with the failing USSR economy, was enough to end the Cold War