Just as World War Two was ending a new conflict rose, the cold war. Beginning in 1947, two powerful countries the Soviet Union and the United States of America came to a disagreement. The Soviet Union was installing communist-leaning governments in Eastern European countries that the USSR had liberated from Nazi control during the war. America and British countries feared that communism would spread worldwide. This paper reflects on the article “General, I Have Fought Just as Many Nuclear Wars as You Have.” Written by Connelly et al. Previsions of the future played a role in costs and nuclear weapons needed by both parties, as well as how long it would last for.
Predictions needed to “obtain that accurate, comprehensive, long-range information without which no strategic board can plan for the future.” (Memorandum of Establishment of Service of Strategic Information, 2007). Although predictions were based only on opinions and guesses, there was no actual method for these previsions. Previsions commended when analysts began to determine when the USSR would recover and be ready to challenge The United States in the Cold War. Practitioners previsioned the Cold War would only be resolved through nuclear war, these same predictions lead both sides, the Soviet Union and America to a race, a race of who can build the most and powerful nuclear weapons. In 1960, the Soviet Union matched up to the United States with weapons, that lead Washington to invest more into bureaucratic structures, technology forecasts and computer stimulated conflicts to prepare for a potential nuclear war.
As the previsions rose the more people did not think this was going to end. It was believed that the preservation of civilization was dependant on “mutual assured destruction” claims (Connelly et al., 2018 p.1433). That same prevision made Americans believe that there was going to be a World War three according to a ‘Gallup Poll’. Each prevision made each country work harder and faster to build more nuclear weapons. In 1950, the JIC (now the CIA) predicted that it would take the Soviet Union five years to build an atomic bomb. That prediction was based on the views of Los Alamos scientists using the same build of bombs taking approximately the same length to build. Again in 1951 a newspaper article claims that the Soviet Union aircraft may be dropping bombs on 20 American cities. Scared that the United States would become vulnerable once again to a surprise attack alike Pearl Harbour in 1941 based on this prevision, they begin to build and build as many nuclear weapons, and eventually landing some nuclear weapons on Hiroshmia and Nagaski. By the end of the Cold War The U.S government produced more than 70,000 nuclear weapons costing approximately 5 trillion.
Live news played during this time suggested to Americans to ‘duck and cover’ if a nuclear attack were to happen and to build ‘safe rooms’ typically underground with enough food and water to last them. All in all America faced no nuclear attack during the Cold war, it was the previsions that made them believe so. The entire was based on predictions of the opponent and when, if ever they would drop their nuclear weapons. The cold war was expected to have a lot of violence at a very fast pace, which is the opposite of conventional war that is planned and allowed time to adjust and deploy force.
I gave an understanding to why previsioning attempts encourage the view that the Cold War would be resolved only through nuclear war. This is shown by both opponents receiving predictions and basing the build, time and money spent to know when, how and how much is needed to protect or fight. If predictions were different, the war could’ve ended a lot differently or even if there was no predictions at all.
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