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Both countries began developing their weapons so as to be able to ‘outgun’ their opponents. This meant:
developing more powerful weapons
Having more of one weapon than the other side
WHY NUCLEAR WEAPONS?
Cheaper than having a large army
They were a deterrent. The idea was to have so many missiles that they could not all be destroyed. If one side attacked then it knew that the other could retaliate. This was known as MAD – MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION.
For some the Arms Race was a test of the strengths of Capitalism v communism
Why was there a nuclear arms race? 450 ICBMs 250 Medium range missiles 2,260 Bombers 16,000Tanks 32 Nuclear submarines 260 Conventional submarines 76 Battleships and carriers 76 IBMs 700 Medium range bombers 1,600 bombers 38,000 Tanks 12 Nuclear submarines 495 Conventional submarines 0 Battleships and cruisers
‘ The Sputniks prove that communism has won the competition between communist and capitalist countries. The economy, science, culture and the creative genius of people in all areas of life develop better and faster under communism.’