Military Technology and the Military Industrial Complex

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  • 1. Military Technology  After WW2 the USA led the world in military technology  The USA was the only country with an atom bomb  The USA was determined to maintain its position as the leading military power on the planet
  • 2. Why did the US want to be dominant  The USA believed it was essential to stay ahead of the USSR in the Cold War  The USA regarded itself as the defender of the 'free world' against communist expansion  The US economy was very strong and the government put massive resources into the research and development of military technology  A majority of the US population supported the government – defend the 'American way of life'
  • 3. Nuclear Weapons  1945 – beginning of the nuclear age  1949 – USSR develops an atom bomb  Truman approves programme to develop Hydrogen Bomb  A super bomb 1,000 more powerful than normal atom bombs  1952 – USA tests hydrogen bomb
  • 4. B-52s  USA needed planes capable of dropping nuclear bombs on Russia  Built B-52 Stratofortress  Used for dropping conventional bombs on Vietnam
  • 5. Rockets  Nazis developed rockets during WW2  USA used the work of the Nazis to expand their rocket programme  Early 1960s developed the medium range Pershing missile with a range of 650KM  ICBMs developed under Eisenhower  The Minuteman had a range of 1,600Km  Poseidon could carry multiple warheads and a range of 6,000 Km  Replaced by Trident in 1979
  • 6. Early Warning Systems  USSR matched developments in nuclear and missile technology  USA believed that an Early Warning System was vital  All USA to counter-attack with its nuclear arsenal  Distant Early Warning System (DEW) – radar stations across Northern Canada and Alaska  Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) – airborne 24 hours a day.
  • 7. Non-Nuclear Technology  Development of Jet airplanes  Air-to-Air missiles – Sidewinder  Reconnaissance / spy planes – U2  Unmanned drones in 1970s & 80s – advances in computer technology  Helicopters – Korean and Vietnam Wars  Large Aircraft Carriers
  • 8. Military Industrial Complex  1950 – total US budget = $40bilion  $12billion spent on military expenditure  1960 – total US budget = $92bilion  $60billion spent on military expenditure  Major industry developed as a result of this spending  Boeing, Lockheed, IBM  Eisenhower – Military Industrial Complex  The military, industry and politicians had a vested interest in stoking Cold War fears and an aggressive foreign policy