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Timeline of Events Leading to the SALT Talks

By Geronimo Devitt 09HIHA

The Marshall Plan was put into action

The U.S, headed by President Truman signed a document which enabled $13.3 billion USD to be sent over to Europe to help support the economy. This was done to strengthen US/Europe relations and to prevent the idealisms of communism/socialism from taking precedence. By utilising this plan, America was able to show the Russians that they did not agree with communism, further increasing political tensions.

 

NATO was formed

A selection of countries such as America and the UK formed together to create the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O). This organization was formed to create a united front against communism in the East. Countries used N.A.T.O as a means of sharing military secrets and weapons which was greatly beneficial during the Cold War, however there were some downsides such as vital information leaks as seen in the 'Cambridge 5'. 

The first Russian nuclear weapon (RDS-1) was tested

The Russians succesfully tested the RDS-1 bomb in Kazhakstan. This bomb sent a shockwave to the U.S who had not realized that their Manhatten project had been compromised, they had believed that the Soviets were still at least 5 years behind before creating a weapon that would rival their own. By launching this bomb, Russia was able to demonstrate its growing military might which vastly increased the worry between East and West.

First thermonuclear weapons test

The Americans had been developing a new type of bomb, much more capable than its predecessors. These bombs harnessed the use of primary fission to create destruction never seen by mankind. The first test of these bombs, codenamed 'Mike', occured in the Marshall Islands and paved the way to the modern nuclear weapon. With the development of this new weapon, Russia was quick to recreate their own, having their own succesful thermonuclear bomb test in 1955. 

Warsaw Pact

After the creation of N.A.T.O, the U.S.S.R seeked a means to oppose the threat of a 'united West', by forming the 'Warsaw Pact'. It was a defense treaty mirroring that of N.A.T.O, signed by members of the Easten Bloc to help defend against the West lest they attack.

First working ICBM (R-7)

The Russians were able to produce the first working ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile), it was able to traverse 6000kms with a payload of 5000kg in explosives. This was the first time in the war when Russia gained a technical advantage over its opposition. With the employment of the ICBM, America scrambled to catch up - creating their own only a year later. With the ICBM, came a new era of warfare that raised the stakes of conflict between the nations by tenfold.

Women strike for peace

In the U.S, 50,000 women took to the streets throughout the year to protest against the testing of nuclear weapons. It was the largest national womens peace protest of the 20th century. This event gave rise to talks of peace and was one of the first initiators of the SALT talks which occured almost 8 years later.

 

 

First ABM system employed

The Russians developed a succesful ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) system which they employed in the Moscow Area. This allowed for an efficent defense against airborne nuclear weapons. When the Americans heard of this technology they believed that it gave the Soviets a destabalizing advantage as it allowed them to strike first and resist retaliation. It was a common known fact at the time that who ever striked first, suffered the least. As the U.S came to terms with the capabilities of an ABM system, they approached Russia and from that point on, began negotiating and going forward with the SALT talks.

 

*I was not able to find the specific date for the completion of the ABM system, but it was in development from 1962-1969.

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