Growth of Nuclear Weapons

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Since the end of the Second World War, countries have become concerned on how they can manage the use of nuclear weapons however, some countries that have nuclear weapons in their military bases and are continuing to develop other.

During this period, the United States and Soviet Union had the largest reserves and potential of developing nuclear weapons; they accounted for 97% of the reserves (Plame, 2010). This paper discusses the reasons behind the rapid growth in the number of nuclear weapons until the mid-eighties; it will focus on Russia and United States.

Nuclear weapon Reserves

The exact number of nuclear weapons that have been developed in the world cannot be estimated accurately however, it is estimated that approximately 128 000 weapons have been produced since 1930s. The United States is thought to have the largest share of the weapons with, 55% followed at a distance by Soviet Union, with 43%. Of the 128,000, approximately 12 500 are active while the rest are in a dismantlement state.

After and during the Second World War, countries embarked on massive technologies to develop the weapons for destructive reasons. They were feeling that the weapons were the only ones that can protect their interests (Richard, 2002).

World power struggles

The first country to develop nuclear weapons was Germany under the leadership of Hitler; after the development, the United states, which wanted to be the world super power felt that their position in the world control has been threatened; worked hard to counter the innovation of Germany, which Germans had kept a secret.

Their efforts were rewarded with the discovering that plutonium could be used for nuclear weapon making, Germans had used Uranium. On July 16, 1945, the country was able to make large amounts of plutonium for the weapon.

From the analysis above, it is clear that the United States decided to start making nuclear weapons after they were threatened of their withdrawal from power by the Germans, it was at a time that Germany was the leader in international trade as a net exporter so the United States saw all reasons to develop the weapons (Snow, 2006)..

As a security measure

The United States having developed their weapons and having enough potential of using nuclear weapon wanted to end Second World War, they thought the weapons could be of great essence in ending the war. President Harry Truman ordered an attack on Japan on August 6, 1945 a nuclear bomb was used to attack Hiroshima; the attack killed approximately 160,000 people.

Three days later another attack was done at Nagasaki in the same country killing another 70,000 people. The attack was seen as a surprise and was condemned by the Soviet Union that at the time had differences of usage of weapons with the Americans. The attack was to change the perception and lead to an increase in development of nuclear weapons in closed doors.

The attack that made by the united states triggered soviet Union to think of investing in nuclear attacks. They embarked on building nuclear plants that were kept a secret to other countries. Even after condemnation, the United States continued to develop other nuclear weapons that were more dangerous: in 1951, it tested its first hydrogen bomb.

The test triggered the seemed silent Soviet Union to test its weapons two years later 1953. In 1952, Britain declared its state in nuclear weapon and tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1958. France in 1960s detonated 30 bombs and declared that it had enough weapons in case of an attack.

After the tests and the declaration of Britain that it has nuclear power, it triggered and necessitated the United States and Soviet Union to develop their weapons even further.

This period saw politicians concerned about chances of an attack as it became evident that major world economies had invented and manufacture nuclear weapons in a move seen to wait for an attack. However, none of the nations was willing to surrender its weapons. India and Pakistan tested their nuclear bombs in the same years, 1998 (International Campaign to abolish Nuclear weapons, 2010).

Non-state actors getting access to the weapons raw materials

Other than, the weapons held by military personals in the United States and Soviet Union after the Second World War, there had been concerns that some there were some informal organisation developing the weapons in their backyards.

Terrorists had the financial capability and the will to buy nuclear weapons threaten the world security state; they are willing to control the world through terror attacks thus they could get materials from far countries for this noble goal.

There was black market where terrorists were likely to get access to these weapons. Russia has/had high nuclear weapons reserves but the measures that the county have taken to control their nuclear weapon are wanting. Other than access to the weapon themselves, there is also danger that the technology used in making these weapons may get on wrong hands and terrorists will be able to make their own missile weapons (Burch, 2008).

Terror groups were growing because of the untruthfulness that existed in the world, some countries were feeling they had been ignored in the distribution of power while other thought that having a destructive military force would assist them conquer the world.

Those countries that had been attacked earlier were faster in developing weapons for their future protection, they include countries like Japan and China. When terrorists develop a certain weapons, then it creates an urge to government and international bodies concerned with security to develop counter weapons. This led to more weapons being developed (Bernstein, 2008).


The danger facing the world is that some countries, which are thought to have the weapons, yet they do not declare. The growth of nuclear weapons can be traced after the end of the Second World War until the 1980s; it was triggered by fight for power, security concerns and emergence of Non-state actors.


Bernstein,P., 2008. International Partnerships to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. Washington: National Defence University Press.

Burch, T.,2008. Non-State Actors in the Nuclear Black Market: Proposing an International Legal Framework for Preventing Nuclear Expertise Proliferation & Nuclear Smuggling by Non-State Actors.

International Campaign to abolish Nuclear weapons.,2010. A brief history of nuclear weapons.

Plame, V.,2010. Nuclear terrorism is most urgent threat.

Richard, B. ,2002. Nuclear terrorism. New York: Nova Publishers.

Snow, M.,2006. Cases in International Relations, Portraits of the Future, 2nd Edition. New York: Pearson Longman.

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