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Study Notes

The Atomic Bomb

Level:
GCSE
Board:
Edexcel

Last updated 12 Apr 2018

The Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on 6th August 1945. It was the first detonation of an atomic weapon against civilians. This first dropping was followed by a second detonation in Nagasaki three days later. Casualties reached over 100,000 between both bombs. The development of the atomic bomb caused friction between the Soviet Union and the United States.

The US had hoped that the atomic bomb would be a strong negotiating card to use with the Soviet Union. It had more significant potential. Due to the power of the bomb, US allies in Europe were able to feel more secure and would place their faith in American power. There was also a hope that the atomic bomb would scare the Soviet Union into giving into US demands over Eastern Europe.

In practice, this view was misguided. It is true that the Soviet Union was afraid of the power of the bomb, however, it did not allow freedom to reign, but unnerved Stalin and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union stepped up the development of a protective buffer zone of countries between the West and the Soviet Union.

In reaction to the US bomb, the Soviet Union developed their own bomb during 1949. This nuclear club was expanded by the mid sixties through Britain, France and China also developing nuclear weapons.

Both superpowers now had the ability to wipe out entire populations at the push of a button. The building of nuclear weapons, developed into an arms race  with each country building more and more weapons.

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