The Development of Nuclear Weapons in the Age
The first nuclear bomb was developed in the early 1940s, and there have been a few cases where these weapons have been used. In those few cases, the damage these weapons caused has led to them being outlawed worldwide. So, if they have been globally banned then why do countries still have large stockpiles of these weapons? The most infamous event where nuclear weapons were used was probably World War II. In the final stage of the war, the United States detonated two atom bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The damage those caused to the cities was devastating at the time and still has knock on effects today on the people living there. Collectively the two bombs killed around 140,000 people by the end of 1945. Women pregnant at the time suffered incredibly high miscarriage rates and there was a heavy death rate amongst the newly born infants.
The effects felt nowadays are maybe just as horrific. It has significantly reduced the expected lifespan of the people living within the affected areas, there is a much higher than normal rate of people developing various types of thyroid and lung cancer. It is clear that the effects of these types of weapon are devastating on people but that is only the chemical side of the weapons. Without the weapons’ use of uranium they have roughly the same power as 15,000 tons of TNT. For comparison a modern-day missile like a Tomahawk has 1000 pounds of explosives (which is around 0.5 tons) and the damage that one of these missiles can cause is pretty devastating considering it has a fraction of the power of an atom bomb. So, it’s fair to say on explosive power alone they are incredibly devastating to the area they hit. The Cold War is another example of where nuclear weapons were present but lucky, they weren’t used. The Cold War was mostly between Russian (the USSR at the time) and the United States, but it wasn’t like a war of conflict and more a war of wits and intelligence. Both countries were massive military powers at the time and because of this, they were at a constant stalemate because both countries had access to a nuclear arsenal but neither country used them because they feared the effects it could have on the people of the respective countries they were defending after seeing the effect that they had on Japan. Also, because if one side gave in and used a missile that would make it acceptable for the other country and its allies to retaliate. This would be enough to stop countries from producing nuclear weapons.
Despite this, there are some countries still interested in the idea of nuclear weapons like Iran. In the past they have had a large number of sanctions placed on it mostly by the EU and United States, which resulted in the country being widely poverty-stricken, they got large limitations on the country’s ability to import and export goods which were also heavily regulated and monitored to the point where only the essentials were allowed through. But in more recent years the EU has been lifting all of the sanctions that they had previously been placed on the country, and whilst trump has been in office he has also lifted most of the sanctions that were placed on Iran by previous administrations. Since these sanctions were lifted this has now allowed Iran to start rebuilding its countries wealth. The president of Iran had a response to the actions taken by Trump which he responded with a warning that Iran could resume enriching uranium within a few weeks of the statement being mad if they so wished. This could mean that Iran is starting to build a nuclear arsenal of their own which would be a reason for other countries to have their own. Although I think that it is more plausible that they are using them to gain a more political standing within the region, since due to the sanctions that had been placed on them prior they had been pushed to the side by the other country. This shows that these weapons have used not only as a physical weapon and due to the image associated with them would make people more susceptible to being led by Iran due to the new treat they could pose.
Morally we must also be questioning the rationality of nuclear weapons, especially if the leaders of a given country are condoning that it’s ok to use such extreme sanctions like nuclear weapons to threaten their enemies. At the beginning of the atomic age (around about the end of World War II), atomic bombs were initially designed to end the war and save numerous lives. By this, I mean that debatably, countless lives were saved in the long run due to the fact that once the bomb had been dropped over Hiroshima the Japanese basically surrendered right then and there. If they hadn’t surrendered then, the war possibly would have gone on for a lot longer afterwards. In contrast to this, take a look at what nuclear weapons have become today, instead of saving people’s lives, atomic bombs are now being kept with the potential and maybe intention of unnecessary mass murder. Nowadays most of the world’s military powers have their own nuclear arsenal but just like the Cold War, they aren’t used by anyone mostly for the same reasons. There’s also the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation which is an international treaty where the objective is to limit the spread and distribution of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and instead to promote global cooperation to use nuclear in more beneficial ways. Although almost every county in the world has signed the treaty to prohibit these weapons around 14 countries still have stockpiles (granted they might not be large stockpiles) of nuclear warheads.
So why then do country’s still have them? There aren’t many good reasons for countries to still have them, we’ve all seen the effects that they can cause to the environment, infrastructure and life, so why are they still around? Well despite the best efforts in my research to find a good argument as to why we still have them I’ve come back with nothing. So I can only assume that we have the most as a show of strength to ward of any country thinking of making a move on them, but that point in of itself is redundant since all of the world’s largest militaries are the ones with these stockpiles and I’m pretty sure a country that doesn’t have those types of weapons would want to pick a fight with them. So I can’t understand why there is a need for these weapons when there doesn’t seem to be anyone defending the fact that there still here, this means we’re all just going to need to live with the fact that almost, if not all of the world’s largest military’s powers have stockpiles of these weapons and they won’t be going away anytime soon.
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