The Valid Reasons Behind Nuclear War Anxiety
Nuclear War is such an emotional subject that many people see the weapons themselves as the common enemy of humanity”- Herman Kahn. Nuclear Warfare was discovered in the 1940s by physicists that were studying the atom. When it was discovered no one knew the effects that it would have on the world for years to come. One of the most devastating effects from the atomic bomb occurred when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and claimed thousands of lives. If Japan and the United states knew how to communicate and use the method of peace to solve problems, instead of trying to get even, then the thousands of lives that were taken could have been saved. Nuclear weapons should have never been used against Japan during World War II, Japan was willing to surrender, and if they would have been able to effectively communicate this to the Americans then lives could have been saved and fear and anxiety could have been prevented. Ironically, even the various scientists that worked on the project that created the bomb agreed that Hiroshima and Nagasaki should have never been bombed. Since the beginning of scientists attempts at studying nuclear war options people around the world have been scared of what will be due to the fact that it is the fear of the unknown.
Albert Einstein was a German Physicist that was born and lived in Germany during the time that Hitler came to power. Albert Einstein and his team members wrote a letter in the summer of 1939 to the United States that warned them that Hitler had physicists in Germany researching and attempting to develop nuclear weapons.. Einstein and his team wrote the letters because they were fearful that once Germany was finished with their research and developed their bombs that they would use them on the United States. After receiving the letter from the scientists the United States only interest was to create a weapon so powerful that it could wipe off part of the world. This interest led the United States to develop a top secret plan that would essentially develop the atomic bomb, this plan was the Manhattan Project. This project was the United States first search for atomic weapons. It took place during the late 1930s and early 1940s and the purpose of the project was to create a bomb through the division of atoms. The Manhattan Project ended up being a success that in the end created one of the most powerful and destructive bombs ever made which is the atomic bomb. With the creation of this and destructive bomb the President Harry Truman was faced with weighing all the factors that were involved in deciding to drop the bomb or not.
The first atomic bomb was tested in New Mexico in July of 1945. Since the United States wanted to put an end to the war with Japan and with creation of this new deadly bomb, the United States decided bomb Japan making it one of the most deadly bombings in US history. After the decision was made to bomb Japan with President Truman’s approval in August of 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. This bomb killed thousands in Hiroshima and the surrounding areas as well as caused mass destruction to the land. The blast killed and injured thousands of civilians as well as blasted four square miles alone of land. It is said that the President’s rationale for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was thought it would save thousands of Americans lives, however after the bomb was dropped the Japanese called for a truce and surrender as well as withdrew from the war. Although mass disaster came from the dropping of the bomb some good came from it. The good that came from it was that it served as a reminder to people around the world that the atom bomb is a weapon capable of mass destruction. The atomic bomb affected every one simply because of the power it possessed. Everyone around the world was affected emotionally as well as physically by the atomic bomb. Due to the after effects that come from the bomb a lot of people have or have even been injured, which is why the atom bomb brings so much fear into peoples lives because they constantly worry and wonder what would happen to their city if an atomic bomb were dropped on them. With the attempt at advancement with the nuclear bomb this lead the US into the cold war. All throughout the Cold War the United States and Russia were continuously thinking of bombing each other the only thing that stopped was the reminder of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showing how powerful the bomb was.
The Cold War was a tense and stressful time for many Americans, one of the reasons for this was because millions of lives could have been lost had the cold war occurred. The Cold War began at the end of World War II even though the United States and Russia were allies against Germany. Since the common enemy had been defeated in World War two, this gave the two power houses the opportunity to focus on each other. The reason that there was tension between the two countries was because America is a democracy and the Soviet Union is a communist nation which means the two countries have opposing views. Their opposing views caused so much tension between the two countries that they could not handle the thought of peacefully existing. Due to mounting tension Russia decided to align itself with Cuba and devise a plan to get rid of the Americans. America and Cuba have always had a bad relationship due to opposing views due to the opposing views Castro made the decision to align himself with Russia. After aligning with Russia Cuba then made the decision to use their location against America.
In 1962 when John F. Kennedy was the President of the United States he decoded a message that the Soviet Union was working on building secret missile bases off the coast of Florida in Cuba. Kennedy contemplated long and hard whether a plan of attack should be devised or not, but ultimately decided on attempting to settle the issue peacefully. Kennedy came to the decision that he would force the Russian Premier Khrushchev to remove all the missile bases that they built in Cuba. In order to execute his plan a naval blockade of Cuba was ordered so that Russian ships could no longer bring missiles and materials into the island. Due to the naval blockade that was ordered Premier Khrushchev ordered that if Cuba was invaded by US forces then in response the Soviet field commanders should launch their nuclear weapons. In the end, the situation worked out peacefully the way the President Kennedy wanted. The two sides agreed on a treaty that stated the US would remove any missiles that they had and Turkey and they had to promise that they would not invade Cuba, and the Soviet Union had to remove all nuclear contents from Cuba. It has been widely said that the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest that the world came to nuclear war. The crisis lasted between the two countries in October for thirteen days. Those thirteen days were some of the most fearful days that Americans ever experienced. The Crisis occurred because the Soviets had a fear of losing the nuclear arms race to the Americans, and the Cubans had a fear of the United States invading them.
It is said that the Cold War would have never occurred if the two countries would not have searched further into nuclear exploration, in the hopes of becoming the first country with nuclear weapons. One other way the two wars are similar is that the two countries that searched for the weapons of mass destruction were extremists countries who hated that the US could invade whenever they wanted to. September 11 was the beginning of the Iraq war. On this date the World Trade Centers were attacked by terrorists. Finally three years after the attack on the World Trade Centers the US declared war on Iraq. Fear struck out over many Americans after the war on Iraq was declared. The reason for this fear was because people felt that a nuclear attack could happen as a result of the war. The way many people handled their was by spending most of their time at home with their loved ones in order to be prepared in the event of an attack. This fear had not only an effect on emotions but flights as well. Most Americans at this time did not want to fly because they were afraid that the plane could be crashed and hijacked or not. There was only one upside to the fear that was brought on by this attack was, that it brought Americans closer together, and made more people want to attend church.
Now that we have discussed nuclear events that have occurred in history, lets discuss what type emotions or behaviors resulted from these weapons of mass destruction. A few different types of nuclear fear as well as a few events that display nuclear fear will be discussed throughout that rest of the paper. Japanese nuclear accounts as well as Japanese culture will be discussed mainly in terms of fear, but some American accounts and culture will be included as well.
To start let’s begin by discussing what nuclear fear is and how it came about. Nuclear fear is also known as Nucleomituphobia and it all started during the Cold War because Americans were so scared of these weapons of mass destruction that they would not even leave their house, because they were afraid that a nuclear attack could occur at any time. Not everyone was affected by Nucleomituphobia, but those who were affected by it stood out in a crowd. Those who possed the fear usually tried to stay away from heavily populated areas because they wanted to make sure to not draw attention to themselves if they are in public areas. This fear is considered a disease that one can only get from the research of nuclear development. If there was no research of nuclear warfare then Nucleomituphobia would go away because people would not have to worry if they were going to die today or not because potentially a terrorist could attack their city.
Another event that occurred in response to the creation of nuclear warfare was the creation of Gojira. This was a character in a movie that was created with hidden propaganda in it warning citizens about nuclear testing as well as nuclear weapons. The movie was created in 1954 and it was about “a giant lizard with festering skin, incandescent laser powers, and radioactive breath attacks on Japanese citizens” (Sayaka 1). Gojira resulted from nuclear testing gone wrong. Throughout the movie a character known as Dr. Yamane dropped many hints trying to influence that yes the oxygen bomb did in fact kill the only Gojira, however if we continue nuclear testing another Gojira could come about.
It has been found that nuclear weapons are the only weapons that have the largest causality producing rate and are the most dangerous to the environment. In today’s world there are various scientists, and engineers have access to information, the ability to get physical materials they need, a lot better understanding of scientific information, and organizations that are devoted to building weapons systems, however nuclear weapons are still the most powerful. The bombs are so powerful that half-life of one of the products given off by the bomb is plutonium 239 which lasts over 20, 000 years. Due to the length of life that plutonium has many people who have been exposed to it usually have seriously health problems that could be anywhere from different types of cancer to serious birth defects. The lasting effects that result from a nuclear bomb last for years to come making it an extremely difficult event to recover from.
At this point in time there is no solution to handle the aftermath that occurs from a nucear bomb that causes humans lives to be affected medically as well as economically. Ever case that has involved some type of nuclear explosion shows that the people who respond to and cleanup the explosion get affected by the radiation and usually die. Another fear that results during nuclear war is the catastrophic costs that result in response to the weapons. Every attempt to clean up after each incident costs the government billions every year and even still most of the areas that were affected were still contaminated after the clean up. It costs the state of Washington alone over 2 billion dollars a year to clean up after controlled explosions at the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. Its already cost them over 2 billion a year and they have only half way completed the clean up. This is an example of a controlled explosion and it cost that much to clean it can you imagine the costs to clean an area that was just blown up by a bomb. The surroumounting costs to clean explosions as well as the deaths and defects that result from the by products have been clearly understood by the public and now frequently stir up political disputes.
Since nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction the main priority of the United States is to keep these weapons from falling into to the hands of unstable, radical countries that will attack the United States because the weapons are so dangerous that they pose a great risk to the country. Only 9 countries are known to have nuclear weapons. These countries are for the most part in the middle east as well as Iran has the possibility of becoming the 10th country with nuclear weapons. The US has a large amount of fear with the Middle Eastern countries having these weapons because they are the most unstable countries. The reason they are unstable is because some of the countries that possess these weapons are weak and way too secure to sustain their weapons, which puts the world at risk for the weapons falling into the wrong hands. Various organizations and leaders from around the world are bound to prevent a dangerous situation like the weapons falling into the wrong hands from happening.
The drive and want for some governments to attempt to explore for nuclear power has been economically draining on the countries and placed many of some countries people into poverty. In order to explore the weapons you have to do research, you have to develop the bombs, you have to sustain the bombs, and you have to have security on the bombs so they do not fall into the wrong hands. In order to do all those things you have to have a lot of money because nuclear weapons are expensive and the only way for the government to pay for them is by taxing their citizens. The Soviet Union collapsed due to two things, the first was Chernobyl, and the second was the arms race with the US. Chernobyl economically impacted the Soviets negatively, it costs the Soviets 22% of their yearly budget. Both the events that caused the Soviet Union to collapse were brought upon by the Cold War. Had the Cold War not occurred then neither would any of the events that happened. The collapse of the Soviet Union was due to a combination of two things: the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and the arms race with America. The economic impacts of Chernobyl alone was costing the Soviet Union almost 22% of their annual federal budget. These events all stemmed from the Cold War, and if it had not been for that, there could have been a possibility that none of this would have ever happened.
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