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Cold War History

Cold War History

Atomic Veterans 1946-1962

From 1946 to 1962, the United States conducted about 200 atmospheric nuclear tests--more than the other nuclear states put together at that time.[1] Approximately 400,000 servicemen in the US Army, Navy, and Marines were present during these atmospheric tests,[2] whether as witnesses to the tests themselves or as post-test cleanup crews.

Nth Country Experiment

Could any country with the right knowledge and technology build a nuclear bomb? From May 1964 to April 1967, the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (the predecessor to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) set out to answer this question. The Laboratory hired three physicists who only recently received their Ph.Ds in physics to design a nuclear bomb. D.A. Dobson, D.N. Pipkorn, and R.W. Selden had little to no experience with nuclear physics.

Nuclear Testing in Mississippi

After nine years of negotiations, the United States, the Soviet Union, and other countries signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) in 1963, which prohibited “any nuclear weapon test explosion, or any other nuclear explosion” “in the atmosphere; beyond its limits, including outer space; or under water, including waters or high seas.”[i] This treaty, in part, resulted from the

Proxy Wars During the Cold War: Africa

After World War II, the tension between communist and democratic forms of government strained relations between the Soviet Union and the United States and provided the ideological underpinnings of the Cold War. These tensions almost boiled over into full on conflict several times, especially as nuclear arms proliferation and testing advanced rapidly during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Both nations found it critical to expand their spheres of influence, largely by promoting leadership in the “Third World” that would be sympathetic to their causes.

Reagan and Gorbachev: The Reykjavik Summit

The Reykjavík Summit, held on October 11 and 12, 1986, was the second meeting of US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Following up on the previous year’s Geneva Summit, Reagan and Gorbachev continued to work toward and debate the possible terms of nuclear arms reduction at Reykjavík. The two leaders did not reach an agreement at Reykjavík, though many diplomats and experts consider the summit a turning point in the Cold War.

Reagan and Gorbachev: The Geneva Summit

The Geneva Summit, the first meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, was held on November 19 and 20, 1985. The two leaders met to discuss the Cold War-era arms race, primarily the possibility of reducing the number of nuclear weapons. Hosted in Geneva, Switzerland, the meeting was the first American-Soviet summit in more than six years.

Camp Century

During the Cold War, the U.S. Army built a military complex under the Greenland ice sheet as a prototype for nuclear missile silos.


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