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Pros & Cons of Nuclear Weapons

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The use of nuclear weapons would result in complete devastation and destruction, which is why the Cold War dragged on for so long. America and the USSR both realized that if either side decided to use nuclear weapons, the results would be catastrophic. There is very different political landscape today, though, and it is not nuclear weapons which are seen as the greatest threat, but rather terrorist cells. However, there is still some concern that less stable regimes have, or may have, access to nuclear weapons. There is anxiety that if Iran, for instance, began to develop nuclear weapons, this could be dangerous for the West.

Little Boy atomic bombLittle Boy was dropped on Hiroshima and it was the first generation of nuclear weapons. Compared to today’s nuclear bombs (bottom), Little Boy is tiny in terms of it’s power and destruction capabilities. Nevertheless, Little Boy did some massive damage to Hiroshima. Imagine what the latest nuclear arsenal could do.

Power to destroy

The trouble with nuclear weapons is that once one nation has the capabilities to produce nuclear weapons, every other nation wants access to the technology. Clearly, if one nation has nuclear weapons and none of the other nations do, then they are at a disadvantage. The country with nuclear weapons can hold the other nations to ransom and get them to whatever they want, since no national representative can refuse when their country could potentially be destroyed. That is why it is difficult for nations to give up their nuclear weapons; because they don’t want to be the first to give them up and leave their nation vulnerable.

Fat Man atomic bombFat Man was dropped on Nagasaki and it was way more powerful than Little Boy. After 2 bombs were dropped, Japan surrendered.

Sense of security

Nuclear weapons are expensive to keep; they’re hard to destroy safely; and, in the end, they are unlikely to be put to use. If they were ever to be used, the outcome will affect international relations profoundly. Innocent citizens would be killed and following generations would suffer from the ill effects of radiation poisoning. No national representative is likely to stand up and condone the use of nuclear weapons, yet all are too afraid to give them up. If they have nuclear weapons, at least they can feel safe that their nation won’t be attacked, since to do so would ensure mutual destruction.

Cost money and doesn’t deal with current threat

Surely, the money used to produce and maintain nuclear weapons could be put to better use, especially when modern warfare is so different from what existed during the Cold War. In today’s society, it is guerrilla warfare and terrorism which pose the greatest threat. Being in possession of nuclear weapons is unlikely to do anything to lessen this threat, yet politicians have difficulty admitting this. They don’t want to be seen weak, especially in the media, and so every national leader who has access to nuclear weapons decides to hold on to them.

The nuclear weapon effect

It is difficult to see a good reason for the existence of nuclear weapons, especially when everyone is aware of what will happen if they are ever used. Perhaps their continued existence means that people have to remain alert to the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and maybe that is one reason we have not seen another world war.

More on nuclear weapons

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  2. Discovery of nuclear energy
  3. Facts about nuclear energy