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Confused with this History question (Edexcel Cold war A2) - please help :) Watch

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    To what extent was the nuclear arms race a stabilising factor in the Cold War between 1949 and 1963?

    To be quite honest, i am confused on what is meant by a "stabilising factor".

    Any help would really be apprieciated
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    (Original post by ~ Aquamarine ~)
    To what extent was the nuclear arms race a stabilising factor in the Cold War between 1949 and 1963?

    To be quite honest, i am confused on what is meant by a "stabilising factor".

    Any help would really be apprieciated
    Hey, I did this essay as a homework and managed an A grade. These are the points I put:

    - The threat of nuclear arms brought about MAD, which essentially acted as a deterrent because each side knew that by engaging in nuclear warfare, they would be condemning their own country to nuclear annihilation.

    - War never actually broke out between the two powers, despite huge amounts of tension. In other periods, arms races cumulated in war, such as the arms race prior to WW1. This goes to show that the threat of nukes acted as a 'stabilizing factor' because war never came about.

    - On the other hand, despite the arms race acting as a deterrent, they actually caused tension in the first place. You can refer to the Cuban Missile Crisis here; more specifically, how much tension it caused and how it almost lead to full out nuclear war

    - The nuclear arms race was viewed as a competition, which spurred each side into escalating their arsenal. The build-up of destructive weapons clearly caused a lot of tension, thus disrupting any stability.

    - To counter the above point, you can argue that nuclear weapons were never actually going to be used offensively. Eisenhower did talk of 'Massive Retaliation' (the policy whereby aggressive Soviet actions would be met by nuclear American responses) but in private he was not so keen. It was merely a bluff to the American public. Khrushchev was similar. You can flesh out how this shows how powerful a deterrent the nukes were.

    Sorry for waffling on Hope you should have an idea now? Those were the points I used - you can use as many/little as you like. By 'stabilizing factor', the question is asking how did the nuclear arms race promote peace, I think.
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    (Original post by Sannn)
    Hey, I did this essay as a homework and managed an A grade. These are the points I put:

    - The threat of nuclear arms brought about MAD, which essentially acted as a deterrent because each side knew that by engaging in nuclear warfare, they would be condemning their own country to nuclear annihilation.

    - War never actually broke out between the two powers, despite huge amounts of tension. In other periods, arms races cumulated in war, such as the arms race prior to WW1. This goes to show that the threat of nukes acted as a 'stabilizing factor' because war never came about.

    - On the other hand, despite the arms race acting as a deterrent, they actually caused tension in the first place. You can refer to the Cuban Missile Crisis here; more specifically, how much tension it caused and how it almost lead to full out nuclear war

    - The nuclear arms race was viewed as a competition, which spurred each side into escalating their arsenal. The build-up of destructive weapons clearly caused a lot of tension, thus disrupting any stability.

    - To counter the above point, you can argue that nuclear weapons were never actually going to be used offensively. Eisenhower did talk of 'Massive Retaliation' (the policy whereby aggressive Soviet actions would be met by nuclear American responses) but in private he was not so keen. It was merely a bluff to the American public. Khrushchev was similar. You can flesh out how this shows how powerful a deterrent the nukes were.

    Sorry for waffling on Hope you should have an idea now? Those were the points I used - you can use as many/little as you like. By 'stabilizing factor', the question is asking how did the nuclear arms race promote peace, I think.
    Thank you so much, i understand it now. Your answer was really helpful
 
 
 
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