The Nuclear Revolution

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John Kennedy, Dean Rusk, and Robert McNamara during the Cuban Missile Crisis deliberations

US defense spending dramatically escalated following the start of the Korean War in 1950.  Among the items receiving the new appropriations: the hydrogen bomb, one of the most controversial weapons ever built in the United States.  After reading the sourcebook material, begin with the Nuclear age timeline, followed by the H-bomb time line, to get a sense of where the development of the weapon fitted into the overall militarization of the Cold War.  Finally, for a particularly useful exercise in understanding--on a miniature scale--how the development of the H-bomb affected international relations, play a round on the Prisoners' Dilemma. I want a full report of scores to start the class Friday, to replace the quiz!

The Cuban Missile Crisis:

On October 15, 1962, U-2 overflights confirmed the existence of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, President Kennedy convened the ExComm (executive committtee of the National Security Council) to deliberate the US response. The 14 days of the crisis saw the administration adopt a quarantine of Cuba as an alternative to an immediate air strike, Kennedy deliver an ominous speech to the American public announcing the discovery of the missiles, UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson engage in a widely broadcast confrontation with Soviet UN ambassador V.I. Zorin about the Soviet intentions in Cuba, and the two sides eventually agree to a withdrawal of the missiles in exchange for a public commitment by the United States not to invade Cuba and a private promise to dismantle NATO's Jupiter Missiles in Turkey.