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|Origins of the Cold War|
| World War II |
(Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
|Cold War (1947–1953)|
|Cold War (1953–1962)|
|Cold War (1962–1979)|
|Cold War (1979–1985)|
|Cold War (1985–1991)|
| Timeline · Conflicts |
|Cold War II|
The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were two rounds of bilateral conferences and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union, the Cold War superpowers, on the issue of arms control. The two rounds of talks and agreements were SALT I and SALT II.
Bilateralism is the conduct of political, economic, or cultural relations between two sovereign states. It is in contrast to unilateralism or multilateralism, which is activity by a single state or jointly by multiple states, respectively. When states recognize one another as sovereign states and agree to diplomatic relations, they create a bilateral relationship. States with bilateral ties will exchange diplomatic agents such as ambassadors to facilitate dialogues and cooperations.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Negotiations commenced in Helsinki, Finland, in November 1969.SALT I led to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and an interim agreement between the two countries. Although SALT II resulted in an agreement in 1979, the United States Senate chose not to ratify the treaty in response to the Soviet war in Afghanistan, which took place later that year. The Soviet legislature also did not ratify it. The agreement expired on December 31, 1985 and was not renewed.
Helsinki is the capital and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 650,058. The city's urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country's most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 km (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972—2002) was an arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems used in defending areas against ballistic missile-delivered nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, each party was limited to two ABM complexes, each of which was to be limited to 100 anti-ballistic missiles.
The Soviet–Afghan War lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known collectively as the mujahideen, as well as smaller Maoist groups, fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government, mostly in the rural countryside. The mujahideen groups were backed primarily by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, making it a Cold War proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran.
The talks led to the STARTs, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties, which consisted of START I (a 1991 completed agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union) and START II (a 1993 agreement between the United States and Russia, which was never ratified by the United States), both of which proposed limits on multiple-warhead capacities and other restrictions on each side's number of nuclear weapons. A successor to START I, New START, was proposed and was eventually ratified in February 2011.
START I was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994. The treaty barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers. START negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence. Proposed by United States President Ronald Reagan, it was renamed START I after negotiations began on the second START treaty.
START II was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and Russia on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed by United States President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 3 January 1993, banning the use of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Hence, it is often cited as the De-MIRV-ing Agreement. Despite negotiations, it never entered into effect. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate on 26 January 1996 with a vote of 87-4. Russia ratified START II on 14 April 2000, but on 14 June 2002, withdrew from the treaty in response to U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.
New START is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification, entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is expected to last at least until 2021.
SALT I is the common name for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Agreement signed on May 26, 1972. SALT I froze the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels and provided for the addition of new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers only after the same number of older intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and SLBM launchers had been dismantled.SALT I also limited land-based ICBMs that were in range from the northeastern border of the continental United States to the northwestern border of the continental USSR. In addition to that, SALT I limited the number of SLBM capable submarines that NATO and the United States could operate to 50 with a maximum of 800 SLBM launchers between them. If the United States or NATO were to increase that number, the USSR could respond with increasing their arsenal by the same amount.
A submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is a ballistic missile capable of being launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) each of which carries a nuclear warhead and allows a single launched missile to strike several targets. Submarine-launched ballistic missiles operate in a different way from submarine-launched cruise missiles.
An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a guided ballistic missile with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometres (3,400 mi) primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery. Similarly, conventional, chemical, and biological weapons can also be delivered with varying effectiveness, but have never been deployed on ICBMs. Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target. Russia, the United States, India, North Korea, and China are the only countries that have operational ICBMs.
The strategic nuclear forces of the Soviet Union and the United States were changing in character in 1968. The total number of missiles held by the United States had been static since 1967 at 1,054 ICBMs and 656 SLBMs but there was an increasing number of missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads being deployed. MIRVs carried multiple nuclear warheads, often with dummies, to confuse ABM systems, making MIRV defense by ABM systems increasingly difficult and expensive.Both sides were also permitted to increase their number of SLBM forces, but only after disassembling an equivalent number of older ICBMs or SLBM launchers on older submarines.
A multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) is a missile payload containing several warheads, each capable of being aimed to hit a different target. The concept is almost invariably associated with intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying thermonuclear warheads, even if not strictly being limited to them. By contrast, a unitary warhead is a single warhead on a single missile. An intermediate case is the multiple reentry vehicle (MRV) missile which carries several warheads which are dispersed but not individually aimed. Only China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the United States are currently confirmed to possess functional MIRV missile systems. India, Israel are known or suspected to be developing or possessing MIRVs.
Dummies and decoys are fake military equipment that are intended to deceive the enemy. Dummies and decoys are only one aspect of military deception.
One clause of the treaty required both countries to limit the number of deployment sites protected by an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system to one each. The idea of this system was that it would prevent a competition in ABM deployment between the US and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had deployed such a system around Moscow in 1966 and the United States announced an ABM program to protect twelve ICBM sites in 1967. After 1968, the Soviet Union tested a system for the SS-9 missile, otherwise known as the R-36 missile.A modified two-tier Moscow ABM system is still used. The United States built only one ABM site to protect a Minuteman base in North Dakota where the "Safeguard" Program was deployed. This base was increasingly more vulnerable to attacks by the Soviet ICBMs, because of the advancement in Soviet missile technology.
An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a surface-to-air missile designed to counter ballistic missiles. Ballistic missiles are used to deliver nuclear, chemical, biological, or conventional warheads in a ballistic flight trajectory. The term "anti-ballistic missile" is a generic term conveying a system designed to intercept and destroy any type of ballistic threat; however, it is commonly used for systems specifically designed to counter intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.
The R-36 is a family of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and space launch vehicles (Tsyklon) designed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The original R-36 was deployed under the GRAU index 8K67 and was given the NATO reporting name SS-9 Scarp. It was able to carry three warheads and was the first Soviet MIRV missile. The later version, the R-36M was produced under the GRAU designations 15A14 and 15A18 and was given the NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan. This missile was viewed by certain United States analysts as giving the Soviet Union first strike advantage over the U.S., particularly because of its rapid silo-reload ability, very heavy throw weight and extremely large number of re-entry vehicles. Some versions of the R-36M were deployed with 10 warheads and up to 40 penetration aids and the missile's high throw-weight made it theoretically capable of carrying more warheads or penetration aids. Contemporary U.S. missiles, such as the Minuteman III, carried up to three warheads at most.
Negotiations lasted from November 17, 1969, until May 1972 in a series of meetings beginning in Helsinki, with the US delegation headed by Gerard C. Smith, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Subsequent sessions alternated between Vienna and Helsinki. After a long deadlock, the first results of SALT I came in May 1971, when an agreement was reached over ABM systems. Further discussion brought the negotiations to an end on May 26, 1972, in Moscow when Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev signed both the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement Between The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
The two sides also agreed to a number of basic principles regrading appropriate conduct. Each recognized the sovereignty of the other and agreed to the principle of non-interference while at the same seeking to promote economic, scientific, and cultural ties of mutual benefit and enrichment.
Nixon was proud that thanks to his diplomatic skills, he achieved an agreement that his predecessors were unable to reach. Nixon and Kissinger planned to link arms control to détente and to the resolution of other urgent problems through what Nixon called "linkage." David Tal argues:
SALT II was a series of talks between United States and Soviet negotiators from 1972 to 1979 which sought to curtail the manufacture of strategic nuclear weapons. It was a continuation of the SALT I talks and was led by representatives from both countries. SALT II was the first nuclear arms treaty which assumed real reductions in strategic forces to 2,250 of all categories of delivery vehicles on both sides.
The SALT II Treaty banned new missile programs (a new missile defined as one with any key parameter 5% better than in currently deployed missiles), so both sides were forced to limit their new strategic missile types development and construction, such as the development of additional fixed ICBM launchers. Likewise, this agreement would limit the number of MIRVed ballistic missiles and long range missiles to 1,320.However, the United States preserved their most essential programs like the Trident missile, along with the cruise missiles President Jimmy Carter wished to use as his main defensive weapon as they were too slow to have first strike capability. In return, the USSR could exclusively retain 308 of its so-called "heavy ICBM" launchers of the SS-18 type.
A major breakthrough for this agreement occurred at the Vladivostok Summit meeting in November 1974, when President Gerald Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev came to an agreement on the basic framework for the SALT II agreement. The elements of this agreement were stated to be in effect through 1985.
An agreement to limit strategic launchers was reached in Vienna on June 18, 1979, and was signed by Leonid Brezhnev and Carter at a ceremony held in the Redoutensaal of the imperial Hofburg Palace.
Six months after the signing, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and in September of the same year, the United States discovered that a Soviet combat brigade was stationed in Cuba.Although President Carter claimed this Soviet brigade had only recently been deployed to Cuba, the unit had been stationed on the island since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. In light of these developments, President Carter withdrew the treaty from consideration in January 1980 so that it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate. Its terms were, nonetheless, honored by both sides until 1986. SALT II was superseded by START I in 1991.
The basic principles agreement affirmed that the superpowers would conduct their relations on "principles of sovereignty, equality, [and] non-interference in internal affairs.
A ballistic missile follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver one or more warheads on a predetermined target. These weapons are only guided during relatively brief periods of flight—most of their trajectory is unpowered, being governed by gravity and air resistance if in the atmosphere. Shorter range ballistic missiles stay within the Earth's atmosphere, while longer-ranged intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), are launched on a sub-orbital flight trajectory and spend most of their flight out of the atmosphere.
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation, through verbal communication. The term in diplomacy originates around 1912 when France and Germany tried, without success, to reduce tensions.
The nuclear arms race was an arms race competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare between the United States, the Soviet Union, and their respective allies during the Cold War. During this period, in addition to the American and Soviet nuclear stockpiles, other countries developed nuclear weapons, though none engaged in warhead production on nearly the same scale as the two superpowers.
The Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) was a nuclear-weapons delivery system developed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union. One of the first Soviet efforts to use space to deliver weapons, FOBS envisioned launching nuclear warheads into low Earth orbit before bringing them down on their targets.
Missile defense is a system, weapon, or technology involved in the detection, tracking, interception, and destruction of attacking missiles. Originally conceived as a defense against nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), its application has broadened to include shorter-ranged non-nuclear tactical and theater missiles.
The Safeguard Program was a U.S. Army anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system designed to protect the U.S. Air Force's Minuteman ICBM silos from attack, thus preserving the US's nuclear deterrent fleet. It was intended primarily to protect against the very small Chinese ICBM fleet, limited Soviet attacks and various other limited launch scenarios. A full-scale attack by the Soviets would easily overwhelm it, a deliberate point to ensure the Soviets did not consider it a strategic threat. It was designed to allow gradual upgrades to provide similar lightweight coverage over the entire United States over time.
The Reykjavík Summit was a summit meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, held in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 11–12 October 1986. The talks collapsed at the last minute, but the progress that had been achieved eventually resulted in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union.
START III was a proposed bi-lateral nuclear disarmament treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation. It meant to drastically reduce the deployed nuclear weapons arsenals of both countries and to continue the weapons reduction efforts that had taken place in the START I and START II negotiations. The framework for negotiations of the treaty began with talks in Helsinki between President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin in 1997. However, negotiations broke down and the treaty was never signed.
Nuclear weapons delivery is the technology and systems used to place a nuclear weapon at the position of detonation, on or near its target. Several methods have been developed to carry out this task.
The NATO Double-Track Decision is the decision of NATO from December 12, 1979, to offer the Warsaw Pact a mutual limitation of medium-range ballistic missiles and intermediate-range ballistic missiles combined with the threat that in case of disagreement NATO would deploy more middle-range nuclear weapons in Western Europe, following the so-called "Euromissile Crisis".
A nuclear triad is a three-pronged military force structure that consists of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles. Specifically, these components are land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers. The purpose of having this three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a first-strike attack. This, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation's nuclear deterrence. The main theory of creating the nuclear triad was to spread the assortment of weapons across various platforms, making military forces more likely to survive an attack and able to respond to a first strike successfully. The military strategy of distributing weapons over the three platforms developed as an answer to countries' concerns when surviving a nuclear strike. This would ensure that nuclear forces could survive a first strike and be deployed in a retaliatory strike, resulting in "mutual assured destruction."
The Moscow Summit was a summit meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. It was held on May 29, 1988 – June 3, 1988. Reagan and Gorbachev finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the U.S. Senate's ratification of the treaty in May 1988. Reagan and Gorbachev continued to discuss bilateral issues like Central America, Southern Africa, the Middle East and the pending withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Reagan and Gorbachev continued their discussions on human rights. The parties signed seven agreements on lesser issues such as student exchanges and fishing rights. A significant result was the updating of Soviet history books, which necessitated cancelling some history classes in Soviet secondary schools. In the end, Reagan expressed satisfaction with the summit.
The Moscow Summit of 1972 was a summit meeting between President Richard M. Nixon of the United States and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was held May 22–30, 1972. It featured the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, and the U.S.–Soviet Incidents at Sea agreement. The summit is considered one of the hallmarks of the détente at the time between the two Cold War antagonists.
The Vladivostok Summit Meeting on Arms Control was a two-day summit held on November 23 and 24, 1974 in Vladivostok for the purpose of extending arms control provisions between the Soviet Union and the United States. After a series of talks between American President Gerald Ford and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Washington and American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's visit to Moscow, Ford traveled to Vladivostok to meet with Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev directly. The two heads of state agreed to terms that would limit both nations an "equal aggregate number" of various weapons, including strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (SNDVs), intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) fitted with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).