The Technological Advancement Made during the Cold War Essay

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The Technological Advancement Made during the Cold War

At the end of the Second World War, the United States together with its allies entered into a new stage of fear, the fear of the revolutionary movement brought by the idea of Communism by Karl Marx. The popularity of communism rose after several countries suffered severe setback on the capitalist policy especially when lack of resources due to the destruction of agriculture and infrastructure struck on their land by the impediments brought by the war. As Karl Marx suggested that the ownership should all be made public or simply state owned, this made a new understanding for countries like Russia on how would they achieve the real prosperity for all of their citizens.

Since private properties were all sequestered, this new idea had successfully spurred a large fund for all government expenditures thus making the progress of a country solely dependent on the country’s budget allocation. One of the heavily budgeted by these communist countries was the research for the advancement of technology primarily on better information gathering and military devices in aid for a faster global realization of communism. The United States had set a counter-offensive and this had been the main characteristic of the Cold War.  Looking ahead…

The Technological Advancement Made during the Cold War

Introduction

At the end of the Second World War, the United States together with its allies entered into a new stage of fear, the fear of the revolutionary movement brought by the idea of Communism by Karl Marx. The popularity of communism rose after several countries suffered severe setback on the capitalist policy especially when lack of resources due to the destruction of agriculture and infrastructure struck on their land by the impediments brought by the war. As Karl Marx suggested that the ownership should all be made public or simply state owned, this made a new understanding for countries like Russia on how would they achieve the real prosperity for all of their citizens.

Since private properties were all sequestered, this new idea had successfully spurred a large fund for all government expenditures thus making the progress of a country solely dependent on the country’s budget allocation. One of the heavily budgeted by these communist countries was the research for the advancement of technology primarily on better information gathering and military devices in aid for a faster global realization of communism. The United States had set a counter-offensive and this had been the main characteristic of the Cold War.

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s call for military superiority

            After leading the Second World War into an end, Dwight D. Eisenhower, former supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe that then became the 34th President of the United States of America emphasize on his farewell speech the necessity of continuation of his policies on maintaining US military superiority over other nations for the purpose of preventing the emergence of rival supreme power that might again bring large scale international conflict. During his term in the year 1953-1961, his government had sponsored a higher defense priority which includes further research on nuclear weapons and space exploration. The development of mainframe computers were set by private companies like the IBM in support of these technological advances.

The Soviet Union’s Close door policy

            After experiencing a change of leadership through a revolution brought by the increase in popularity of communism, the Soviet Union decided to maintain a close door policy with regards on their government’s activities primarily on their move for advancement of military might. This policy had only been unveiled by Yegor Gaidar, former acting prime minister that played an important role as an economist during the heights of communism in the now dissolved Soviet Union.

Mass production of armaments and the maintenance of secret research facilities for new technologies paved way to the curiosity of other nations especially of the United States on what is happening inside the largest communist country. After publicizing the success of launching the first artificial satellite in space, the Soviet Union had impressed the whole world that under their new economic policy, they can outdo the biggest supporter of capitalism in terms of technological achievements. As this race progressed, both the United States and the Soviet Union employed all sorts of information gathering including sending spies on each side so as to ensure that their still on the right track.

Inventions and Innovations

            As a brief overview of all of the inventions and innovations brought by the Cold War primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union, a list of example milestone achievements of the two parties should be given.

The Computer Age leading to the Arms and Space Race

            Improvement on the computer’s efficiency was the main theme at the end of WWII. After giving a vast support on the needed technology for information gathering during the war, International Business Machine or the IBM leads the move for creating faster computers.

With the invention of transistors in 1948 by American physicists John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, and William Shockley, computers entered into its second generation. As years passed, more powerful computers were invented. One of these was IBM’s 701 EDPM, the first commercially successful general purpose computer, which was also used as a part of the Korean War effort. 701 led the development of the programming language FORTRAN and it had also been the pioneer of all the other computers IBM built such as the 7090, which was the fastest computer in 1960.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

            After the Nazi Germany had been able to amaze the world with their V-1 and V-2 rockets that was used to pummel Great Britain, Both the United States and the Soviet Union had their separate programs to enhance the technology for long-range ballistic missiles. They both relied on captured German scientist as their foundation.

            The United States had pioneered in the research for ICBM with their program for MX-774 in the year 1946 but they had suffered delays said to be brought by the competition of the different U.S. armed services. The US had been able to launch its first successful ICBM through Atlas A. During the Eisenhower administration, the development of LGM-30 Minuteman, Polaris and Skybolt, which are all solid-fuel missiles, pushed through.

            As the power of ICBM progresses, both U.S. and the Soviet Union built their own Anti-ballistic Missile Systems subject to treaty signed with the other party. President Ronal Reagan added the Strategic Defense Initiative as well as the MX and Midgetman ICBM programmes. In 1991, the Soviet Union on its last year agreed in the START I treaty to reduce their deployed ICBMs.

The Nuclear Bomb

            No one would ever forget the biggest contributor for the end of World War II, which is the dropping of two atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two key cities of the remaining aggressor, the country of Japan. After the world had seen the supreme power of atomic bombs, the United States furthermore enhance the development of nuclear bombs through nuclear fusion. It was said that through espionage, the Soviet Union only had been able to come up with a comparable nuclear program. Through the ICBMs, it would then be easy to deliver these nuclear bombs to any destined target.

The Space Exploration

            After the discovery of wireless communication, it progressed until countries realized that information gathering would be very much improved when they would be successful to launch artificial satellites in the outer space. It was just unfortunate that the realization of better communication was at some time used to countries in spying each other which had happened especially during the time of Cold War. After satellite installations, these countries had set to reach the nearest land mass outside earth, as their ultimate dream. The first country that would make its citizen to be the first to set foot in the moon would eventually wins the lead.

            As a brief history, The Soviet Union successfully launches an artificial satellite in 1957. The US, in response had launched Explorer 1 in 1958. Soviet Union then sends Laika, a dog aboard the Vostok rocket a year after.

            The first human spaceflight was conducted by the Soviet Union through their Vostok I with Yuri Gagarin on 1961. Within a month, the second spaceflight was then by the US first Mercury flight carrying Alan Shepard. Gagarin’s flight is the first orbital flight which the US had also achieved with John Glenn’s Mercury-Atlas 6 in 1962. Soviet Union then sends the first woman in space with Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 in 1963.

The US launches Apollo 8 in 1968, the first manned space mission to orbit the moon. And in 1969, US astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins make it to land on the moon. Armstrong is the first man to walk on the moon and was followed by Buzz Aldrin. This event had created the greatest media mileage of exploring space up until now.

The Stealth Technology

            The advent of better radar technology caused the United States to research on the Stealth Technology. Together with their F-117 stealth fighter plane on deployment, US under President George W. Bush had been able to overthrow a dictatorial regime in Panama of military leader Manuel Noriega who is aside from being connected with communism advocacy in Central America but also rumored to be connected with large scale illegal drugs shipment deals.

Effects to the Society

            Though the technological advancement during the Cold War had been successful of maintaining a balance of power as of now, people could not still remove their fear on what would happen if at only one instance, this inventions and innovations would destroy the entire human civilization. It is nice that our gifted scientist brought this marvels but they should all be taken extremely good care so as to achieve the common good.

Works Cited:

History of IBM. June 26, 2008 from <http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/history/history_intro.html>

 

Russia test an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. June 23, 2008 from < http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2771 >

Invention and Uses of the Transistor. June 26, 2008 from

            <http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0861610.html>

  1. Bellis (1997). Inventors of the Modern Computer: The History of International Business Machines and the IBM 701 EDPM. June 26, 2008 from

<http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa070798.htm>

National Research Council (U.S.), Committee on Defense Intelligence Agency Technology Forecasts and Reviews, National Research Council (U.S.), National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Defense Intelligence Agency Technology Forecasts and Reviews, National Research Council (U.S.). Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. Avoiding Surprise in an Era of Global Technology Advances. National Academies Press, 2005.

From the Earth to the Moon. June 26, 2008 from

<http://www.newseum.org/cybernewseum/exhibits/dateline_moon/space.htm>

Second Generation Computers. Retrieved June 26, 2008 from

            <http://campus.udayton.edu/~hume/Computers/second.htm>

United States, Office of Technology Assessment, Congress. Building future security: strategies for restructuring the defense … Diane Publishing, 1992.

 

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