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cdubs
December 21st, 2009, 08:49 AM
What if the Manhattan Project had never been penetrated by Soviet spies?

Even with the information stolen from the US, it took the Russians 4 years just to detonate their first test bomb.

The UK made their first atomic bomb in 1952 under public pressure to keep pace with the United States and Russia.

I believe it is reasonable to assume that had the Russian spies not been so successful, it would have been around 5 years more before the USSR had the bomb ( meaning they would have had it in 1954). With less pressure to keep up, the UK would have taken even longer to make their own bomb, and it may have been as late as 1960 to 1965. This will form the basis of my hypothetical.


Had the United States been 10 years ahead of the Soviets in bomb making, the Soviets may have given up the concept of an arms race, and been content to keep a weapons stockpile of only a reasonable size. The Soviets may also have been much less agressive in their expansionist foreign policies out of fear of the USA's vastly superior nuclear capabilities, so it is possible that the Cold War may not have happened at all.

So had their been no Cold War, how would the world be different?

Would the Soviet Union have collapsed sooner, or would their lessened military spending have kept it together for longer?

Would the US's unquestionable position as the world's most powerful country have made it less likely to play World's Police because of the lack of a threat, or more likely because of the feeling of responsibility?

How much less technologically advanced would the world be without the billions that had been spent on technology during the Cold War?

Had there been no precedent of enormous military spending from the Cold War era would the US be a different country today? Would we have better infrastructure, an education system that isn't woefully inadequate, over even a monopoly on exports of alternative energy?

Had the world not been divided into the "two camps" of communism and capitalism, is it more likely that there would have been more major regional conflicts during what had been the Cold War?

cdubs
December 23rd, 2009, 06:03 PM
I appreciate the helpful post ratings, but does nobody want to reply?

Talthas
December 24th, 2009, 10:54 AM
I think it depends on how effective a deterrent nuclear weapons would really end up being. We are talking about the Russians, here... they will totally burn down Moscow around you and torch all their fields as they retreat just so that you can't have them for food and shelter during the Russian winter.

Also, I think it would depend on who ended up taking the reins of power in the White House as to whether we would continue a campaign of policing. In my opinion, the "Communist threat," while real, was somewhat inflated for the purpose of scaring the population into being willing to engage in several wars which we had no business fighting. The Military-Industrial Complex had the reins of power, and they used them to full advantage. They used the media to promulgate widespread paranoia and fear in the population and then directed it at the Soviets and their allies. Instant recipe for any kind of war you want. And the big bucks kept flowing in.

With the US possessing a vastly superior nuclear arsenal, there *may* have been no Cold war, but I think that even with a diminished arsenal, the Russians would have still been willing and able to do enough damage to the US to deter us. It's basically a giant game of "Chicken" played with bombs instead of cars. It depends on how much you care about what's at stake, really. As for the US, if the Military-Industrial Complex were to retain its power like they did in actual history, we would have expanded our military actions to include more places that didn't really need our intervention, under the same pretense... rid the world of Communism.

If the American people saw no need to fight that fight with the soothing influence of being the only country with enough firepower to vaporize any single continent... perhaps we wouldn't have elected officials in bed with the Military-Industrial Complex. Perhaps we would have returned to our previously isolationist stance on things, like we were pre-WW2. Before Pearl Harbor, the American people did *not* want to get involved in the War. Perhaps with the assurance that nobody would dare to do such a thing again, we would have simply returned to our former position.


The major problem is that at *some* point, any country with nuclear ambitions and growing capabilities will develop enough weapons of sufficient strength and range that additional weapons are "just showing off." Once the point of "Mutually Assured Destruction" arrives, it's basically a Mexican Standoff, and you wait each other out until one person flinches. The only way to prevent that would be to actively forbid other countries from developing significantly sized nuclear programs and to invade or destroy any country that tried.

Heck... it doesn't even take the point of MAD to force the world to do what you want. Look at North Korea and Iran. Everybody knows that both of them are trying to enter the nuclear arena as significant players, and they're going to succeed unless somebody goes in and actively stops them. All the sanctions we can impose won't make a difference once they've got the capacity to accomplish whatever intermediate goal they intend. All they have to do is prove they can accomplish something the world really doesn't want them to do, and they've forced us into a situation where we either accede to their wishes or forcibly stop them from acting. This has happened in North Korea several times in the last few years. The same would have happened with Russia, I think.

SwanSong
January 13th, 2010, 06:16 PM
What if the Manhattan Project had never been penetrated by Soviet spies?

Even with the information stolen from the US, it took the Russians 4 years just to detonate their first test bomb.

The UK made their first atomic bomb in 1952 under public pressure to keep pace with the United States and Russia.

I believe it is reasonable to assume that had the Russian spies not been so successful, it would have been around 5 years more before the USSR had the bomb ( meaning they would have had it in 1954). With less pressure to keep up, the UK would have taken even longer to make their own bomb, and it may have been as late as 1960 to 1965. This will form the basis of my hypothetical.


Had the United States been 10 years ahead of the Soviets in bomb making, the Soviets may have given up the concept of an arms race, and been content to keep a weapons stockpile of only a reasonable size. The Soviets may also have been much less agressive in their expansionist foreign policies out of fear of the USA's vastly superior nuclear capabilities, so it is possible that the Cold War may not have happened at all.

So had their been no Cold War, how would the world be different?

Would the Soviet Union have collapsed sooner, or would their lessened military spending have kept it together for longer?

Would the US's unquestionable position as the world's most powerful country have made it less likely to play World's Police because of the lack of a threat, or more likely because of the feeling of responsibility?

How much less technologically advanced would the world be without the billions that had been spent on technology during the Cold War?

Had there been no precedent of enormous military spending from the Cold War era would the US be a different country today? Would we have better infrastructure, an education system that isn't woefully inadequate, over even a monopoly on exports of alternative energy?

Had the world not been divided into the "two camps" of communism and capitalism, is it more likely that there would have been more major regional conflicts during what had been the Cold War?

Hell, we could have possibly stopped the entire Cold War from happening in 1945 if we had listened to George Patton and invaded the Soviet Union after World War 2, while the military was still in Germany. The United States had no nuclear competitors until the 1950's.

cdubs
January 16th, 2010, 07:52 PM
Hell, we could have possibly stopped the entire Cold War from happening in 1945 if we had listened to George Patton and invaded the Soviet Union after World War 2, while the military was still in Germany. The United States had no nuclear competitors until the 1950's.

I actually intended to make a thread on the proposed "Operation Unthinkable" which was the initial name of the plans for a possible US-UK attack on the USSR.

I am convinced that the USSR would have routed the Allies.

Talthas
January 16th, 2010, 08:13 PM
Russia routed Napoleon and burned down Moscow to do it. The Russians are crazy, and they *will* f*ck you up.

Never start a land war in Asia. The Russians are one of the main reasons it's a bad idea. :)