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Diplomacy and Conflict • The Arms Race
Overview

Dates of First Nuclear Tests


United States Soviet Union
First Atomic Test July 16, 1945 August 29, 1949
First Hydrogen Bomb Test November 1, 1952 August 12, 1953

Cold War Nuclear Arsenals


Year

1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990
Non-Strategic Warheads*
United States 0 0 857 13,433 22,297 13,896 11,305 9,360 9,090 7,816
Soviet Union 0 5 200 1,200 5,200 9,200 15,700 22,200 28,700 21,700
Strategic Warheads
Bomber-mounted
United States 6 369 2,200 6,954 6,567 6,465 6,911 6,239 6,180 5,330
Soviet Union 0 0 0 372 559 596 596 596 966 1,485
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
United States 0 0 0 13 897 1,306 2,251 2,251 2,220 2,591
Soviet Union 0 0 0 2 295 1,546 2,277 5,630 7,154 7,285
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs)
United States 0 0 0 34 1,882 4,452 6,586 5,914 5,645 5,474
Soviet Union 0 0 0 32 76 301 869 1,636 2,377 3,045
Total Warheads Stockpiled
United States 6 369 3,057 20,434 31,642 26,119 27,052 23,764 23,135 21,211
Soviet Union 0 5 200 1,605 6,129 11,643 19,443 30,062 39,197 33,515

* short- and medium-range nuclear weapons used to support troops in the field (includes nuclear mines, gravity bombs, and cruise missiles)

[Sources: Brookings Institution. U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project. N.p.: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1997–1998.
Natural Resources Defense Council. http://www.nrdc.org (cited July 17, 2007).]

1997–1998.

MLA Citation

"Estimated Cold War Nuclear Arsenals of the United States and Soviet Union." World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society, ABC-CLIO, 2019, worldatwar.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1181774. Accessed 20 Sept. 2019.

Entry ID: 2174297

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