The proliferation of nuclear weapons is a necessary evil in today’s global system. When the first atomic bombs were used at the end of World War II, many questions were raised about these new weapons. Debates about the usefulness of nuclear weapons only became more pressing during the next several decades, as the tensions of the Cold War presented the very real possibility of a nuclear war. As deterrence, nuclear weapons were, and still can be used to maintain peace, as no nation wants to be the first to initiate a nuclear war. The threat of nuclear destruction forces many aggressive states to exercise caution during conflicts. These questions were not quieted when the Cold War ended in the early 1990s; instead, with an increasing number…show more content… Other nations, such as Israel, are believed to have nuclear weapons, although there has been no official confirmation of this. For nearly seventy years, these questions have been asked, and many have attempted to answer these questions in their own way. Nuclear weapons, while horrifying, are necessary for the safety and security they provide, through deterrence and as a negotiating aid.
Since the end of the Second World War, nuclear weapons have helped to maintain a stable peace. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the closing days of the war are, as of 2014, the only nuclear weapons ever used in battle. In the decades that followed, there was a steady buildup of nuclear arms by the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War, which lasted for nearly the entire second half of the 20th century, resolved itself peacefully with no nuclear weapons being fired. The fact that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union used their weapons during the decades-long Cold War shows that nuclear arms are an effective deterrent in times of global tension. Kenneth Waltz wrote that “deterrence operates by frightening a state out of attacking, not because of the difficulty of launching an attack and carrying it home, but because the expected reaction of the attacked will result in one 's own severe punishment” . The fear of “mutually assured destruction”, the term coined