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Micah Harlan

Research Paper

December 20, 2018

Keep making or ​get rid​ of Nuclear Weapons?

On August, 6, 1945, the United States Air Force bomber​,​ named the “Enola

Gay”, dropped a bomb that weighed five tons on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on

August 9th, another nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. A couple ​Days

after both bombs were dropped the Japanese surrendered to the United States ​Military,

ending World War II. 140,000 people were killed due to both atomic bombs. 80,000

people were killed on impact and 60,000 people died just days after from all the

radiation (Kramer “Nuclear Age”). The whole country was exposed to a nuclear fallout,

radioactive dust that spreads hundreds of miles, that can later cause more deaths due

the increased risk of cancer. Nuclear weapons have been a ​big ​problem ever since the

end of World War II. There are two ways to prevent a nuclear war: build more nuclear

weapons or ​get rid ​of them all. The Cold War was a nuclear weapon standoff between

the U.S.S.R and the United States. The Cold War lasted from 1945-1991. It ended

because the U.S.S.R collapsed. During that ​time ​people in the United States were

arguing over how they were going to ​get rid​ of the threat of an all out nuclear war from


There are three communities who have slightly different views on the use and

production of nuclear weapons: the science community, the military community, and the

political community. In the ​1930’s​ all the scientists knew that it was possible to make a

nuclear bomb. They did not have the technology to make a nuclear weapon yet. During
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World War ​II ​the United States began researching nuclear weapons when they

discovered that German Military or Nazis were trying to develop a weapon of mass

destruction (Mitcham, “Nuclear Ethics”). In 1945 the United States had received

information that the Nazis were not close to making a nuclear weapon. The scientists

then began to question the ethics behind using a nuclear bomb, before they even had

one. Only the scientists knew how powerful the bomb was. They saw no use in creating

it now it was not a worry, but the U.S ​Military​ thought of the bombs as a quick way to

end the war. After the United States ​Military​ dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and

Nagasaki ​all the nuclear scientists created the Federation of American Scientists

(Mitcham, “Nuclear Ethics”). The Federation was created to lobby elected officials and

educate them about the effects of using nuclear weapons. They also pushed for using

science only for good. Only the scientists knew the harmful effects of testing nuclear

weapons. When a nuclear weapon is​ tested ​it creates a nuclear fallout that spreads for

hundreds of miles and can even affect neutral nations. Some scientists had a radical

view of a full disarmament of all nuclear weapons the United States​ Military​ ​had.​ The

science side of the nuclear weapon argument sees more into the ethics than any other


The politics and military’s view on nuclear weapons is similar. Both communities

believe keeping the nuclear weapons for strategic purposes is necessary.​ For example,

during the Cold War the United States was on the brink of a nuclear war with Soviet

Russia, what kept both countries from using any nuclear weapons was the fact that they

had nuclear weapons​. This was known as nuclear deterrence, threatening a nuclear

retaliation if attacked by a nuclear weapon. Nuclear deterrence is also known as

Mutually​ assured destruction (“Nuclear Weapons”). A result of nuclear deterrence

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during the Cold War was the massive buildup of arms, known as the arms race. ​The

military ​uses nuclear weapons as a way to exercise superiority over other countries.

T​he military ​faces questions if using nuclear weapons is ethical, and when it is okay to

use such a powerful weapon. ​The military​ decides when it is ethical to use a nuclear

weapon. ​The military​ also faces issues about targeting their nuclear weapons, civilian or

military targets. All three communities can agree using a nuclear weapon at the least

should be a last resort (“Nuclear Weapons”). The United States formally stated using a

nuclear weapon would be the last resort in any situation.

There have been many efforts from treaties to nuclear defense systems to try to

prevent a nuclear war from occurring. An effort made by the U.S and the U.S.S.R to

stop the Cold War was the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty. This treaty limited both

countries from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and underwater (“Nuclear

Weapons”). The limited test ban treaty was the first agreement between the two

superpowers during the Cold War. A peace group in the U.S called “Nuclear freeze”

proposed if the United States stops all production of nuclear warheads so the U.S.S.R

will stop producing them as well (Columba, “Strategic Defense”). Nuclear Freeze’s goal

was to end the nuclear arms race and stop the production of nuclear weapons. Nuclear

Freeze pushed the public's attention on defense spending. On March, 23, 1983

President Ronald Reagan proposed a new strategy that he stated would “Change the

course of mankind” (Columba, “Strategic Defense”). His proposal went against what the

people wanted, but was supposed to have the same outcome. This strategy was called

the Strategic Defense Initiative also known as SDI. The purpose of the SDI was to make

nuclear weapons obsolete and ineffective, by making a space laser system that can

shoot down any incoming missile. Reagan’s main goal of the Strategic Defense Initiative
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was to make nuclear weapons ineffective and almost impossible to be used against the

United States. Reagan's plan went against a treaty with the U.S.S.R to ban researching

systems that can block nuclear attacks to keep nuclear deterrence between both

countries (Columba, “Strategic Defense”). If the U.S was able to build the nuclear

defense ​system ​it would make an imbalance in nuclear deterrence. The imbalance

would mean that the U.S would be more likely to use nuclear weapons against ​Russia

knowing they could defend against a nuclear retaliation. Reagan's strategic defense

system never worked out due to budget cuts, but the United States is still developing a

nuclear defense system today.

The world witnessed what nuclear weapons can do to a country at the end of

World War II. The United States government faces many problems with nuclear

weapons. Some people think the solution to avoid nuclear war is to keep building more

nuclear weapons; others believe a full unicameral disarmament is necessary. A full

disarmament is too unsafe for the United States security. Before the United States even

built an atomic​ bomb ​the scientists were thinking about if it was even ethical to use one

against another country. The politicians and military use nuclear weapons to influence

other countries. The main issue with the military and nuclear weapons is in what

circumstances is it ethical to use a nuclear weapon. If the military decides to use a

nuclear ​weapon ​they face the questions about which targets they can attack. All the

proposed solutions of solving the nuclear weapon problem have the same outcome,

they are just different ways of coming about it.

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Works Cited

Franklin, Delano R. "Experts Warn of Risk of Nuclear War During Panel." UWIRE Text,

Nov. 2017, p. 1. Educators Reference Complete,


52ef5. Accessed 6 Dec. 2018.

Kramer, Mark. "Nuclear Age." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by

Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 4, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005, pp. 1646-1649.

U.S. History in Context,


80920ac3. Accessed 13 Dec. 2018.

Mitcham, Carl. "Nuclear Ethics: Weapons Perspectives." Encyclopedia of Science,

Technology, and Ethics, edited by Carl Mitcham, vol. 3, Macmillan Reference

USA, 2005, pp. 1338-1341. Global Issues in Context,


75756908. Accessed 7 Dec. 2018.

"Nuclear Weapons." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2017. Opposing

Viewpoints in Context,


abacb2a8. Accessed 6 Dec. 2018

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Peoples, Columba. "Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars)." America in the World,

1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History, edited

by Edward J. Blum, vol. 2, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2016, pp. 977-978. U.S. History in


IC xid=a3782119. Accessed 16 Dec. 2018.

Labeling Key
verb form
verb tense
strong word choice
poor word choice
spelling error
awkward phrasing
capitalize word
lower case - do not capitalize
Provide an example to support your point
sentence fragment
run-on sentence
Punctuation error

Label Name Extracted Text

poor word get rid


get rid

get rid


lower case - do Days

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not capitalize





run-on sentence For example, during the Cold War the United States was on the brink of
a nuclear war with Soviet Russia, what kept both countries from using
any nuclear weapons was the fact that they had nuclear weapons

Punctuation ,









The military

he military

The military

The military