How Did the World Come to Develop Nuclear Weapons? - Paper Example

Published: 2021-07-01
912 words
4 pages
8 min to read
Wesleyan University
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The development of nuclear weapons and its subsequent use in the world can be traced back to the discovery of the nuclear fission. It started in 1879 when the German chemist Martin Klaproth discovered the Uranium. However, this development was fully achieved through a series of the experiment by Enrico Fermi in 1934. Notably, this discovery paved the way for more research by the scientists across the world. In 1924, the first nuclear reactor was tested at the University of Chicago (Baggott, 2015). The first globes nuclear weapons explosion was observed on July 16, 1945, in New Mexico where the United States successfully tested its pioneer atomic bomb. The impact of this breath-taking discovery was further seen in 1945 during the Second World War. The US dropped its atomic bomb on two Japanese cities, the Nagasaki and Hiroshima leading to the death of more than 74000 people and injuring other 75000 others.

In the subsequent years, both the United States and the Soviet Union and the other main nations across the world carried out series of nuclear tests. Specifically, the Soviet Union successfully tested its nuclear first nuclear atomic bomb in 1949 and what later culminated as the arms race, the US developed a hydrogen bomb with the aim of countering this development (Baggott, 2015).

What difficulties were overcome by scientists and engineers when building the atomic bomb?

Several problems were overcome by the scientists while attempting to make the nuclear bomb. Considerable dangers were associated with the whole process of atomic bomb development. To sustain the type of chain reaction for a bomb explosion, the atoms had to be held in a modified state called supercritical mass to enable more than one of the free neutrons from each atom split to knock another atom to break it. In most occasions, the superficial critical mass is created in a uranium bomb through keeping the fuel as a separate subcritical mass aimed at barring the bomb from contributing too early and consequently joining the masses together.

Conceivably, the bomb had to be designed to provide room for an adequate occurrence of the chain reaction to take place before the first energy that could make the bomb to fail. While it is evident the development of this type of bomb was possible, a major problem with the uranium was the fact that the material happened to be the worlds heaviest naturally occurring element on earth. In this sense, therefore, the bulkiness of the bomb made it difficult to apply the technology to the existing long-distant missile systems (Nathanson, 2010). Finally, other challenges entailed the development of the missile guidance systems. In this sense, therefore, it was difficult to channel the weapon to the right direction or the right target.

What ethical consequences did the scientists involved have to consider while working on the atomic bomb?

Various ethical values had to be considered during the development of the atomic bomb. As the US Manhattan Project progressed, the scientists were more focused on the adverse effects on the humanity. Ideally, some of them considered quitting the project of atomic bomb development because of its destructive nature of humankind. For instance, the US dropped its atomic bomb on two Japanese cities, the Nagasaki and Hiroshima leading to the death of over 74,000 civilians (Nathanson, 2010). In this way, the involved scientists were morally considerate about both the direct and collateral damage that could develop as results of any nuclear attack.

Another crucial moral problem that surrounded the development of the atomic bomb was whether or not it was the only mechanism to solve the fundamental problems that different nations encountered in the world. Geopolitically, it was evident that the world war problem had not mitigated the European problems regarding superiority. Some theorist of air power believed that the only way and the chief solution would be the destruction of the enemy's war-making capacity. They thought that the aircraft attack could achieve this. However, other believed that this could be done through the destruction of an enemys industrial plants or triggering the civilians revolt against the government. From the ethical and moral perspective, many scientists believed that the trigger of the public revolt against the government was an effective method of weakening an enemy. However, the pressure from the government propelled from developing such life-taking devices.

State your opinions about the justification of using the nuclear weapons. How do you see the future of using nuclear power?

In my opinion, the use of nuclear weapons in the warfare is dangerous and should not be allowed. In its actuality, the manufacture of nuclear weapons is mainly based on the objective to destroy the mass. While it is evident that another primary aim would be to weaken an enemy geopolitically, it is undeniable that there are other ways through which the disagreement between nations can be solved, for example, through the trigger of the public unrests so as to destabilize the government. The use of atomic bomb has diverse health effects on the survivors, such as the emergence of cancer and different birth deformities (Preston et al. 2004). In this sense, it should, therefore, be banned across the world.


Baggott, J. (2015). Atomic: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939-49. London: Icon Books.

Nathanson, S. (2010). Terrorism and the Ethics of War. Cambridge University Press.

Preston, D. L., Pierce, D. A., Shimizu, Y., Cullings, H. M., Fujita, S., Funamoto, S., & Kodama, K. (2004). Effect of recent changes in atomic bomb survivor dosimetry on cancer mortality risk estimates. Radiation research, 162(4), 377-389

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