1950s Cold War Unimaginables And Imponderables

Discussion in 'Politics & Government' started by Frank Sanoica, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member

    Feb 21, 2016
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    During the early '50s, war against Russia seemed not only a serious concern to Washington, but was thought to be highly likely. Therefore, deterrance became the by-word: build an arsenal undeniably capable of erasing Russia from the map, basically, should she attack the U.S., that capability being backed by ability to responce to attack in such short time, as to ensure success.

    As a result, SAC, Strategic Air Command, won out over the other Armed Force Branches for highest budgeting, incredible operational increases, and numbers then kept secret which today belie and beggar the imagination. Consider:

    In January, 1952, Oak Ridge and Hanford, the two main nuke producing facilities, doubled in size. Two vast gaseous diffusion plants (which separate fisionable materials from non-fissionable) came on line consuming more power than the Tenessee Valley Authority, Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, and Boneville Dam produced together. By 1957, the Atomic Energy Commission projects consumed 6.7% of ALL the power produced in the United States! Such numbers are truly incomprtehensible to me, unimaginable. Heavy water reactors for Tritium production (used in H-Bombs) at Savannah River required tens of thousands of gallons of the exotic liquid, which is present in common water to the extent of only 1 part in 5000. In comparison, needs for the stuff being that high, the very first Hydrogen Bomb efforts called for mere OUNCES of the Heavy Water spin-off Tritium.

    Construction of these new production facilities consumed, of annual production:
    34% of Stainless Steel
    11% of Nickel
    33% of Hydrofluoric Acid

    By 1955, AEC capital investment EXCEEDED the combined investments of General Motors, Bethlehem & U.S. Steel, Alcoa, DuPont, and Goodyear Corporations! I was 10 years old in 1952, blissfully unaware, as were of course most Americans, my Folks included, of just what was going on with all that friction made evident in the news between Russia and the U.S.

    So, the Cold War produced no war. Was the cost of "deterrance" worth it? Was deterrance successful? For Russia, too, was busy building deterrent effects. Thousands of nuclear bombs. At the cost of the environment? Both here, and there, and everywhere, the storage of millions of pounds of highly radioactive waste products a still largely-unanswered problem clouding the future. Did deterrance while "preventing" war, poison the environment for hundreds of future generations? Over 3000 radioiactive elemental isotopes have been identified; only 92 elemental isotopes are "God-given", natural to the Earth. The longest-lived isotope of Iodine, dangerous to our thyroid glands, has a half-life of 17 million years! Think these things have not altered human future presence?

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