In strategic studies, causes, impacts, and ways of ending war have always been subjects of concern to scholars (Baylis, 2007). Humans have always considered war as a disaster, a source of misery, and a threat to their existence. However, it should be noted that war has not always been viewed negatively. For instance, during the 19th century some scholars believed that war was the only remedy for ailing nations. Equally, before the mid 20th century people perceived war as a tool of change. However, with the inventions of nuclear weapons the above ideas have been rendered obsolete. This occurred due to the fear and destructiveness caused by the nuclear weapons. In this regard, this article focuses on how the inventions of nuclear weapons have altered our understanding of strategic studies.
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Before the invention of the nuclear weapons, classical strategic theories were pertinent in warfare. However, after the invention of these weapons the techniques of war have been changing from decade to decade. With these changes, several strategic theories that had been passed on from the 19th century became outdated. During the 1946, Brodie suggested that nuclear weapons had the capability to destroy all the major world cities in a single day (Baylis, 2007). He further asserted that there was no adequate defense system to prevent the risks caused by atomic attacks. According to him, atomic attacks had no geographical immunity.
In addition, Brodie postulated that with improvements in nuclear science the perceptions that military superiority guaranteed national security were going to be obsolete. During the mid 20th century, scholars noted that inventions in nuclear weapons necessitated effective strategies to enhance nuclear deterrence. In addition, it was noted that in the outcome of a war the winners and the losers were both going to suffer a great deal of destructions. Based on this concept, scholars argued that under these circumstances no victory would be worth the price. The concept had an intense effect on strategic studies. Before, military organizations existed to win wars. However, from then on military organizations have existed to avert the possibilities of wars occurring.
According to some scholars, the concept of nuclear deterrence was inadequate to stop the risks of an external nuclear attack. Albert Wohlstetter argued in his essay that inventions in military inventions necessitated appropriate strategic choices (Baylis, 2007). Wohlstetter believed that apart from nuclear deterrence strategies acquisition of more nuclear weapons would reduce the risk of an external nuclear attack. Based on Wohlstetter’s concepts, nations must develop credible threat relation systems to avert nuclear attacks.
From the mid 20th century, the existence of nuclear weapons has enhanced global peace (Baylis, 2007). After the Hiroshima attack, the effects of nuclear attacks were portrayed. It is estimated that the US government spent billions of money in the development of the two nuclear bombs that were used during the attack. Following the attack, nations realized that nuclear weapons caused horrific effects and that it was costly to engage in such wars. As a result, nations have been discouraged from starting wars that might trigger the use of nuclear weapons. During the cold war, the existence of nuclear weapons prevented the Soviets and the US from engaging in a military warfare because the two nations feared the consequences of a nuclear attack.
Baylis, J. (2007). Strategy in the contemporary world: an introduction to strategic studies (2nd Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.