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2-3-1-1Nuclear Arms Race

First nuclear test by the Soviet Union
August 29, 1949 Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site Courtesy of Pacific Press Service

After World War II, the standoff between the capitalist bloc headed by the United States and the socialist bloc headed by the Soviet Union became the Cold War – an era of continual tension and armed conflict in peripheral countries. Pitted against a nuclear-armed United States, the Soviet Union hastened to develop its own. A successful nuclear test in 1949 gave the Soviet Union possession of the atomic bomb.