2005 | 17 | 239-264
Article title

Rewolucja nuklearna a stosunki miedzynarodowe podczas pierwszego wieku nuklearnego

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The author discusses the notion of the nuclear revolution understood as the impact of nuclear weapons on the way of warfare, strategy and international politics. Such issues as the relationship between power and politics, military victory and the Clausewitzian concept of war are dealt with. The attributive, relational and structural power of nuclear weapons is described. In the context of the relational power of nuclear weapons the concepts of deterrence by punishment and deterrence by denial are introduced. Subsequently, three issues crucial for the thinking about international relations during the Cold War in the nuclear shadow are discussed. The first problem is the role of the introduction of the atomic bomb on the origins of the Cold War. Here different perceptions of security and insecurity of both the US and the USSR are focused on. It is claimed that the American nuclear monopoly contributed to the increase of the Soviet feeling of insecurity at the end of the Second World War. The Americans tried to use the atomic bomb as a poker card in their relations with Stalin but this 'atomic diplomacy' appeared to be ineffective since the Soviets soon applied a 'reversed atomic diplomacy'. The origins of the Cold War are convincingly explained by the concept of the security dilemma to the creation of which nuclear weapons heavily contributed. The second problem is the relation between the nuclear revolution and the rise of the bipolar international system. The atomic bomb did not create it but, undoubtedly, extended its existence. The third problem is 'the long peace' that is the absence of the great power war after 1945. There are two major explanations of this phenomenon. The first one is the nuclear peace thesis according to which it was the nuclear weapons that prevented the outbreak of the third world war. The second explanation was proposed by John Mueller. According to him nuclear weapons played virtually no role in preventing the next global war. It was rather the historical tendency in the West of war becoming obsolete. Mueller's thesis is critically analyzed at some length.
  • L. Kamienski, ul. Grzegorzecka 85 m.10, 31-559 Krak√≥w, Poland
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