From the end of the Second World War up until 1949, when the USSR deveploped their own atomic bombs, the United States had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. In 1952, the US developed the H-bomb, followed in 1953 by the Soviet Union, starting the arms race between them. This race caused the two superpowers to create an exorbant amount of nuclear weapons, with enough for each side to obliterate the other many times over, leading to a policy referred to as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD); if one was to attack the other, the other could retalliate by annhialating to attacker, which was almost put into play during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Seeing as more and more devstating weapons were not helping, the leaders of these two countries began devising talks and treaties that would slowy limit the amount of nuclear arms present in the world.
On May 26, 1972, the Gerald Ford (the United States) and Leonid Brezhnev (the Soviet Union) signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks agreement. This treaty limited both sides to two ABMs and 200 interceptor missiles each. The United States was limited to 1,054 ICBMs, and was only allowed to deploy (at a time) 44 submarines with 710 launchers and 1,000 land-based missiles; the Soviet Union was allowed to increase its number of ICBMs from 1,530 to 1,618, and was limited to deploying 62 submarines, with 950 launchers and 1,410 land-based missiles.
Although this agreement effectively limited the weapons stated within, the arms race between the superpowers continued, for the treaty did not affect many other kinds of nuclear weapons, or the newer, more effective arms that were being developed. That, added to the fact that the Soviet Union was allowed to have more weapons than the United States, led to much dissent among many; the American people, for one, felt that the Soviet Union was allowed to expand its cache without fear due to the conditions of this treaty, and thus did not solve any problems. When Ronald Reagan came into power in the United States, he claimed SALT 1 gave the Soviet Union nuclear superiority, instead of creating international equality.
This event increased the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.
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