Nuclear Blackmail Failure
65 years ago, at 7 AM on August 29, 1949, an explosion of unprecedented force shook the Semipalatinsk steppe, dazzling light lit up desert landscapes announcing that the nuclear monopoly of the USA is broken and now the Soviet Union has a nuclear weapon too. The Foreign Policy Center Director of the Institute of Economy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Historical Sciences Boris Shmelyov tells about the value of this historical event, its consequences and influence on the world's fate.
- The nuclear weapon researches began both in the USSR and in the USA in 1930s. However, the attack of Hitler's Germany against our country slowed down these research works. At the same time, the United States, practically untouched by the war, intensively proceeded within the so-called Manhattan project under the leadership of well-known scientists - Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi. On July 16, 1945 at the testing area near Los Alamos the Americans successfully tested their nuclear weapon. During the Potsdam conference, that began the next day and was attended by the USSR, the USA and Great Britain heads of governments, the American president Harry Truman told Stalin that the USA has developed the weapon of unusual destructive force. Truman and Churchill were very interested in the reaction of the Soviet leader to this information. But Stalin just smiled, nodded and answered nothing, and it seemed to the allies that he didn't understand at all what they were talking about. However, they were mistaken. Stalin understood everything, and the same evening the task to accelerate the research works on the creation of nuclear weapon was given to Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov, who is fairly called "the father of the Soviet nuclear bomb".
It was necessary especially because of the fact that on August 6 and 9, 1945 the United States, without any military need, subjected to nuclear bombings the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, the war outcome was already determined, and Japan's fast capitulation became inevitable after the Soviet Union's entering the war in the Far East. Washington wanted to show the whole world its power and to declare that it claims for world supremacy. It was the beginning of so-called nuclear blackmail. Of course, it was necessary to answer, especially because the Cold War began, it was difficult to rely on good sense of Truman (as well as generals from the Pentagon) who sharply turned off the Ruzvelt's course of cooperation with the USSR, so the Soviet Union could come under a sudden nuclear attack at any moment.
In four years the answer was given, the objectives were achieved. The successful test of the first Soviet nuclear bomb was conducted at the Semipalatinsk Test Site. The bomb was created by a large group of outstanding Soviet scientists, including Yuli Khariton, Abram Alikhanov, Yakov Zeldovich. The West was astonished: the American experts thought the Soviet Union could not test a nuclear bomb earlier than 1955-1957. The country, having endured a terrible war, destroyed, with irreplaceable human and material losses, managed to pull itself up, mobilize all its enormous scientific, technical and industrial potential and solve the problem of security and the future of the country and its people in the shortest terms. The country got its own nuclear shield, which still covers us safely up to now.
- The West often claims that the Soviet intelligence stole the secret of a nuclear bomb from the US naming our various intelligence agents hunting for this secret?
- This is done to downgrade an outstanding success of our science. Certainly, the Soviet investigation played a certain and important role, getting valuable data on the US nuclear weapon research works, and that can't be denied. But the main merit belongs to the remarkable Soviet scientists who managed to solve a very complex task set for them in short terms, despite difficulties of the country, and that on August 29, 1949 the test in Semipalatinsk was successful.
- Probably, a successful test in the same Semipalatinsk a first-ever hydrogen bomb on August 12, 1953 was even more shocking for Washington than the explosion in Semipalatinsk on August 29, 1949?
- Yes. It became clear that the USSR not only caught up, but also outdistanced the USA. It was confirmed also by an explosion on October 30, 1961 on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago of the Soviet extra-high-power 58-megaton hydrogen bomb, called "tsar bomb" (or "Kuzkina Mat'", in Russian). Moreover, on April 12, 1961 Yury Gagarin made the first space flight in the mankind history. So, the advantage of the Soviet space-rocket research over American is obvious. The United States had to forget about claims for world supremacy.
- But the collapse of the USSR, in which they very thoroughly had a hand, probably, revived their dreams of the unipolar world where they will rule.
- Yes. It seemed to them that the disorder of 1990s in Russia indicated that their objectives were achieved, at last. But an absolutely unforeseen thing happened. At the beginning of the new millennium, Russia started to recover and gradually restore itself, returning its lost positions both in economy and policy. Now it took back that place of the great country on the world scene. It conducts an independent foreign policy defending the idea of the multipolar world together with China, India and other countries.
The events in Ukraine, the neo-Nazis' coming to power with the help of Washington, the war launched by them against the citizens of the southeast of the country, numerous victims among the civilians, huge destructions of social and industrial facilities show that the US doesn't let go the ideas of world hegemony. Washington was infuriated by a peaceful reunion of the Crimea and Russia. "To put Moscow in its place", "to punish" it for disobedience and "obstinacy" - this is the aim of the US administration seeking to use Ukraine as the base for the subsequent actions against Russia, trying to surround it with a dense ring of NATO bases. So far anti-Russian trade and economic sanctions and boycott were used. What will be the following stage of the new Cold War, we don't know. But Russia is ready to any scenarios, to any attempts of new blackmail. To talk to Moscow using the language of threats is fruitless. The worthy answer will always be given, and the events connected with a failure of the American nuclear blackmail showed it.
Once the well-known Soviet nuclear physicist, academician Victor Mikhaylov, who made a lot for our nuclear shield development and was the head of the Ministry of Nuclear Energy of the Russian Federation in 1990s, recalling his meeting with the US President Bill Clinton, told that Clinton, as if joking, said: "You don't love America!" Mikhaylov seriously answered: "There is no one-way love." Whether self-centered America understand, at last, this eternal, immutable law of reciprocity?