“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn 

enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one 

with three matches, the other with five.”

–Carl Sagan

It was the destruction of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan’s cities, by the United States (US) atomic bombs in August 1945 that initiated its arms race with the Soviet Union. It was during this arms race that the world witnessed the detonation of the largest nuclear weapon ever set off. Soviet detonated Tsar Bomba, thermonuclear bomb over Novaya Zemlya Island in the Arctic Ocean in a test in October 1961. The test was meant to show the US the nuclear might of the Soviet Union. However, because of its size, the bomb couldn’t be deployed by a ballistic missile.

The world’s fears, however, mitigated as the end of the cold war was imminent, as the US and USSR, signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) to limit the scope and reach of all types of missiles. But the hopes of seeing a world free of nuclear weapons received a severe blow in 2019 when Donald Trump withdrew from the INF treaty. Many fear that the US withdrawal will force Moscow to fight another arms race with the US.

Image Note: A cloud of smoke and dust rises in this image from the previously classified footage taken — only released in August 2020 by Russia.