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Old 06-17-2020, 08:41 AM
 
2,991 posts, read 4,061,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
But what if the American (and by association, British) lead in nuclear technology were much stronger, and the tested democracies had agreed to prevent that technology from falling into the hands of known enemies?

I'm thinking specifically of a one-time, (possibly limited nuclear) raid against Soviet nuclear research facilities -- absolutely no action against civilian targets, if such a thing could exist in the Soviet state -- and a clear warning that this would be repeated as often as necessary.

And yes, I believe the same policy should be pursued against Iran, North Korea, and any other rogue state.
The problem is they have no idea where the facilities are in 1954 and even today finding them would be no small matter.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:16 AM
 
2,124 posts, read 572,116 times
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Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Most countries tried to make it before and during WWII but WWII focused limited resources on more pressing matters.
No country besides the US had more than about one university lab dedicated to the task, not even up to the scale where Fermi was at in Chicago in 1942. "Feeble" is not the word up against the scale of the Manhattan Project with its three enormous development sites. None of them could have got there in two decades, in peacetime.

Quote:
With a few years of peace they could do develop it much faster.
If by "develop" you mean take the 95% of what the US was known to have done and spend the few years it took to purify enough material for a bomb replicating the engineering work that was still secret, it hardly made any difference.

The bomb was invented once. Not twice. Not ten times. Once. A small amount of reverse engineering, even by the Soviets, does not count as a second achievement. After all, a huge amount of such things is simply proving it can be done in the first place.
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:33 PM
 
2,991 posts, read 4,061,841 times
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Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
No country besides the US had more than about one university lab dedicated to the task, not even up to the scale where Fermi was at in Chicago in 1942. "Feeble" is not the word up against the scale of the Manhattan Project with its three enormous development sites. None of them could have got there in two decades, in peacetime.
Atomic weapons had been theorized in the 1920ies. Germany also split the atom in 1939 they just didn't get the chain reaction. The reason why so much was spent on the Manhattan Project was due to fear that Germany was ahead in the construction of the bomb. It was not true but they feared it. Hitler actually had three atom bomb programs running at once(hoping that one would work). However the three programs tended to duplicate each other work and compete for resources. Fermi(and many others in the project) left Germany due to Hitler's persecution of jews. In addition the british interfered with his program via bombing, raids, and sabotage most notably of the heavy water plant in Norway.

Britain had a bomb program but the allies decided to cooperate on certain technologies that were thought to be war winning and so they stopped theirs. The US promised to share the secret of the bomb with them in exchange for jet technology(Britain was ahead of the U.S. in Jet tech.) and the U.S. decided to take on development on the drug penicillin(freeing britain's pharmaceutical industry to work on other things). Russia likewise had a small program. Japan's was probably the furthest from the bomb.

Quote:
If by "develop" you mean take the 95% of what the US was known to have done and spend the few years it took to purify enough material for a bomb replicating the engineering work that was still secret, it hardly made any difference.

The bomb was invented once. Not twice. Not ten times. Once. A small amount of reverse engineering, even by the Soviets, does not count as a second achievement. After all, a huge amount of such things is simply proving it can be done in the first place.
Acuatally Stalin has spies in both the U.S. and British Nuclear programs and is following the Manhattan Project, closely. He was not the least bit surprised that it could be done. The soviets also got the H bomb a mere 6 months after the U.S. and there does not apear to have been much any spying on that program. The U.S. does not have a monopoly on science.
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:53 AM
 
Location: The North Star State
2,599 posts, read 792,298 times
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Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Here is the problem in 1954 the only way to bomb the USSR would be by air. The soviets had radar and air fighters. The bombers would have been mauled. The USSR in reality had the H bomb 6 months after the Untied states and had the first operational ICBM before the USA. This would be folly. I also doubt they were five years behind, in terms of the A bomb. Most countries tried to make it before and during WWII but WWII focused limited resources on more pressing matters. With a few years of peace they could do develop it much faster.
Any risk at all to nuclear-armed bombers would have presented a significant problem for the United States.

Historically, a great concern over the use of atomic weapons against Japan was the possibility that one might be lost and fall into Japanese hands. Early targeting discussion in May 1945 discussing using the first bomb against a naval target, as a failure of the bomb to detonate would mean the device would end up at on the ocean floor, and thus be much more difficult for Japan to recover. it is worth remembering that while the physicsts were so sure that a uranium gun-type weapon would function that they saw no need toeven test one (and one wasn't tested - it's first use was at Hiroshima), the politicians and military leaders, who were hardly as steeped in the details of the physics, weren't so sure (though they did eventually acquiesce to using the weapon untested at Hiroshima). There was fear of a malfunction.

This brings us to your comment. In the scenario described, the U.S. has made its unhinged demand. The USSR, presumably, has declined to cooperate - because they would know precisely how devastating such a stance would be to the United States itself*. If Soviets are then fully expecting an attack. There would be no surprise. The inevitable loss into the unsecured territory of the USSR' of numerous devices would have been a significant problem. It would have given planners serious pause.

*"We love the poor, oppressed Russian people so much we just pre-emptively incinerated tens of millions of them!" isn't much in the way of geopolitical branding, after all.

Frankly, this thread smacks of nothing more than a WOULDN'T IT BE SUPER COOL IF THE U.S.A. (U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!) HAD KICKED SOME MAJOR SOVIET ASS IN 1954?!?! fantasy being passed off as a historical discussion. In the old soc.history.what-if usenet group, threads of this type were called wanks. For obvious reasons
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Old Today, 03:11 PM
 
186 posts, read 19,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
I'm not sure of the degree to which American nuclear technology stolen by the Soviets' Fuchs-Greenglass-Rosenberg spy ring spurred the development of the Soviet program, but let's assume for now that espionage shortened the Soviets' diasadvantage by five years.

It is now the summer of 1954; The Fuchs ring was exposed and liquidated in 1946, Stalin has been dead for a little over a year. The Iron Curtain is in place, supported by large Soviet occupying forces in Eastern Europe. Lavrentiy Beria has been deposed by a coup within the Kremlin, but no strongman has clearly emerged as yet. The Soviets have announced the development of their first simple (fission-based) atomic bomb. The Americans, meanwhile, have developed thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs, and an ICBM-based delivery system is "on the horizon".

As an American President, would you have ordered the Soviets to "stand down", on penalty of nuclear-aided military action by a clearly-superior (at least in terms of technology) American force? How? and why? (or why not)?
Just remember that Red Army was in the middle Europe. In 3-4 days they were able to occupy the whole continent, nothing would be able to stop them.
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