Admin moved page Why was the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 created during the Cold War? to Why was the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 created during the Cold War
[[File:Operation_Crossroads_Baker_Edit.jpg|thumbnail|left|350px|Nuclear test by the US at the Bikini Atoll in 1946]]
In the early 1960s, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev each expressed deep concern about the strength of their respective nations’ nuclear arms forces. This concern led them to complete the first arms control agreement of the Cold War, the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
====Concerns about Nuclear Tests Grew====
This treaty did not have much practical effect on the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, but it established an important precedent for future arms control. Both superpowers entered the 1960s determined to build or maintain nuclear superiority. The Soviet Union had led the way in the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles after its launch of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. In just a few years, it had developed an arsenal of long and medium-range missiles that had raised alarm in Washington. President Kennedy had even campaigned for office on a claim that President Dwight Eisenhower had allowed the Soviet Union too far out-produce the United States in nuclear technology, creating a “missile gap.” However, soon after he took office, the Kennedy Administration determined that the balance of nuclear power remained in favor of the United States.
With both sides working to develop new and better nuclear technology over the course of the late 1950s and early 1960s, each engaged in a series of test explosions. These nuclear tests received worldwide scrutiny, not only for what they meant for the arms race but also for what they meant for human life. Like the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom tested new nuclear technologies in the earth’s atmosphere, concerns emerged worldwide about the potential effects of radioactive fallout on the people exposed to it. This led to the formation of activist groups and public discussion of the issue.
====Negotiations for a Test Ban began in 1958====
[[File:Op_hurricane.jpg|thumbnail|300px|left|Great Britain's first atomic weapons test in 1952 at the Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia .]]
The three countries entered into negotiations for a comprehensive test ban treaty in 1958. Having recently completed rounds of tests, at that time all three entered into a voluntary moratorium on all forms of testing, initiated first by the Soviet Union but later adhered to by the United States and Great Britain. In spite of this willingness to self-restrict testing, one of the most difficult issues preventing the conclusion of a formal treaty was the question of verification. The United States and Great Britain, in particular, pushed for on-site inspections of Soviet facilities as, without them, it was impossible to determine whether the Soviets were continuing underground nuclear tests or just experiencing the frequent seismic activity to which its geographic area was prone.
However, the Soviets were hesitant to permit such onsite inspections of its nuclear facilities, interpreting U.S. insistence on these inspections as a ruse to facilitate U.S. efforts to spy on Soviet advancements. After the Soviet military shot down an American U-2 spy plane over Russia in 1960, the prospects for reaching an agreement on the inspections issue all but disappeared. Khrushchev also rejected the idea of having the United Nations conduct inspections after observing what he believed was the organization’s mishandling of the Congo crisis. Instead, in the wake of these incidents both the United States and the Soviet Union resumed testing.
The Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain in 1963, and it banned all nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in space, or underwater. Because it stopped the spread of radioactive nuclear material through atmospheric testing and set the precedent for a new wave of arms control agreements, the Treaty was hailed as a success. The Treaty was the first of several Cold War agreements on nuclear arms, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty that was signed in 1968 and the SALT I agreements of 1972. In 1974, the Threshold Test Ban Treaty returned to the question of nuclear testing by limiting underground testing of bombs with a yield greater than 150 kilotons.
* Republished from [https://history.state.gov/| Office of the Historian, United States Department of State]
* Article:[https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/limited-ban| The Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963]
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