On August 6, 1945 the United States unleashed a weapon upon the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the likes of which the world had never seen. Then, on August 9 a second weapon was deployed against the Japanese, at Nagasaki. The weapons used were atomic bombs: nuclear fission devices capable of massive destructive capabilities. It is estimated that more than 250,000 Japanese citizens died as a result of the two bombs being dropped. While the employment of these weapons led to the end of World War II, it also forced the world into the nuclear age where man had the power to destroy cities and in some cases, ensure the destruction of entire nations.
In the years following World War II, The Limited Test Ban Treaty was developed to curtail the destructive testing of nuclear weapons by countries around the world. In this paper the history of the Limited Test Ban Treaty will be reviewed as well as the current and future status of this treaty, which remains in flux to this day.
After World War II the United States and several other nations, including the Soviet Union, continued the development and testing of nuclear weapons. In 1952 and 1953 the United States and the Soviet Union, respectively, detonated the first hydrogen bombs, which proved to be more powerful than the weapons used against Japan. At this time, concerns about the amount and effect of nuclear fallout produced by these weapons grew. In 1955, a group of five countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and the Soviet Union formed a committee as part of the U.N. Disarmament Commission to discuss the cessation of nuclear weapons testing. The committee made little progress over the next several years due to disagreements ove...
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...the United States, Israel, and United Kingdom have not ratified the treaty. President Obama, in his second term, is pushing for both the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a reduction in nuclear arms. Before ratification can occur, however, the treaty must be debated and voted upon in the Senate which is unlikely to occur in the near future.
The Limited Test Ban Treaty is a safeguard put in place to ensure nuclear armed nations are not destroying the environment through nuclear testing. It offers provisions for the safe and responsible testing of nuclear weapons while simultaneously pushes for nuclear disarmament. While amendments have been proposed which would result in a complete moratorium on nuclear testing, this Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has not entered into force and likely will not within the next several years.