Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
171

The short answer is "Mutual Assured Destruction." If you jam the other side's radar effectively, the natural assumption is that you're attacking, so they'll attack in response. So you will set off a nuclear war with your first serious jamming attempt. Under normal circumstances, you want the other side's early-warning radar to be working well so that they ...


84

John Dallman definitely has the right of it, but I wanted to chime in with a small bit of additional information. The early warning system that the russians used, the Duga Radar (eventually known as the "Russian Woodpecker"), had an enormous range of operating frequencies. It would randomly hop between different channels, sometimes interrupting legitimate ...


83

Why were there no nuclear detonations in 1959? The reason there were no tests in 1959 was that the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States agreed to a moratorium on nuclear weapon tests in 1958. This moratorium lasted from November 1958 to August 1961. The Soviet Union resumed on 1 September, 1961, with the US following suit a couple of weeks ...


67

The Great Game, fought between Britain and Russia from 1830 to 1895, is a very close analogue. Like the US-Soviet Cold War, the two powers competed for dominance in Central Asia through a full spectrum of avenues including diplomacy, commerce, and proxies. The Anglo-Russian rivalry led to several conflicts in the Central Asian region such as the Siege of ...


56

Location of Conflicts This is because fundamentally, the Cold War was about which ideology would dominate the world. Both sides wanted to export their ideology, or perhaps more importantly, stop each other from doing so. To this end they were willing to fund, supply, and equip forces across the globe with the right (or ostensibly right enough) ideological ...


51

WW II was primarily a power struggle, and to a lesser degree an ideological struggle. This means that your assumption about the motivations of WW II are incorrect. If it had been an ideological struggle, the US would not have allied with the Communist Soviet Union. (Read up on the Red Scare in the US: anti-Communist sentiment in the US was significant). ...


51

Radar jamming is not trivial First of all, early warning radar (EWR) operate at very low frequencies, for example 7-19 MHz for Duga. For comparison, usual low frequency acquisition radars like P-19 operate in UHF band (300 MHz - 3 GHz). This is the reason why they need such large receivers and transmitters (rule of thumb, lower the frequency, ...


46

Analysts concluded that battleships were killed by carrier aircraft, not by other battleships. This conclusion might have been influenced by several factors: The US became the clear naval winner when the industrial potential was mobilizied. The US had lost her battleships early on, fighting with her surviving carriers instead. The Japanese and German ...


45

There is an extensive Wikipedia article on the details of the selection process. Truman had become a national figure through his chairmanship of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program which had saved $10-15 billion of the cost of WWII, by preventing inefficiency, waste and profiteering, at a cost of $360,000. It was clear ...


45

The B-52 was capable of carrying thermonuclear weapons. These were the second-generation of nuclear weapons with greatly increased destructive power over the original WW2 atomic bombs. By 1957, these weapons had yields measured in megatons compared to the tens of kilotons that the first atomic bombs produced. For example, the Mark 39 nuclear bomb had a ...


38

The Korean War and the Vietnam War are fundamentally very different conflicts. With the former, South Korea was unambiguously invaded by North Korea in an explicit war of conquest. Due to lucky political circumstances, United Nations was able to sanction a military operation to defend South Korea. The Security Council, Having determined that the ...


38

Because of emigration restrictions from the Soviet Union imposed from at least the 1920's on, there were very few ethnic Russians of recent arrival in the U.S., and the Western world in general, during the 1950's. Those ethnic Russians (and Ukrainians) had mostly arrived during the late 19th, or very early 20th, century. By the 1950's ethnic Slavs were ...


37

I consider the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Islam as a current "Cold War". Saudi Arabia considers themselves the leaders of Sunni Islam, while Iran considers themselves the people who speak for Shia. The current conflict among Muslim powers is substantially similar to the cause of the Thirty Years War. Consequently, when any conflict between Sunni and ...


30

According to a 1999 article by Mark A. Bradley in Proceedings, the U.S. Naval Institute's professional journal ("Why They Called the Scorpion "Scrapiron," July 1998), on May 20, 1968, the Scorpion was ordered to intercept a Soviet flotilla near the Azores that included one Echo-II-class nuclear-propelled submarine, a submarine rescue vessel, two ...


30

In Greece in 1946-1949 there was a bloody civil war between the West-supported right-wing monarchist dictatorship and the Communist rebels of Democratic Army of Greece (DSE). The government won the war and harsh repressions followed. The Communist party was outlawed and Greece entered NATO. It should be noted that due to Soviet-Western war-time agreements ...


29

The OP said this in a comment: technically speaking, Spain was a satellite state. However, the treaty was mainly intended for the countries within the big blocks so I assume it was just ignored. The second statement, that Spain was overlooked, is flatly not true as will be demonstrated once we look at the text of the agreements and the historical arguing ...


28

TL; DR: Landing on the moon was covered in the Soviet press, and was well known in the Soviet Union. It received much less attention than Soviet space missions, though. Just to add something factual to previous answers. NASA on U.S.S.R. reaction NASA's Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1969 (15 MB PDF file) contains some useful information on press coverage ...


27

This is a good question. So many encyclopedia entries, passing mentions in books, etc. pass up the issue of ending the blockade, as if the motivation for dropping it was obvious. Daniel Harrington, in a mid-1980s round up and revisit of the arguments over the crisis, gives a typical example of this, "By mid-March, with the worst of the winter behind him, ...


26

(Revised) In principle, they obtained this capability in 1951. In 1949 the Soviets introduced Tu-4 (an unlicensed copy of B-29, by "reverse engineering") with range 5400 km and 847 of them were built in 1949-1952. It was the first Soviet aircraft capable to drop nuclear weapon. With this range it could reach major US cities without return. The Soviets were ...


25

The UN resolution you refer to includes the following clause (8c): [States are to] declare as an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred. The US constitution includes this clause (in the 1st amendment): Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press... In the United ...


25

There weren't "countless" border crossings between East and West. The checkpoints Alpha, Bravo and Charlie were the designated checkpoints for use by allied forces personnel (there were others which only West Berlin citizens could use). Alpha and Bravo are less famous because Alpha was the main crossing for the "inner German border" dividing East and West ...


23

I may be wrong, but I don't think George Marshall ever spoke about his reasons for promoting Eisenhower (although he did prepare a series of biennial reports for the Secretary of War between July 1939 & June 1945. Holbrook W. Yorke, a librarian at the United States Military Academy Library, compiled a bibliography for Eisenhower in 1990. This was one of ...


22

Sometimes it deliberately wasn't kept secret from the enemy. This is from William Taubman's Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, about the Cuban missile crisis in 1962: At 10:00 A.M., Washington time, when the quarantine went into full effect, the U.S. strategic Command moved from Defense Condition 3 to DEFCON 2, one level below that of general war. For ...


22

Battleships were actually obsolete by the onset of WWII, the world's navies just had not realized that yet. Modern technology could deliver killing blows to the heaviest armor from a hundred miles away. Various encounters, like Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Midway and the hunt for the Bismark, made that clear. Take the USS Arizona, blown up at Pearl Harbor ...


21

The original source for the stories you heard is apparently the book "Scorpion Down" by Ed Offley. The book's statements are questionable to say the least and this book review makes a good point. I checked what the Russian sources say about K-129. This 2008 interview with Viktor A. Dygalo, the commander of the division that K-129 belonged to, covers this ...


21

It is clear that Stalin supported the creation of Israel. From the Wiki: For Soviet foreign policy decision-makers, pragmatism took precedence over ideology. Without changing its official anti-Zionist stance, from late 1944, until 1948 and even later, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be ...


20

(Nazi) Germany - Soviet Union It would be hard to pinpoint the beginning of the "cold war" since the Soviet Union was actively supporting left-wing fractions during the Weimar Republic, but of course, those countries became even more hostile after Hitler became the chancellor. After all, one of the points of the Nazi party manifesto was "fighting communist ...


18

In fact, the U.S. did do a lot of work on AA missile systems, chiefly the Nike program. This included the Nike Ajax, Nike Hercules, and Nike Zeus. The latter was expected to counter ICBM launches. The program was scrapped in 1965 when it was determined that Soviet ICBMs would ultimately overwhelm any defenses, and that the only real defense was the MAD (...


18

No! The Cold War was the standoff between the Capitalistic USA and Communistic USSR. Communism lost. What remains is corruption within the former communist country (Russia). The War in Ossetia was over oil (a distinctly capitalistic move) not ideology (spreading Communism) as it would have been were the Cold War still ongoing.


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