Ken Robertson

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Adam Bromke




This thesis explores the often-troubled relationship between the US and the USSR during the period 1945-1984. Interjected into this relationship has been a juggernaut- like nuclear strategic arms race that seemingly defies control an potentially threatens the destruction of the entire world. it has, in effect, created a mutual hostage relationship which neither superpower seems capable of resolving. Also, to be examined are the effects that possession of such nuclear weapons by the superpowers has had on the reordering of the post World War II world. Each, it will be pointed out, had its own messianic goals and negative stereotype images of the other which were characterized by high levels of fear, mistrust and misperceptions. Both superpowers have come to regard nuclear weapons not only as instruments of unimaginable mass destructive capabilities; but also as political-psychological weapons, whose threatened use alone, often-times, is sufficient to achieve certain political goals. Moreover efforts at achieving significant nuclear strategic arms control have, to date, been relatively ineffective. In the absence of such agreements, crisis management principles continue to be stresses in order to avoid any destabilizing superpower confrontation. Time, however, is running out. The US and the USSR must choose to accept mutual co-existence and significant nuclear strategic arms control or face the danger of worldwide nuclear annihilation. A political solution is deemed to be the only way out of this grave problem. Potentially, complex computers and telecommunications networks threaten to usurp control over their nuclear deterrents. The study argues that absolute control must remain in the hands of he respective national political leaders.

McMaster University Library

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