Never the less the nuclear weapon emerged in human consciousness as an aftermath of its World War II use as an uniquely powerful and deadly anti human force. The Power of the Atomic bomb was seen as being incomparably great.
In addition many of the American war leaders, believing that the Japanese had been on the verge of surrender, were shocked by the use of such a terrible weapon. In fact these views appeared to have all suffered from the same flaw, they ignore the fact that the Japanese war leadership was far from prepared to surrender on August 6, 1945. The myth of the unnecessary bomb use, reflected a palpable feeling of discomfort, and perhaps guilt about their use. Although objectively far more people were killed by the fire bombing raids on Japanese cities, and many of those deaths were unbelievably horrible, the fire bombing never captured the imagination to the extent the atomic bombings did.
If the initial Atomic Bombs were viewed as unbelievably powerful, the Hydrogen Bomb, an hundred times more powerful still, was simply terrifying.
I have already argued that the acquisition of such weapons meant that nuclear powers held their own populations hostage, in the event of a nuclear war. Civil defense doctrines suggested to people that nuclear weapons use was survivable, even though Governments lacked the resources to take care of their people in a post nuclear holocaust world. After the emergence of the Nuclear armed ICBM, the futility of civil Defense was apparent in the United States and Europe, although the Soviets continued to officially subscribe to the Civil Defense doctrine, what ever private doubts its leaders had about this dubious idea. It is entirely possible that the Soviet Civil Defiance doctrine were part of its strategy to keep the Soviet people hostages in the event that the threat of war loomed. In fact, cold war Soviet policy, was designed to maintain the Soviet Emptier, while making sure that no war threat was allowed to get out of hand.
There was no doubt discomfort ove threats to use nuclear weapons. Threats threat were repeatedly made during the post war/cold war era. Joseph Gerspn listed some of the threats:
Truman threatens Soviets regarding Northern Iran.
Truman sends SAC bombers to intimidate Yugoslavia following the downing of U.S. aircraft over Yugoslavia.
Truman threatens Soviets in response to Berlin blockade.
Truman threatens Chinese when U.S. Marines were surrounded at Chosin Reservoir in Korea.
Truman approves military request to attack Manchuria with nuclear weapons if significant numbers of new Chinese forces join the war.
Eisenhower threatens China to force an end to Korean War on terms acceptable to the United States.
Eisenhower's Secretary of State Dulles offers French three tactical nuclear weapons to break the siege atDienbienphu, Vietnam. Supported by Nixon's public trial balloons.
Eisenhower used nuclear armed SAC bombers to reinforce CIA-backed coup in Guatemala.
Bulganin threatens London and Paris with nuclear attacks, demanding withdrawal following their invasion of Egypt.
Eisenhower counters by threatening the U.S.S.R. while also demanding British and French retreat from Egypt.
Eisenhower orders Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare to use nuclear weapons against Iraq, if necessary to prevent extension of revolution into Kuwait.
Eisenhower orders Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare to use nuclear weapons against China if they invade the island of Quemoy.
Kennedy threatens Soviets during Berlin Crisis.
Cuban Missile Crisis.
Johnson threatens Soviets during Middle East War.
Johnson's public threats against Vietnam are linked to possible use of nuclear weapons to break siege at Khe Shan.
Brezhnev threatens China during border war.
Nixon's "November Ultimatum" against Vietnam.
Nixon signals U.S. preparations to fight nuclear war during Black September War in Jordan.
Israeli Government threatens use of nuclear weapons during the "October War."
Kissinger threatens Soviet Union during the last hours of the "October War" in the Middle East.
Nixon pledges to South Vietnamese President Thieu that he will respond with nuclear attacks or the bombing of North Vietnam's dikes if it violated the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords.
Sec. of Defense Schlesinger threatens North Korea with nuclear retaliation should it attack South Korea in the wake of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam.
Carter Doctrine announced.
Reagan reaffirms the Carter Doctrine.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher threatens to eliminate Buenos Aires during the Falklands War.