- Quantum Mechanics
- Nuclear Submarine
- United Nations Building
Nuclear Fission, the first application of Nuclear Physics, is an Advance of Mass Destruction. Nuclear Submarines replace the conventional Submarines with greater range and firepower.
The Nuke ushers in the age of "city busting", a single weapon that can lay waste to civilizations. Potential Civilization-Busting weapons makes peaceful foreign relations all the more important, and building the United Nations Building provides Embassies in all other civilizations, even in times of war.
In 1938, the German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission. By bombarding uranium with neutrons in an attempt to create elements heavier than uranium, they unwittingly induced a fission reaction. When a particle such as a neuron hits the nucleus of a uranium atom, it causes it to split into two fission fragments of roughly the same atomic composition. This process releases a large amount of thermal energy, as well as gamma rays and a few free neutrons, which in turn fission other uranium nuclei. This series of fissions constitutes a chain reaction, which yields a constant supply of nuclear energy. The first application of this, however, was to release all the energy in an uncontrolled reaction as a nuclear bomb. A plutonium or enriched Uranium reaction could be set off that exceeded in violence and power anything possible with conventional explosives. The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, with two uranium fission bombs, was a horrifying demonstration of the military applications of nuclear fission.
If, on the other hand, these reactions could be controlled, scientists theorized, then one would have a supply of energy using very small amounts of fissionable ’fuel’ than with conventional oil, gasoline, or diesel engines.
In 1954, the first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, was commissioned. Powered by a small amount of enriched uranium, the small reactor needed no oxygen at all, allowing the Nautilus to travel submerged for extended periods with no need to surface. Nuclear power made larger, more powerful and more effective submarines available, forever changing the nature of naval combat in the second half of the 20th century.
Nuclear weapons added another nightmare to that of nationalism, the unresisted exercise of which had, by 1945, resulted in the most destructive war in human history. With over 50 million dead and entire nations laid waste, some alternative to war as a method of resolving conflicts had to be found. Springing from Allied cooperation during that war, the United Nations started as a separate series of organizations for relief and rebuilding after the war, starting with a US congressional resolution passed in 1943, and the establishing of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Washington, DC (1943) and the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference (1944) which establishes the World Bank. The United Nations General Assembly met for the first time in London on January 10, 1945 and the Security Council on 17 January. New York was selected as a permanent site for the UN in December 1945, and John D. Rockefeller contributed $8.5 million to start construction of a permanent headquarters in that city. Never completely successful at outlawing warfare between states, the United Nations did provide a framework for international and supranational cooperation among states and kept the world from experiencing a major intercontinental world war for over 70 years.