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Guns or Butter?


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"...This sparked an outcry for defense..."


We all remember that one morning when the twin towers collapsed after two planes had struck the buildings in New York City on September 11, 2001. It was a day that we learned that we were not invincible and that we could be attacked on our own soil. This sparked an outcry for defense. It was not the only time that we boosted our defense. We had to boost our defense during wars, such as World War II and the Cold War.
After we entered the war in World War II after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, a day that President Franklin Roosevelt said would live in infamy, the United States started to output many warships and planes. According to Stokesbury, "Roosevelt called for the production of 60,000 aircrafts during 1942- a goal many industrialist believed was impossible to achieve. Yet U.S. war plants turned out 86,000 planes the following year" (Stokesbury). Many factories were being turned into war plants. We had automobile factories producing tanks and aircrafts.
Tanks, ships, and airplanes are not the only thing that we needed to boost our defense. We also needed men to fight the war. While some men volunteered, others were drafted. During World War II the first peace time treaty was initiated. According to Stokesbury, " more than 15 million men served in the armed forces during World War II. About 10 million were drafted. The rest volunteered (Stokesbury).
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During World War II, the United States began trying to come up with a new weapon. In comes "The Manhattan Project", this was to put effort into creating an atomic bomb after learning Germany was trying to produce one. The atomic bomb was used twice, "The first was at Hiroshima. A uranium bomb nicknamed Little Boy’... on August 9, 1945, Nagasaki fell to the same treatment. This time a plutonium bomb nicknamed ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on the city" (History of the Atomic Bomb).
After the end of World War II came the start of the Cold War. The war was mainly between the United States and the Soviet Union. During the Cold War there was an arms race. As one nation produced something another had to do the same. According to Kaufman the United States feared Soviet rocket superiority (Kaufman). During the Cold War there was the first successful thermonuclear bomb in 1952 by the United States and a second by the Soviet Union in 1953. In 1957, "...the U.S.S.R. launched the first artificial earth satellite, Sputnick 1. In January 1958, the United States launched its first earth satellite" (Kauffman). In the 1980s the U.S. increased its defense budget as the Soviet Union’s military power was increasing.
A more recent event in United States history of boosting our defense was after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Our concerns were national security. In order to secure the nation we need more defense. We established a new organization, the Homeland Security, to try and protect us. President Bush ordered the deployment of a ballistic missile defense system to be effective in 2004; the system would be designed to prevent so-called rogue missiles. Airport security has also gotten very tight and strict since the attacks with tougher screenings and having to get to the airport much earlier.
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After the attacks on the World Trade Center we engaged in war with Iraq with talks that they were a threat because they had weapons of mass destructions. Again we need men to fight
and more weapons for our troops. More money also has to be spent on producing more artillery. We have already put in so much money in the efforts to try to stabilize Iraq before evacuating.
These are not the only times that we have had to increase our defense for we fought in more wars, such as the Vietnam War and the Korean War. It is obvious that defense spending is going to increase when we are at war, whether it be a "hot" war or a "cold" war. Trying to keep up with the Soviet Union not only brought us more weapons, but new weapons like the hydrogen bomb during the Cold War. During these times we have to choose defense over our consumer goods. More money will be put into defense over our youths education and healthcare programs. It is a tough choice to make but it needs to be done.

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