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The invention of nuclear weapons is the hallmark of a period of enormous significance often called the atomic age2 The United States began a nuclear weapons program the Manhattan Project with Britain and Canada joining in This effort culminated with the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945 Most Americans remain convinced that the atomic bombs ended the war and saved the lives of troops who otherwise would have been lost in a land invasion2 The atomic age thus means a number of things including creation of awesome weapons of mass destruction recognition by governments that science is too important to be left to the scientists establishment of big science - large projects staffed by numerous teams of specialists blessed with federal largess and the emergence of scientists into national politics as advisors advocates and critics of government plans The social responsibility of scientists is no longer the aberration it was a century ago 2 Cold War term used to describe the post-World War II struggle between the United States and its allies and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics USSR and its allies During the Cold War period which lasted from the mid-1940s until the end of the 1980s international politics were heavily shaped by the intense rivalry between these two great blocs of power and the political ideologies they represented democracy and capitalism in the case of the United States and its allies and Communism in the case of the Soviet bloc The principal allies of the United States during the Cold War included Britain France West Germany Japan and Canada On the Soviet side were many of the countries of Eastern Europe--including Bulgaria Czechoslovakia Hungary Poland East Germany and Romania--and during parts of the Cold War Cuba and China Countries that had no formal commitment to either bloc were known as neutrals or within the Third World as nonaligned nations 3 American journalist
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