Test Ban Treaty, 1962What were the motivations for the U.S. to enter into the Test Ban Treaty?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The context in which the United States entered the Test Ban Treaty was one where the fear of unlimited use of nuclear weapons was fairly high.  With the United States and the Soviet Union as the primary holders of nuclear weapons, the fears began to generate as to their usage in light of the escalating Cold War between both nations.  Additionally, the premise of testing these weapons, contributing to endangering human and animal population as well as environmental disasters due to nuclear fallout drove the signing of the treaty by President Kennedy.  It called for a ban on testing nuclear weapons on the part of both nations and was seen as a move to slow down the increasingly intense Cold War rhetoric and feelings on both sides.  There was disagreement as to specific logistics of the treaty, such as how to monitor agreement amongst nations, but after negotiations, both nations came an accord as to how this would play itself out.  Many see the primary motivation as attempting to gain control over the monster that had become nuclear weapons and the arms race that ended up resulting from it.