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The Cold War between USA and USSR remained cold and did not turn to a direct war. Both the countries possessed nuclear weapons and were well aware of the consequences they might have suffered due to break out of the war between the two.
Both knew that in the event of a nuclear war, both the sides would be harmed so badly that it will be impossible for them to recover and declare any one of them to be the winner. This is called "The Logic of Deterrence." It means that both the sides have the capacity to fight against each other causing so much destruction, but none of them can afford to initiate war. Thus the cold war remained cold and not hot or shooting war.
Both the superpowers wanted to threaten each other and therefore increased its weapons of war like nuclear armaments. They went on increasing their possession of such weapons of mass destruction crossing every limit set by the United Nations. It appeared that there was a race going on in between the two superpowers that who will amount huge mass of such weapons.
As both the nuclear powers were aware of the severe consequences of using weapons over each other and on themselves, there was no physical use of military and direct war. However, progress and research were promoted in every field to become more powerful.
In this way, the cold war through the logic of deterrence prevented war and produced arms race as well as arms control.
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