From the end of the Second World War in 1945 until 1991 the United States and the Soviet Union stared each other down backed by ever growing nuclear stockpiles. From the outside clearly the best choice was for both sides to disarm. Most will agree and say both sides should have disarmed however the reason while both sides refused to disarm is clear, a blatant lack of trust.
The United States and the Soviet Union where more than rival countries. Each country was a symbol for different ideology. The United States was the foremost supporter of capitalism and democratic government while the Soviet Union supported communism. The world was split between two superpowers, each fighting for an advantage over the other. The easiest way to gain an advantage was clearly to have more weapons than the other country.
Neither country trusted the other would agree to disarm themselves. Both countries decided the best way to avoid nuclear war was not to dismantle their weapons stockpiles but to simply have more than the other. A larger stockpile was meant to act as deterrent against a rival nation. The Cuban Missile Crisis highlights many key aspects of the Cold War and the distrust between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both nations wanted to move missiles to a more strategic location, the United States had missiles in Turkey so the Soviets wanted missiles in Cuba. While not an unusual tactic the crisis demonstrated the unwillingness to cooperate with each other.