It has been said that nothing puts the MD in WMD better than an ICBM - and no history of the Cold War would be complete without mention of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first one was introduced by the Soviet Union in October of 1957, it was called the R7. Although this article heralds the first American ICBM, called the Atlas Rocket, it would not be operational until September, 1959 - variants of Atlas are still in use today by the U.S. Air Force. The ICBM is capable of exploding over its target no less than 30 minutes after take off - it has been the one weapon that nullified all forms of civil defense and it is what made the Cold War truly chilling.
"Here is what some military men have called 'the ultimate weapon,' 'the absolute weapon' - 'the weapon that will rule the earth.'"