The things that best describe the nuclear arms race include the Cold War, the hydrogen bomb, the defense and early warnings system and mutually assured destruction. The Cold War was characterized by the nuclear arms race. During this war, Russia and the United States increased their defense systems.
As weapons technology increased, both states needed to ensure that they could adequately protect themselves. Each party worked to make more powerful weaponry faster than the opponent, which is why it is termed the "nuclear arms race." In 1952, America exploded a hydrogen bomb that was more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. In 1953, Russia developed its own technologies for a hydrogen bomb.
The next development was the B52 bomber, and following that was intercontinental ballistic missiles. The fear of a missile attack prompted America to build a defense and early warnings system around the Arctic. These patterns led to a race for nuclear weapons. However, once both parties had nuclear weapons, second strike capability ensured mutually assured destruction; both states would be destroyed if nuclear weapons were used. After Russia placed its weaponry in Cuba, America was inclined to take action to prevent destruction of both countries. In exchange for Russia removing its armory from Cuba, America removed its weaponry form Turkey.