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Cold War alliances mid-1975

The "three worlds" of the Cold War era, as of the period between April 1975 and August 1975. Neutral and non-aligned countries shown in green.

The termEdit

The term "cold" used in "Cold War" was chosen because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, although there were major regional wars, known as proxy wars, supported by the two sides. The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

Historical backgroundEdit

The Cold War was a term used to describe the tensions between the USA and the USSR after World War 2. The Origins of the Cold War were rooted in many issues of an complex and politically threatening origin.

The eraEdit

The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states). Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but a common timeframe is the period between 1947, the year the Truman Doctrine (a U.S. policy pledging to aid nations threatened by Soviet expansionism) was announced, and 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed.

The period 1945-1991 and more specifically the interactions, directly or through proxies, between 'the West' and 'the Communist states.'

The Cold War was the time of Modern History spanning from the Yalta Conference on Febuary 4, 1945, to December 31, 1991 at the formal end the Soviet Union. The Cold war was not a formal war, but a series of Proxy Wars and buildup of nuclear and and non-nuclear weapons, predominantly between the Warsaw Pact and other Communist countrys and the NATO and American forces. During this period in history, the ideologys of Communism and Democracy swept throughout the world. The USA and USSR were both Super-powers at this time.

The East and West completed mostly over sport, science, the arts, space and atomic arms.

The USSR was a Marxist–Leninist state ruled by its Communist Party and secret police, who in turn were ruled by a dictator (Stalin) or a small committee ("Politburo"). The Party controlled the press, the military, the economy and all organizations. It also controlled the other states in the Eastern bloc, and funded Communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with Communist China, particularly following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. In opposition stood the West, dominantly democratic and capitalist with a free press and independent organizations. A small neutral bloc arose with the Non-Aligned Movement; it sought good relations with both sides. The two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat, but they were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. Each side had a nuclear deterrent that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to total destruction of the attacker: the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948–49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950–53), the conflict expanded. The USSR and USA competed for influence in Latin America, and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was stopped by the Soviets. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, and the Vietnam War (1955–75) ended with a defeat of the US-backed Republic of South Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.

By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in accommodations to create a more stable and predictable international system, inaugurating a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the Soviet war in Afghanistan beginning in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (1983), and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises (1983). The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Mikhail Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower.


The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (e.g. the internationally successful James Bond movie franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare.



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Image galleryEdit

Also seeEdit

  1. CND
  2. Missiles
  3. Berlin airlift
  4. Vietnam War
  5. Marshall Plan
  6. Truman doctrine
  7. Cold War Timeline
  8. Space Satellites
  9. Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
  10. 1950–1953 Korean War
  11. Seven days to the River Rhine (1979)
  12. Weather Underground Organization (WUO)
  13. Cold War secret police organisations
  14. Cold War radio jamming
  15. Communist parties
  16. Cold War radio propaganda
  17. Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
  18. Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
  19. Red Brigades (in Italy)
  20. Black Liberation Army (BLA)
  21. Ordine Nuovo
  22. Submarines
  23. A political diorama
  24. Heidi Krieger/Andreas Krieger
  25. Weather modification
  26. Cuban Missile Crisis
  27. Communist old guard
  28. Portuguese Colonial War
  29. List of Korean Republics
  30. Popular UK Cold War era geopolitical myths and false beliefs
  31. Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
  32. Communist parties
  33. Sport
  34. Culture
  35. Daewoo Group and Daewoo Corporation
  36. The Korean Peninsular!
  37. Why South Vietnamese women wore cardigans in Israel
  38. Secret service radio numbers stations
  39. Radio buzzers and akin stations
  40. Secret service radio stations
  41. Letter beacon
  42. The "La Técnica" torture center
  43. The rules of war
  44. The 1950 United Kingdom general election
  45. Warsaw Pact
  46. Ivalo Airfield
  47. Helsinki Vantaa Highway Strip
  48. Helsinki Vantaa Airport
  49. Hyvinkää Airfield
  50. Oulu Air Base
  51. Immola Airfield
  52. Directory of all Indochinese wars in the Cold War
  53. Popular UK Cold War era geopolitical myths and false beliefs
  54. Atomic warfare information notes.
  55. Atomic\nuclear war
  56. The atomic artillery peace ‘Atomic Annie’
  57. Atomic accidents and disasters
  58. The 1950 United Kingdom general election
  59. Super-power
  60. Hungarian Revolution of 1956
  61. Europe
  62. Africa
  63. South America
  64. North America
  65. Central America and the Caribbean
  66. The Middle East
  67. South Asia
  68. East Asia
  69. South East Asia
  70. Oceania
  71. The Arctic and the Antarctica
  72. Outer space
  73. Science
  74. Operation Chrome Dome
  75. 1950–1953 Korean War
  76. Vietnam War
  77. Portuguese Colonial War
  78. NATO
  79. Warsaw Pact
  80. Nukes
  81. Military exercises
  82. "Reds under the bed"
  83. House Committee on Un-American Activities
  84. Directory of all Indochinese wars in the Cold War
  85. Today's OTL types of economies, societies and regimes
  86. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  87. Weather modification
  88. Iranian Revolution
  89. Organisations
  90. Radar
  91. Aircraft
  92. Bombers
  93. Navy
  94. Weather modification
  95. Missiles
  96. Tanks and APCs
  97. USSR
  98. Eastern Bloc
  99. The UN
  100. Communist Parties
  101. Nations
  102. Films
  103. Biographies
  104. Energy industry
  105. Sport
  106. National leaders
  107. Hungarian Revolution of 1956
  108. Arab–Israeli conflict
  109. North Yemen-South Yemen Border Conflict of 1972
  110. North Yemen Civil War
  111. Inner German Border
  112. EBU
  113. ECOWAS
  114. EU
  115. CACM
  116. India
  117. Pakistan
  118. Six-Day War
  119. Suez Crisis
  120. Aden Emergency
  121. Yom Kippur War
  122. Time line of Iraq
  123. 1948 Palestine war
  124. Iranian Revolution
  125. 1970s energy crises
  126. Minerals and fuel in central Africa
  127. What women should wear in the Middle East
  128. Mineral mining, smelting and shipping videos
  129. North Yemen-South Yemen Border Conflict of 1972
  130. Iranian videos page
  131. Iran-Iraq war
  132. Palestine vs Israel
  133. 1970s energy crises
  134. 1953 Iranian coup d'état
  135. What women should wear in the Middle East
  136. Bourj el-Barajneh and it's refugee camp
  137. Six-Day War
  138. Suez Crisis
  139. Dhofar Rebellion
  140. Omani Civil War
  141. Hungarian Revolution of 1956
  142. The Al-Wadiah War (1969)
  143. October 28, 1972 Cairo Agreement
  144. Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982
  145. Qibya massacre
  146. Aden Emergency
  147. Yom Kippur War
  148. Time line of Iraq
  149. 1948 Palestine war
  150. Iranian Revolution
  151. 1970s energy crises
  152. Minerals and fuel in central Africa
  153. What women should wear in the Middle East
  154. Mineral mining, smelting and shipping videos
  155. North Yemen-South Yemen Border Conflict of 1972
  156. Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
  157. Hungarian Revolution of 1956
  158. United Nations General Assembly
  159. Secretary-General of the United Nations
  160. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  161. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758
  162. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1
  163. United Nations Security Council Resolution 54
  164. Cold War secret police organisations
  165. Cold War radio jamming
  166. Cold War radio propaganda
  167. Cold War Timeline
  168. Space Satellites
  169. Seven days to the River Rhine (1979)
  170. Berlin airlift
  171. Marshall Plan
  172. Truman doctrine
  173. Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
  174. 1950–1953 Korean War
  175. Vietnam War
  176. Weather Underground Organization (WUO)
  177. Communist parties
  178. Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
  179. Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
  180. Red Brigades (in Italy)
  181. Black Liberation Army (BLA)
  182. Ordine Nuovo
  183. CND
  184. Submarines
  185. A political diorama
  186. Heidi Krieger/Andreas Krieger
  187. Weather modification
  188. Missiles
  189. Cuban Missile Crisis
  190. Communist old guard
  191. Portuguese Colonial War
  192. Popular UK Cold War era geopolitical myths and false beliefs
  193. Atomic warfare information notes.
  194. Atomic\nuclear war
  195. The atomic artillery peace ‘Atomic Annie’
  196. Atomic accidents and disasters
  197. The 1950 United Kingdom general election
  198. Super-power

Outside sourcesEdit


Other relevant wikisEdit

  • Cold War and Post Cold War History Wiki [1]
  • Cold War [2], [3] and [4]

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