What’s the Cold War?

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The Cold War was a period of tension between the US and its allies and Russia and its allies from the 1940s to the early 1990s. The war was fought subtly, with events like the raising of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The war began after WWII when the Allies and Russia entered an uneasy pact. The West hoped to prevent the spread of communism through containment, while Russia and China wanted to protect themselves and their allies. The Cold War ended when Eastern European nations rose up against communism, and diplomatic ties were re-established in the 1990s.

The Cold War was a period of tension and subdued hostility that gripped most of the world between the 1940s and early 1990s. The main players in it were the United States and its allies, opposed by Russia and countries aligned with that nation. Instead of engaging in all-out and potentially devastating warfare, countries embroiled in the Cold War fought for position in more subtle ways. Many important events in global history, including the raising of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis, were related to this war.

The Cold War has its roots in World War II when the Allied Powers entered into an uneasy pact with Russia to defeat Germany and Italy. Allied countries were concerned about joining forces with a communist nation, and Russia was also hesitant about the deal. After World War II, Germany was divided into Allied-occupied territories and Russia, and the relationship began to deteriorate shortly thereafter.

From the point of view of the West, communism was a dangerous idea. Russia had firm control of Eastern Europe, but the Allies and the United States in particular hoped to prevent the spread of communism through containment. The West was also concerned about the conversion potential in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. The West heavily controlled regions bordering Communist countries and sent a variety of spies across the borders to gather intelligence on Communist regimes. Furthermore, both Communists and Westerners engaged in warfare on other terrains, such as in Korea and Vietnam, in an attempt to gain the upper hand.

Russia and allied nations like China, on the other hand, wanted to protect themselves and the communist nations they were allied with. The divide between Communist Eastern Europe and the West has been called the “Iron Curtain,” due to the difficulty of crossing it, thanks to Communist officials trying to keep citizens in and Westerners out. Communist nations competed with the West economically, scientifically and technologically in an attempt to establish superiority. The Cold War led to the space race that landed Americans on the moon in 1969, and it also led to nuclear proliferation, as more and more countries became concerned about their safety.

Numerous attempts were made to reach a diplomatic settlement during the Cold War, but the Cold War really began to end when Eastern European nations rose up against communism. The anti-communist Solidarity movement gained traction in Poland when the Berlin Wall fell and the leaders of the United States and Russia began engaging in cooperation talks. Diplomatic ties between major players were re-established in the 1990s, to the relief of many people around the world who had been affected by the Cold War.

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