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Previous:

World War II

Concurrent:

Korean War, Vietnam War, Soviet war in Afghanistan and other conflicts

Next:

Second Russian Civil War

Cold War
Cold War
Clockwise from top-left: An Mi-24 Hind in Laos; Hueys target Viet Cong campsite; an F-4 Phantom bombing Huế, South Vietnam; Soviet guards stand watch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome; an SR-71 Blackbird providing recon for Kilo One.
Conflict:

Cold War

Date:

1947-1991

Place:

Europe, Cuba, China, Indochina, other parts of the world

Outcome:
  • Soviet Union collapses
  • Cuba becomes communist
  • Vietnam unified under communist control
Combatants

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

United States


United Kingdom


West Germany


Italy


Co-belligerents:

South Korea

Cuban exiles

South Vietnam

and other Non-NATO supporters

  • Many anti-Communist guerrillas

Warsaw Pact


Soviet Union

East Germany

People's Republic of Poland

People's Republic of China


Co-belligerents:

North Korea

Cuba

North Vietnam


Viet Cong


Pathet Lao


Communist Cambodia

and other Soviet supporters

  • Many Communist guerrillas
Commanders

Dwight D. Esienhower John F. KennedyRichard Nixon

  • Other US Presidents

Robert McNamara

  • Other US SecDefs

Unknown General


CIA operatives:

Jason Hudson

Grigori Weaver

Alex Mason

Frank Woods


Joseph Bowman


Cuban rebels:


Carlos

Joseph Stalin


Nikita Khrushchev


Leonid Brezhnev

  • Other Soviet leaders

Nikita Dragovich


Lev Kravchenko


Friedrich Steiner


Fidel Castro

Ho Chi Minh


VC Bookie

Strength

U.S. Armed Forces

US Army

US Navy

US Air Force

CIA

SOG

UK Armed Forces

British Army

Cuban rebels

Soviet Armed Forces

Soviet Army

Red Army

Soviet Air Forces

Soviet Navy

Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces

Soviet Air Defense Forces

Cuban Armed Forces

North Vietnam Armed Forces

North Vietnamese Army

Viet Cong

other combatants

Casualties

Unknown

Unknown

The Cold War (Russian: холо́дная война́, kholodnaya voĭna) was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States and its allies. Although the chief military forces never engaged in a major battle with each other, they expressed the conflict through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, extensive aid to states deemed vulnerable, proxy wars, espionage, propaganda, conventional and nuclear arms races, appeals to neutral nations, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

After the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, the USSR and the US saw each other as profound enemies due to their economic and political differences. The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc with the eastern European countries it occupied, annexing part or all of some and maintaining others as satellite states. The post-war recovery of Western Europe was facilitated by the United States' Marshall Plan, while the Soviet Union, wary of the conditions attached, declined to participate and prompted its satellite states to do likewise. An alternative, COMECON, was set up by the Soviets instead. The United States forged North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance using containment of communism as a main strategy (Truman Doctrine), in 1949, while the Soviet bloc formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Some countries aligned with NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and others chose to stay neutral with the Non-Aligned Movement. Elsewhere, the US and USSR fought proxy wars of various types: in Latin America and Southeast Asia, the USSR assisted and helped foster communist revolutions, opposed by several Western countries and their regional allies; some they attempted to roll back, with mixed results.

The Cold War featured cycles of relative calm and of high tension. The most tense involved the Berlin Blockade (1948–1949), the Korean War (1950–1953), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Vietnam War (1959–1975), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989), and the Able Archer 83 NATO exercises in November 1983. Both sides sought détente to relieve political tensions and deter direct military attack, which would probably guarantee their mutual assured destruction with nuclear weapons. In the 1980s, under the Reagan Doctrine, the United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the nation was already suffering economic stagnation. In the late 1980s, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reconstruction", "reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", ca. 1985). The Cold War ended after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, leaving the United States as the dominant military power. The Cold War and its events have had a significant impact on the world today, and it is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espoinage and the threat of nuclear warfare. But four years later in 1995, the Soviet Union was re-created and started a new global conflict that is ongoing to this present-day, Cold War II or New Cold War.

Orgins of the termEdit

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