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The Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after WWII between the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allies. The USSR tried to exert a communist influence throughout central and eastern Europe. The US had decided to take a stand against the communist movement, and they tried to exert their influence in France, West Germany, Japan, and Korea by setting up capitalism supporting leaders. An “Iron Curtain”, as Winston Churchill called it, divided Europe: half capitalist, half communist. The US feared a domino effect would occur in regards to countries falling to communism. So they wanted to stop it before all of Europe and Asia fell to this new ideology.
In 1947, a plan was formed to establish a containment policy for communism. Soon after, a document called the Truman Doctrine was formed and it promised that the US would support other nations in the defense against communism. The USSR who was spreading communism didn’t exactly like this push back, and the Cold War began. The Cold War took place from about 1947 till about 1999. These dates are not exact because the Cold War really was more of an era and has no real fixed beginning or end. The Cold War got its name because there was no direct fighting between the USSR and the US. However, there were proxy wars that came about because of the Cold War, like the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
The main reason for the Cold was because the US has capitalist ideologies and the USSR had communist ideologies. This led to huge differences in government and economy between the two world powers, which led to the dispute and tension between the two. There was this atmosphere of political distrust which raised tensions because they would never take each other for their word. This distrust made peace almost an impossibility. It also didn’t help that each side took the stance of brinkmanship, which just means that neither of them tried to calm the rising tensions. No one would lower their weapons first. Neither would back down, and they would allow the situation to go as far as it could before doing anything.
An arms race was also going on during this time, which doesn’t help with the tensions. Large parts of their economies went to fund military research and spending. The ability of each side to completely destroy each other due to their nuclear capability was problem the main reason why the war stayed “cold”. These nuclear weapons had the possibility to wipe out the whole world, and because neither side would back down, many people feared that the war would end with everyone dying. Lots of spying went on during this time too. The CIA and the KGB both spied on each other which grew tensions between the counties even more. Psychological warfare was also huge in the Cold War due to the rise of mass media. American media outlets portrayed the USSR as the bad guys and the US and the good; however, it was the opposite in Soviet Union.
The Cold War effectively ended when the Berlin Wall fell, which torn the “Iron Curtain”. The Soviet Union unraveled in 1989, which put a stop to the tensions between them and the US.
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