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The Cold War is the term for the decades long conflict (not an all-out shooting war) between the Western Allies and the Communist Eastern Bloc Nations (Soviet Union, China, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, North Korea, North Vietnam). "Cold" means that the conflict never grew to a full confrontational war between East and West, but there was plenty of "War" nevertheless, even if much of it was covert.

The Cold War began after WWII in Berlin when the Allies and Soviet Union (the Soviets were part of the Allied Forces against Germany and Japan) held different sectors of Berlin. The Soviets were allowed to take Berlin as their retribution against Hitler for the invasion of Russia after signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin, and had sustained significant casualties. Eventually, Josef Stalin began to create a barrier (which became the Berlin Wall) between East and West Berlin, which divided Germany into East and West for almost 50 years.

Invasions and takeovers of other nations followed - Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Romania, etc. For many decades, once former Allies, the Western powers and the Soviet Union became locked in an ideological war, mostly fought on clandestine and diplomatic terms (with the occasional hot spot flare-ups and crises). As both sides were armed with nuclear weapons that had ballistic capability, (due to Soviet spies involved in the Manhattan Project and surrender of Nazi rocket engineers to both sides), tensions escalated to the point where both sides were on constant nuclear alert. Allied war planning was centered on a massive Soviet armored invasion of West Germany from the East, as well as a strategic nuclear response in the event of a Soviet strike on any Allied nation.

The old WWII Allied and Russian Sectors of Berlin remained until the fall of the Berlin Wall, and were often used as exchange points for spies and others held by both sides.

Also, it wasn't long after WWII that Mao Tse Tung's Communists overthrew the government of WWII Western ally Chiang Kai-Shek, leading to the Communist takeover of China. The government of Chiang fled to Taiwan, and is why Taiwan is still a political sticking point even 60 years later as the U.S. has guaranteed protection to Taiwan over the objection of the Communist Chinese Government. This, along with the Communist takeover of North Korea (and attempted takeover of the South) led to virtually all of the Eastern Asian continent being under Communist rule. Other nations that fell to Communism later (Cuba, e.g.) were considered satellite nations of the USSR. Other nations that didn't become Communist nations (e.g., Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and other Arab countries) relied heavily on Soviet weapons, technology and training to outfit their military units.

The term "Cold War" is misleading - though it never turned into a full out confrontation between East and West being "hot", there were plenty of conflicts both covert (my old domain) and public (Korea, Vietnam, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Bay of Pigs, Nicaragua, Grenada, etc.), over the years that made tensions anything but peaceful. The daily constant threat of global nuclear war was a real possibility that we lived with.

The Korean War and Vietnam War have never officially been referred to as anything other than "conflicts", maintaining the status quo that the East and West were not officially at war with each other. The difference is that both sides knew a full confrontation between East and West would lead to Nuclear War, neither side of which was willing to start. However, that didn't mean that propaganda and regional conflicts weren't used to push the ideological agendas of both sides.

One good propaganda example that many people have forgotten is how the United States got involved in the Persian Gulf to begin with - it's directly related to the Cold War and the threat of Communist influence on the area. In 1983, the Kuwaiti government, whose oil tankers had been constantly harassed by Iranian militants from several oil platforms in the Gulf, formally asked the United States government for permission to re-flag their tankers under the U.S. flag (ships often fly under different flags of nations they're not from for differing reasons). Doing so instantly guaranteed them protection under the U.S. Navy. The choice at the time was a simple one - Kuwait had made it clear that if the United States or NATO had refused, they were going to ask the Soviets for protection. I still remember Reagan's speech to the nation on the matter - "If we don't do it, the Soviets will". Giving the Communists regional control of one of our most strategic necessities (most Americans have no clue just how vulnerable the U.S. is, and dependent on strategic materials we don't have) was not an option.

The beginning of the end of the Cold War began with the Polish Solidarity Union strike against the Polish Government. The Soviets had already extended themselves militarily in their controlled countries to maintain control and limit dissent, which was a huge drain on their national budget. The Soviets began having to withdraw their forces back to Russian territories. Once that began, dictators no longer had the protection they once had, and once Communist governments began to fall. Reagan's proposed abrogation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (which was required prior to his Ballistic Missile Defense Program initiation) was the budget straw that broke that Soviet's military back.

Afghanistan had proven to be a long and costly war that resulted in nothing, and a huge debt. The U.S. and the other Western Allies had the capital to fund the BMD program, and this led to then Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev's willingness to finally do serious negotiations with Reagan on removing and reducing huge numbers of nuclear weapons which had fueled tensions for decades. In the end, as Gorbachev's policies loosened the Communist hold over Russia and its territories, the Communist Party lost power for good. It wasn't long after that the Strategic Air Command bomber crews, which had been on round-the-clock ready alert in case of a first-strike Soviet launch for decades, were ordered to stand down.

Having been in the thick of the dicier operations of the Cold War, I and others can honestly say that we never believed we'd see the end of the Cold War or the fall of the Soviet Union in our lifetime, let alone the re-unification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's a sad note that the recent anniversary of the Wall coming down didn't get much attention - so many people tried to cross the Wall over the decades. Most were killed or captured and imprisoned, though some made it through sheer daring. Tunnels, hang gliders, balloons, etc., were used in attempts.

The constant threat of Nuclear War was both comforting and terrifying at the same time. Terrifying for obvious reasons, but during the Cold War everyone knew who was the enemy - today it could be anyone. As an example of life when I was a kid in the 60's, I still remember "Duck & Cover" drills, and the weekly test of the Air Raid Siren at my school. DC drills, like so much other public propaganda then, were psychological of course. Hiding under a desk to protect yourself from the big bad bomb? Not likely to do much but keep you from seeing the flash.

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โˆ™ 2015-06-03 04:41:37
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Q: What is the Cold War?
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Related Questions

Why did they call the cold war as the cold war?

They call the cold war the cold because it was a war that wasn't violent but it was a war of war

How did the cold war affect the cold war front?

There was no "front" in the Cold War.

Why was the Vietnam War a cold war?

Some called this war "The Hot Battle of the Cold War". It was during the cold war era but not at all cold.

What do you call Cold War today?

The Cold War is still called the Cold War.

Was the cold war a war?

Doesnt have " war " the end cold WAR

Why was the cold war quiet?

Because it was a cold war (no war).

What was the basis of peace in the cold war?

Peace of the Cold War was from a settlement. The Cold War was a long and hard war.

Was the Korean war an example of the cold war?

Not an example of the cold war; an example of the cold war is NO WAR AT ALL! Cold War=military stand-off (no fighting). Korea was the first HOT battle of the cold war. (Hot=A real shootin war!).

Korean War in cold war?

Hot battle of the cold war.

What war was first the cold war or the Korean war?

They came at the same time. The Korean War began the cold war, while the Cold War continued.

How did the cold war spark the Great War?

The cold war did not spark the great war

How did the cold war begins?

How did the cold war begin

Are Polands in the Cold war?

polands are not in the cold war

Who was the president during the cold war I?

There was no Cold War I

How does a cold war differ from a hot war?

The Cold War was not "cold" per say, but was simply the name of a war that took place.

What does cold war and war war 2 have in common?

World War Two was an origin of the Cold War.

Did churchill cause the cold war?

Churchill did not cause the cold war. Nuclear weapons caused the cold war.

Are there similarities between the cold war and the holy war?

Negative! The Cold War was NOT a war; the cold war involved NO killing nor destruction. The cold war was just a name...meaning "a military stand-off." A Holy War is a war with religion as basis for the war.

What are the Similarities of a hot war and a cold war?

Hot is war, Cold is not. Cold war is facing each other but not shooting. Hot war is shooting! Korea and Vietnam were "Hot" wars (hot battles of the cold war).

Did Cold War occur After Vietman War?

No the Cold War was the reason why the Vietnam War happened.

How is the Vietnam war and the cold war alike?

The Vietnam war was a warm part of the cold war.

Did the Korean war come before or after the cold war?

The Korean War was part of the Cold War.

Was The Vietnam War called The Cold War?

Vietnam was a shooting war (a hot war). A cold war is a NON-shooting war; a cold war is a "stand-off" between two (or more) adversaries. Technically, Vietnam, being part of the cold war...communism verses the free world...the Vietnam War was a "Hot BATTLE" of the cold war.

The period of cold war?

cold war ended in 1989....

Communismwas not an issue in which conflicts the cold war?

Cold war