Cold War Definition and Meaning

Cold War Definition and Meaning

The Cold War is called the political and ideological confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), for wanting to impose its hegemonies in the rest of the world.

The Cold War began shortly after the end of World War II in 1945, and ended with the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 after the economic crisis that resulted from the great acquisition of weapons and the fall of the Berlin Wall in the 1989

The disagreement in the division of Germany between the victorious powers of World War II caused the splitting of the western world into two blocks: a communist led by the USSR, and another capitalist dominated by the United States.

Both blocks maintained a tense relationship that threatened the unleashing of a third major conflict.

However, no war or direct confrontation originated between the two countries, and one of the most important causes was the fear of unleashing a nuclear battle, which is why this conflict is called the Cold War.

Causes of the Cold War

Among the main causes that generated the Cold War was the rivalry of ideologies and policies that defended and wished to impose the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union.

The United States defended democracy and capitalism, as well as the principles of private property and free initiative. However, on the other hand, the United States supported the imposition of dictatorships in several Latin American countries.

For its part, the Soviet Union was based on socialism, economic equality, the elimination of private property, and the ability of the State to cover and guarantee all the needs of citizens. This system of government was imposed in the countries that made up Eastern Europe.

However, there were other causes that also generated the Cold War, such as the acquisition of atomic weapons by the United States government, and that alerted the Soviet Union that it feared they would be used for an attack against it.

Marshall Plan

In 1947 the United States government created the Marshall Plan to help rebuild the political and economic foundations of European countries affected by World War II, in order to stop the advance of communist parties in Western Europe.

The Marshall Plan contemplated the distribution of approximately 14,000 million dollars and its effects resulted in a notable industrial and agricultural production increase.

Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECOM)

In contrast to the Marshall Plan, the Soviet Union created the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECOM for its acronym in English or CAME for its acronym in Spanish), which consisted in the promotion of economic cooperation by the member states of the Soviet Union, in order to counteract the capitalist system.

NATO and Warsaw Pact

The constant uncertainty that the United States began an armed confrontation against the Soviet Union, and vice versa, led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact.

NATO was created in 1949 by the countries that made up Western Europe and its allies, between these United States and Canada.

This military body was formed as a collective defense system in which it was agreed that in the event of any attack on one of the member countries, by a foreign power, it will be defended together.

For its part, Eastern Europe dominated by the Soviet Union reacted with the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955, a military agreement that reinforced the political homogeneity that existed between those countries and counteracted the threats exerted by NATO.

Arms race

The United States and the Soviet Union developed and created a significant number of weapons and war teams to defeat each other and even affect the rest of the planet.

Space race

In both blocks they started an important space race, and so important space technological developments that changed the history of mankind were carried out. One of the most outstanding events was in 1969 when man arrived on the Moon.

Consequences of the Cold War

During the Cold War, other conflicts of great importance were unleashed in contemporary history. Among these are the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam War, the Afghanistan War, the Cuban Revolution and the Korean War, as the most important.

One of the highlights of the Cold War was the Korean War, between 1950 and 1953 when the North Korean army of Soviet influence invaded South Korea, who had the military support of the United States.

In 1953, during the conflict the armistice that maintained the border between the two Korean states was signed. This agreement initiated a peaceful and atomic equilibrium stage.

However, the biggest post-war crisis occurred in 1962 on the occasion of the installation of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. Given the threat that this posed to the United States, this country decreed the Caribbean naval blockade.

The crisis was resolved with the withdrawal of Soviet ships that the Nikita Khrushchev government had sent to the scene of events, and the dismantling of rockets and their corresponding launching ramps.

In relation to all of the above, the dialogue between the peaceful coexistence between the United States and the USSR led to the creation of the “red telephone” that directly communicated the White House with the Kremlin.