What Was The Cold War About

Cold War

Okay so this time we’re going to take a look at the Cold War. 

The Cold War was a major political conflict between countries practising either capitalism and communism. The period was from 1946 to approximately 1989-1990. So the conflict started just after the 2nd world war. 

The term Cold War, was actually also used in the conflict between the west and soviet russia after the Russian revolution in 1917. 

Seen from a perspective of the political powers, the Cold War was primarily a conflict about the control of Europe where the main participants were the new superpowers, the United States and Sovietunion. 

Why was the war called the COLD War?

The special thing about this war was that it remained “cold” throughout the war, meaning no real combats between the two superpowers were ever fought. The main reason was nuclear weapons and the fear of total annihilation. But, minor battles were actually fought in some third world countries, with the superpowers being involved.


While the relationships between the superpowers remained the same for more than 40 years, the tension differed over the years. Sometimes it was low, sometimes very high. The tension was probably at its highest in the beginning, around 1953. 

Noticeable highlights 

Some noticeable highlights during the period would be the Truman doctrine when the United States got involved with the Greek civil war in 1947, the American Marshall Plan from 1947/1948, the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948/1949 and the division of Germany in 1949. 

The korean war

The Korean war in 1950-1953 was a major peak during the Cold War. Here the two superpowers consolidated their power. The americans relied on organisations such as OECD, formed in 1948 as OEEC, and NATO, formed in 1949. The soviets formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. 

Period of low tension

Finally a period of low tension happened after the Korean war. But it wasn’t long until new conflicts arose. First in the Middle East and Hungary (1956), then Berlin (1958-1961) with the likes of the Berlin Wall being built, and finally the Cuban crisis in October 1962. The Cuban crisis was the culmination of the Cold War, and really had a high chance of evolving into a full blown nuclear war between the US and the Sovietunion. 


From around 1955 the war began to spread all over the world, including The Middleeast and later Southeast Asia, with the American intervention in Vietnam. 

From around 1975 the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union got even worse. Primarily because the US found out that the Soviet Union didn’t “play by the rules”, since they tried influencing “The Third World”. NATO’s decision in December 1979, about installing mid-range missiles in Europe, escalated the conflict and started the so-called “second cold war”. The Soviets interference in Afghanistan was also a contributing factor. 


The second Cold War period was especially intense during the first period of American president Ronald Reagan’s presidency (1981-1985). The period was fuelled with rearmament and avoiding conversation between the two superpowers. The tension was at its highest in the fall of 1983, where the Soviets actually were preparing and expected a full blown military conflict. 

End of the Cold War

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbatjov became the new leader of the Soviet Union. He brought a new strategy to the table. The Soviets foreign policy should now focus on de-escalating the tension and start cooperating with the western powers. The new political direction of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, lead to the end of the Cold War in 1989-1990. 

After the war

The Cold War has been the subject for a lot of conflicting interpretations from various American historians. Two of the theories that are being taught are:

Traditionalism: These guys explain the origin of the war being the soviets expansion into Eastern Europe. America was part of the containment policy with the western powers of Europe, which was a policy formed to prevent enemy expansion from happening. So America had to intervene.

The revisionist school teaches that the United States is to blame for the escalation of the Cold War. Reasons being their activism policies, motivated by economical gain. 


So the Cold War is still debated heavily throughout the world. Some say we’re even in the middle of another Cold War. Although a nuclear war seems pretty unlikely, the sheer thought of the consequences of such a war, is gut wrecking. I choose to believe in the good in mankind, and I believe that, no leader of any nation, would ever be stupid enough to press the big red button. Also I don’t think any leader, no matter how ruthless they are, would ever give up all the power and money while destroying their entire nation. Well, let me know what you think! I hope this article helped you get an idea of what the Cold War was all about. 

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