What was the Cold War? When did it start and when did it end?

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The term Cold War is known as the geopolitical, military and economic tension between two major bloc countries. On the one hand the Western bloc (USA, NATO etc.) led by the US and on the other the Eastern bloc led by USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or more commonly the Soviet Union). Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but it is roughly delimited shortly after the end of the Second World War until the fall of the USSR (1947-1991).

In the Second World War, the US and the USSR fought together as allies against the Axis powers. After the end of the Second World War, this Alliance was dissolved. The two strongest powers on the planet were now the United States and the USSR, where huge differences were dividing them at all levels.

USA had long been skeptical about Soviet communism and was concerned about the tyrannical way of ruling of Russian leader Joseph Stalin. For their part, the Soviets were very dissatisfied with the American denial for decades to treat the Soviet Union as a legitimate part of the international community. After the end of the war, these complaints ripened into a sense of mutual mistrust and enmity and in a “fight” for world domination.

A significant issue after the end of the world war, directly linked to the role and existence of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, was the management of the defeated Germany, which led to considerable disputes and tensions. In the end, two independent states were created, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), which joined the Western and Eastern Blocs respectively, participating also in the defense program of the two coalitions. The construction of the Berlin Wall by the USSR in 1961 took place to block eastern Berlin from the West.

The term “cold” was used because no major armed conflict occurred between the two coalition countries, although warfare occurred in various parts of the world (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan) directly or indirectly involving both sides.

In December 1991, the USSR was dissolved, resulting in the total collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Although there are disagreements as to when the Cold War started, the fall of the USSR has undoubtedly marked its end.