Cold War (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: U.S. or Soviet global hegemony. Result: Western nations, led by United States, prevailed.
The Cold War began at the end of World War II and ended in 1991. It was a conflict between a coalition of Western states led by the United States and a coalition of communist states led by the Soviet Union. The causes of the Cold War were multiple and complex. In the broadest sense, the Cold War resulted from the bipolar structure of the international system that emerged from World War II. International politics became dominated by two superpowers, each of whom feared the other and assumed that any gain by one side involved a loss for the other.
The Cold War began in Europe in 1945 when the Soviet Union, taking advantage of the power vacuum caused by Germany’s defeat, extended its control into Eastern and Central Europe by imposing Moscow-dominated communist regimes on Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany (which had been created out of the Soviet zone of military occupation). Moscow contended that the cost it had paid to defeat Nazi Germany justified extending its security zone (or sphere of influence) into Central Europe. The Western powers viewed Soviet expansion as aggression and a denial to the peoples of Eastern and Central Europe of their right to national self-determination. They feared that the ultimate Soviet objective was domination of...
(The entire section is 2007 words.)
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Cold War (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The cold war was a pivotal era in the twentieth century. The term cold war itself, popularized in a 1946 speech by prime minister Winston Churchill of Britain, describes the ideological struggle between democracy and COMMUNISM that began shortly after the end of WORLD WAR II and lasted until 1991. For the foreign policy of the United States, the cold war defined the last half of the twentieth century. It was a war of ideas, of threats, and of actual fighting in the countries of Korea and Vietnam, pitting western nations against the Soviet Union and China and their Communist allies. The 1940s and 1950s saw the cold war bloom into a period of unparalleled suspicion, hostility, and persecution. Anti-Communist hysteria ran through each branch of government as the pursuit of U.S. Communists and their sympathizers consumed the energies of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH, lawmakers, and the courts. Rarely in the nation's history have constitutional rights been so widely and systematically sacrificed.
The cold war began in the aftermath of World War II. Although only recently allied against Germany, the United States and the Soviet Union saw their relationship quickly dis-integrate. The division of Europe, with the Soviet bloc countries sealed...
(The entire section is 1181 words.)