Explain the who, what, where,when, and why about the Cold War.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Who: The main actors in the Cold War were the United States and the Soviet Union.  Other countries were involved, but the Cold War revolved around these two superpowers.

What: The Cold War was a competition between these two superpowers.  Each superpower wanted to extend its ideology as far as possible around the world. The competition took many forms. Sometimes it involved actual wars between one of the superpowers and proxies for the other (as in the Vietnam War). Sometimes it involved competitions for prestige like the Space Race or the Olympic Games.

Where: The Cold War took place in essentially every part of the world and even in space.  The two sides competed wherever it was possible to compete.

Why:  The Cold War happened because the two sides held completely incompatible ideologies. The US was democratic and capitalist. The USSR was communist. Each side felt the other wanted to destroy it and to dominate the world.  Therefore, each side worked hard to spread its own ideology.

When:  The Cold War is generally said to have started soon after WWII.  A date that is often given is 1947.  The Cold War ended when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.

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