The Cold War (1947–1991) affected the rest of the world in many ways. The conflict with the Soviet Union dominated American foreign policy for nearly half a century. The American-Soviet confrontation was primarily ideological, but it included "real" wars such as those in Korea and Vietnam.
Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States had fought together against the Axis nations during World War II (1939–1945), and Germany and Japan surrendered in 1945. The alliance fell apart after 1945 because of distrust between the Anglo-Americans and the Soviets. China was torn apart by civil war from 1946 to 1949.
The most important area of the Cold War was probably Europe. The city of Berlin, the nation of Germany, and the rest of Europe were divided into Communist and pro-Western regions. The United States sought to contain Communist expansionism with the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan. The Truman Doctrine shored up Turkey and Greece against Moscow's pressure; the Marshall Plan provided economic aid to war-devastated Europe. Moscow tried to cut West Berlin off from the West in 1948-49, but the Berlin Airlift maintained the enclave. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was set up.
Asia became a "hot" war in the struggle between East and West. In 1949, Mao Zedong's Communist Chinese armies conquered the Chinese mainland. Then Mao sent his victorious troops into the bloody Korean War (1950–1953), which ended in stalemate. The US constructed alliance systems in Asia, too. America's participation in the Vietnam War (1965–1973) ended in failure.
The Cold War extended to the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. In the Middle East, America and Russia supported opposing sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Cuban Missile Crisis almost touched off nuclear war.
America claimed "victory" in the Cold War as the Soviet Union's sphere-of-influence and territories disintegrated in 1989-1991.