What do we call the period of tension between the superpowers in the 50's and 60's? Is it the Vietnam War era?

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I would agree with the above answer.  The only way we can really refer to it as the Vietnam Era is to associate tension between the superpowers with Soviet communist expansion vs. American and allied containment policies.  The French fought an anti-communist imperial war in Vietnam from 1945 - 1954. ...

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I would agree with the above answer.  The only way we can really refer to it as the Vietnam Era is to associate tension between the superpowers with Soviet communist expansion vs. American and allied containment policies.  The French fought an anti-communist imperial war in Vietnam from 1945 - 1954.  Soon after the French lost, America moved in with aid, then advisers and troops in the 1960's.

But this expansion vs. containment tension played out around the globe in those two decades, in places like Korea, Africa, and Latin America.  I would agree the only accurate name to describe the tension of that time period overall is the Cold War.

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No, I wouldn't call this the Vietnam Era.  I would call this the Cold War.  The Vietnam Era is not usually said to start that early.  However, neither the "Cold War" nor the "Vietnam Era" really completely fits this definition.

The Cold War lasts from more or less the end of World War II until about 1990, so it is much longer than just the two decades you mention.  But "period of tension between the superpowers" describes that time period quite well.

When we talk about the Vietnam Era we usually are referring to the time from about 1963 to 1973.

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