Effects of Cold War

What were the lasting effects of the Cold War?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The effects of the Cold War are vast and multidimensional. After the fall of the Soviet Union and of Communist Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Soviet Union suffered an economic decline that worsened the overall economic picture and quality of life within Russia. In the United States, the build up of the military-industrial complex during the Cold War has to some degree continued, and the creation of nuclear weapons has meant that many countries possess these weapons, as well as the ability to fire nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. As a result, the globe remains in peril, and nuclear warfare is a constant threat. However, nuclear energy is also used for peaceful means and as a way to meet the globe's growing demand for energy.

When formerly Communist countries such as Yugoslavia were dismantled at the end of the Cold War, ethnic conflicts erupted, leading to war and the creation of new nations. In addition, the Cold War left some countries, such as North and South Korea, divided and in a state of armed standoff. Other nations that endured Cold War conflicts, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and Angola, among many others, still bear the scars of warfare conducted during the Cold War. The lives lost in conflicts in these nations are also a legacy of the Cold War.