What two countries were involved in the Cold War conflict?

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The Cold War was a conflict between two groups of countries rather than two individual countries. It was called "Cold" because the great powers involved in it did not actually engage in direct military conflict, although they did fight what were called "proxy wars" by supporting different sides in fights within smaller countries.

The Cold War occupied the period from 1947, shortly after the end of World War II, to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. On one side were the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and on the other side were the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies in the Warsaw Pact.

The series of proxy wars fought between these two groups continue to affect geopolitical alignments. For example, in the Chinese Civil war, the Soviet Union supported Mao and the communists who became the official government of the mainland while the US and its allies supported the KMT, which was pushed out of the mainland but maintains a thriving country in Taiwan. Similar proxy wars occurred in numerous parts of the world with conflicts between major powers being played out via support for opposing political parties or revolutionary factions in smaller less stable countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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It really is not correct to say that there were only two countries “involved in the Cold War conflict.”  Many more countries than that were involved significantly and practically every country in the world was involved in at least some peripheral way.  However, if you have to say that there were two countries involved in this conflict, the two that were most important were the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Cold War was a conflict between communism on the one hand and capitalism and/or democracy on the other.  Almost all countries in the world had to take sides to some degree, which meant that everyone was involved in some way.  For example, in the 1980s and early 1990s there were civil wars involving communists and non-communists in such diverse places as Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Angola.  These civil wars were “proxy wars” in the larger Cold War conflict.  What this shows is  that even relatively small and obscure countries like these were part of the Cold War.

However, even though essentially all countries in the world were involved in the Cold War to some degree, the US and the Soviet Union were the most important countries.  The United States led the non-communist side of the conflict, trying to prevent communism from spreading.  The Soviet Union led the communist bloc, trying to spread communism throughout the world.  If you have to specify only two countries that were involved in the Cold War, these are the two to name.

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