The Cold War ran from 1945 to 1991, and was between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviets wanted to expand communism to all corners of the globe through their COMINTERN, or Communist International, while America practiced a foreign policy of containment - trying to stop them from spreading their ideology to new countries without provoking them into war.
Since both countries had nuclear weapons, each had to proceed carefully on the world stage so as not to start a global holocaust. While we call it the "cold" war, the Korean War, Vietnam Wars, Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet-Afghan war and the iron curtain in Europe were all a result of it, costing millions of lives and trillions of dollars in defense spending for both sides.
From around 1945, through the decades of the fifties and sixties the Cold War was waged between Communist countries and Democratic countries. The leaders of course were the United States and Russia. The United States did not approve of the Communist form of government and there was a lot of posturing between the nations, but no one wanted to actually go back to war.
The actual term “Cold War” was derived because neither side really wanted to fight in a direct war. The world was still recovering from WWII. We had just finished a “hot war.” Each side decided to fight with threats of war and propaganda. The arguments took place in the newspapers; the United Nations, on Television and each side threatened the other side and tried to make everyone frightened of a war with atomic weapons. I can remember when I was in grade school; we used to have atomic bomb drills. A siren would sound and all the students would have to drop to the floor and get under their desks, as if that would have helped.
Both the United States played with power struggles in other countries; like Cuba and Vietnam. The governments of both countries would threaten and denounced each other. Several decades of leaders came and went on both sides, yet, the Cold War continued. The Cold War was the major force in world politics for most of the second half of the twentieth century.
"The Cold War was incredibly expensive over its four decades, costing the U.S. eight trillion dollars in military expenditures and over 100,000 lives in Korea and Vietnam. Although the exact figures for the Soviet Union are unknown, they spent a larger percentage of their gross national product on the war, maybe as much as 60 percent."
The Cold War(1945–1991) was the continuing state of political conflict, military tension, and economic competition existing after the 2nd world war (1939–1945), primarily between the USSR and its satellite states, and the powers of the western world,including the United states.The Cold War featured periods of relative calm and of international high tension.The Cold War and its events have had a significant impact on the world today, and it is commonly referred to in popular culture.