Why was the Cold War called the Cold War?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As a general explanation, this period of time was dubbed the "Cold War" for the indirect feuding between the world's two most powerful countries, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. After World War II, the Soviet Union sought to expand its communist form of government and undermine...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

As a general explanation, this period of time was dubbed the "Cold War" for the indirect feuding between the world's two most powerful countries, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. After World War II, the Soviet Union sought to expand its communist form of government and undermine the strength of the Western Allies. There existed tension that grew due to the advent and progression of nuclear weapons programs and space exploration endeavors, referred to as the "space race." The two countries often used other countries as leverage, for example, when the Soviets and Cuba, a country with close physical proximity to the U.S., became allies. The president of the U.S. at the time, John F. Kennedy, ordered a coup to remove Cuba's leader, but the plan, referred to as the Bay of Pigs, failed. Different instances of indirect war like this one involving Cuba occurred throughout this time, and there was a resultant atmosphere of tension that "chilled" the world.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A cold war is a term used to describe a period of time when there are confrontations and competitions between countries. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union had a series of competitions and confrontations.

The Soviet Union wanted to spread communism throughout the world. In a communist system, there is a great deal of government control. In our system, there is much less government control and influence.

The United States wanted to give aid to countries that were resisting the spread of communism. The European Recovery Program offered economic aid to countries. We believed that if a country had a strong economy, it would be less likely to turn to communism. For example, we gave aid to Greece and Turkey. Those countries didn’t become communist. Our goal was to keep communism where it was and not let it spread. This was the basis of the policy called containment.

We also helped countries militarily when a communist country attacked them. For example, when communist North Korea, supported by the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea, we went to the United Nations to provide help to South Korea. The United Nations created a multinational military force, led by the United States, to remove North Korea from South Korea.

We also competed with the Soviet Union. Both countries tried to develop nuclear weapons. While the United States was the first to develop the atomic bomb, the Soviet Union eventually developed its own atomic bomb. Both countries also competed in the space race. While the Soviet Union was the first country to get a satellite into space as well as the first to get an astronaut into orbit around the earth, we were the first country to land an astronaut on the moon.

The United States and the Soviet Union had a period of confrontations and competitions after World War II. While both countries didn’t directly fight each other, they were working against each other in many ways.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team