The Cold War

This website offers background on the Cold War in 12 articles and items. 

The Cold War, from the mid-1940s to the late 1980s, was a duel for power between Western democracies and Communism – between liberal capitalism and state socialism – between the Free World and the Eastern Bloc – between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The term “cold war” was first used (in a publication) by George Orwell in 1945. British scholar Lawrence D. Freedman defines “cold war” as “a state of affairs in which relations between two antagonists are governed by the possibility of a hot war that both wish to avoid.”

“Hot war,” during the Cold War, meant an exchange of nuclear weapons and the possibility of the end of human life on Planet Earth.

Historian John Lukacs defines the Cold War as “….the actuality of a political and….the potentiality of a military confrontation of these two giant states (the U.S. and the Soviet Union)….” BBC journalist Matthew Price notes, “The actual wars of the Cold War were fought in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, as the United States and the USSR shot at each other by proxy.”