Cold War Definition

Discover the definition of the Cold War, a period of political tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Learn about key characteristics, examples, case studies, and statistics.

What is the Cold War?

The Cold War was a period of political tension and military rivalry between the United States and its allies on one side and the Soviet Union and its allies on the other side. It lasted from the end of World War II in 1945 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Key Characteristics

  • Political Ideology: Capitalism vs. Communism
  • Nuclear Arms Race
  • Proxy Wars
  • Space Race
  • Mutual Distrust and Fear

Examples and Case Studies

One of the most famous examples of the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, where the U.S. and the Soviet Union came close to nuclear war over the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Another important case study is the Vietnam War, which was fought between the communist government of North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the U.S.


During the Cold War, billions of dollars were spent on military buildup and defense, with both superpowers trying to outdo each other in terms of nuclear weapons and military technology.


The Cold War was a defining period in modern history, shaping geopolitics and international relations for decades to come. Its impact is still felt today in the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Russia.

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