The Cold War: A Brief Synopsis

The Cold War was a prolonged battle of wills, posturing and threats between communist Russia and the United States of America. Although no direct military conflict between the two nations ever ensued, the world was caught up in the constant threat of nuclear proliferation. Allies on both sides of the struggle were used as pawns in the power struggle; NATO on the American ticket and the Warsaw Pact on the Russian’s. From 1945 until the collapse of the communist block countries in 1991, the Cold War dominated headlines, international politics and the mindset of people everywhere.

The term “Cold War” was originally coined in the 14th century when Don Juan Manuel described the state of affairs between Christianity and Islam as not leading to direct battle and subsequent death, but rather an ongoing disposition between the two parties which never amounted to peace. Despite no atomic bombs being dropped by either power in this war, there was by no means ever a feeling of peace between the United States and its allies, and the USSR with her’s.

Each side of the Cold War drew up various doctrines, declaring their respective agendas to the world and each side feared the intentions of the other. NATO evolved into a unified force of democracy and the Warsaw pact stood fast behind communism. By 1951 nearly every modern country had taken a side and the lines were clearly drawn between the two dominating forces. The rivalry was fueled by weapon development, aeronautical achievements and even spirited competition at the Olympic games. A constant cat and mouse game of check and mate permeated all aspects of the international landscape.

It wasn’t until two men assumed power in each nation that a recognition of the need for change began: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev would change the world forever by ending the Cold War. Each charismatic leader inspired the people and each other to bring about change by tearing down the separating divides. The two agreed to a historic treaty to reduce arms, the Brezhnev Doctrine was declared obsolete and the dissolution of Soviet bloc countries began. Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) gradually replaced the elements of fear and domination and the Cold War superpowers warmed up to each other, at least officially. Upon the resignation of Mr. Gorbachev in 1991, the communist flag was lowered over the Kremlin one final time and the staunch Soviet force of global domineering and influence was dissolved. The Eastern bloc nations each fell to the wayside, giving rise to internal turmoil, while NATO emerged mostly intact.

Toady, the Russian Federation enjoys a more pliable and amicable relationship with the United States and the Cold War shadows that once cast an ominous threat of permanent darkness on the world are part of history.