Cold War

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Section 1- Introduction

The cold war is the name given to a period of history between 1945 and 1989. During this time the USA and the USSR challenged each other. This was a time of extreme tension and threat of war. The USA and the USSR were known as superpowers as they were far stronger and more powerful than any other countries.

Although fear and threats of war were very real and there were times when this seemed imminent, the war never happened. However, the threat was very real. However, both sides knew the extent of war would be great due to nuclear weapons. This meant conflict was always resolved using diplomatic means.

Rival Ideologies

The ideological rivalry between the Superpowers is central to understanding the cold war.

The ideological preference of the USA was a commitment to democracy and free enterprise leading to a capitalist society. This was characterised by: • free elections, which a choice of parties

• democratic freedom- freedom of speech, expression and assembly • free mass media- independent media sources
• free enterprise- business, manufacturing, banking etc • Individual rights- the right to vote, to a fair trial etc.

The Soviet Union
The Russian communist ideology was based on Marxism/Leninism with a commitment to equality. Exemplified by: • A one party state, with only the communist party
• A totalitarian system- all aspects of life influenced by communism • An emphasis on equality for all
• Strict control of the media- censorship
• State control of the means and creation
• Suppression of dissenting opinions and opposition-secret police

How the cold war ‘fought’ or conducted?

The cold war was conducted in a number of ways with conflict always being short.

The Arms Race
The two sides engaged in ongoing nuclear and conventional arms race from 1945 onwards. Each side tried to develop increasingly powerful and...
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