Standard VUS. 13b Part 1

Origins of the Cold War

How Long it Lasted

The Cold War Lasted from the end of World War II until the Soviet Union collapsed.

The United States vs. The Soviet Union

The United States


  • Represented democratic political institutions
  • Generally a free market economic system



The Soviet Union


  • Totalitarian Government
  • Communist (socialist) economic system
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Truman Doctrine

The guiding principle of the American Foreign Policy throughout the Cold War was the "containment of communism." The idea behind this was not to remove communism, but to keep it from spreading and to have other countries resist communist aggression.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

This was formed as a defensive alliance among the US and Western European countries to prevent a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.

The Soviet allies in Eastern Europe formed the Warsaw Pact.

For 50 years both sides maintained large military forces facing each other in Europe.

Communist Takeover in China

  • Started shortly after World War II
  • It increased American fears of communist domination of most of the world
  • The nations of the USSR and China became rivals for territory and diplomatic influence

Nuclear War

After the USSR matched the US in nuclear weaponry in the 1950s the threat of war that would destroy both countries was present in the Cold War. The US, under president Eisenhower, adopted the policy of "massive retaliation" to deter any strike by the USSR

The Korean War (1950's)

American involvement in the Korean War reflected the American Policy of the containment of communism
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