Cold War Vocabulary

CJ SInclair

Arms Race

Contest in which nations compete to build more powerful weapons. US and Soviet arms race elevated both countries on the technology level and introduced a new branch nuclear weapons

Fallout Shelters

Built to protect civilians from bombings, underground shelters or backyard shelters. Most procedures for bombs were made so Americans felt safer but wouldn't actually save a life such as; Duck and Cover

House Un-American Activities Committee

investigated allegations of communist activity in the U.S. during the early years of the Cold War (1945-91). Established in 1938, the committee wielded its subpoena power as a weapon and called citizens to testify in high-profile hearings before Congress

Alger Hiss

was an American government official who was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948 and convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950

Rosenberg Case

A court case involving Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, an American couple who were executed in 1953 as spies for the Soviet Union. Some have argued that the Rosenbergs were innocent victims of McCarthy -era hysteria against communists or of anti-Semitism (they were Jewish)
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Joseph McCarthy

McCarthy spent almost five years trying in vain to expose communists and other left-wing “loyalty risks” in the U.S. government.It was not until he attacked the Army in 1954 that his actions earned him the censure of the U.S. Senate

Hollywood Blacklist

    The Hollywood Blacklist came into being in 1947 when the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) began to summon certain Hollywood entertainment professionals on the suspicion that their work was communist-inspired.

Space Race

a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for supremacy in spaceflight capability


As a result of the space race between USA and the Soviet Union in the 1950s, NASA was created in 1958 the agency of the United States Federal Government isresponsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.


A United States foreign policy doctrine adopted by the Harry S. Truman administration in 1947, operating on the principle that communist governments will eventually fall apart as long as they are prevented from expanding their influence

Marshall Plan

as an American initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave $13 billion in economic support to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II. The plan was in operation for four years beginning April 8th 1948. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous again, and prevent the spread of communism

38th Parallel

The 38th parallel north formed the border between North and South Korea prior to the Korean War.

Douglas MacArthur

(1880-1964) was an American general who commanded the Southwest Pacific in World War II (1939-1945), oversaw the successful Allied occupation of postwar Japan and led United Nations forces in the Korean War (1950-1953).

Suez Canal Crisis 1956

On October 29, 1956, Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt toward the Suez Canal after Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-70) nationalized the canal in July of that same year, initiating the Suez Crisis. The Israelis soon were joined by French and British forces, which nearly brought the Soviet Union into the conflict, and damaged their relationships with the United States. In the end, the British, French and Israeli governments withdrew their troops in late 1956 and early 1957.

Geneva Accords

arranged a settlement which brought about an end to the First Indochina War. The agreement was reached at the end of the Geneva Conference. A ceasefire was signed and France agreed to withdraw its troops from the region

17th Parallel

was the provisional military demarcation line between North and South Vietnam established by the Geneva Accords of 1954.

John Foster Dulles

served as U.S. Secretary of State under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against Communism throughout the world.

Massive Retaliation

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announces that the United States will protect its allies through the “deterrent of massive retaliatory power.” The policy announcement was further evidence of the Eisenhower administration’s decision to rely heavily on the nation’s nuclear arsenal as the primary means of defense against communist aggression.

Central Intelligence Agency

coordinate the nation’s intelligence activities and correlate, evaluate, and disseminate intelligence which affects national security and to perform other duties and functions related to intelligence as the NSC might direct. (legal spies)


is a military alliance of European and North American democracies founded after World War II to strengthen international ties between member states—especially the United States and Europe—and to serve as a counter-balance to the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact

Warsaw Pact

A military alliance of communist nations in eastern Europe. Organized in 1955 in answer to NATO, the Warsaw Pact included Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.


was an international organization for collective defense in Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact, signed in September 1954 in Manila, Philippines. prevented communism

U-2 Incident

The 1960 U-2 incident occurred during the Cold War on 1 May 1960, during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the premiership of Nikita Khrushchev, when a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down while in Soviet airspace

Fidel Castro

Cuban politician and revolutionary who governed the Republic of Cuba as its Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as its President from 1976 to 2008.

Bay of Pigs

an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles, supported by the U.S. government. On Apr. 17, 1961, an armed force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the south coast of Cuba

Cuban Missile Crisis

A confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1962 over the presence of missile sites in Cuba; one of the “hottest” periods of the cold war.


coined during the Cold War to describe the tactic of seeming to approach the verge of war in order to persuade one's opposition to retreat