The Cold War

A History

Background

The Cold War was mainly fought between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was a "cold" war because there was no actual fighting, just threats and standoffs. This war was a battle of ideals and principles, with the United States protecting capitalism and the Soviet Union fighting for Communism. Although there were no battles in the Cold War itself, the Korean War and the Vietnam War could be considered to be a part of the Cold War.

Events of the Cold War

Cuban Missile Crisis

This was the height of the Cold War. It was the most intense part and one of the only periods in U.S. history where America has been at a Defcon-2 level of emergency. Aftr the Bay of Pigs Invasion failed, Russia brought nuclear weapons to Cuba in order to counter the ones in Turkey. The U.S. set up a blockade around Cuba and after several days of tense negotiations, an agreement was reached in which all nuclear weapons were recalled from both Cuba and Turkey.

Bay of Pigs Invasion

This was a covert operation set up by the Cia. The plan was for Cuban mercenaries to invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs in order to bring down Fidel Castro, the Communist dictator of Cuba. Unfortunately, the invasion failed when Kennedy's advisors advised him not to send in air support. A lack of support from the Americans caused the mercenaries to fail, which eventually led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Vietnam War

This was an actual war within the Cold War. According to the Domino Theory presented by President Eisenhower, if one Southeast Asian country fell to Communism, all of Southeast Asia would fall. As a result of this theory, American troops were sent to Vietnam to protect South Vietnam from the Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. America was involved in this war for twenty years before we finally pulled out. Involvement in Vietnam proved to be futile, however, as Vietnam fell to Communism, but the Domino Theory never took effect.

Berlin Blockade

This was one of the first major events of the Cold War and also one of the Soviet Union's first acts of aggression against America. The USSR was upset about Berlin being divided between themselves, France, Britain, and America. Since Berlin was in the USSR's territory, they wanted full control over the city, so they set up a blockade. America was able to help the Berlin people by airdropping supplies, but the Cold War had already begun.

People Around the World

Harry Truman

Harry Truman served as President of the United States from 1945 to 1953. He is responsible for instituting the Truman Doctrine as part of his plan to contain Communism and the Marshall Plan to provide aid to suffering European countries. He is also behind the Berlin airlifts that were made to support the people of Berlin during the blockade of the city.

Nikita Khrushchev

This leader of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 was responsible for several significant things during the Cold War. His policy focused on what he called the "de-Stalinization" of Europe, being highly supportive of the Space Race against the United States, and most importantly, his negotiations with President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Fidel Castro

This man was the Communist leader of Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. His agreement with the Soviet Union to allow to ship nuclear missiles to the island of Cuba resulted in one of the most intense and dangerous periods in U.S. history.

Richard Nixon

Nixon was another President of the United States during the Cold War and another important figure. Although he was not involved in any significant wars, he was a strong supporter of NASA and the Space Race against the Soviet Union, similar to Khrushchev.