The Cold War

A conflict between the USSR and USA

What was the Cold War?

The Cold War was a conflict between the United States and Russia shortly after World War Two, where no open warfare broke out, but a physical war was not far from occurring. The two countries ideologies clashed, the USSR was communist and the United States believed in capitalism. The Cold War started because both the U.S. and USSR wanted to spread these clashing political ideas.

Iron Curtain

The “Iron Curtain” was mentioned in a speech by Winston Churchill. He said that an “iron curtain” had descended across the continent of Europe. Churchill was trying to say that Europe became divided between the supporters of communism and capitalism.

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The U.S. practiced a method called containment, where they wanted to contain communism. They tried to stop the spread of communism to other countries at all costs.

Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine stated that the United States would help any country under attack from external or internal authoritarian forces. President Harry Truman stated that U.S. would help by providing assistance from the American military, economy, and government.

Marshall Plan

After World War Two ended the European economies were in shambles. Financial support and aid was given to these needy European countries in the Marshall Plan, named after the U.S. Secretary of State.

Berlin Airlift

To try to take Berlin, the Soviets created a blockade around the allied sections of the city. The Soviets thought that the citizens of West Berlin would surrender because they could not get food and supplies. The allies did not want to give up the city so they flew supplies into the airports for over a year. In the end the Soviets gave up after the allies had flown in 2.3 million tons of cargo.

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, was a military alliance created after World War Two that consisted of many allies, such as the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

Korean War

The Korean War was a civil war fought between North and South Korea. The United Nations joined South Korea to try to prevent the spread of communism, while the People’s Republic of China joined communist North Korea. In the end the boundaries were never significantly changed and the war ended in a tie.


During the Cold War United States Senator Joseph McCarthy accused many men and women of being communists with little evidence. Eventually it got out of control when many innocent people were punished, and McCarthy was kicked out of the Senate. The present-day definition of McCarthyism is when someone blames or accuses someone of something with little or no evidence.

Space Race

Part of the Cold War was a space race and arms race between the Soviets and Americans to see who could accomplish more than the other, in the areas of space and weaponry.

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U-2 Incident

The United States made a huge mistake and was caught in a tough situation when the Soviets shot down an American U-2 spy plane and captured the pilot, Francis Gary Powers. After this happened President Eisenhower admitted that the U.S. had been flying spy planes over the USSR and practicing espionage for years. This event was known as the U-2 Incident.

Eisenhower Doctrine

President Eisenhower created the Eisenhower Doctrine on January 5, 1957, to increase American influence in the Middle East and prevent communism from spreading to these nations.


Brinksmanship was a tactic used by both the U.S. and USSR in the Cold War. Brinksmanship was when one country threatened to start war or fire nuclear weapons to get the opposition to back off and retreat.

Cuban Missile Crisis

Arguably the biggest event during the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was when the Soviets created a nuclear missile site in Cuba and the United States was put under an immense amount of pressure. In the end the Soviets pulled the nuclear weapons out of Cuba because the U.S. agreed to remove their nuclear weapons from Turkey.

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Bay of Pigs Invason

The United States attempted to overthrow the communist regime in Cuba when they sent 1,400 American trained Cuban soldiers on an invasion mission. This mission was unsuccessful, the American forces were outnumbered and surrendered within 24 hours.

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