Chapter 9 The Cold War at Home and Abroad, 1945–1953
The Cold WarThe persistent tension between the United States and its Western supporters against the Soviet Union and other Communist nations between the end of the Second World War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War featured political, military, and economic rivalries between the West and the international supporters of Communism that led to dozens of wars, even if the United States and the Soviet Union never directly fought one another. refers to the economic and political rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1991. The conflict was based on the two nations’ competing political and economic systems: the Communist system of the Soviet Union and its allies and the democratic Capitalism of the Unites States and its allies. These years featured intense political and economic rivalry as well as diplomatic and military posturing between the two nations. The period was also host to dramatic increases in military spending, hyperbolic rhetoric by leaders of both sides, high tensions, and millions of casualties in proxy wars throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Both sides viewed their economic and political system as superior to the other and interpreted nearly every world event as part of an ongoing confrontation that would determine whether Capitalism or Communism would become the prevailing ideology throughout the globe. The Soviets tried to spread the economic and political system of Communism to other nations, while the United States promoted its vision of democracy and free enterprise. This competition led to dozens of small-scale military conflicts and several major wars involving the armed forces of both nations. However, as the term “Cold War” suggests, there was no direct military engagement between the two nations.