Background to the Cold War

The Cold War is a title given to the period of tension between the two superpowers, the United States of America (USA) and the Soviet Union (USSR). The conflict grew initially from ideological differences due to the fact that the Soviet Union was a communist country whose government and economic system was at odds with that of capitalist democratic America.

Despite their differences, the USA and USSR were able to join together in an uneasy wartime alliance against Nazi Germany during World War Two. However, once the war was won, this wartime alliance began to fall apart and the ideological differences between the two developed into outright hostility.

You will need to see the Cold War in three distinct phases;

  • Emerging super-power rivalry, 1945-1949.
  • Cold War confrontations.
  • Cold War conflicts.