The effects of World War II reduced many European cities to the wreckage. Aside from that, it also led leaders of the nations to search for new ways to defend against future attacks. Even though the United States and the Soviet Union had worked together to overthrow the Axis powers, their partnership transformed into a 50-year-long conflict. The two nations disagreed about how to restructure Europe. Their hard work to increase their own security also often clashed. That aggressive conflict is referred to as the “Cold War” as they never really engaged in the battle directly. Instead, each of them increased their military aptitudes, expanded their global effect, and damaged each other’s reputation in the eyes of the world.
The United States believed in a capitalist system of free markets and multiple political parties. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was founded on a communist system controlled by a central state and only one political party. The Cold War came down to some differences between the world-views of the two opposing nations. For instance, communist societies believed in reallocating wealth, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and promoting workers and state-run economies, which led to low unemployment rates but inadequate distribution of consumer goods. The capitalist system, in contrast, let free markets control the production and distribution of goods, which led to more productivity but mostly created huge economic disparities.
The Cold War can be well-defined in three important features, which are the threat of nuclear war, the rivalry over allegiance or loyalty of newly independent nations, and the military and economic backing of each other’s enemies around the world. The infographic below shows a timeline of the Cold War, which includes all the key events that occurred in that era: