This article is about the general term for a type of international conflict. For the specific conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States.

cold war is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates.

This was the part of mounting (results) of political and ideological tension between the communist with socialist ideology led by the former USSR and the western block with capitalism ideology led by U.S.A.

This term is most commonly used to refer to the Soviet-American Cold War. The surrogates are typically states that are “satellites” of the conflicting nations, i.e., nations allied to them or under their political influence.

Opponents in a cold war will often provide economic or military aid, such as weapons, tactical support or military advisors, to lesser nations involved in conflicts with the opposing country.

The cold war started after the former USSR became the most powerful nation leading the socialist nations in the world while U.S.A became the most powerful nation economically, politically and militarily leading the capitalist nation in the world especially after WWII of 1945.

Origins of the term

The expression “cold war” was rarely used before 1945. Some writers credit the fourteenth century Spaniard, Don Juan Manuel for first using the term (in Spanish), when dealing with the conflict between Christianity and Islam as a “cold war”.

However he used the term “tepid” not “cold”. The word “cold” first appeared in a faulty translation of his work in the 19th century.

At the end of World War II, George Orwell used the term in the essay “You and the Atomic Bomb” published October 19, 1945, in the British newspaper Tribune. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear war, he warned of a “peace that is no peace”, which he called a permanent “the cold war”.

Orwell directly referred to that war as the ideological confrontation between the Soviet Union and the Western powers. Moreover, in The Observer of March 10, 1946, Orwell wrote that “[a]fter the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a ‘cold war’ on Britain and the British Empire.”

The definition which has now become fixed is of a war waged through indirect conflict. The first use of the term in this sense, to describe the post–World War II geopolitical tensions between the USSR and its satellites and the United States and its western European allies (which in practice acted as satellites of the opposing force) is attributed to Bernard Baruch, an American financier and presidential advisor.

In South Carolina, on April 16, 1947, he delivered a speech (by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope) saying, “Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war.” Newspaper reporter-columnist Walter Lippmann gave the term wide currency, with the book Cold War (1947).


List of tensions called the Cold War

Since the NATO-Warsaw Pact Cold War (1945–1991), a number of global and regional tensions have also been called “Cold War”.

Cold War II

Cold War II, also called Second Cold War, Cold War 2.0, or the New Cold War refers to a renewed state of political and military tension between opposing geopolitical power-blocs, with one bloc typically reported as being led by Russia or China, and the other led by the United States or NATO.

This is akin to the original Cold War that saw a global confrontation between the Western Bloc led by the United States and the Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union, Russia’s predecessor.

Saudi Arabia vs. Iran

An Atlantic Council member Bilal Y. Saab, an About.com writer Primoz Manfreda, an Iranian scholar Seyyed Hossein Mousavian and a Princeton University scholar Sina Toossi, journalist Kim Ghattas, Foreign Policy journalist Yochi Dreazen, Brookings Institution researcher Sultan Barakat, and Newsweek journalist Jonathan Broder use the term “cold war” to refer to tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In February 2016, a University of Isfahan professor Ali Omidi dismissed the assumptions that the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia would grow tense.

India vs. Pakistan

A commentator Ehsan Ahrari, a writer Bruce Riedel, a political commentator Sanjaya Baru[ and a Princeton University academic Zia Mian have used the term “cold war” since 2002 to refer to long-term tensions between India and Pakistan, which were part of the British India until its partition in 1947.

China vs. Japan

China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng, The Diplomat editor Shannon Tiezzi, and The Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall used the term to refer to tensions between China and Japan. China’s state-run newspaper Global Times says that China and Japan “are stuck in a state of ‘cold peace’ and [m]ust avoid sliding into a cold war.”

Korean peninsula

A Naval Postgraduate School academic Edward A. Olsen, a British politician David Alton, a York University professor Hyun Ok Park, and a University of Southern California professor David C. Kang used the term to refer to tensions between North Korea and South Korea, which have been divided since the end of World War II in 1945. They interchangeably called it the “Korean Cold War”.

Factors for the rise of cold war/Causes

1. Ideological differences between the eastern block with socialist ideology and western block with capitalist ideology; hence the two ideologies existed in the world history since Russian revolution up to early of 1990’s led to the existence of the cold war between the eastern block following socialism under the former USSR and the western block following capitalism under U.S.A.

2. Russia motives of grabbing and occupying territories due to the expansionism policy of Russia. Russia intended and aimed at annexing and occupying territories in eastern Europe during and after WWII e.g. after the Germany forces were driven out by Russia then the western block interpreted that was the plan to spread communism,

Hence Russia was resisted to get more areas in eastern Europe and by 1945 when Russia controlled eastern German, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Austria to the president of USA by then Winston Churchill 1946 called Russia as “Iron curtain across Europe” meaning communist barriers in Europe, this increased enmity between Russia and U.S.A.

3. The colonial powers like Britain and France were hungered by the eastern block with the ideology of socialism in support of communist liberation movement. This led to the increase of enmity between eastern block and western block with capitalism ideology

Hence the outbreak of the cold war because all the colonial powers were under the capitalist ideology led by U.S.A, due to the fact that the aim of capitalism and imperialism are the same like segregation, humiliation, oppression, exploitation etc. while the eastern block wanted to end colonialism and capitalism with their evils in their colonial areas of Africa and Asia.

4. Existence of Neo–colonialism with its motives in the newly independent nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America led by U.S.A with her ideology of “The Truman doctrine and the marshal plan of 1947”; where by the Americans under Truman doctrine would give aids and grants to any country in Europe with war under communism threat and the post of marshal plan of 1947 whereby the American wanted colonies to be free for U.S.A to exploit, to get labor, raw materials, areas for investment for the development of America, all these increased enmity between the eastern block and western block hence the cold war.

5. The formation of the military alliances which were NATO in 1948 for the west and the war saw pact in 1950s for the east. This military alliances formed the increase of enmity and conflicts between the socialist nations with the ideology of socialism against that with the ideology of capitalism, because the formation of these alliances like NATO by the west in 1949 was to prevent the communist expansionism, this angered Russia which in reaction against the capitalist formed war saw Pact in 1955 increased conflicts hence cold war.

6. The secret manufacturing and development of dangerous weapons like atomic bombs, air jets, tents etc. by the western blocks such as U.S.A and Britain; raised suspicious in the eastern block led by the former USSR because the eastern block under USSR fail to know the motives of U.S.A and Britain hence in reply in 1948 USSR shocked the west by dipping an atomic bombs leading to more tension, In 1960 USSR was the first nation to send her Aeroplane to the moon known as Apollo and reply U.S.A did the same in 1970s.

7. The involvement of U.S.A in affairs on matters of Europe; this hungered Russia with its expansionism policy aiming at spreading communism in the world, U.S.A involved in the European matters e.g. turkey and Greece which was not accepted by Russia which saw it as the undermining her power and influence in the east. There after Russia interfered into those state contrary to UNO’s charter which against a nation to interfere internal matters of another state which led to the increase of conflict between eastern block and western block

Manifestation of the cold war

The following are the areas where the cold war was very much existed;

i. Formation of Military alliances. Through the creation of military alliances which were NATO in 1949 against warsaw pact in 1950s.

ii. In the Cuban missiles crisis of October 1962; whereby the west led by U.S.A forced Russia to withdraw her army and weapons for Cuba

iii. The Truman doctrine of 1947; whereby the president of U.S.A declared that it is a duty of U.S.A to prevent the spread of communism everywhere in the world, so as capitalism to win by spreading different parts of the world thus why the Truman would offer aid to any nation which was under the treaty.

iv. The Berlin airlift of 1949; whereby for eleven months USSR blocked all the roads, railways and canal traffic from the west Germany capitalist forcing them to feed their people in west Berlin by air, this was due to the post dam arrangement in which the eastern Berlin was given to Russia and the western Berlin was given capitalist.

v. The Greece and turkey incident in 1947, This was due to the community who wanted to overthrow the Greece and turkey government followed by capitalist ideology and which was under the British colonies because British was weak military and economically to compete with Russia, she appealed to U.S.A to intervene, U.S.A intervened in crushing the communist elements.

vii. The marshal plan policy of 1947; whereby U.S.A in this policy of the marshal plan wanted colonies to be free for U.S.A to invest, exploit, get labor, market and raw materials. But also U.S.A wanted the capitalist western block to unite against the creation of COMENCON (Council of Mutual assistance in eastern Europe led by Russia).

vii. The post dam conference of 1945; the western powers were willing to sharethe administration of their zones and sections, however there was the creation of eastern German under Russia and the creation of Taiwan of 1949 under the strong American support following the communist Chinese revolution in 1948, Taiwan was recognized as an independent nation by America while china claimed to be part of his nation.

Causes/reasons/factors for the collapse of the cold war

1. Imperialist maneuvers/tricks. This led to the collapse of the cold war because the capitalists used a lot of mechanism and efforts to make sure that could war should not exist in the world hence the cold war collapsed, capitalists helped to come into power the reformist leaders in Russia like Mikhail Gorbachev with his policy of perestroika and glasnost and there after president Born Yeltsin whose his policies supported capitalism and ceased the cold war.

2. The big power were not interested in any more conflicts after the great war in the cold war (WWI &WWII) which lead to the threat of the world peace and security. Therefore those big powers wanted the lasting peace, security and mutual co existence, hence a need to end the cold war e.g. they held the high level talks between U.S.A and USSR about the end of the cold war;

This talks involved the president (Khrusher) of Russia and Eisen howler (U.S.A) in 1959 and 1969 and later between Khrusher and president John Kennedy of U.S.A. likewise there was establishment of Washington to Moscow hotlines in 1963 as a direct communication link to prevent cold war resulting from misunderstandings and in 1963 USSR, U.S.A and Britain signed a test ban treaty in Moscow aiming at disarmament and arms control, all these aimed to end the cold war.

3. Promotion of cooperation between the opposite camps i.e. eastern and western through signing of agreement e.g. in 1963 the soviet – American and Anglo –American agreement e.g. 1963 were signed to foster (strengthen) cooperation between the opposite camps to end the cold war.

4. Formation of NAM by the newly independent nations in 1961 which did not want to be involved in the cold war, hence NAM came with the formation of south commission as an attempt to prevent the cold war and neo –colonialism; hence NAM managed to convince the leaders of the super powers to hold different summit talk in order to prevent the arm race with conflicting in the third world countries, this led to the collapse of the cold war.

5. The collapse of USSR and the eastern block with their ideology of socialism; due to lack of enough economic competition led to end of rivalry and cold war because after the fall of USSR, U.S.A was left alone as the super power in the world which is now existing as a unipolar world trying to do whatever suits her interests; as the former president of U.S.A George W. Bush said “the new world order” which means U.S.A is the police of the world with preemptive treaty (policy) which means attack any nation before being attacked.

6. The efforts taken by UN to end the cold war; was another reason for the collapse of the cold war because; UN made endless talks for ending of enemies/hostilities between the western camp and the eastern camp, this led to the end of the cold war.

7. Realization on the part of U.S.A and USSR which were the super powers of the world in those days; this realized that there was a big short fall in food production caused by over concentration on arm race, space exploitation LDC tend to involve in civil wars due to arm races from the super power to these LDC but also the testing ground of weapons are in the third world hence they need to end the cold war.

Effects of the cold war

The effects of the cold war were mostly serious in the LDC as elaborated below;

1. The cold war divided the world into two camps; which were the eastern block with socialist ideology and western block with capitalist ideology. But this was more serious in the LDC because these LDC defended on big powers for their development hence the LDC were supposed to follow whatever the super power wanted for their development.

2. The cold war led to interstate wars and civil wars especially in the LDC because different nations were supported by either western block or eastern block, but also different groups in the same nation that opposed to each other were also supported separately by the two different camps of either western or eastern block e.g. in Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan and in interstate wars are northern Korea against southern Korea in 1950s, Vietnam against U.S.A war 1980s.

3. The cold war led to military coup d’état in many countries of the world; especially in the LDC because different countries were sponsored by rival blocks eastern or western against the government which was on power and accelerate the rise of dictators who could support them in power. E.g. in 1972 in Uganda, Milton Obote was overthrown by Amin dada, in Ghana 1966; Nkrumah was overthrown by capitalist labels, in Ethiopia mangtsu was overthrown by the capitalist labels.

4. The cold war led to establishment of military bases in different countries in the world; this was because U.S.A with western block established military bases in the LDC in spread of communism in the name of the terrorism e.g. U.S.A bases in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwaiti Somalia as USSR did in Cuba to protect her interest in the eastern camp.

5. The cold war led to the influence of Russia to support liberation movement in colonial areas especially in Africa for self rule in order the colonized people to defeat and get out of colonialism which had the same aim of capitalism due to evils of colonialism and capitalism in the colonies e.g. exploitation, humiliation, oppression and segregation. E.g. the movements supported by Russia were MPLA in Angola, FRELIMO in Mozambique and PAIGC in Guinea Bissau.

6. The cold war led to transfer of military technology and arm factory from developed countries/super powers to the LDC; in order to strengthen their military power and be able to defend themselves with different ideology and protect their nations against their enemies e.g. in south Africa during the apartheid policy.

7. The cold war was an obstacle to pan –Africanism and formation of OAU; since the cold war had divided the African states into two camps the following different ideologies e.g. the Casablanca(socialist) and the Monrovia were the capitalist, hence these two blocks disagreed in many issues except on one thing which was opposing the apartheid policy in south Africa.

8. The cold war led many third world countries to benefit from the cold war situation because the two blocks were willing to offer as much aids as possible in order to maintain their friendship and presence/existence in LDC e.g. the liberation movement in Zaire, Angola and Cuba in socialist, in capitalist in Kenya, Afghanistan etc.

9. The cold war strengthened and prolonged the existence of apartheid policy in south Africa; since the western camp strongly needed friendship with economically strategic of south African Boers regime like president De – Clark and president Botter.

10.The cold war prolonged the Israel –Arabs conflict because of the supports both military and economically from the eastern camp and western camps; whereby the western provided economic aids and armies to Israel and the eastern camps provided armies to Arabs.


The chief cause of the end of the cold war was the collapse of communism in society union and Eastern Europe. Under the president Mikhail Gorbacher who cause to power in the mind of 1980’s USSR started to restrictive her international and Foreign policies.

This eventually led to the disintegration of USSR and eventually the end of cold war.

All in all the cause for the end of cold war can be summarized into two factors:-

i. The reign of Mikhail Gorbacher who restricted society’s foreign policies.

ii.The influence of USA

iii.Economic difficulties in USSR during the sign of Gobacher.


In December 1989 -1990 Gorbacher and George H.W Bush declared the cold war officially over at a summit meeting in Malta.


1. They marked the end of the broadly bipolar structure based on us. Society rivalry which the international system has assumed since the late 1940’s.

2. The Former communist states experience serious problems of transition ranging from economic collapse. Which affected them all e.g. in society union because Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia the disintegration of state itself was experienced.

3. It resulted to the new or modified roles for international organization, for instance it ended the automatic split in the united nation (UN) Security Council along cold war lines. This related for the UN to work as a collective body

4. The end of cold war had an impact on various multilateral treaty organizations. The war saw pact was disband led, while the north Atlantic treaty organization (NATO) struggled to reconceive itself it being redefined. Itself it being redefined.






  1. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should write more on this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t talk about such topics. To the next! Cheers.


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