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THE COLD WAR The Cold War (September 2, 1945 - December 25, 1991) was the conflict between the United States and its NATO allies - loosely described as the West and the former Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies - loosely described as the Eastern Bloc. A full-scale "east versus west" war never actually broke out, hence the metaphor of a "cold" war, rather than a "hot" shooting war. Instead, the conflict was fought primarily on economic, philosophic, cultural, social, and political levels. It continued from the end of World War II until the break up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Except for the Korean War, Vietnam War and the conflict in Afghanistan, the aggression between those two parts of the world never shaped in an armed conflict, but was conducted by or against surrogates and through spies and traitors who worked undercover. In each of those conflicts, at least one of the major powers operated mainly by arming or funding surrogates. Because of that, the population of the major powers were rarely directly impacted by this "war". In the war between the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. a major arena was the strategy of technology. This cold war also involved covert conflict, through acts of espionage. Beyond the actual fighting and killing that went on through intelligence services, the Cold War was heavily manifest in the concerns about nuclear weapons and the wars which could be fought with them, as well as in the propaganda wars between the United States and the USSR. It was far from clear, going through these times, that global nuclear war would not result from the smaller arenas of conflict, giving each of them an added degree of concern. These pressures impacted many aspects of life throughout the world, much more so than the actual fighting going on between intelligence services. One major hotspot of conflict was Germany, particularly Berlin. Arguably, the most vivid symbol of the Cold War was the Berlin Wall, isolating West Berlin (the portion controlled by West Germany and allied with France, England and the United States) from East Germany, which completely surrounded it. Many East Germans risked death attempting to cross the defences surrounding the wall to reach freedom in West Berlin, and many were killed in the attempt. President Ronald Reagan's challenge "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" in 1988 seemed mere grandstanding, yet the wall was torn down within two years -- not by Premier Gorbachev's order, but by the citizens of East and West Berlin. Causes of the Cold War A major difference of opinion between the two sides was over the merits of the political philosophy of communism. The West, which opposed communism, called itself the "Free World" - arguably a misnomer, as many of the nations on the Western side of the conflict were dictatorships. In some cases, the United States overthrew democratic governments and replaced them with dictatorships friendly to its interests, such as Guatemala in 1954 and Chile in 1973. The cold war was waged through attempts to gain influence over intermediary countries, with popular conception making much of spies and traitors working undercover. The Korean War, the Vietnam War and the conflicts in Afghanistan, Grenada, Chad, Angola, Cuba and of course the Middle East were aspects of the Cold War. The war was also fought by intelligence organizations like the CIA (United States), MI6 (United Kingdom), Mossad (Israel), BND (West Germany), STASI (East Germany) and the KGB (USSR). Intelligence agencies' role The armies of the countries involved rarely had much participation in the Cold War; the war was primarily fought by intelligence agencies like the CIA (United States), MI6 (Great Britain), BND (West Germany), STASI (East Germany) and the KGB (USSR). The major world powers never entered armed conflict directly against each other, only through other countries or under the banner of the United Nations (Vietnam). The “agent war” of mutual espionage both of civilian and military targets may have caused the most casualties of the Cold War. Agents were sent both to the east and the west, and spies were also recruited on location or forced into service. When detected, they were either killed instantly or exchanged for other agents. Spy airplanes and other surveillance aircraft were likewise regularly shot down upon detection. Many observers of varied political persuasions today think that the United States acted in ways their own constitution and national sentiment would not support (such as fighting undeclared wars without the explicit approval of Congress). Leaders in the U.S., both political and military, commonly cite the perceived threat to their security as justification for their actions. In many areas of the world, the local populations feel they were manipulated and abused by both powers. Most anti-Americanism in countries such as Afghanistan is now attributed to the past actions by the U.S. intelligence service. During the Soviet conflict with Afghanistan, the U.S. funded and armed the Mujahedeen (Afghani holy soldiers) in their fight to repel the Soviet occupation, but pulled out and left them to economically fend for them-selves once the USSR had pulled out of the region. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license", and provide a link to http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html. Source: http://faculty.ucc.edu/egh-damerow/cold_war1.htm Questions (answer using full sentences): 1) Analyze this document and identify what strategies were used by the US and USSR to “fight” the cold war. 2) What is wrong about thinking of the West as the “Free World”? 3) Was the Cold War a World Cold War? Why? 4) What were some effects on the countries caught between the superpowers?