Cold War

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945
Post-war Allied occupation zones in Germany
Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945
Post-war territorial changes in Europe and the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called "Iron Curtain"
Remains of the "Iron Curtain" in the Czech Republic
C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
President Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty with guests in the Oval Office.
Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, December 1949
General Douglas MacArthur, UN Command CiC (seated), observes the naval shelling of Incheon, Korea from USS Mt. McKinley, 15 September 1950
US Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950
NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1959
From left to right: Soviet head of state Kliment Voroshilov, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev and Finnish president Urho Kekkonen at Moscow in 1960.
The maximum territorial extent of Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
Western colonial empires in Asia and Africa all collapsed in the years after 1945.
1961 Soviet stamp commemorating Patrice Lumumba, assassinated prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
The United States reached the Moon in 1969.
Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
Soviet and American tanks face each other at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Aerial photograph of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, taken by a US spy aircraft, 1 November 1962
NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1973
US combat operations during the Battle of Ia Drang, South Vietnam, November 1965
A manifestation of the Finlandization period: in April 1970, a Finnish stamp was issued in honor of the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's birth and the Lenin Symposium held in Tampere. The stamp was the first Finnish stamp issued about a foreign person.
The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968 was one of the biggest military operations on European soil since World War II.
Suharto of Indonesia attending funeral of five generals slain in 30 September Movement, 2 October 1965
Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat with Henry Kissinger in 1975
Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger in 1976
Cuban tank in the streets of Luanda, Angola, 1976
During the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot, 1.5 to 2 million people died due to the policies of his four-year premiership.
Mao Zedong and US President Richard Nixon, during his visit in China
Leonid Brezhnev and Jimmy Carter sign the SALT II treaty, 18 June 1979, in Vienna
Iranian people protesting against the Pahlavi dynasty, during the Iranian Revolution
Protest in Amsterdam against the deployment of Pershing II missiles in Europe, 1981
The Soviet invasion during Operation Storm-333 on 26 December 1979
President Reagan publicizes his support by meeting with Afghan mujahideen leaders in the White House, 1983.
President Reagan with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a working luncheon at Camp David, December 1984
The world map of military alliances in 1980
US and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2006
Delta 183 launch vehicle lifts off, carrying the Strategic Defense Initiative sensor experiment "Delta Star".
After ten-year-old American Samantha Smith wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov expressing her fear of nuclear war, Andropov invited Smith to the Soviet Union.
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, 1987.
The beginning of the 1990s brought a thaw in relations between the superpowers.
"Tear down this wall!" speech: Reagan speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, 12 June 1987
Otto von Habsburg, who played a leading role in opening the Iron Curtain.
Erich Honecker lost control in August 1989.
August Coup in Moscow, 1991
The human chain in Lithuania during the Baltic Way, 23 August 1989
Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War
Since the end of the Cold War, the EU has expanded eastwards into the former Warsaw Pact and parts of the former Soviet Union.

Period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II.

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Dissolution of the Soviet Union

The process of internal disintegration within the Soviet Union (USSR) which resulted in the end of the country's and the federal government's existence as a sovereign state, thereby resulting in its constituent republics gaining full sovereignty.

Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987
The first exhibition on the crimes of Stalinism, called "Week of Conscience", was held in Moscow on November 19, 1988
Environmental concerns over the Metsamor nuclear power plant drove initial demonstrations in Yerevan.
Figure of Liberty on the Freedom Monument in Riga, focus of the 1986 Latvian demonstrations
Anti-Soviet rally in Vingis Park of about 250,000 people. Sąjūdis was a movement which led to the restoration of an Independent State of Lithuania.
Andrei Sakharov, formerly exiled to Gorky, was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies in March 1989.
The Eastern Bloc
Baltic Way 1989 demonstration in Šiauliai, Lithuania showing coffins decorated with national flags of the three Baltic republics placed symbolically beneath Soviet and Nazi flags
Photos of victims (mostly young women) of an April 1989 massacre in Tbilisi, Georgia
Meeting in Kurapaty, Belarus, 1989
Nursultan Nazarbayev became leader of the Kazakh SSR in 1989 and later led Kazakhstan to independence.
Lithuania's Vytautas Landsbergis
Estonia's Edgar Savisaar
Latvia's Ivars Godmanis
Azerbaijani stamp with photos of Black January
Viacheslav Chornovil, a prominent Ukrainian dissident and a lead figure of Rukh
Leonid Kravchuk became Ukraine's leader in 1990.
Saparmurat Niyazov, last head of the Turkmen SSR and first president of Turkmenistan
Following Georgia's declaration of independence in 1991, South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared their desire to leave Georgia and remain part of the Soviet Union/Russia.
Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first democratically elected president
Barricade erected in Riga to prevent the Soviet Army from reaching the Latvian Parliament, July 1991
Tanks in Red Square during the 1991 August coup attempt
Signing of the agreement to establish the Commonwealth of Independent States, 8 December
The state emblem of the Soviet Union and the СССР letters (top) in the façade of the Grand Kremlin Palace were replaced by five double-headed Russian eagles (bottom) after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the eagles having been removed by the Bolsheviks after the revolution.
The upper chamber of the Supreme Soviet in its ultimate session, voting the USSR out of existence, December 26
Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union (from 2014 are forecasts)
Russian male life expectancy, 1980–2007
Animated map showing independent states and territorial changes to the Soviet Union in chronological order
Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk celebrate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, May 9, 2018

Both the Revolutions of 1989 in the Eastern Bloc and the dissolution of the Soviet Union marked the end of the Cold War.

Third World

Least Developed Countries in blue, as designated by the United Nations. Countries formerly considered Least Developed in green.

The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact.

Berlin Blockade

Berliners watch a Douglas C-54 Skymaster land at Tempelhof Airport, 1948
The red area of Germany (above) is Soviet controlled East Germany. German territory east of the Oder-Neisse line (light beige) was ceded to Poland, while a portion of the easternmost section of Germany East Prussia, Königsberg, was annexed by the USSR, as the Kaliningrad Oblast.
Sectors of divided Berlin
The only three permissible air corridors to Berlin
C-47 Skytrains unloading at Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Airlift
Loading milk on a West Berlin-bound aircraft
Germans watching supply planes at Tempelhof
A C-74 Globemaster plane at Gatow airfield on 19 August with more than 20 tons of flour from the United States
An RAF Short Sunderland moored on the Havel near Berlin unloading salt during the airlift
US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen, who pioneered the idea of dropping candy bars and bubble gum with handmade miniature parachutes, which later became known as "Operation Little Vittles"
A Douglas C-54 Skymaster dropping candy over Berlin, c. 1948/49
C-54s stand out against the snow at Wiesbaden Air Base during the Berlin Airlift in the Winter of 1948–49
Berlin Airlift Monument in Berlin-Tempelhof, displaying the names of the 39 British and 31 American airmen who lost their lives during the operation. Similar monuments are located at the military airfield of Wietzenbruch near the former RAF Celle and at Rhein-Main Air Base.
Base of the Berlin Airlift Monument in Berlin-Tempelhof with inscription "They gave their lives for the freedom of Berlin in service of the Berlin Airlift 1948/49"
Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Douglas C-74 Globemasters
A Douglas C-54 Skymaster, called Spirit of Freedom, operated as a flying museum. It is owned and operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation.
Boeing Stratofreighter
Fairchild XC-82 Packet
Lockheed C-69 Constellation
Avro York
Bristol Freighter
Short Sunderland flying boat
Avro Tudor
Handley Page Hastings on display at the Alliiertenmuseum (Allied Museum), Berlin, Germany

The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War.

Containment

United States Information Service poster distributed in Asia depicting Juan dela Cruz ready to defend the Philippines from the threat of communism.
A 1962 nuclear explosion as seen through the periscope of a US Navy submarine. The goal of containment was to 'contain' communism without a nuclear war.

Containment was a geopolitical strategic foreign policy pursued by the United States during the Cold War to prevent the spread of communism after the end of World War II.

Proxy war

Armed conflict between two states or non-state actors which act on the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities.

Cuban and Soviet military advisers planning operations during the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), a proxy conflict involving the USSR and United States
A member of the U.S.–backed Southern Front prepares to launch a BGM-71 TOW at a Syrian Army position in southern Syria, December 2014
The U.S.-supported Contra rebels in Nicaragua, 1985

During the Cold War, proxy warfare was motivated by fears that a conventional war between the United States and the Soviet Union would result in nuclear holocaust, which rendered the use of ideological proxies a safer way of exercising hostilities.

NATO

Intergovernmental military alliance between 30 member states – 28 European and two North American.

Flag
Flag
West Germany joined NATO in 1955, which led to the formation of the rival Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked a turning point in NATO's role in Europe, and a section of the wall is now displayed outside NATO Headquarters.
NATO planes engaging in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre
German KFOR soldiers on patrol in southern Kosovo in 1999
KFOR-MSU Carabinieri Patrols in front of the Ibar Bridge in Mitrovica, Kosovo, 2019
The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.
General Austin S. Miller (right) became commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in September 2018 and oversaw the withdrawal until July 2021.
USS Farragut (DDG-99) destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010
Libyan Army Palmaria howitzers destroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011
Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tbilisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.
The North Atlantic Council convening in 2010 with a defence/foreign minister configuration
Protestors at a February 2022 rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine march past the statue of Tsar Alexander II in Senate Square in Helsinki

During the Cold War, NATO operated as a check on the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union.

Western Bloc

Political situation in Europe during the Cold War
Map of SEATO members in 1959, shown in blue

The Western Bloc, also known as the Free Bloc, the Capitalist Bloc, and the American Bloc, was a coalition of countries that were officially allied with the United States during the Cold War of 1947–1991.

Berlin Crisis of 1961

U.S. M48 tanks face Soviet T-55 tanks at Checkpoint Charlie, October 1961.
East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall in 1961
American tanks face an East German water cannon at Checkpoint Charlie.
Soviet T-55 tanks at Checkpoint Charlie, October 27, 1961.

The Berlin Crisis of 1961 (Berlin-Krise) occurred between 4 June – 9 November 1961, and was the last major European politico-military incident of the Cold War about the occupational status of the German capital city, Berlin, and of post–World War II Germany.

Geopolitics

Study of the effects of Earth's geography (human and physical) on politics and international relations.

World map with the concepts of Heartland and Rimland applied
Sir Halford Mackinder's Heartland concept showing the situation of the "pivot area" established in the Theory of the Heartland. He later revised it to mark Northern Eurasia as a pivot while keeping area marked above as Heartland.
Division of the world according to Haushofer's Pan-Regions Doctrine

Two famous security advisors from the cold war period, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, argued to continue the United States geopolitical focus on Eurasia and, particularly on Russia, despite the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War.

Warsaw Pact

The Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, where the Warsaw Pact was established and signed on 14 May 1955
The Iron Curtain (black line)
A "Soviet Big Seven" threats poster, displaying the equipment of the militaries of the Warsaw Pact
A typical Soviet military jeep UAZ-469, used by most countries of the Warsaw Pact
Meeting of the seven representatives of the Warsaw Pact countries in East Berlin in May 1987. From left to right: Gustáv Husák, Todor Zhivkov, Erich Honecker, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicolae Ceaușescu, Wojciech Jaruzelski, and János Kádár
Soviet tanks, marked with white crosses to distinguish them from Czechoslovak tanks, on the streets of Prague during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968
Protest in Amsterdam against the nuclear arms race between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, 1981
The Pan-European Picnic took place on the Hungarian-Austrian border in 1989.
The Warsaw Pact before its 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, showing the Soviet Union and its satellites (red) and the two independent non-Soviet members: Romania and Albania (pink)
A Romanian TR-85 tank in December 1989 (Romania's TR-85 and TR-580 tanks were the only non-Soviet tanks in the Warsaw Pact on which restrictions were placed under the 1990 CFE Treaty )
The Romanian IAR-93 Vultur was the only combat jet designed and built by a non-Soviet member of the Warsaw Pact.
Expansion of NATO before and after the collapse of communism throughout Central and Eastern Europe

The Warsaw Pact (WP) or Treaty of Warsaw, formally the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defense treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland, between the Soviet Union and seven other Eastern Bloc socialist republics of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War.