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Posted: February 24th, 2019

The Consequences of the Cold War

The Consequences of the Cold War

The Cold War was a period of intense geopolitical rivalry and ideological conflict that lasted from 1947 to 1991, between the United States and the Soviet Union, and their respective allies. The term “Cold War” was coined by George Orwell in 1945, to describe a state of war that does not involve direct military confrontation, but rather indirect forms of competition, such as economic sanctions, propaganda, espionage, proxy wars, and nuclear arms race. The Cold War had profound effects on the world, both during and after its end.

Some of the main consequences of the Cold War were:

– The division of Europe and Germany. After World War II, Europe was divided into two blocs: the Western bloc, led by the US and NATO, and the Eastern bloc, led by the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. Germany was also divided into four zones of occupation, and later into two states: West Germany and East Germany. The division of Europe was symbolized by the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989. The wall was a source of tension and confrontation, as well as a symbol of oppression and resistance. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany.

– The emergence of new states and conflicts. The Cold War also affected other regions of the world, where the US and the USSR supported different factions in civil wars, revolutions, coups, and independence movements. Some examples are: the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the Cuban Revolution (1959), the Suez Crisis (1956), the Congo Crisis (1960-1965), the Iranian Revolution (1979), the Afghan War (1979-1989), and the Arab-Israeli conflicts. Many of these conflicts resulted in human rights violations, humanitarian crises, refugees, and environmental damage. Some of them also created new states or changed existing borders, such as Israel, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cuba, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama.

– The development of nuclear weapons and deterrence. One of the most dangerous aspects of the Cold War was the nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR. Both sides developed and tested thousands of nuclear weapons of various types and sizes. They also deployed them in strategic locations around the world. The threat of a nuclear war was constant and terrifying. However, some argue that nuclear weapons also prevented a direct war between the superpowers, because they created a situation of mutual assured destruction (MAD), which means that any attack would result in a devastating retaliation. This logic of deterrence was challenged by several crises during the Cold War, such as the Berlin Blockade (1948-1949), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), and the Able Archer 83 exercise (1983).

– The advancement of science and technology. The Cold War also stimulated scientific and technological innovation in various fields. Both sides invested heavily in research and development to gain an edge over their rival. Some examples are: space exploration (the launch of Sputnik in 1957 sparked the Space Race), computer science (the development of ENIAC in 1946 led to advances in artificial intelligence), biotechnology (the discovery of DNA in 1953 opened new possibilities for genetic engineering), medicine (the invention of penicillin in 1928 saved millions of lives during World War II and after), telecommunications (the creation of ARPANET in 1969 was a precursor to the Internet), aviation (the development of jet engines in 1939 enabled faster and longer flights).

– The spread of culture and ideology. The Cold War also influenced culture and ideology around


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