The Cold War
The Iron Curtain
Division of Germany
Proxy Wars in Asia
China and Korea
Proxy Wars in Asia
Vietnam and Cambodia
Cuban Missile Crisis
End of the Cold War
The Cold War was a conflict of ideologies between the United States (capitalism) and the Soviet Union (communism). While the US and the USSR never fought directly, the two countries fought proxy wars in other countries.
The division of Germany into the west (controlled by the US) and the east (controlled by the USSR) created a border between the two powers across Europe and many other countries known as the "Iron Curtain."
A period of revolution in China led to the rise of communism over nationalism. Once the US saw that communism was spreading into the Korean peninsula, it interfered directly by supporting South Korea against North Korea, which invaded with the support of the USSR and China in the Korean War.
The Vietnam War was fought between Northern Vietnam, supported by the USSR and China, and Southern Vietnam, which had both economic and military support from the US. The US withdrew from the country after being unable to win the war quickly, causing instability in the region that allowed the Khmer Rouge to take power in Cambodia, leading to the Cambodian Genocide.
The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred after the US launched a failed invasion on the communist country of Cuba, led by Fidel Castro. Soon after, the USSR learned of a plot to assassinate Castro and sent ships to install nuclear missiles on the island. After the US set up a naval blockade, the conflict was eventually resolved with an agreement in which the US pledged not to invade Cuba in exchange for the USSR removing the missiles.
The Cold War ended with reforms in the USSR that reduced its power and influence. General Secretary Gorbachev created political reforms that allowed more freedom for the press and the public and increased transparency in the government, which was controversial and destabilized the USSR.