The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, which lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was characterized by heightened military and political tensions, as both sides engaged in an ideological struggle for global power. During this time, both sides built up large arsenals of nuclear weapons in order to deter one another from launching a full-scale attack. While there were no direct military conflicts between the two superpowers, they did support proxy wars in various regions of the world. The Cold War also saw numerous diplomatic standoffs between the two sides, such as during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The Cold War began after World War II ended in 1945 when the Soviet Union occupied much of Eastern Europe and sought to spread its communist ideology throughout Europe and elsewhere. This put it at odds with Western powers who sought to contain Soviet expansionism through economic means such as The Marshall Plan or through alliances such as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The US viewed communism as a direct threat to its national security due to its desire for global hegemony, which led it to take numerous actions aimed at containing communism abroad while shoring up its own defenses at home. The Cold War was a major factor influencing international relations during this period and resulted in considerable economic disruption around the world, especially in developing nations caught between East & West’s competing interests. It also led to increased militarization on both sides with countries like Germany becoming divided into East & West due to ideological differences about how society should be organized. Additionally, it created an arms race that saw both sides investing heavily into their respective militaries eventually leading them into a state of mutually assured destruction if either side launched a nuclear attack against each other.
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