Cold war is a term that refers to the period of deep mutual hostility between the Soviet and Western blocs that possessed many of the earmarks of actual war except for combat. The commonly accepted time frame views the cold war as beginning in the immediate post–World War II years and ending in 1989 with the breeching of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent disbanding of the Soviet Union.

The primary arena of the conflict was the competition for superior military power measured in terms of men under arms and the development of advanced technology related to the number and lethality of atomic bombs and ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) to deliver them to their targets. But except for the marginal military conflicts in Korea (1951–1953) and ...

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