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The period of geopolitical tension between the erstwhile Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Alliance) and the United States of America with its European Allies (the Western Alliance) after World War II is known as the Cold War. It began around 1947 and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Cold War was touted as being based on differing ideologies. The Western Alliance followed the ideology which promoted liberal democracy and capitalism. The Eastern Alliance followed an ideology based on socialism and communism. It also led to the formation of NATO established by the US and the WARSAW Pact created by the erstwhile USSR.
The Cold War was also based on the ‘logic of deterrence’ which implied that the two super powers USA and the USSR armed with nuclear weapons involved, were involved in an intense rivalry but both were logical and responsible enough to avoid all-out warfare.
One of the high points of the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis. This also led to an arms race, where both superpowers armed themselves in the highest amount possible with the threat of war always hanging over them.
The Cold War though initially based on differing ideologies quickly devolved into a competition for the balance of powers for the involved nations. It was tempered with the involvement of the non-aligned countries. With time, the superpowers also tried to maintain a stable balance of powers based on ‘arms control’. This was achieved through various agreements like the Limited Test Ban Treaty, Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
The Cold War saw the end of bipolarity in the world and USA emerged as the sole superpower. The disintegration of the USSR in 1991 led to the formation of 12 independent nations which eventually came to be known as the Common Wealth of the Independent States (CIS).The end of the Cold War led to the near extinction of communism. USA made the capitalist model of economy the dominant model in the world.
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