The Cold War

The main event of the late 1900s

Created from Natural Earth Data using gringers perlshaper script. Heitor Carvalho Jorge

Created from Natural Earth Data using gringer’s perlshaper script. Heitor Carvalho Jorge

By: Thomas Ahern, Journalist

The Cold War was a tense 44 years lasting between 1947, a few years after the end of World War 2, to 1991, the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union over being the best at anything, ranging from gaining control over Berlin to being the best at space travel, but the biggest tension was over the spread of communism. The USA wanted communism to no longer exist, and the Soviet Union wanted the world to be communist. The war had 5 major parts, and the first part was the Berlin Blockade/Airlift.

The Berlin Blockade/Airlift

This started in 1947, two years after World War 2 ended. With Germany split into four parts and each one given to France, the UK, the USA, and the Soviet Union, problems began to arise. The Soviet Union received all of Berlin, but West Berlin was not communist and did not want to join the Soviets. In return, Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, starved them. The other three countries, wanting to prevent the spread of communism, started to drive materials to Berlin. Stalin, wanting all of Berlin, decided to blockade the capitalists. The capitalists were stuck until they had the genius idea to fly an airplane over Berlin and drop supplies such as food, water, blankets, etcetera due to the only way to stop a plane at the time was to shoot it down which would be an act of war. However, for most of the Berlin Airlift, the Soviets didn’t have nukes hence they didn’t want to risk war against the US and its allies. It worked, and communism did not spread.

The Korean War

The Korean War started in 1950 and ended in 1953. It was between North Korea, supported by the Soviet Union and China, and South Korea, supported by a UN peacekeeping force led by the USA . It started with them at even ground, but then North Korea attacked South Korea and took most of their land. The USA didn’t want to lose South Korea to communism, so they joined the war and took most of North Korea. China, another communist country, began to become worried about the approaching US military, so they joined in the war as well. With China being the most populous country in the world, the USA kept running out of ammo, or having their machine guns melt from the extreme heat. The Chinese pushed the US back nearly to where they started, and because communism didn’t spread, the USA took it as a win while the North Koreans took it as a win because they were able to fend off the North Koreans.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a period of 13 days in October of 1962. At this point in the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union both had tens of thousands of nuclear warheads. Before this started, Cuba angered the United States by making it so they couldn’t go to them to gamble, so the US invaded, though it failed because of Cuban spies, miscommunication over time zones, and many more failures that the US suffered beforehand.  Cuba was scared of having one of the most powerful countries in the world wanting them off the map, so they became communist to get support from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union took advantage of the opportunity to have usable land so close to their enemy by preparing a few nuclear warheads in Cuba, all aimed and ready to be launched. Thankfully, everyone came to an agreement and the nukes were taken out of Cuba if nukes in Greece and Turkey were to be taken out. Unfortunately, communism spread to Cuba, so the US lost this part of the Cold War.

The Space Race

The Space Race was a race between the United States and the Soviet Union… to the stars! They were attempting to be able to send whatever they wanted to space, may that be nukes, people, or even dogs! The Soviet Union started out strong with Sputnik, the first man made satellite of the earth, and then sent the first human, and first dog into space. The USA then did both those things. It seemed like the US had lost completely, but then President John F. Kennedy surprised everybody by stating that we would touch the moon by the end of the decade. On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the Moon. Neil Armstrong then stepped on the Moon and said “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” The USA took this as a victory.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War lasted from 1954-1975 between North Vietnam, supported by the USSR, China, and North Korea, and South Vietnam, supported by the US. It was the first ever televised war, but that ended up being the reason the invasion failed. Like the US did against Great Britain in the American Revolution, the Vietnamese used hardcore guerilla warfare, meaning they used their knowledge of the land to their advantage, and they took it to the next level by digging complex systems of tunnels to get anywhere on the battlefield. It was in these underground tunnels where they would live, keep their weapons, and get healed if needed. When somebody says these tunnels are complex, they mean it. They were mazes that you need to crawl through, and there were no maps. Around the end of the war, the Vietnamese launched an insane attack called the Tet Offensive on the US soldiers, and killed around 2.5 thousand US soldiers, around 2.5 thousand South Vietnamese soldiers, and around 5 thousand North Vietnamese soldiers. Despite everybody telling them that the Vietnamese would not be able to do it again, the Baby Boomers that were protesting the war finally won.