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  • This stream explains the Cold War for Euro students.
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Proxy Wars ๐Ÿ’ฃ

  • The Korean and Vietnam Wars were wars fought by external parties. The U.S. and Soviet Union took part in them by aiding the side which most closely aligned with their economic values.
  • The Korean War was started when communist North Korea, backed by China and the U.S.S.R., invaded capitalistic South Korea, who was supported by the U.S.ย 
  • Involvement in the war included deploying troops, selling weapons, and offering monetary aid. The war ended in an armistice, but no treaty was signed (hence the current border is an unsafe DMZ or Demilitarized Zone).
  • The Vietnam War started when a socialist party rose up against the government of Vietnam and established a communist state, leaving the former government with a republican state in the South.
  • Again, the Soviet Union supported the communist north and the U.S. supported the republican South. The U.S. also instituted martial law in the state of Vietnam, persecuting real and perceived communist supporters, known as the Viet Cong.
  • Th Vietnam War ended with the North invading the South after the US pulled out due to lack of popular support. After peace talks, a line was drawn to separate North and South. By 1975, however, the country was unified under a communist state.
  • Both proxy wars were fought for the purpose of containment, a predominantly American idea which tried to prevent the communism's spread to other nations. Containment could also involve investment, such as the United States' Marshall Plan to rebuild postwar Europe.ย 
  • The idea that a single state turning Communist could set off a chain reaction was called the Domino Theory (hence the United States' involvement in Vietnam).

Nuclear Arms Race ๐Ÿ’ช

  • Following the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the United States declared informally to the Soviet Union that they possessed weapons of mass destruction, which the USSR developed for itself not long afterwards.ย 
  • Both nations grew their arsenals discreetly, each hoping to hold the advantage over the other.
  • A shaky level of peace was established by the idea of mutual deterrence- the concept that both sides of a conflict had the power to create abnormal levels of damage by deploying weapons. Since neither state wanted to face potential fallout, nuclear explosives were never put into direct use during the Cold War.ย 
  • This idea evolved into Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), or guaranteed obliteration if either side made an aggressive move.
  • The arms race came to a head ย during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba, which was a huge threat to the U.S.

Nonviolent Endeavors ๐Ÿ•Š

  • The U.S. and the Soviet Union also made a point to showcase their superiority in a variety of other arenas, which had nothing to do with war.
  • The most well-known was the Space Race, a rush to acquire aeronautic technology and put a man on the moon. The Soviets dominated the race early on, until the United States beat them by sending the first man to the moon in 1969.
  • Education was also compared fiercely between the two. Test scores, champions of intellectual activities like chess, and international rankings all contributed to competition between the two countries.
  • The Olympics were, for decades, an opportunity for the opposing sides to showcase national talent. Likewise, Cold War Olympic games took on political overtones, leading to boycotts by each country of the other hosting the Olympics in 1980 and 1984.
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