Legacy of the Cold War

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Legacy of the Cold War The origins of the Cold War can be traced to the end of World War II. The global devastation wreaked upon several European nations during this martial conflict left only two superpowers in the world the United States and Russia. In many ways, these two countries although allied together during the Cold War were ideologically opposed to one another, for the simple fact that Russia was communist and the U.S. favored a capitalist economic system. This divergent ideology was responsible for the polarization of many of the other countries left in the world, as Russia (and its surrounding territories which became the Soviet Union) attempted to extend its Iron Curtain to gain communist allies, and the United States attempted to impede these measures by keeping as much of the free world capitalist as it possibly could. The fostering of nuclear weapons on the part of both sides which initially began towards the end of World War II (Smith 39), and several armed and near-armed conflicts (such as the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis) provided the political background for the struggle between these two superpowers regarding the spread of Communism. There were a number of specific threats that American citizens had to endure during the prolonged Cold War, which lasted for the better part of 40 years. One of the most eminent of these threats was the fact that during much of this historical epoch U.S. citizens believed that the Soviet Union could
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