Questions tagged [cold-war]

The Cold War was a continuing state of political and military tension from the 1940s to the early 1990s between the Western world, led by the United States and NATO allies, and the Communist world, led by the Soviet Union, its satellites and allies. The Cold War never saw direct military action, since both sides' nuclear weapons would have guaranteed "mutual assured destruction". Cycles of relative calm were followed by high tension and the threat of war.

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What was the Soviet reasoning for developing their Airborne Forces (VDV) into a powerful military branch?

The Soviet Airborne Forces (the VDV, or the Воздушно-десантные войска, or the Aerial Descent Force as a more precise translation) were one of the more prestigious units in the Soviet military (see '...
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How did Western leaders justify NATO's eastwards expansion after promising the Soviet leadership it won't happen?

Western leaders apparently promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastwards and threaten Soviet security interests. Leaders named include Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, ...
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Was PepsiCo really sixth largest military force?

There are several claims on the internet that for a brief time PepsiCo owned the sixth largest military force in the world. You can read about it, e.g., at Wikipedia. This seems quite fishy to me, so ...
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Has a hostile submarine transitted the Bosphorus submerged?

In WW1, the British submarine E-11 entered the Golden Horn, but apparently not the Bosphorus, and in this old thread on Usenet there are references to WW1 and fiction. According to a recent article ...
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Was there hostile contact between deployed US forces and Sandinista forces during Operation Golden Pheasant?

Operation Golden Pheasant was a deployment of US paratroopers to Honduras in 1988 following an incursion of the Nicaraguan military to pursue Nicaraguan Contra forces seeking sanctuary in Honduras. ...
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Why did navies abandon armour?

Over the Cold War the many navies of the world moved away from significantly armoring their ships besides splinter protection for some vital spaces, with a few exceptions. What prompted the shift from ...
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Was Nixon's “Madman Theory” effective?

Definition of "Madman Theory": The madman theory is a political theory commonly associated with U.S. President Richard Nixon's foreign policy. He and his administration tried to make the leaders of ...
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Was the population of Moscow wildly overstated during the Cold War?

The science fiction author Robert Heinlein was a socialist in his youth, but became a strident anticommunist during the Cold War. In 1960, he and his wife Virginia went as tourists to the USSR, and he ...
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Why was the Soviet Naval Infantry disbanded in 1947?

According to Peter Antill: The naval Infantry performed a number of important landings in both World Wars including raids against the Turks around the Black Sea and the capture of Sakhalin Island ...
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What was the internal Soviet reaction to the moon landing?

The Soviet Union was a famously restrictive place when it came to news and ideological spin, and obviously their attitude toward the United States was less than supportive and warm. The Space Race ...
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Why did Kennedy refuse any military action in Laos at first and then decide otherwise by sending combat troops?

I was lately reading a lot about the civil war in Laos and the American involvement in there and now I am quite confused about the following: What is the special thing about the administration of ...
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What documented criteria (if any) did the CIA use to determine targets for political assassination during the Cold War?

Did the CIA follow a documented set of criteria when determining targets for political assassination during the Cold War, especially in regards to foreign heads of state or government? There have been ...
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Did NATO promise Gorbachev not to accept membership applications from former Warsaw Pact nations?

There have been several claims that there was an agreement between NATO and USSR at the end of the Cold War. This agreement supposedly required NATO to reject any membership applications from the ...
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Did the US military just kill more Russians in Syria than they ever did during the Cold War?

EDIT: It is understood that the US military generally was not in direct confrontation with the Soviets during the Cold War (hence it being Cold). It's also true that even during a cold war "things" ...
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Were Soviets invited to the Marshall Islands to observe the first hydrogen bomb detonations?

In 1952, did the US invite, or consider inviting, Russian scientist to observe the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb? These were above-ground tests far away from Russian in the Marshall Islands, ...
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Were Israeli-Arab conflicts in the Cold war testing grounds for NATO and Warsaw Pact equipment?

During the Cold War, Israel and it's Arab neighbors often came into conflict with each other and fought a number of wars during which Israel often used weaponry from the West (USA, UK and France) ...
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Did the Soviet ever attempt “innocent passage” thru American waters?

In 1986 and 1988, the US Navy sent warships into Soviet Crimean Sea territorial waters as exercises of innocent passage (which essentially means that you can sail through an unfriendly nation's waters ...
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Are the war plans published in “Dropshot: The American Plan for World War III against Russia in 1957” genuine?

In 1979 Anthony Cave Brown published a book (Operation, World War III: The Secret American Plan 'Dropshot' for War with the Soviet Union, 1957, Arms and Armour Press, 1979; Google Books, Amazon) which ...
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Why was Eisenhower chosen to be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe?

Dwight D. Eisenhower "Ike", graduated from West Point in 1915 ranked 61st in a class of 164 better known for his abilities on the football field than in the classroom. Upon graduation from West Point ...
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What options were available to MacArthur to prepare for Chinese intervention in the Korean War?

The initial successes of Chinese military in Korean War against high odds can be said to be a major blunder on the part of MacArthur's military leadership. We know that MacArthur did not make ...
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Are there scholarly sources for Eastern European Revolutions of 1989-1990?

Are there scholarly works on these changes that are highly regarded and relatively apolitical? It's of course very easy to find politically charged interpretations of these events, but, 30 years on, ...
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Why did the US, Britain, France, Denmark and Sweden vote against the UN resolution that condemned Nazism and SS glorification?

Why the US vote against UN resolution 61/147 that condemned Nazism and SS glorification? (most European countries abstained)
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How did an English person get entry to East Germany during the Cold War?

I need to know how an English person was able to get authority to visit East Germany and what the most common crossing used was. Additionally, any information on how visitors were treated by Stasi ...
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Have any spies ever managed to keep their identity secret from their handlers?

Having just started reading up on spies throughout history, I've just realized a new risk I hadn't thought of before, namely that once you've started spying you're at risk of being blackmailed into ...
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What was the Soviet plan to respond to a nuclear first strike post WW 2?

I'm interested in the period between the war ending and the Soviets making their own bomb. Did they have a plan? Were they expecting a first strike?
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Was the Iron curtain actually present at the time of the Fulton speech?

On March 5th, 1946, Winston Churchill said in his Sinews of Peace speech that From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. At the end ...
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How did Greece avoid the Soviet sphere of influence?

It seems to me that east of Italy / Germany all of Europe was in the Soviet sphere of influence, with the blatant exception of Greece. I'm sure that the long coast made access to Western influence ...
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What was meant by the protest sign “Bundestag nach Berlin”?

The recent article "The Fall of the Berlin Wall in Photos: An Accident of History That Changed The World" included this image: captioned, "A mass demonstration against construction of the Berlin Wall ...
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What were the dates & details of assassinations in Vienna, Austria of Bulgarian defectors Veselin Stoyov, Peter Niezamov, and Ivan Kolev (circa 1974)?

Anna Zechenter of the Institute of National Remembrance in Krakow, Poland has written an article entitled "KGB Poisons" which discloses that the 1974 kidnapping in Denmark of Boris Arsov, a Bulgarian ...
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What was Poland's involvement in the Vietnam War?

So far I've found a few stories about Poland's involvement in the Vietnam War: historycy.org (in Polish) Operation Marigold Multinational UN peacekeeping force International Commission of Control and ...
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Why did Romania create a personality cult long after Russia's “overcoming of the cult of personality”? [closed]

During the Cold War the Socialist Republic of Romania was aligned with the USSR and within the Soviet sphere of influence. What appears odd is that while Russian Communism slowly liberalised after ...
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What are the main reasons historians give for the Soviet Union's collapse?

(I thought that How and Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse? is a good question so would like to rephrase it a bit but the question was too far gone to edit) The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 with ...
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Why did Anwar Sadat establish diplomatic relationship with Israel and did that decision pay off?

Why did Egypt establish diplomatic relationship with Israel and did that decision pay off? As far as I recall, Anwar Sadat was able to convince his people and his followers that establishing ...
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Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union?

Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union? That is what the world history teacher told me. Please show your sources.
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What are some major military successes the Soviet Union achieved against the Western World?

What are some major military successes achieved by the former Soviet Union against the Western World that shook the US and its Cold War allies?
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What's the reason for wider streets in East Germany? [closed]

I heard* that in the GDR towns were planned so that most streets were wide enough for tanks to get through - in order to be able to fight the people more easily if they should rebel (even though it ...
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Why did India use Soviet military hardware during the Cold War?

A former British colony, I'd have thought that India would use Western military hardware during the Cold War. In fact, they fought shoulder-to-shoulder with British soldiers against the Japanese. ...
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What transit restrictions were in place in Occupied Germany limiting military and civilian movement between the four occupation zones?

Question What provisions or restrictions (civil and/or military) were in place in the summer of 1945 which governed movement between the four partitioned zones of occupation (British, American, ...
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What were the international space arrangements and scientific purposes Eisenhower spoke of in October 1957?

Background: Explorer 1 was successfully launched into orbit by the US 1958-02-01 about four months after Sputnik 1 was successfully launched by the Soviet Union 1957-10-04, and Vanguard 1 wasn't ...
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What set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the other border checkpoints in Berlin during the Cold War?

How did "Checkpoint Charlie" become known as the border crossing between East and West Berlin? Out of the countless border checkpoints, what set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the rest for defectors?
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Is there evidence that communists supplied drugs to West Berlin?

I've read an interview with Nick Cave, who lived in West Berlin in the 1980s and was a drug addict. He said that the "stuff" was very cheap and good - by that he probably meant very pure. And he said ...
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Has there ever been a cold war other than between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.?

At any time in world history, has there ever been two nations involved in a "cold war" similar to the one between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and notably including proxy wars? My thanks to Lars Bosteen, ...
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What role did the space race play in reducing the nuclear threat during the 1960s?

Today I visited again the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, a space flight history museum, and noticed for the first time the claim that part of John F. Kennedy's motivation for pushing for a ...
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Did Turkey invade Cyprus to keep the USSR out? Is there really CIA files that prove this for real? [closed]

I have watched an video about the invasion but one of the comments made me think a little bit different. The real reason behind the Cypriot War of 1974 was to prevent the (Greek) Cypriot ...
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Does this CIA report describe the Soviet T-54 tank?

This CIA report from March 1954 describes an "Improved T-34 Tank" at the "V.I. Lenin Works at Pilsen". The report lists Czechoslovakia as the country of origin. This logically makes since as the T-34 ...
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What was the impact of Fischer vs. Spassky 1972 on the relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union?

In 1948, the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) organized the first Chess World Championship after WW2. Its winner was Mikhail Botvinnik. Further Chess World Champions were Vasily Smyslov, ...
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What was the Soviet role in Syria during the Cold-War?

It is my understanding that the Soviet Union supported governments in Syria during the cold-war primarily as a counter-balance to American influence over regional powers particularly Saudi Arabia and ...
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Did the Truman Doctrine contribute to the Cuban Missile Crisis?

I have heard that the brinkmanship foreign policy of Eisenhower and Kennedy lead, in part, to the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, I am curious: did the Truman Doctrine also contribute, in part, to the ...
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Was Frisbee criticized in the Soviet Union?

In the U.S. of the 1950s, the Space Age and molded plastic flying discs (Frisbees) were both novel. New materials and a supposed resemblance to UFOs made this linkage irresistible for early disc ...
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Did America help the Chinese nationalists to repel the communist advance?

As an answer said in this subject (What are some major military successes the Soviet Union achieved against the Western World?), it seems that the politics of USA had a great issue on the help of ...