Cold War Flashcards

Set Details Share
created 1 year ago by Kdeneen
updated 1 year ago by Kdeneen
show moreless
Page to share:
Embed this setcancel
code changes based on your size selection


Afghanistan War

War betwteen Afghanistan and the United States from 2001-2014 started by the attack on the twin towers.

  • trying to get the Taliban and communist government out of power.
  • Both the United States and Soviet Union wanted to gain footholds in Afghanistan prior to the war.



A policy of segregation in South Africa in the late 20th century. Sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination of nonwhite inhabitants.

  • limited where people could live or work, what education they received.
  • South Africa was heavily influenced by the cold war economically and socially so when the cold war ended, apartheid quickly ended.



diplomatic tactic of offering concession to aggressor nations or countries in an attempt to avoid or delay war.

  • many people were fearful of appeasement prior to the Cold War as it did not work to prevent WWII
  • Stigma was enacted whenever a leader wanted to ease the tension and they were deemed an appeaser.



an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time. Not the end of the war but may constitute an end to hostilities while negotiation takes place.

  • Richard Nixon adopted a policy of detente towards the Soviet Union, accepting them as a communist country.
  • the two nations also signed the SALT I in 1972, prohibiting the manufacture of nuclear missiles by both sides and reducing the threat of nuclear war.


Ams Race

Competition between nations for superiority in the development and accumulation of weapons, especially in times of war.

  • The Soviet Union and United States competing against each other to develop catastrophic nuclear bombs (H-bombs) during the Cold War.
  • Competition between the Soviet Union and United States to put Satellite and men into space.


Baby Boom

a temporary marked increase in birth rate, especially following World War II. Primarily resulted from the economic prosperity in the 1920's, increase in marriage rate, and counterculture movement.

  • Increase of 80 million children who grew up during the Cold War.
  • Led to the increase of necessities and utilities during the time period to accommodate for the surging increase of children.


Bay of Pigs

A bay on the southwestern coast of Cuba. An attempted invasion of Cuba by the United States Cubans to overthrow the government.

  • The invasive group was trained exiled Cubans that were "kicked out" by the current leader, Fidel Castro. Financed and directed by the US government.
  • It was a failed attack and most of the invaders were captured and killed
  • Crucial to the development of the Cuban Missile Crisis and thought to leave an impression of uncertainty as a current war power.


Berlin Airlift

Operation by the United States and Great Britain to airlift food and supplies to Berlin in 1948-49 while Russains blockaded the city to te4rminate the alliance between the allies military government of the city.

  • largest non-viole4nt victory for the US and allied forces.
  • Made Berlin a major symbol during the Cold War. West Berlin was a symbol of US foreign policy.


Berlin Wall

A heavily guarded wall was built to separate East and West Berlin during communist efforts.

  • built to prevent the movement of East Communist Germans into West Berlin.
  • symbol o the iron curtain and fear of the domino effect.


Black Panthers

A highly militant Black Power organization who formed the Black Panther for Self Defense. Engaged in socialist and communist ideals believing that violent revolution was the way to achieve the liberation of African Americans. Created armed organization citizen patrols of US cities.

  • used to challenge lack of equality during the Cold War.
  • organized the philosophical views and political objectives in a Ten-Point Program.



A social order dominated by the middle class. Plays a large role in revolutionizing industry and modernizing society.

  • Right after WWII life for the bourgeoisie was the best in a long time with low unemployment rates.
  • Feared the overthrow of communism and were defensive of their country (US).



withdraw from commericial or social relations with a certain group as a protest. Used instead of physical fights.

  • The soviets boycotted the United Nations security council by testing an atomic bomb on their own, against the security council's wishes.
  • Boycott of the 1980 Olympics by the United states in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.


Civil Rights Movement

Heavily on the rise during the Cold War initiated by President Truman when creating a civil rights agenda.

  • said to be sparked by the international pressure for not providing equal rights for all their citizens
  • Centered around equality for men of all races.


Cold War vs Hot War

cold war is the political hostility between different countries that is short of open warfare but creates the heavy threat of it. Hot war is when the hostilities lead to actual warfare and cause a full war with numerous casualties.

  • the countries did not want to inflict a full war on each other because nuclear weapons would be catastrophic and never officially declared war.
  • Both used threats and propaganda to prevent other nations from spreading their ideologies and prevent te other nations from stopping them.



An ideology created by Karl Marx where all property is publicly owned and all people are paid according to their abilities and needs.

  • pushed by Cuba, Russia, and China to make other nations follow suit and take over the nations to become Communist.
  • Part of the cause of the Cold War was afraid of the domino theory.



a foreign policy to ensure that the Soviet Union is not becoming too powerful and taking territories. Offered aid to Greece and Turkey to limit the expansionist efforts of Russia.

  • kept a slow steady engagement with the countries and eye on Russia in the hopes that their expansionist efforts would dwindle down.
  • This was because the United States didn't think they could reach an agreement with the Soviet Union



A company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law.

  • involved in the development of new technologies and weapons systems and space race.
  • Often involved in intelligence gatherings and espionage for the US.


Coup d'etat

a sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force by a small group of people who already have some political or military authority. (SWtroke of State).

  • Czechoslovakia was overthrown by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, frightening Europe but powering the Soviet Union.
  • The Soviet Union attempted to overthrow Iran government because they thought that the United States was denying Russia the power they deserved in Iran.


Cuban Missile Crisis

JFK discovered there were missiles in Cuba belonging to Russia (Cuba is located closely to the US) and demanded the removal of the weapons. The US created a naval blockade around Cuba until Russia acceded a week later.

  • The closest approach to nuclear warfare in history.
  • Strengthen JFK's image in internal and external affairs after the failure during the Bay of Pigs.



easing of hostilities between two countries (relaxing of tensions). Period of decreasing hostilities and increasing communication. Most popular for the Cold War in 1960-70's

  • used to decrease spending on the arms race and lessen fighting between the two countries
  • allowed the two countries to undergo arms control discussions and limit the use of nuclear weapons.


Domino Theory

The idea that if one country falls to Communism, other countries will fall suit due to an aggressor or coup d'etat from internal or external sources.

  • caused the US to become more involved in Communist efforts to avoid the spread of Communism in European countries
  • Used to justify the United States use of containment policy towards Russia



a government order to restrict commerce and trade with a specific country, or in general. Usually used to impose punishments or prevent certain actions.

  • the United States towards Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Used on Russia multiple times but did not have a significant affect as American allies would continue trade with Russia.



Soviet Union policy of open discussion of political and social issues. Liften restrictions on information and debate that had previously been in place.

  • Introduced because the Soviet Union was having a decrease in production, living standards, economics, and significant shortages
  • Media censorship was RELAXED, previously banned literature was permitted, policies created were subject to scrutiny and criticism
  • Created to show the errors of the previous government and raise support for the current regime and government.


Great Leap Forward

A Five-year economic plan executed by Mao and the Chinese Communist Party. The goal was to modernize agricultural sectors using communist ideologies.

  • caused mass starvation and famine that caused 30-45 million deaths
  • larger episode o non-war mass killing in history


Henry Kissinger

Secretary of State for the United States. Was responsible for many negotiations and military plans.

  • played a key role in influencing US foreign policy on a global stage.
  • Came up with the detente strategy to ease hostilities
  • Helped set up engagement with Mao creating a turning point for the Cold War.


Hungary 1956 Uprising

a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Communist government of Hungary and its Soviet imposed policies. Starte as a student demonstration that clashed with the Soviet Red army and State Security Police.

  • demand for more democracy and freedom and they attempted to establish a multiparty system and withdraw from the Warsaw Pact.
  • Soviets quickly invaded Hungary to crush the movement and killed/wounded thousands of people.



A secret US arms deal that traded missiles and other arms to free some Americans held hostage in Lebanon. The funds from the arms deal helped support the armed conflict in Nicaragua.

  • Reagan claimed it would recover the hostages and aid in the relationship with Lebanon (he was freeing Americans and they needed alliances to win the war).
  • Violated US public policy and was prohibited by the US congress prior to the arrangement; violated UN rules.


Iron Curtain

a political, military, and ideological barrier erected by the Soviet Union and its allies to seal themselves off from open contact with the West and other noncommunist areas after World War II.

  • Metaphor for the division of Europe between Soviet and Western influence and the formation of opposing military alliances, the Warsaw Pact and NATO
  • Berlin Wall.


Joseph Stalin

dictator of the Union of Soviet socialist Republics (USSR) from 2929 to 1953).

  • transformed the Soviet Union into a military superpower and ruled by terror
  • created a plan for the forced collectivization o fSoviet agriculture in which the government took control of farms



policy of minimum govermental interderence in the economic affairs of individuals and society

  • Western countries were skeptical of engaging in the laissez-faire system because it would create an opening for Communists to invade.



a political docterine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. believe government is vital to protect the individual but can also threaten liberty.

  • the fight against communism led to an increase in protest towards racial inequality and push for labor unions and civil rights
  • preserved the core programs of the New Deal welfare state


Korean War

a war between the democrats and communists of Korea in which the Soviet Union supported Douth Korea and the United Nations supported Noth Korea. Ended with the two conflicting portions to still be divided and negotiations did not help.

  • increased tensions between the Soviet Union and the United Nations during the Cold War.
  • First proxy war during the Cold War


Mao Zedong

Chinese Marxist theorist and statesman who helped lead the communist revolution. Communsit revolutionary and founder of the People's Republic of China

  • Created a path o economic development and social change including the Great Leap Forward
  • Supported by the Soviet Union in the communist movement


Margaret Thatcher

Prime Ministed of the United Kingdom from 1979 until 1990. Resigned due to unpopular policies and power struggles within her own conservative party.

  • opposed Soviet Union's views on Communism and fought to maintain control of the Falkland Islands
  • Decreased the influence of trade unions, privatized certain industries, scaled back public benefits, and changed the terms of political debate


The Marshall Plan

US sponsered program designed to rehabilitate the economics of 17 Westrern and Southern countries in order to create stable conditions in which democratic institutions could survive.

  • Helped weaker countries become less susceptible to Communism
  • Helped build up many Western European economies and opened opportunities for international trade.



Time period in which a series of investigations were used to expose communist inflitration of various areas of the US government.

  • one of the pioneering efforts to investigate Communist activities and helped encourage the start up of the House of Un-American activities
  • Although no plausible case was ever made against any of the supposed Communists, it condemned a lot of people


Mikhail Gorbachev

first president of the Soviet Union and secretary of the Communist Party of the Soveit Union.

  • helped end the Cold Warr and promote peaceful international relations
  • Used efforts like glasnost and perestroika and efforts of free speech for the public.


Nixon Going to China

a reference to Noxon's visit to China in 1972 to the People's Republic of China and his meeting with Mao Zedong.

  • thawed relations between the US and China which had been hostile towards each other for many years
  • Paved the way or the increase in trade and diplomatic ties between the two countries


Nikita Khrushchev

Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War.

  • Pursued a policy of peaceful coexistence with the w2est which led to the reduction of tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States
  • Invovled in the Cuban Missile Crisis in which it highlighted the dangers of a nuclear arms race and the needs to improve communication between the two superpowers


Non-alignment Movement

group of countries that did not align themselves with the United Astates or the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Founded in 1961, included countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

  • sought to maintain independence and neutrality in the face o Cold War tensions
  • promoted economic and political cooperation amongst the other countries involved in non-alignment
  • during the Cold War, considered third world countries


Nuremberg Trials

a series of military tribunals after the end of World War II. Held to prosecute prominent leaders of NAZI Germany for war crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.

  • established the principles that individuals could be hrlp accountable for war crimes, even if they were acting on behalf of the government
  • helped bring a sense of closure to the victims of NAZIs atrocities and to demonstrate that the world would not tolerate such crimes in the future.



a policy of political and economic reform introduced by Soviet leader Gorbashchev in the 1980s. A response to the stagnation and inefficiencies of the Soviet system and was intended to revitalize the country's economy and improve the standard of living for its citizens.

  • aimed to modernizae the Soviet economy and political system, while also promoting greater openness and transparency
  • marked a departure of the rigid, centralized policies of the Soviet Union and opened the door to greater cooperation with the West


Potsdam Conference

One of the last meetings held during WWII by the allied leaders in Potsdam, Ge3rmany in July-August 1945. Attended by the US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union to establish a post-war order for Europe.

  • Marked the first time the leaders meet to discuss post-war order in Europe
  • allies control eastern part and Soviets control western part of Germany leading to tension increase for the Cold War


Prague Spring

period of political liberalization and reofrmation in Czech in 1968. In AUgust 1968, Soviet forces invaded Czech and put an end to it, crushing reforms and reimposing Soviet-style authoritarianism on the country.

  • series o reforms aimed to create a more democratic and open society including the loosening of restrictions on freedom of speech and press, the release of political prisoners and the introduction off economic reforms
  • seen as a threat by the Soviet Union which feared that other nations would follow suitanf protest communism


Red Scare

Period of fear and paranoia in the United States during the early 20th century, marked by the widespread belief that communist and socialist elements were plotting to overthrow the American government. Characterrized by a wave of anti-communist hysteria that led to the persecution of suspected communists and socialists

  • reflected the intese fear and paranoia that existed in the United States regarding Communism
  • contributed to the rise of McCarthysim



reconciliation; period of detente that occured in the 1970's, when the United Sttaes and SOviet Union made efforts to improve their relations and reduce tensions between the two superpowers.

  • cause of SALT, ABM, and other diplomatic initiatives aimed at reducing tension between the two sides
  • helped reduce the risk of nuclear war and contribute to a more stable and peaceful international system.



strategy of aggressibe containment, involving use of military force to roll back the gains of communist regimes around the world. Based on the belief that the Soviet Union was expansionist and that it was seeking to spread communism around the world.

  • used in the Korean War and Vietnam war but seen as failure because it led to high levels of casualties
  • helped shift the focus of foreign policy away from military intervention and towards more diplomatic and economic means of containing the spread of communism


Salvador Allende

Chilean politician who served as president of Chile from 1970 to 1973. First Marxist in a Latin American country through open elections.

  • implemented numerous socialist policies including nationalization of key industries and the implementation of land reforms.
  • Overthrown by military coup and represented the failed socialist policies at the time.



a person or subject that is blamed for a particular event or situation, often unfairly or unjustly. Innocent people are put to blame to cover up for those who are really at fault.

  • McCarthyism where people were accused of being communist or sympathizers
  • In the Soviet Union, many people were accused of being enemies of the state or spies, and subject to imprisonment or execution.
  • represented the intense political and ideological tensions of the time


Security Council

a key institution within the United Nations during the Cold War. Established after World War II as a means of maintaining international peace and security, it was given broad powers to take action to prevent or resolve conflicts around the world.

  • Played a key role in managing tensions between the United States and the Soviet Unon
  • Major 5 had veto power over smaller nations involved which made it difficult for certain actions to be taken



World's first artificial satellite, launched by the Soviet Union

  • Demonstrated the ability of the Soviet Union to launch a missile that could reach the United States
  • Led to a sense of panic in the United Statees and triggered a space race between the two superpowers and marked the beginning of the space age.



refers to the right to vote in political elections. Closely linked to the struggle for human rights and democracy.

  • helped shared the political landscape of the cold war era
  • the US used the issue of suffrage in the Soviet Union and other communist countries for their lack of political freedoms


Star Wars

Nickname for the strategic defense initiative, a proposed missile defense system that was developed by the United States. Designed to protect the US from a potential nuclear attack by intercepting and destroying incoming missiles.

  • Controversial as it argued that it was technologically unfeasible and would be too expensive to implement
  • The Soviet Union criticized it as it would upset the strategic balance of power and was an attempt by the US to gain an advantage in the arms race.



refers to the economic policies of Reagan. Based on the principles of supply-side economics, which emphasized the importance of reducing taxes, deregulating industries, and cutting government spending in order to stimulate economic growth.

  • The Reagan administration implemented numerous policies based on these principles.
  • strengthen US economy and increased military spending.


Third World Nation

Implies poor developing nations. Not always stable, weak economics, and often fighting (2nd and 1st world countries often trying to gain alliance or power). They often haven't picked a side during the Cold War.

  • During the COld War, got associated with those who were not aligned with US or allies or Communists
  • Separated the world by who you aligned with or if you did not align with a side at all


Total War vs Limited War

The US favored limited warfare while the Soviet Union favored limited warfare. The uS used it to reach specific goals in preventing the spread of communism. The Soviet Union thought total warfare was needed to ensure that they had dominance over others.

  • represented the difference in ideologies between the two superpowers and the strategies used.
  • Led to tensions and instability of the international system during the cold war.


Trickle-down economics

economic theory in the 1980's during the Reagan administration. Giving tax breaks and their incentives to businesses and wealthy individuals, the benefits of the economic growth will eventually "trickle-down" to the rest of the population in the form of increased prosperity and job population.

  • used to justify policies that favored the wealthy and corporations and was criticized by many economists for its failure to address inequality and poverty
  • Demonstrated the superiority of capitalism over communism.


Tet Offensive

A military campaign was launched by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war in 1968. The offensive was a surprise attack on South Vietnamese and American forces during the Vietnamese new year holiday Tet.


Tuman Docterine

a foreign policy initiative. Response to the perceived threat posed by the expansion of Soviet influence in Europe and the rest of the world.

  • Aimed to contain Soviet aggression and promote the spread of democracy and capitalism.
  • Provided military and economic assistance to countries that were under threat from communist forces


United Nations

an international organization founded in 1945 after the end of WWII to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations.

  • often unable to act during the Cold War because it was divided between ideologies
  • promoted dialogue and cooperation among nations and helped media conflicts and promote disbarment and arms control


U2 Spy Plane

high altitude reconnaissance aircraft developed by the United States. The U2 was designed to fly at extremely highaltitudes and take photographs of enemy territory, providing valuable intelligence to the US military.

  • provided intelligence on the Soviet Missile instillation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • It being shot down provided a major international incide3net and strained US-Soviet relations


Vietnam War

conflict fought between communsit forces in North Vietnam and the government of south Vietnam.

  • Proxy conflict between US nd Soviet Union
  • Led to widespread protests and social upheaval


Warsaw Pact

a military alliance of communist states in Eastern Europe that was established in 1955. Formed as a response to NAO, which was seen as a threat to the security of the Soviet Union and allies

  • designed to provide a collective defense against potential aggression by NATO an its allies.
  • Repreented the powerful alliance of Communist states in Eastern Europe that were aligned by the Soviet Union


Watergate Scandal

a major political scandal in thhe United States involving President Nixon. Nixon is winning the election and a few republicans broke into the democratic office at the Watergate hotel to look at notes to prepare for the debate

  • Nixon did not know of their doing but is blamed for the incident as they were aiming to help Nixon gain insider information to prepare for the discussion
  • Nixon tried to cover up the situation by using his presidential power which upset Americans
  • Led to distrust in the American government and set the stage for rebellion and propoganda.



refers to the young urban proffessionals who were known for their materialistic values and consumerist lifestyles. Characterized by a conservative political agenda and a focus on individualism and free-market capitalism

  • seen as a reflection of the broader cultural and political changes that were taking places at the time
  • Associated with the rise of globalization and the emergence of global consumer culture



civilain foreign intelligence service for the US federal government tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world.

  • involved in espionage, propaganda, sabatoge, and the training and support of anti-communist forces around the world
  • responsible for gathering intelligence on the Soviet union and it's allies and for developing strategies to counter their influence.



Irish Republic army; a paramilitary organization that was formed in 1919 with the goal of achieving Irish independence from British rule.

  • received support from communist countries in the hopes of persuading them to join



Komitet Gosudarstevennoy Bezopasnosti; main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954-1991. Responsible for gathering intelligence on both foreign and domestic targets.

  • involved in the assassination of political opponents and the use of chemical weapons
  • major source of distrust between the US and Soviet Union



Mutually assured Destruction; the doctrine that emerged during the Cold War. Both Sides possessed enough nuclear weapons to destroy each other. If one side launched an attack, it would result in total nuclear warfare.

  • helped to prevent a direct military confrontation between the US and Soviet Union
  • Contributed to the arms race to prevent the other side from attacking



North American Free Trade Agreement. Trilateral trade bloc between the US, Canada, and Mexico. Eliminated most tariffs and other trade barriers

  • established a framework for protection of intellectual property, resolution of trade disputes, and the promotion of cross-border investments
  • Driven in part by the collapse of the Soviet Union and produce tof the pos Cold War era