W CS 18

The Cold War (1945-1991)

Conflicting political and economic ideologies after World War II resulted in the Cold War. The Cold War overlapped with the era of decolonization and national liberation.

Content Statement

18. The United States and the Soviet Union became superpowers and competed for global influence.

Content Elaborations

The United States and Soviet Union were victorious in World War II and emerged as superpowers. Unlike most of Europe and parts of Asia, the U.S. sustained little damage and had a strengthened economy. The Soviet Union had mobilized its resources for the war effort, and following the war, expanded its territorial control into most of Eastern Europe.

The Cold War era of tense relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union began in the aftermath of World War II. Competition between the two countries for global dominance was influenced by their conflicting political and economic ideologies. By the end of the 1940s, the Soviets successfully exploded an atomic bomb, adding to the tensions between the two superpowers.

The Cold War rivalry between the U.S. and Soviet Union found outlets in Europe (e.g., East and West Germany, Greece), Asia (e.g., Korea, Vietnam, Turkey), Africa (e.g., Angola, Congo) and the Caribbean (e.g., Cuba). Conflicts related to decolonization and national liberation provided opportunities for intervention by both sides. Alliances were formed that reflected the tensions between the two major superpowers (e.g., NATO, Warsaw Pact).

Expectations for Learning

Analyze how the United States and the Soviet Union became superpowers and competed for global influence.