Article Series

Series: Origins of the Cold War

The term, Cold War, would come to define the political, social, and economic history of the second half of the twentieth century. More than merely a military standoff, the Cold War offered a stable international system forged by the world’s emerging two superpowers–the United States and the Soviet Union–that lasted more than four decades. This system formed almost immediately following World War II.

  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

    Chapter 1: Out of the Ashes of World War II

    Tanks parade in Red Square in front of a communist banner

    The term, Cold War, would come to define the political, social, and economic history of the second half of the twentieth century. More than merely a military standoff, the Cold War offered a stable international system forged by the world’s emerging two superpowers–the United States and the Soviet Union–that lasted more than four decades. Read more

  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

    Chapter 2: Zones of Contention

    Seated leaders at the Potsdam conference, 1945

    The mutual antagonism of the Soviets and Americans, leading to the Cold War, developed after World War II as the two sides competed over a number of geographic and political zones of contention. Read more

  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

    Chapter 3: Declarations of Cold War

    Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill speaks to an audience

    Tensions between the two countries escalated during the post-World War II period and declarations by leaders on both sides, including Stalin and Churchill, and strategists, such as United States diplomat George Kennan, began to formally announce the existence of a Cold War. Read more

  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

    Chapter 4: American Cold War Policy

    German children wave at an American airplane

    By 1947 it had become apparent to most observers that the world was splitting in two–East and West–leaving the inevitable conflict of the Cold War. Quickly the lines in the sand were drawn even deeper as the Soviets and Americans clashed ideologically and militarily on a number of fronts. Read more