Cold War

After the end of World War II, a new war split the world: the "balance of terror" of the Cold War dominated international politics for more than 40 years.

The ideological differences between the capitalist west led by the United States and the communist Soviet Bloc made international cooperation impossible. The military and ideological blocs were formed in the NATO (1949) and the Warsaw Pact (1955). The "Iron Curtain" ran right through the middle of Europe and Germany, the Berlin Wall became the symbol of the Cold War.

For decades, the bloc powers were entangled in a relentless arms race. Korea and Vietnam were devastated by proxy wars, but the great military conflict had always been avoided at the last possible moments. However, in 1962, the world was on the brink of nuclear war: Kennedy and Khrushchev only just came to reason in the Cuban missile crisis.

In the 1980s, the inferiority of the economically ailing Soviet Union was becoming obvious. Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of "Glasnost" and "Perestroika" allowed the rapprochement of the superpowers. In 1991, the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War ended.