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The Cold War: Was It Really a War?

One of the common perceptions about warfare is that it is an armed conflict amongst the enemies. During the Cold War, the whole world was influenced by the politics of USA and the Soviet Union. These were the two nations willing to overpower each other. It was a war in which the superpowers used their influence to drive third world nations behind them. However, during the tension period which lasted for more than four decades, never did the enemies confront each other face to face in the battlefield. This is what we will be scrutinizing in this paper, if the opponents didn’t used armed weapons against each other, on what basis did the war progressed. The topic on which the discussion would be based upon is: Was Cold War really a war?

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The world has witnessed two world wars, after which no battle has ever taken place in which the superpowers directly confronted each other. The devastation of the world wars, which humanity has suffered resulted in a new battlefield in which diplomatic warfare has started. It was after World War-2 until the collapse of Soviet Union that global politics was framed by the two competent superpowers manoeuvring their influence in different regions. It was their ideologies upon which they were confronting each other. Melvyn and Painter have pointed out that “one need to grapple with the importance of ideology in precipitating the Cold War and they need to analyze precisely how it might have influenced developments.” They have also highlighted that “recent research also takes a more sophisticated view of the importance of ideology in Soviet foreign policy and illuminates the role other communist parties and leaders played in influencing Soviet policy. These superpowers were battling to lead the world according to their ideology and were framing their foreign policy accordingly.

The Cold War was influencing other regions in the world to come under the control of the two superpowers. The driving power behind this chaos was again the conflict in the ideologies. One of the examples which prove that other countries were experiencing changes in their policies because of this Cold War is of Korea. It was after World War 2 that “the Soviet Union and the United States had divided Korea between them for military purposes.” It was then maneuvering this state according to their interests and driving it in the state of war. This concept is clarified after we learn that “Truman (the then president of USA in 1945) ordered American air and naval forces in the vicinity to assist Syngman Rhee’s (the first president of South Korea) forces and shortly thereafter United States army units from Japan helped the beleaguered South Koreans.”

The third factor which proves that Cold War was a war is the use of the state owned private networks. These networks which were under the US were meant to promote the slogans of freedom and to undermine the concept of central governance. The operation was carried out in “the traditional American form: organized public support of resistance to tyranny in foreign countries.” Other than this, to further clarify this concept, the reader can refer to the fact that “cooperative state–private elite networks played a powerful role in mobilizing for US global expansionism during the Cold War.”

It was this continued battle of ideologies between the two superpowers that “by 1988, Ronald Reagan, had famously branded the Soviet Union an evil empire.” The result of this Cold War was none other than the sole domination of the US in the world affairs. After the two World Wars were fought in the battle ground, the world had then witnessed a new paradigm of war. The new battle field was the diplomatic ground. It was decisions in the diplomatic field that the world

continued to struggle in a state of turmoil. Although regional wars were fought under the influence of the super powers, but it should be noted that the two super powers never utilized their resources by confronting each other directly. It is the result of the Cold War that we observe global domination of the US in the world affairs today.


Hellen Laville, Hugh Wilford, “THE US GOVERNMENT, CITIZEN GROUPS AND THE COLD WAR”, Published by Routledge, 2006.

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Melvyn P. Leffler, David S. Painter, “The Origins of Cold War: An International History”, Published by Routledge, 2005.

Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins, “The Cold War, 1945–1991” (2nd Ed.), Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Patrick J. Buchanan, “Who Lost Russia?” 2007. Web.

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"The Cold War: Was It Really a War?" StudyCorgi, 2 Nov. 2021,

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