The end of World War Two left Europe divided. As soon as the war was over, old alliances were quickly forgotten, yet tensions still remained. The biggest tension, however, was between the Soviet Union and the United States. The conflict between these two nations was that of Communism versus 'freedom', whether it be through Democracy, Nationalism, or Capitalism. Many events took place over a period of roughly forty years that were examples of Soviet communism and the United States attempt to crush it. This time period was termed the 'Cold War' although it was not really a war, but merely a competition between to political powers in an attempt to be the best in the world. Some people consider the Cold War to have been a friendly war because, despite cold feelings and rivalry, there wasn't a massive battle and bloodshed. This is not true because, during the ongoing competition between the two world powers, battles against Communism were fought with raging war, and tensions were high.
The first example of heated tensions during the Cold War was in Korea. In 1949, the United States and the Soviet Union had troops in Korea. The Soviets supplied Northern Korea with tanks, planes and money in an attempt to spread their Communist ideals. America, on the other hand, supported Nationalist South Korea. When North Korea crossed the 38th parallel to invade South Korea the United States was quick to come to the aid of the south. The United States president at the time, Truman, stood firmly by his Truman Doctrine, and saw defending South Korea as an act in the crusade against Communism. Fighting raged for months, each side taking turns at forcing the enemy's lines farther and farther back, and gaining new allies and opposition. China, frustrated on their own border encroachment, fought alongside North Korea, and the UN came to the support of the Nationalists. Finally, after three years of fighting, treaties were signed and the borders were set along the exact lines as before. North Korea suffered serious economical and social problem under Communism, while the south prospered with financial aid from the United States, increasing political tensions between the Soviets and U.S. and heightening their competition for world superiority.
The Vietnam War was another example of the indirect struggle between the two superpowers. This was another country, divided and at war, split between the Communists and the Nationalists. The United States was hesitant to get involved in this war, however, they had been advising South Vietnam, the Nationalists for over a decade in an attempt to prevent President Eisenhower's domino theory. This was the idea that the Asian nations were a row of dominos, and if one fell to Communism, they all would succumb to the same horrible fate. In August of 1964, North Vietnamese boats attacked U.S. patrol boats, and in response, President Johnson sent 185,000 soldiers to fight in Vietnam. This was one of the most detrimental wars to the United States, lasting nearly 8 years and costing 58,000 American deaths, over 1.5 million Vietnamese deaths. It was again, a battle of politics, with the U.S. versus the Soviet Union underlying in the conflict between the divided countries of Vietnam.
Perhaps the most obvious and serious conflict between the U.S. and Soviets was that of the Cuban missile crisis. It was obvious in the sense that the United States wasn't fighting Communism under a cloak, and despite an attempt at secrecy, their actions were on display. These actions were planting nuclear missiles in Turkey, pointing them directly at the Soviet Union. In response, the Soviet Union began to build 42 missile sites in Cuba, pointing their weapons directly at the United States. The rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was putting them on a collision course. Their striving attempts to be the ultimate world power was leading them into possible world destruction, should the nuclear weapons on either side ever be detonated.
The Cold War was about politics; two countries trying to outdo the other in every form of society's progression to ultimately become the world superpower. It started as simple rivalry but ended with bringing stress and bloodshed to countries around the world. The Cold War was a flirt with disaster that eventually encompassed the globe. It was not really about chilly attitudes between the United States and Russia, but really heated tensions that led to the brink of global decimation, not domination. Luckily the tensions cooled.