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1947 - 1989

The U.S. vs. The U.S.S.R

Cold War




Arms Race

Space Race

Korean War


The Red Scare




The end of WWII only led to new global conflict


  • There was a new "Balance of Power" after WWII
  • U.S. - Soviet tensions were evident before the war even ended
    • Losing almost 20% of its total population and the devestation of its largest cities, the Soviet Union suffered far more than the U.S.
    • The U.S. mainland was untouched by the war and its industrial base and infrastructure only grew stronger
  • The U.S. had successfully developed and used nuclear weapons
  • The high cost of WWII meant that, despite obvious differences, neither side was interested in a war with one another
  • The result was a series of conflicts deliberately aimed at avoiding direct military confrontation between the two super-powers
  • The Cold War would be characterized by a series of proxy wars, propaganda campaigns, secret operations, and an arms race

A very brief collection of select events during the Cold War


1962 - 1991









A new wave of fear toward Communism sweeps the nation

The Red Scare II


Loyalty Review Boards

The Venona Project


The Rosenbergs

Alger Hiss

Continue viewing until 31:34


House Un-American Activities Committee


- Standing Committee from 1945-1975- Investigated subversive activities by Fascists, Nazi's, or Communists


US Senator from Wisconsin

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- Claimed to have a list of 205 Communists working in the State Department- Provoked a wave of anti-communist sentiment across the US

Alger Hiss

State Department Official

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A government insider, accused of being a spy for the Soviet Government. Although he denied the allegations, he ultimately stands trial and is convicted.

Continue viewing until 35:30

Julius & Ethel Resenberg

Communist Spies


- Members of the US Communist Party- Implicated in group that sold secrets of the Atom Bomb to the USSR- Executed in 1953

History & Membership

NATO Mission

What is NATO?


Watch until 29:17

Conduct of the War ...

Consequences of the War ...

Conflict rooted in the collapse of Japan

Korean War

Causes of the War ...

The Cold War would not be limited to a fight over land and water...

Space Race

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Apollo 8 becomes the first manned mission to orbit the Moon

First man goes into Space

US puts Explorer I into orbit and creates NASA

Apollo 11 lands on the Moon

USSR puts Sputnik into orbit






This rivalry leads to two important Cold War concepts:1. Brinkmanship - The willingness of both sides to challenge each other right up to the "brink" of war2. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) - Both sides possessing enough nuclear munitions to guarantee the total destruction of the other should war happen

From Manhattan Project to MAD

Arms Race



- First develop/use nuclear weapons in 1945- Develop Hydrogen Bomb (H-Bomb) in 1954


- Develop their own nuclear weapons in 1949- Develop a Hydrogen Bomb (H-Bomb) in 1961


Nuclear Weapons

Hydrogen Bomb

- Injecting additional Hydrogen atoms at detonation enhances the power of chain reaction- 15 MT to 58 MT (i.e. the equivalent power of 15-58,000,000 tons of TNT)

Little Boy & Fat Man

- Bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki- 1 kT (i.e. the equivalent power of 1,000 tons of TNT)

effects of Nuclear Blasts


Where the energy goes...

What's it all mean?

Theoretical blast figures for a 15 MT airburst over Dallas

A Quick Summary

MAD & Brinkmanship

Nuclear Stockpiles & Deterrance

- To the left are links to two important websites. The first is an interactive chart allowing you to track the global distribution of nuclear weapons. The second is for the infamous "Doomsday Clock". It tracks how close we are to achieving MAD. Note we sit today less than 2 minutes from Midnight!!!

The Cold War included a movement within the US to prepare and train to not only survive but win a Nuclear War...watch the followin clip until the 1:11:08 mark to see some of the efforts made toward this end.

How to survive!!!

Due to its proximity to the US, Cuba will become a contested area


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Round 2 - The Cuban Missile Crisis

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Round 1 - The Bay of Pigs


“We’re eyeball to eyeball…and I think the other fellow just blinked.”

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, October 24, 1962.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

"While I cannot take the time to name all the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205."

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, February 9, 1950.

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“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

President Harry Truman, March 12, 1947

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

Winston Churchill, March 5, 1946

“Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the ‘falling domino’ principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 7, 1954

Below is the full documentary from which many of the clips were pulled from in this presentation. For a theatrical movie on the Cuban Missile Crisis, be sure to check our Thirteen Days as well!

Atomic Cafe