The Cold War has been described as “peace time unarmed warfare” between new superpowers. It was a “diplomatic war” and not an armed conflict among the superpowers and was based on ideological hatred and political distrust.
Flemming described the Cold War as “a war that is fought not in the battlefield, but in the minds of men; one tries to control the mind of others.” The Cold War was very different from an open war where the enemies are well known and the war is fought in the open.
In the Cold War, war was never declared and diplomatic relations were maintained among the countries. The Cold War did involve some military confrontation and loss of life, but it was also a psychological warfare aimed at reducing the enemy’s area of influence and increasing the number of one’s camp followers.
The Cold War was a bi-polar confrontation between the United States of America and the Soviet Union but it also involved allies or satellites of the two superpowers. The Cold War has also been understood as the clash between two ideologies and two differently organised systems of economy and society-communism and liberal democracy,
and socialist command economy and capitalism.
Although there have been many bi-polar confrontations in history, this was the first time that two different forms of social organisation were competing for implementing alternative visions of the world. From the beginning of the 20th century both the USA and the USSR were on their way to becoming superpowers.
A comparison of the share of various countries in
manufacturing in 1932, just after the Great Depression shows America the indisputable
leader with nearly 32%, and the Soviet Union which came next with 11.5%. But other leading countries were not far behind-Britain (10.9%), Germany (10.6%), France (6.9%). After the Second World War, however, the armed strength of Germany and Japan stood defeated and of Britain and France stood exhausted. Now it was the two countries-America and Soviet Union-which emerged as superpowers.
Soviet Union, despite phenomenal losses in war made rapid strides because of its socialist command
economy. The phenomenal rise of these two countries led to a competition between the two which ultimately resulted in the Cold War.
The Soviet Union set up the Cominform (the Communist Information Bureau) , ‘Radio Moscow’ and supported some communist parties in other countries. The United States of America set up a Radio News programme called ‘Voice of America’ and supported the anti-communist political parties and movements in other countries.
The conflict between the two countries turned out to be the conflict between different ideologies that both the countries adopted. One of these ideologies was political and economic liberalism which was adopted by America and the other was Marxism- Leninism adopted by Russia.