Cold War, expression used to characterize the conflict after World War II between the Western powers led by the United States and the Communist bloc led by the USSR. The term arose to describe conditions of hostility and military build-up short of actual armed conflict. The 2 largest wars during the Cold War era were in Korea in the 1950s and in Indochina in the 1960s and early 1970s. The period was also characterized by the division of Europe into antagonistic military blocs: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the West, the Warsaw Pact in the East. Most analysts would argue that the upheavals in Eastern Europe and the USSR in 1989 led to the end of the Cold War.
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