What Is the Cold War AP World History?

The Cold War was a period of political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the end of World War II in 1945 until the early 1990s. It was called a “cold” war because there was no direct military conflict between the two superpowers, but rather a constant state of political and economic rivalry. In this article, we will explore what the Cold War AP World History is and why it is important to understand.

Origins of the Cold War

The origins of the Cold War can be traced back to the end of World War II, when the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as superpowers with very different ideologies. The Soviet Union was a communist state led by Joseph Stalin, while the United States was a capitalist democracy led by President Harry Truman. The two countries had been allies during World War II, but their relationship quickly deteriorated after the war ended.

The Truman Doctrine

In 1947, President Truman introduced what became known as the Truman Doctrine. This policy stated that it would be U.S. policy to provide military and economic aid to any country threatened by communism. This policy represented a significant shift in U. foreign policy, which had previously been isolationist.

The Marshall Plan

Also in 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed what became known as the Marshall Plan. This plan provided economic aid to Western European countries devastated by World War II in an effort to prevent them from falling under Soviet influence.

The Spread of Communism

Throughout the Cold War, one of the main concerns of U. policymakers was preventing the spread of communism around the world. The Soviet Union supported communist movements in countries such as China, Cuba, and Vietnam, while the United States supported anti-communist governments.

The Korean War

One of the first major conflicts of the Cold War was the Korean War, which began in 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. The United States supported South Korea, while China and the Soviet Union supported North Korea. The war ended in a stalemate in 1953, with the border between North and South Korea remaining roughly where it had been before the war.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was another major conflict of the Cold War. The United States became involved in Vietnam in an effort to prevent the spread of communism. The war lasted from 1955 until 1975, but ultimately ended with a communist victory.

The End of the Cold War

The Cold War began to thaw in the late 1980s, as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms aimed at modernizing the Soviet economy and political system. In 1989, communist governments throughout Eastern Europe began to fall, and by 1991, the Soviet Union itself had collapsed.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

One iconic moment of this period was when citizens tore down the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989. This event symbolized the end of Soviet domination over Eastern Europe and marked a turning point in world history.

Why Is It Important?

The Cold War was one of the most significant periods in world history. Its impact is still felt today, as it shaped global politics and economics for decades to come. Understanding how this period unfolded is essential for understanding contemporary world events such as tensions between Russia and NATO or U.-China relations.

Impact on World Politics

The Cold War shaped world politics for decades to come by creating two opposing superpowers that dominated global affairs. It also led to increased militarization around the world and created tensions that persist to this day.

Impact on American Society

The Cold War had a significant impact on American society, as it led to increased government surveillance and a heightened fear of communism. It also shaped U. foreign policy for decades to come and had a significant impact on the country’s economy.

Impact on Soviet Society

The Cold War also had a significant impact on Soviet society, as it led to increased government control and repression. The Soviet Union’s focus on military spending also contributed to economic stagnation, which was one factor that ultimately led to its collapse.


The Cold War AP World History is an essential period to understand for anyone interested in global politics and economics. It shaped the world we live in today and continues to have an impact on contemporary events. By understanding how this period unfolded, we can gain insights into the complex forces that shape our world.