The Cold War was the period of conflict and competition between the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union, and their respective allies. From the end of World War II until the early 1990s, world politics was dominated by the rivalry between these two Superpowers.

The Cold War spread outside Europe to every region of the world, and drew to a close in the late 1980s. Towards the end of the 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev held conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan.

During these conferences Gorbachev introduced reform policies in the USSR - called perestroika (restructuring of the Soviet economy) and glasnost (policy of openness, and transparency).  In December 1989, after more than four decades, Gorbachev and President George H.W. Bush declared the Cold War officially over.

Please note, there may be minor changes to the curriculum from year to year, teachers always check with your Curriculum Advisor and students, check with your teacher. Please click on the feedback icon on the right if you have anything to contribute or if you have any questions.

The role of China and areas of conflict are not being examined in 2009. This section is detailed so we have broken it up into 4 pages:

  • Intro and Russia in 1917

  • Communism vs Capitalism

  • The Cold War

  • The Division of Germany and Berlin

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