1945 1950 dating
The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation.
In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland.
It also controlled the other states in the Eastern Bloc, and funded Communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with Communist China, particularly following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s.
In opposition stood the capitalist West, led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system.
Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979.
At the end of World War II, English writer George Orwell used cold war, as a general term, in his essay "You and the Atomic Bomb", published 19 October 1945 in the British newspaper Tribune.
The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, and the Vietnam War (1955–75) ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.
By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union.
The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action.