Enduring Understandings

  • Conflicts over Eastern Europe and Germany quickly eroded the wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • In the Cold War, the two superpowers did not confront one another directly, but competed for influence around the world.
  • Communism spread to China and Cuba, while Japan became a prosperous democracy.
  • The nuclear arms race and the wars in Korea and Vietnam increased Cold War tensions.
  • Political oppression and the failures of the command economy led to growing discontent in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
  • The Cold War ended with the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Video screen shot with play button centered over an older woman speaking to a younger woman while motioning to a hanging uniform.

Watch the My Story Video

to hear a former resident of East Germany describe life behind the iron curtain during the Cold War.


End ofPage 773

Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments