How the Cold War Started, Evolved, and Ended


After the Second World War, the USSR and the US emerged as global superpowers. However, the rise to this prominent position resulted in friction that paved the way for Cold War. This war entailed a political and philosophical struggle between the US and the USSR, where each country tried to popularize its ideology. Besides, this was the longest war, lasting from 1947 to 1991, about 44 years (Shulman). In the context of historical wars, this essay will describe how the Cold War started, how it evolved, how it ended, and the role that president Gorbachev played during it.

The Start of the Cold War

The Cold War began after The Second World War ended and brought about a difference in ideologies between the Soviet Union and the US. The Cold War announcements emerged from both capitals less than a year following the Second World War. Between 1948-1953, the cold war reached its peak, leading to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was American-led (Shulman). The Soviet Union opposed this, and by 1949, they detonated their first atomic warhead (Shulman). The atomic test by USSR exempted the US from the monopoly of nuclear bombs.

The Evolution of the Cold War

The genesis of the Cold War stems from ideological differences surrounding government, economy, and publicity. After the end of the Second World War, the US government initiated a propaganda campaign to prevent the American people from adopting communism. Besides, both the US and the USSR aspired to sustain the purchasing power parity values globally, creating tension in the world’s economic status (Shulman). This tension affected numerous non-partisan countries, from modern and industrialized nations to premodern and developing ones. Notwithstanding the contention over philosophies and inquiries of public extension, the Cold War was sustained by the American economic power (Richmond). Conversely, the Soviet Union sought loans, subsidies, and compensation to rebuild their suffering economy and to sponsor the war through weapon sales.

The End of the Cold War

After constant friction between the US and the USSR, the Cold War gradually subsided. The cessation of the Cold War followed various activities aimed at closing the disparity between the capitalists and the communists. Firstly, the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989 was followed by the opening of boundaries (Richmond). Secondly, the socialist state administrations were overturned across eastern Europe by population in 1990 (Richmond). Thirdly, the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, making it unable to continue the ideological war (Richmond). This disintegration was achieved by the requests and deeds of European countries anxious to achieve change (Richmond). Generally, the Cold War ended with the lifting of the Iron Curtain.

The Contribution of President Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev played an essential role in ending the Cold War and the Soviet Union. According to Gorbachev, the establishment of the Iron Curtain was an ineffective move since there was no need to wall the socialist legislatures from the non-socialist ones (The last President of the Soviet Union). As a result, he ensured that the well-established Iron Curtain was lifted. Besides, Gorbachev improved ties with non-communist nations, particularly the United States, in international affairs such as trade, security, tourism, and diplomatic relations.


The Cold War entails one of the longest ideological wars involving two superpowers, the US and the USSR. This war emerged following the end of the Second World War due to disparity in ideas, where the US supported capitalism while the USSR communism. The war affected governments and economies and retarded countries’ growth, especially those present in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, with the efforts of free nations and individuals such as Gorbachev, who revoked the Iron Curtain, the Cold War ended after 44 years of ideological friction between the socialist and non-socialist nations.

Works Cited

“Last President of the Soviet Union,” YouTube, uploaded by DW Documentary, Web.

Richmond, Yale. Cultural Exchange and the Cold War. Penn State University Press, 2021.

Shulman, Marshall. Beyond the Cold War. Routledge, 2019.

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