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List of conflicts related to the Cold War

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While the Cold War itself never escalated into direct confrontation, there were a number of conflicts related to the Cold War around the globe, spanning the entirety of the period usually prescribed to it (March 12, 1947 to December 26, 1991, a total of 44 years, 9 months, and 2 weeks).[1][2]

Part of a series on the
History of the Cold War

Origins of the Cold War
World War II
(Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
War conferences
Eastern Bloc
Western Bloc
Iron Curtain
Cold War (1947–1953)
Cold War (1953–1962)
Cold War (1962–1979)
Cold War (1979–1985)
Cold War (1985–1991)
Frozen conflicts
Timeline · Conflicts
Cold War II
Conflict Start date End date Location Region
Dekemvriana December 3, 1944 January 11, 1945 Kingdom of Greece Southern Europe
Anti-Communist resistance in Poland 1944 1947 (1963)  Polish People's Republic Central Europe
Insurgency in the Baltic States 1944 1953  Estonia
Northeastern Europe
Korean conflict August 15, 1945 April 27, 2018  North Korea
 South Korea
Eastern Asia
War in Vietnam (1945–46) September 13, 1945 March 30, 1946 French Indochina Southeast Asia
Iran crisis of 1946 November 15, 1945 December 15, 1946 Iran Southern Asia
Greek Civil War March 30, 1946 October 16, 1949 Kingdom of Greece Southern Europe
Corfu Channel incident May 15, 1946 November 13, 1946 Straits of Corfu Southern Europe
Chinese Civil War (post-WWII) March 31, 1946 May 1, 1950 China Eastern Asia
Hukbalahap Rebellion July 4, 1946 May 17, 1954  Philippines Southeast Asia
First Indochina War December 19, 1946 August 1, 1954 French Indochina Southeast Asia
1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état February 20, 1948 February 25, 1948  Czechoslovakia Central Europe
Arab–Israeli conflict (from 1948–1991) May 15, 1948 Present  Israel
Western Asia
Malayan Emergency June 16, 1948 July 12, 1960 Federation of Malaya Southeast Asia
Berlin Blockade June 24, 1948 May 12, 1949 Allied-occupied Germany Western Europe
Korean War June 25, 1950 July 27, 1953  North Korea
 South Korea
Eastern Asia
Egyptian Revolution of 1952 July 22, 1952 July 26, 1952 Kingdom of Egypt North Africa
Uprising of 1953 in East Germany June 16, 1953 June 17, 1953  East Germany Western Europe
Cuban Revolution July 26, 1953 January 1, 1959 Cuba Caribbean
1953 Iranian coup d'état August 15, 1953 August 20, 1953 Iran Southern Asia
Laotian Civil War November 9, 1953 December 2, 1975  Kingdom of Laos Southeast Asia
1954 Guatemalan coup d'état June 18, 1954 June 27, 1954  Guatemala Central America
First Taiwan Strait Crisis September 3, 1954 May 1, 1955 Taiwan Strait Eastern Asia
Vietnam War November 1, 1955 April 30, 1975  North Vietnam
 South Vietnam
Southeast Asia
Poznań 1956 protests June 28, 1956 June 30, 1956 Polish People's Republic Central Europe
Hungarian Revolution of 1956 October 23, 1956 November 10, 1956 Hungarian People's Republic Central Europe
Suez Crisis October 29, 1956 November 7, 1956 Egypt North Africa
14 July Revolution July 14, 1958 July 14, 1958 Arab Federation Western Asia
Second Taiwan Strait Crisis August 23, 1958 October 6, 1958 Taiwan Strait Eastern Asia
1959 Tibetan uprising March 10, 1959 March 21, 1959  Tibet Central Asia
1960 U-2 incident May 1, 1960 May 1, 1960 Soviet Union Eastern Europe
Congo Crisis June 30, 1960 November 25, 1965 Congo Central Africa
Guatemalan Civil War November 13, 1960 December 19, 1996 Guatemala Central America
Portuguese Colonial War February 4, 1961 April 25, 1974 Portuguese Angola
Portuguese Mozambique
Portuguese Guinea
Western/Southern Africa
Angolan War of Independence February 4, 1961 January 15, 1975 Portuguese Angola Southern Africa
Bay of Pigs Invasion April 17, 1961 April 19, 1961 Cuba Caribbean
Berlin Crisis of 1961 June 4, 1961 November 9, 1961 East Germany Western Europe
Nicaraguan Revolution July 23, 1961 April 25, 1990 Nicaragua Central America
Eritrean War of Independence September 1, 1961 May 29, 1991  Ethiopia Eastern Africa
Cuban Missile Crisis October 14, 1962 October 28, 1962 Cuba Caribbean
Sino-Indian War October 20, 1962 November 21, 1962 China/India border Southern Asia
Guinea-Bissau War of Independence January 23, 1963 September 11, 1974 Portuguese Guinea Western Africa
1964 Brazilian coup d'état March 31, 1964 April 1, 1964 Brazil South America
Rhodesian Bush War March 31, 1964 December 12, 1979 Rhodesia Southern Africa
Mozambican War of Independence September 25, 1964 September 8, 1974 Portuguese Mozambique Eastern Africa
Colombian conflict May 27, 1964 Present Colombia South America
Dominican Civil War April 24, 1965 September 3, 1965 Dominican Republic Caribbean
United States occupation of the Dominican Republic (1965–66) April 28, 1965 July 1, 1966 Dominican Republic Caribbean
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 August 15, 1965 September 23, 1965 India Indian subcontinent
30 September Movement September 30, 1965 October 1, 1965 Indonesia Southeast Asia
Indonesian killings of 1965–66 October 1, 1965 March 1966 Indonesia Southeast Asia
South African Border War August 26, 1966 March 21, 1990 South-West Africa
Southern Africa
Namibian War of Independence August 26, 1966 March 21, 1990 South-West Africa Southern Africa
Ñancahuazú Guerrilla November 3, 1966 October 9, 1967  Bolivia South America
Greek military junta of 1967–74 April 21, 1967 July 23, 1974 Greece Southern Europe
Six-Day War June 5, 1967 June 10, 1967 Egypt
Western Asia
War of Attrition July 1, 1967 August 7, 1970 Sinai Peninsula Western Asia
Communist Insurgency in Malaysia June 17, 1968 December 2, 1989 Malaysia Southeast Asia
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia August 20, 1968 August 21, 1989 Czechoslovakia Eastern Europe
Sino-Soviet border conflict March 2, 1969 September 11, 1969 China/ Soviet Union border Eastern Asia
1969 Libyan coup d'état September 1, 1969 September 1, 1969 Libya North Africa
1969 Somali coup d'état October 21, 1969 October 21, 1969 Somalia Eastern Africa
Black September in Jordan September 1, 1970 July 1971 Jordan Western Asia
Cambodian Civil War October 9, 1970 April 17, 1975 Cambodia Southeast Asia
First Quarter Storm January 1970 March 1970  Philippines Southeast Asia
Bangladesh Liberation War March 26, 1971 December 16, 1971 Bangladesh Southern Asia
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 December 3, 1971 December 16, 1971 Bangladesh
Southern Asia
1973 Chilean coup d'état September 11, 1973 September 11, 1973 Chile South America
Armed resistance in Chile (1973–90) September 11, 1973 1990 Chile South America
Yom Kippur War October 6, 1973 October 25, 1973 Egypt
Western Asia
Carnation Revolution April 25, 1974 April 25, 1974 Portugal Southern Europe
Ethiopian Civil War November 28, 1974 May 21, 1991 Ethiopia Eastern Africa
Operation Independence February 5, 1975 September 28, 1977 Argentina South America
Cambodian–Vietnamese War May 1, 1975 September 26, 1989 Cambodia
Southeast Asia
Lebanese Civil War April 13, 1975 October 13, 1990 Lebanon Near East
Angolan Civil War November 11, 1975 April 4, 2002 Angola Southern Africa
Indonesian invasion of East Timor December 7, 1975 July 17, 1976 East Timor Southeast Asia
Operation Entebbe July 4, 1976 July 4, 1976 Uganda Western Africa
1976 Argentine coup d'état March 24, 1976 March 24, 1976 Argentina South America
Shaba I March 8, 1977 May 26, 1977 Zaire (present day Democratic Republic of the Congo) Central Africa
Mozambican Civil War May 30, 1977 October 15, 1992 Mozambique Southern Africa
Ethio-Somali War July 13, 1977 March 15, 1978 Ethiopia Eastern Africa
Shaba II May 11, 1978 June 1978 Zaire (present day Democratic Republic of the Congo) Central Africa
Korean Air Lines Flight 902 April 20, 1978 April 20, 1978 Soviet Union Eastern Europe
Iranian Revolution January 16, 1979 February 1979 Iran Southern Asia
Sino-Vietnamese War February 17, 1979 March 16, 1979  China /  Vietnam border Southeast Asia
Salvadoran Civil War May 9, 1979 January 16, 1992 El Salvador Central America
Soviet–Afghan War December 24, 1979 February 15, 1989 Afghanistan Central Asia
Internal conflict in Peru May 17, 1980 Present Peru South America
Iran–Iraq War September 22, 1980 August 20, 1988 Iran
Ba'athist Iraq
Persian Gulf
1982 Ethiopian–Somali Border War June 23, 1982 August 3, 1982 Somalia Eastern Africa
Korean Air Lines Flight 007 September 1, 1983 September 1, 1983 Soviet Union Eastern Asia
Invasion of Grenada October 25, 1983 December 15, 1983 Grenada Caribbean
People Power Revolution February 22, 1986 February 25, 1986  Philippines Asia
1986 United States bombing of Libya April 15, 1986 April 15, 1986 Libya North Africa
8888 Uprising March 12, 1988 September 21, 1988 Burma Asia
United States invasion of Panama December 20, 1989 January 31, 1990  Panama Central America
Revolutions of 1989 March 9, 1989 April 27, 1992 Countries of the Eastern Bloc and Warsaw Pact Central/Eastern Europe
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 April 15, 1989 June 4, 1989  China Eastern Asia
Velvet Revolution November 17, 1989 December 29, 1989 Czechoslovakia Central Europe
Mongolian Revolution of 1990 December 10, 1989 March 9, 1990 Mongolia Central Asia
Romanian Revolution December 16, 1989 December 25, 1989 Romania Central Europe
Gulf War August 2, 1990 February 28, 1991 Iraq Western Asia
Yugoslav Wars March 31, 1991 November 12, 2001  Yugoslavia Eastern Europe
1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt August 19, 1991 August 21, 1991  Soviet Union Eastern Europe

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ The Cold War: Crash Course US History #37
  • ✪ History of Cold War Documentary
  • ✪ Decolonization and Nationalism Triumphant: Crash Course World History #40
  • ✪ The Falklands War - The Untold Story (Full Documentary) | Timeline
  • ✪ America in World War I: Crash Course US History #30


Hi I’m John Green; this is Crash Course U.S. history and today we’re gonna talk about the Cold War. The Cold War is called “Cold” because it supposedly never heated up into actual armed conflict, which means, you know, that it wasn’t a war. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, but if the War on Christmas is a war and the War on Drugs is a war… You’re not going to hear me say this often in your life, Me from the Past, but that was a good point. At least the Cold War was not an attempt to make war on a noun, which almost never works, because nouns are so resilient. And to be fair, the Cold War did involve quite a lot of actual war, from Korea to Afghanistan, as the world’s two superpowers, the United States and the U.S.S.R., sought ideological and strategic influence throughout the world. So perhaps it’s best to think of the Cold War as an era, lasting roughly from 1945 to 1990. Discussions of the Cold War tend to center on international and political history and those are very important, which is why we’ve talked about them in the past. This, however, is United States history, so let us heroically gaze--as Americans so often do--at our own navel. (Libertage.) Stan, why did you turn the globe to the Green Parts of Not-America? I mean, I guess to be fair, we were a little bit obsessed with this guy. So, the Cold War gave us great spy novels, independence movements, an arms race, cool movies like Dr. Strangelove and War Games, one of the most evil mustaches in history. But it also gave us a growing awareness that the greatest existential threat to human beings is ourselves. It changed the way we imagine the world and humanity’s role in it. In his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, William Faulkner famously said, “Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up?” So, today we’re gonna look at how that came to be the dominant question of human existence, and whether we can ever get past it. intro So after WWII the U.S. and the USSR were the only two nations with any power left. The United States was a lot stronger – we had atomic weapons, for starters, and also the Soviets had lost 20 million people in the war and they were led by a sociopathic mustachioed Joseph Stalin. But the U.S. still had worries: we needed a strong, free-market-oriented Europe (and to a lesser extent Asia) so that all the goods we were making could find happy homes. The Soviets, meanwhile, were concerned with something more immediate, a powerful Germany invading them. Again. Germany--and please do not take this personally, Germans--was very, very slow to learn the central lesson of world history: Do not invade Russia. Unless you’re the Mongols. (Mongoltage.) So at the end of World War II, the USSR “encouraged” the creation of pro-communist governments in Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland--which was a relatively easy thing to encourage, because those nations were occupied by Soviet troops. The idea for the Soviets was to create a communist buffer between them and Germany, but to the U.S. it looked like communism might just keep expanding, and that would be really bad for us, because who would buy all of our sweet, sweet industrial goods? So America responded with the policy of containment, as introduced in diplomat George F. Kennan’s famous Long Telegram. Communism could stay where it was, but it would not be allowed to spread. And ultimately this is why we fought very real wars in both Korea and Vietnam. As a government report from 1950 put it the goals of containment were: 1. Block further expansion of Soviet power 2. Expose the falsities of soviet pretensions 3. Induce a retraction of the Kremlin’s control and influence, and 4. In general, foster the seeds of destruction within the Soviet system. Harry Truman, who as you’ll recall, became President in 1945 after Franklin Delano Prez 4 Life Roosevelt died, was a big fan of containment, and the first real test of it came in Greece and Turkey in 1947. This was a very strategically valuable region because it was near the Middle East, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the United States has been just, like, a smidge interested in the Middle East the last several decades because of oil glorious oil. Right, so Truman announced the so-called Truman Doctrine, because you know why not name a doctrine after yourself, in which he pledged to support “freedom-loving peoples” against communist threats, which is all fine and good. But who will protect us against “peoples,” the pluralization of an already plural noun? Anyway, we eventually sent $400 million in aid to Greece and Turkey, and we were off to the Cold War races. The Truman Doctrine created the language through which Americans would view the world with America as free and communists as tyrannical. According to our old friend Eric Foner, “The speech set a precedent for American assistance to anticommunist regimes throughout the world, no matter how undemocratic, and for the creation of a set of global military alliances directed against the Soviet Union.”[1] It also led to the creation of a new security apparatus – the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, all of which were somewhat immune from government oversight and definitely not democratically elected. And the containment policy and the Truman Doctrine also laid the foundations for a military build-up – an arms race – which would become a key feature of the Cold War. But it wasn’t all about the military, at least at first. Like, the Marshall Plan was first introduced at Harvard’s Commencement address in June 1947 by, get this, George Marshall, in what turned out to be, like, the second most important commencement address in all of American history. Yes, yes, Stan, okay. It was a great speech, thank you for noticing. Alright, let’s go to the Thought Bubble. The Marshall Plan was a response to economic chaos in Europe brought on by a particularly harsh winter that strengthened support for communism in France and Italy. The plan sought to use US Aid to combat the economic instability that provided fertile fields for communism. As Marshall said “ our policy is not directed against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.” [2] Basically it was a New Deal for Europe, and it worked; Western Europe was rebuilt so that by 1950 production levels in industry had eclipsed pre-war levels and Europe was on its way to becoming a U.S. style-capitalist-mass-consumer society. Which it still is, kind of. Japan, although not technically part of the Marshall Plan, was also rebuilt. General Douglas MacArthur was basically the dictator there, forcing Japan to adopt a new constitution, giving women the vote, and pledging that Japan would foreswear war, in exchange for which the United States effectively became Japan’s defense force. This allowed Japan to spend its money on other things, like industry, which worked out really well for them. Meanwhile Germany was experiencing the first Berlin crisis. At the end of the war, Germany was divided into East and West, and even though the capital, Berlin, was entirely in the east, it was also divided into east and west. This meant that West Berlin was dependent on shipments of goods from West Germany through East Germany. And then, in 1948, Stalin cut off the roads to West Berlin. So, the Americans responded with an 11-month-long airlift of supplies that eventually led to Stalin lifting the blockade in 1948 and building the Berlin Wall, which stood until 1991, when Kool Aid Guy--no, wait, wait, wait, wait, that wasn’t when the Berlin Wall was built. That was in 1961. I just wanted to give Thought Bubble the opportunity to make that joke. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So right, the Wall wasn’t built until 1961, but 1949 did see Germany officially split into two nations, and also the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb, and NATO was established, AND the Chinese Revolution ended in communist victory. So, by the end of 1950, the contours of the Cold War had been established, West versus East, Capitalist Freedom versus Communist totalitarianism. At least from where I’m sitting. Although now apparently I’m going to change where I’m sitting because it’s time for the Mystery Document. The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document and about 55% of the time I get shocked by the shock pen. “We must organize and enlist the energies and resources of the free world in a positive program for peace which will frustrate the Kremlin design for world domination by creating a situation in the free world to which the Kremlin will be compelled to adjust. Without such a cooperative effort, led by the United States, we will have to make gradual withdrawals under pressure until we discover one day that we have sacrificed positions of vital interest. It is imperative that this trend be reversed by a much more rapid and concerted build-up of the actual strength of both the United States and the other nations of the free world.” I mean all I can say about it is that it sounds American and, like, it was written in, like, 1951 and it seems kind of like a policy paper or something really boring so I...I mean... Yeah, I’m just going to have to take the shock. AH! National Security Council report NSC-68? Are you kidding me, Stan? Not-not 64? Or 81? 68? This is ridiculous! I call injustice. Anyway, as the apparently wildly famous NSC-68 shows, the U.S. government cast the Cold War as a rather epic struggle between freedom and tyranny, and that led to remarkable political consensus--both democrats and republicans supported most aspects of cold war policy, especially the military build-up part. Now, of course, there were some critics, like Walter Lippmann who worried that casting foreign policy in such stark ideological terms would result in the U.S. getting on the wrong side of many conflicts, especially as former colonies sought to remove the bonds of empire and become independent nations. But yeah, no, nothing like that ever happened. Yeah, I mean, it’s not like that happened in Iran or Nicaragua or Argentina or Brazil or Guatemala or Stan are you really going to make me list all of them? Fine. Or Haiti or Paraguay or the Philippines or Chile or Iraq or Indonesia or Zaire or, I’m sorry, THERE WERE A LOT OF THEM, OKAY? But these interventions were viewed as necessary to prevent the spread of communism, which was genuinely terrifying to people and it’s important to understand that. Like, national security agencies pushed Hollywood to produce anticommunist movies like “The Red Menace,” which scared people. And the CIA funded magazines, news broadcasts, concerts, art exhibitions, that gave examples of American freedom. It even supported painters like Jackson Pollack and the Museum of Modern Art in New York because American expressionism was the vanguard of artistic freedom and the exact opposite of Soviet socialist realism. I mean, have you seen Soviet paintings? Look at the hearty ankles on these socialist comrade peasants. Also because the Soviets were atheists, at least in theory, Congress in 1954 added the words “under God” to the pledge of allegiance as a sign of America’s resistance to communism. The Cold War also shaped domestic policy--anti-communist sentiment, for instance, prevented Truman from extending the social policies of the New Deal. The program that he dubbed the Fair Deal would have increased the minimum wage, extended national health insurance and increased public housing, Social Security and aid to education. But the American Medical Association lobbied against Truman’s plan for national health insurance by calling it “socialized” medicine, and Congress was in no mood to pay money for socialized anything. That problem goes away. But the government did make some domestic investments as a result of the Cold War--in the name of national security the government spent money on education, research in science, technology like computers, and transportation infrastructure. In fact we largely have the Cold War to thank for our marvelous interstate highway system, although part of the reason Congress approved it was to set up speedy evacuation routes in the event of nuclear war. And, speaking of nuclear war, it’s worth noting that a big part of the reason the Soviets were able to develop nuclear weapons so quickly was thanks to espionage, like for instance by physicist and spy Klaus Fuchs. I think I’m pronouncing that right. Fuchs worked on the Manhattan Project and leaked information to the Soviets and then later helped the Chinese to build their first bomb. Julius Rosenberg also gave atomic secrets to the Soviets, and was eventually executed--as was his less-clearly-guilty wife, Ethel. And it’s important to remember all that when thinking about the United States’s obsessive fear that there were communists in our midst. This began in 1947 with Truman’s Loyalty Review System, which required government employees to prove their patriotism when accused of disloyalty. How do you prove your loyalty? Rat out your co-workers as communists. No seriously though, that program never found any communists. This all culminated of course with the Red Scare and the rise of Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy, an inveterate liar who became enormously powerful after announcing in February 1950 that he had a list of 205 communists who worked in the state department In fact, he had no such thing, and McCarthy never identified a single disloyal American, but the fear of communism continued. In 1951’s Dennis v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld the notion that being a communist leader itself was a crime. In this climate of fear, any criticism of the government and its policies or the U.S. in general was seen as disloyalty. There was only one question--when will I be blown up--and it encouraged loyalty, because only the government could prevent the spread of communism and keep us from being blown up. We’ve talked a lot about different ways that Americans have imagined freedom this year, but this was a new definition of freedom--the government exists in part to keep us free from massive destruction. So, the Cold War changed America profoundly: The U.S. has remained a leader on the world stage and continued to build a large, powerful, and expensive national state. But it also changed the way we imagine what it means to be free, and what it means to be safe. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is created by all of these nice people and it is possible because of you and your support through Subbable is a crowdfunding website that allows you to support the stuff you love on a monthly basis. Our Subbable subscribers make this show possible. Thanks to them. If you value Crash Course, please check out our Subbable. There are great perks there. And thanks to all of you for watching. As we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome...Wait, wait, wait Stan, is that music copyrighted? Alright. It’s not. Whew. That saved us a thousand dollars. ________________ [1] Foner. Give me Liberty ebook version p. 954 [2] ibid

See also

History of Communism (September 3, 1945 - December 31, 1992)


  1. ^ The Fifty-Year War: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War, Norman Friedman (1999) ISBN 978-1557502643
  2. ^ The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, Odd Arne Westad (2005) ISBN 978-0521853644
This page was last edited on 12 April 2019, at 07:30
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