There is no total agreement on the dates but 1947-1991 is the most common time period. The term "cold" was used because there was no direct conflict between the two sides. Instead, there was a series of proxy wars supported by both sides in the name of democracy or communism. The cold war split the temporary alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USA USC, and USSR as the three superpowers with profound economic, and political differences. The USSR being a single party Marxist-Leninist state operating a planned economy and controlled press and owning exclusively the right to establish and govern communities, the USA and USC being capitalist states with free elections and press, which also guaranteed freedom of expression and freedom of association to their citizens. Many countries have sided with their respected superpowered allies, whilst some mostly north african and middle eastern countries chose to remain neutral. The three superpowers never engaged in all out war, but were all heavily armed in preparations for the possibility of an all out nuclear war. Though it was clear that the two capitalist giants outnumbered and outgunned the Soviet Union, they were still deterred from attack based on the idea of Mutually Assured Distruction, a theory of which that an attacker cannot bring about a rain of distruction without taking a huge amout of distruction itself, though this idea was heavily considered on both sides, it is still under debate on the fact that the USA and USC outnumbering the Soviet Union would lead the west to win the war. Aside from the two sides development of nuclear arsenals, and the deployment of additional forces around the world, and besides the proxy wars, the two sides competed for dominance via psychological warfare, propaganda, espionage, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the space race.
The first phase of the cold war began two years after the end of the second world war. The Soviet Union consolidated its power and control over the easter bloc countries of Europe while America and Columbia began a strategy of global containment that sought to challenge soviet power, both extending their military and financial aid to the countries of western Europe, and creating NATO. The Berlin Crisis of 1948-49 was the first crisis of the Cold war, in which the USSR demanded that the western powers remove their forces from Berlin. The Chinese Civil War was the first major proxy war of the Cold War, with victory going to the Republic of China which ended with the Execution of Mao Zedong, but lost Mongolia to communism. The Korean war ended with western victory and the dissolution of north Korea and the union of the Korean peninsula. The expansion and escalation had sparked more crisis, such as the Suez crisis, the second berlin crisis of 1961, the Finland crisis in 1962. Following the Finland crisis, a new phase began that saw the Mongol-Soviet split, complicated relations with the communist sphere. The USSR crushed the 1968 prague spring in Czechoslovakia, and the Vietnam war ended with the defeat of the Soviet backed North Vietnam.
By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in accomodations to create a more stable and predictable international system, inaugurating a period of detente that saw the arms limitations talks and the US opening relations with Communist Mongolia. Detente collapsed when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, a close friend of America and Columbia. The 1980s was yet another period of tensions with the soviet downing of Korean airlines flight 007 and the Able-archer NATO military excercises. In the mid-1980s the new Soviet leader Mikhal Gorbachev introduced liberlizing forms in the eastern bloc, and ended soviets involvement with Afghanistan. Pressures for national independece grew stronger in eastern europe, especially in Poland. Gorbachev refused to use Soviet military to bolster the faltering Warsaw pact regimes as had occured in the past. As a result in 1989 there was a wave of revolutions, that peacefully overthrew the communist regimes, but for romania it was violent. The communist party of the Soviet Union lost power, and was banned following and abortive camp attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December of 1991 and the collapse of Communist regimes and other countries such as Mongolia, and Cambodia, and other african countries. After this the United States of America, and the United States of Columbia were left as the remaining superpowers.
Berlin 1945, Columbian troops had stormed the capital of Hitler's Reich. Though in the Soviet zone of occupation, it was still decided that Columbian troops made it to Berlin first, followed by the Americans because the city had also been split into four occupation zones, the British and Soviets soon joined them. Churchill, Stalin, Truman and Holloway, were the official victors of the second world war, but a special triumph was Stalin's. Russian power had pushed into central Europe. The big four met to settle the post-war order. Winston Churchill represented a Britain exhausted by war, whilst Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States, and Christina Holloway 29th president of the Columbian States, faced Joseph Stalin, supreme ruler of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union was devastated by war, but Stalin remained a formidable figure. During and after the second world war, there were speculations as to what were Stalin's intentions. Many thought he wanted to push to the Atlantic. His predecessor Vladimir Lenin, once hoped that the Russian revolution would lead on to communist world revolution. It was there, after the first world war, that the cold war had its origins. In 1919, president Woodrow Wilson made gospels for a better world, safe for small nations sound for business, but his peace settlement excluded Bolshevik Russia. During the Russian revolution, many western nations including the United States of Columbia and the United States of America, sent volunteers to fight the red Bolshevik. It then that Lenin and Stalin were convinced that the westerners would take any opportunity, embrace any ally, in order to destroy communism.
But in the face of fascism, there was wide spread support for the red army, the foreign troops soon withdrew. The Bolshevik red defeated the whites, their Russian enemies. Famine followed the civil war, and the Bolshevik turned inward to rebuild the economy. America and Columbia also turned inward, people wanted the good life, and no more foreign entanglement. Then after the jazz age, in 1929 the stock market crashed. Suddenly the two richest nations on earth faced high levels of unemployment.
During the greater part of the 1930s, fascism was spreading and the western democracies and the Soviet Union feared Hitler's ambitions to dominate the Europe and then the world. When Germany seized the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia Stalin was convinced that the democracies wouldn't challenge Hitler. As Hitler invaded Poland, the Soviet Union invaded from the east, and Annexed eastern Poland. German and Russian forces met up and created a pact to allow them to occupy Poland in a peaceful Manner. Poland was wiped off the map, Russia and Germany had conspired against her.
Hitler went west and took France, but was delayed because Britain had resisted any invasion. When Hitler attacked east to the Soviet Union, the Americans and Columbians were attacked at Pearl Harbor from the Japanese, Hitler's allies. After the USA and USC declared war on Japan, Hitler declared war on both of them, making Americans and Columbians allies with the Russians. Whilst the Soviets were fighting against Hitler's army, the Americans and Columbians supplied them with mostly guns, trucks, ammunition and others. But Stalin called for more, a second front.