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A cold war or cold warfare is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates. The surrogates are typically states that are "satellites" of the conflicting nations, i.e., nations allied to them or under their political influence. Opponents in a cold war will often provide economic or military aid, such as weapons, tactical support or military advisors, to lesser nations involved in conflicts with the opposing country.

Origins of the term[edit | edit source]

The expression "cold war" has historically had a number of meanings. In the fourteenth century, Don Juan Manuel referred to the conflict between Christianity and Islam as a "lukewarm war" and defined the distinguishing characteristics between such a war and a hot war. "War that is very fierce and very hot ends either with death or peace, whereas a lukewarm war neither brings peace nor confers honour on those who wage it." [1][2] Then, during the course of World War II, George Orwell used the term in the essay “You and the Atomic Bomb” published October 19, 1945, in the British newspaper Tribune. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear war, he warned of a “peace that is no peace”, which he called a permanent “cold war”.[3] Orwell directly referred to that war as the ideological confrontation between the Soviet Union and the Western powers.[4] Moreover, in The Observer of March 10, 1946, Orwell wrote that “[a]fter the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a ‘cold war’ on Britain and the British Empire.”[5]

The definition which has now become fixed is of a war waged through indirect conflict. The first use of the term in this sense, to describe the post–World War II geopolitical tensions between the USSR and its satellites and the United States and its western European allies is attributed to Bernard Baruch, an American financier and presidential advisor.[6] In South Carolina, on April 16, 1947, he delivered a speech (by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope)[7] saying, “Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war.”[8] Newspaper reporter-columnist Walter Lippmann gave the term wide currency, with the book Cold War (1947).[9]

Cold wars[edit | edit source]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]


See also Category:Cold War films


See also Category:Cold War novels

Television and video games

References[edit | edit source]


  1. McCauley, Martin (2004). Russia, America and the Cold War. Pearson Education Limited. 
  2. Stephenson, Anders (1996) (PDF). Fourteen Notes on the very Concept of the Cold War. Columbia University. http://www.h-net.org/~diplo/essays/PDF/stephanson-14notes.pdf. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  3. Kort, Michael (2001). The Columbia Guide to the Cold War. Columbia University Press. pp. 3. 
  4. Geiger, Till (2004). Britain and the Economic Problem of the Cold War. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 7. 
  5. Orwell, George, The Observer, March 10, 1946
  6. Gaddis 2005, p. 54
  7. Safire, William (October 1, 2006). "Islamofascism Anyone?". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on October 22, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20061022172712/http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/01/news/edsafire.php. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  8. 'Bernard Baruch coins the term "Cold War"', history.com, April 16, 1947. Retrieved on July 2, 2008.
  9. Lippmann, Walter (1947). Cold War. Harper. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ydc3AAAAIAAJ&q=walter+lippmann+cold+war&dq=walter+lippmann+cold+war&pgis=1. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  10. Leebaert, Derek (2006). The Fifty-year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Shapes Our World. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-51847-6. 

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