|The Cold War (1945-1991)
The United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) emerged as the two strongest powers in international affairs. Ideologically opposed, they challenged one another in a series of confrontations known as the Cold War. The costs of this prolonged contest weakened the USSR so that it collapsed due to internal upheavals as well as American pressure. The Cold War had social and political implications in the United States.
|1. Use of atomic weapons changed the nature of war, altered the balance of power and began the nuclear age.|
CONTENT ELABORATIONS – The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan hastened the end of World War II and is considered the beginning of the nuclear age. The use of these bombs introduced a new type of weapon capable of mass destruction.
In the four-year period following World War II, the United States was the only country in possession of atomic bombs and this contributed to its status as a superpower. The threat of using this weapon was seen as a deterrent to the ambitions of the Soviet Union.
The testing and explosion of the atomic bomb by the Soviets in 1949 established the Soviet Union as a second superpower. It also began a nuclear arms race that continued for decades and threatened world peace.