Today marks the seventieth anniversary of the Cold War, a state of geopolitical tension between powers in the Western Bloc like the United States of America, United Kingdom, and their NATO allies and the Eastern Bloc like the Soviet Union, its satellite states, and China. There is no official start of the conflict. It was on this date in 1947 that businessman and political analyst Bernard Baruch described the tensions as a "cold war" as there was no actual conflict going on.
Despite their economic and political differences, the United States and Soviet Union worked together to defeat Nazi Germany. However, the end of World War II brought with it new problems. The Cold War started when both sides disagreed on the direction post-war Germany and Europe would take. The Soviet Union began expanding their communist influence across the world so in response the United States began a doctrine stopping their influence.
While no conflict broke out directly between the two nations, it did result in both sides backing other nations who were in conflict becoming proxy wars. With both sides seeking dominance, the conflict saw a massive increase in the world's nuclear arsenal, psychological warfare, massive propaganda, espionage, sports rivalries, and technological competitions including the space race.
During the 1970s, both sides began making accommodations to create a more stable and peaceful world. They began more open relations and talks of limiting the world's nuclear arsenal. However, during the early 1980s the conflict flared up once more as the Soviets attacked airlines and NATO military exercises while the United States increased sanctions and pressures on the Soviet Union. Later in the 1980s, the Soviet Union experienced a time of economic stagnation. The Soviet leader failed to help their satellite states and many began revolting against communism and the Soviet influence. Following the infamous development of the Strategic Defense Initiative by the United States, the Soviet Union's economy collapsed and the communists lost power. The Cold War formally ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and other communist regimes around the world leaving the United States as the sole superpower in the world.
The Cold War influenced nearly every aspect of daily life. It created a massive wave of fear of annihilation, particularly from nuclear attack while Russians became an easy target for pop culture villains. This is why numerous characters in Marvel Comics are of Russian origins such as Black Widow, Crimson Dynamo, Rhino, Omega Red, Abomination, and even the second version of Red Skull. It's influence is still being felt today as even more nations continue building their own nuclear weapons, tensions still exist between the remaining communist and capitalist states, conflict in the Middle-East resulting from Cold War interventions, and even Russia using various means to regain the control they once had.