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Course Description

The Cold War followed the two World Wars of the 20th century, and helped to give the century its name as the “Century of Total War.” The Cold War also inaugurated the nuclear age, and was characterized by a balance of nuclear terror between the two nuclear super powers, the Soviet Union and the United States--that suitably was known as MAD. MAD not meaning “crazy,” but rather an acronym for “Mutually Assured Destruction”(as if that weren’t the same thing). It was a strategic conflict between the Great Powers, but it frightened people because it seemed like a struggle between democratic capitalism and authoritarian communism--a conflict between “freedom” and “totalitarianism.” Many believed, when the Cold War was at its height, that it would never end, and were surprised that it ended peacefully with the collapse of communism and the USSR. Some believe, however, that it never has really ended, and characterizes US and Russian relations today.
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