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iron curtain

Winston Churchill's term for the Cold War division between the Soviet-dominated East and the U.S.-dominated West.

Cold War

The ideological struggle between communism (Soviet Union) and capitalism (United States) for world influence. The Soviet Union and the United States came to the brink of actual war during the Cuban missile crisis but never attacked one another.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Organization formed in 1949 as a military alliance of western European and North American states against the Soviet Union and its east European allies. (See also Warsaw Pact.)

United Nations

International organization founded in 1945 to promote world peace and cooperation. It replaced the League of Nations.

World Bank

A specialized agency of the United Nations that makes loans to countries for economic development, trade promotion, and debt consolidation. Its formal name is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Marshall Plan

a United States program of economic aid for the reconstruction of Europe (1948-1952)

European community

An organization promoting economic unity in Europe formed in 1967 by consolidation of earlier, more limited, agreements. Replaced by the European Union (EU) in 1993.

Truman Doctrine

President Truman's policy of providing economic and military aid to any country threatened by communism or totalitarian ideology

Warsaw Pact

The 1955 treaty binding the Soviet Union and countries of eastern Europe in an alliance against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Korean War

Conflict that began with North Korea's invasion of South Korea and came to involve the United Nations (primarily the United States) allying with South Korea and the People's Republic of China allying with North Korea.

Vietnam War

Conflict pitting North Vietnam and South Vietnamese communist guerrillas against the South Vietnamese government, aided after 1961 by the United States.

Cuban missile crisis

Brink-of-war confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over the latter's placement of nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba.

Helsinki Accords

Political and human rights agreement signed in Helsinki, Finland, by the Soviet Union and western European countries.

nonaligned nations

Developing countries that announced their neutrality in the Cold War.

Third World

Term applied to a group of developing countries who professed nonalignment during the Cold War.

Cultural Revolution (china)

Campaign in China ordered by Mao Zedong to purge the Communist Party of his opponents and instill revolutionary values in the younger generation.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

group established in 1960 by some oil-producing nations to coordinate policies on selling petroleum

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