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sustained state of political and military tension between the powers of the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, and the communist world, led by the Soviet Union, its satellite states and allies. This began after the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc with the eastern European countries it occupied, maintaining these as satellite states. The post-war recovery of Western Europe was facilitated by the United States' Marshall Plan. The United States forged NATO, a military alliance using containment of communism as a main strategy through the Truman Doctrine, in 1949, while the Soviet bloc formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
The Cold War was so named as it never featured direct military action, since both sides possessed nuclear weapons, and because their use would probably guarantee their mutual assured destruction. Cycles of relative calm would be followed by high tension which could have led to war. The conflict was instead expressed through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, extensive aid to client states, espionage, massive propaganda campaigns, conventional and nuclear arms races, appeals to neutral nations, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race. The US and USSR fought proxy wars of various types: in Latin America and Southeast Asia, the USSR assisted and helped foster communist revolutions, opposed by several Western countries and their regional allies;