The world divided into East and West
The cold war is a rather unusual term, which described the conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union in the 20th century. It was called a cold war because no direct warfare between the two powers took place between 1945 and 1990. Ever since the Russian revolutionIn the Russian revolution 1917 the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a Communist government of 1917, in which the Bolsheviks seized power and created a communistic state, the USA and the Soviet Union opposed one another due to their incompatible ideologies and economic systems. It was obvious that democracy and market economy formed a contrast to socialism and planned economyA planned economy is the economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority1.
The cold war mainly took place in countries whose systems of government had been overthrown during revolutions and which were dominated by civil war. In order to force back the opponent’s political and economical influence on such countries the USA as well as the Soviet Union intervened militarily. Well-known examples of such conflicts and wars took place in Korea (1950-1953), during the Cuba-crisisThe Cuban missile crisis was a confrontation in October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba (1962), in Vietnam (1964-1973) and in Afghanistan (1979-1989). Especially the plans pursued by both super powers on Cuba, the armament of their military and nuclear weapons tests, nearly led to a nuclear world war2.
Berlin’s four-power state
Berlin that had been divided into four divisions of power by France, Great Britain, America and the Soviet Union after the German capitulation in 1945 assumed a special role in the events of the cold war. Due to the progressing conflict between the major powers concerning political goals the borders were no longer fully accepted. The Soviet occupying troops inhibited the transit traffic from Western Germany to Berlin numerous times, thus challenging the opposing powers. Moreover the Soviet Union repeatedly demanded that the Western powers abandon all of Berlin – even though West Berlin was a dot on the map, split off and isolated within the GDR the USA did not abandon their efforts. John F. KennedyJohn F. Kennedy was the American president from January 1961 until he was assassinated in November 1963, American president at the time, did express this will in a speech held in Berlin in 1963 by saying: “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berlin citizen)3.