NCERT Textbook - The Cold War Era Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

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Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - The Cold War Era Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


OVERVIEW
This chapter provides a backdrop
to the entire book. The end of  the
Cold War is usually seen as the
beginning of the contemporary era
in world politics which is the
subject matter of this book. It is,
therefore, appropriate that we
begin the story with a discussion
of the Cold War. The chapter shows
how the dominance of two
superpowers, the United States of
America and the Soviet Union,
was central to the Cold War. It
tracks the various arenas of the
Cold War in different parts of the
world. The chapter views the Non-
Aligned Movement (NAM) as a
challenge to the dominance of the
two superpowers and describes
the attempts by the non-aligned
countries to establish a New
International Economic Order
(NIEO) as a means of attaining
economic development and
political independence. It
concludes with an assessment of
India’s role in NAM and asks how
successful the policy of non-
alignment has been in protecting
India’s interests.
Chapter 1
The Cold War Era
The end of the Second World War led to the rise of two major
centres of power. The two pictures above symbolise the
victory of the US and the USSR in the Second World War.
1.  American soldiers raising the US flag during the Battle of
Iwo Jima, Japan,  on 23 February 1945
Credit: Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,
Photograph by Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press
2.  Soviet soldiers raising the USSR flag on the Reichstag
building in Berlin, Germany, in May 1945
Credit: Reichstag flag, Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei/TASS
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


OVERVIEW
This chapter provides a backdrop
to the entire book. The end of  the
Cold War is usually seen as the
beginning of the contemporary era
in world politics which is the
subject matter of this book. It is,
therefore, appropriate that we
begin the story with a discussion
of the Cold War. The chapter shows
how the dominance of two
superpowers, the United States of
America and the Soviet Union,
was central to the Cold War. It
tracks the various arenas of the
Cold War in different parts of the
world. The chapter views the Non-
Aligned Movement (NAM) as a
challenge to the dominance of the
two superpowers and describes
the attempts by the non-aligned
countries to establish a New
International Economic Order
(NIEO) as a means of attaining
economic development and
political independence. It
concludes with an assessment of
India’s role in NAM and asks how
successful the policy of non-
alignment has been in protecting
India’s interests.
Chapter 1
The Cold War Era
The end of the Second World War led to the rise of two major
centres of power. The two pictures above symbolise the
victory of the US and the USSR in the Second World War.
1.  American soldiers raising the US flag during the Battle of
Iwo Jima, Japan,  on 23 February 1945
Credit: Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,
Photograph by Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press
2.  Soviet soldiers raising the USSR flag on the Reichstag
building in Berlin, Germany, in May 1945
Credit: Reichstag flag, Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei/TASS
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
2
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
In April 1961, the leaders of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) were worried that the
United States of America (USA)
would invade communist-ruled
Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro,
the president of the small island
nation off the coast of the United
States. Cuba was an ally of the
Soviet Union and received both
diplomatic and financial aid from
it. Nikita Khrushchev, the leader
of the Soviet Union, decided to
convert Cuba into a Russian base.
In 1962, he placed nuclear missiles
in Cuba. The installation of these
weapons put the US, for the first
time, under fire from close range
and nearly doubled the number of
bases or cities in the American
mainland which could be
threatened by the USSR.
Three weeks after the Soviet
Union had placed the nuclear
weapons in Cuba, the Americans
became aware of it. The US
President, John F. Kennedy, and
his advisers were reluctant to do
anything that might lead to
full-scale nuclear war between
the two countries, but they were
determined to get Khrushchev to
remove the missiles and nuclear
weapons from Cuba. Kennedy
ordered American warships to
intercept any Soviet ships
heading to Cuba as a way of
warning the USSR of his
seriousness. A clash seemed
imminent in what came to be
known as the Cuban Missile
Crisis. The prospects of this
We are on a world tour! Will meet you in different countries. Feels good
to be around where events have happened.
Map showing the range of the nuclear missiles under construction
in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban missile crisis
Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


OVERVIEW
This chapter provides a backdrop
to the entire book. The end of  the
Cold War is usually seen as the
beginning of the contemporary era
in world politics which is the
subject matter of this book. It is,
therefore, appropriate that we
begin the story with a discussion
of the Cold War. The chapter shows
how the dominance of two
superpowers, the United States of
America and the Soviet Union,
was central to the Cold War. It
tracks the various arenas of the
Cold War in different parts of the
world. The chapter views the Non-
Aligned Movement (NAM) as a
challenge to the dominance of the
two superpowers and describes
the attempts by the non-aligned
countries to establish a New
International Economic Order
(NIEO) as a means of attaining
economic development and
political independence. It
concludes with an assessment of
India’s role in NAM and asks how
successful the policy of non-
alignment has been in protecting
India’s interests.
Chapter 1
The Cold War Era
The end of the Second World War led to the rise of two major
centres of power. The two pictures above symbolise the
victory of the US and the USSR in the Second World War.
1.  American soldiers raising the US flag during the Battle of
Iwo Jima, Japan,  on 23 February 1945
Credit: Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,
Photograph by Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press
2.  Soviet soldiers raising the USSR flag on the Reichstag
building in Berlin, Germany, in May 1945
Credit: Reichstag flag, Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei/TASS
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
2
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
In April 1961, the leaders of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) were worried that the
United States of America (USA)
would invade communist-ruled
Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro,
the president of the small island
nation off the coast of the United
States. Cuba was an ally of the
Soviet Union and received both
diplomatic and financial aid from
it. Nikita Khrushchev, the leader
of the Soviet Union, decided to
convert Cuba into a Russian base.
In 1962, he placed nuclear missiles
in Cuba. The installation of these
weapons put the US, for the first
time, under fire from close range
and nearly doubled the number of
bases or cities in the American
mainland which could be
threatened by the USSR.
Three weeks after the Soviet
Union had placed the nuclear
weapons in Cuba, the Americans
became aware of it. The US
President, John F. Kennedy, and
his advisers were reluctant to do
anything that might lead to
full-scale nuclear war between
the two countries, but they were
determined to get Khrushchev to
remove the missiles and nuclear
weapons from Cuba. Kennedy
ordered American warships to
intercept any Soviet ships
heading to Cuba as a way of
warning the USSR of his
seriousness. A clash seemed
imminent in what came to be
known as the Cuban Missile
Crisis. The prospects of this
We are on a world tour! Will meet you in different countries. Feels good
to be around where events have happened.
Map showing the range of the nuclear missiles under construction
in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban missile crisis
Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
© NCERT
not to be republished
The Cold War Era
3
clash made the whole world
nervous, for it would have been
no ordinary war. Eventually, to
the world’s great relief, both
sides decided to avoid war. The
Soviet ships slowed down and
turned back.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was
a high point of what came to be
known as the Cold War. The Cold
War referred to  the competition,
the tensions and a series of
confrontations between the
United States and Soviet Union,
backed by their respective allies.
Fortunately, however, it never
escalated into a ‘hot war’, that is,
a full-scale war between these two
powers. There were wars in
various regions, with the two
powers and their allies involved
in warfare and in supporting
regional allies, but at least the
world avoided another global war.
The Cold War was not
simply a matter of power
rivalries, of military alliances,
and of the balance of power.
These were accompanied by a
real ideological conflict as well,
a difference over the best and
the most appropriate way of
organising political, economic,
and social life all over the world.
The western alliance, headed by
the US, represented the
ideology of liberal democracy
and capitalism while the
eastern alliance, headed by the
Soviet Union, was committed to
the ideology of socialism and
communism. You have already
studied these ideologies in
Class XI.
WHAT IS THE COLD WAR?
The end of the Second World War
is a landmark in contemporary
world politics. In 1945, the Allied
Forces, led by the US, Soviet
Union, Britain and France
defeated the Axis Powers led by
Germany, Italy and Japan, ending
the Second World War (1939-
1945). The war had involved
almost all the major powers of the
world and spread out to regions
outside Europe including
Southeast Asia, China, Burma
(now Myanmar) and parts of
India’s northeast. The war
devastated the world in terms of
loss of human lives and civilian
property. The First World War had
earlier shaken the world between
1914 and 1918.
The end of the Second World
War was also the beginning of the
Cold War. The world war ended
when the United States dropped
two atomic bombs on the
Japanese cities of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in August 1945, causing
Japan to surrender. Critics of the
US decision to drop the bombs
have argued that the US knew that
Japan was about to surrender and
that it was unnecessary to drop
the bombs. They suggest that the
US action was intended to stop the
Soviet Union from making military
and political gains in Asia and
elsewhere and to show Moscow
that the United States was
supreme. US supporters have
argued that the dropping of the
atomic bombs was necessary to
end the war quickly and to stop
So near yet so far!
I can't believe that
Cuba survived as a
communist country
for so long despite
being located so
close to the US. Just
look at the map.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


OVERVIEW
This chapter provides a backdrop
to the entire book. The end of  the
Cold War is usually seen as the
beginning of the contemporary era
in world politics which is the
subject matter of this book. It is,
therefore, appropriate that we
begin the story with a discussion
of the Cold War. The chapter shows
how the dominance of two
superpowers, the United States of
America and the Soviet Union,
was central to the Cold War. It
tracks the various arenas of the
Cold War in different parts of the
world. The chapter views the Non-
Aligned Movement (NAM) as a
challenge to the dominance of the
two superpowers and describes
the attempts by the non-aligned
countries to establish a New
International Economic Order
(NIEO) as a means of attaining
economic development and
political independence. It
concludes with an assessment of
India’s role in NAM and asks how
successful the policy of non-
alignment has been in protecting
India’s interests.
Chapter 1
The Cold War Era
The end of the Second World War led to the rise of two major
centres of power. The two pictures above symbolise the
victory of the US and the USSR in the Second World War.
1.  American soldiers raising the US flag during the Battle of
Iwo Jima, Japan,  on 23 February 1945
Credit: Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,
Photograph by Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press
2.  Soviet soldiers raising the USSR flag on the Reichstag
building in Berlin, Germany, in May 1945
Credit: Reichstag flag, Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei/TASS
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
2
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
In April 1961, the leaders of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) were worried that the
United States of America (USA)
would invade communist-ruled
Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro,
the president of the small island
nation off the coast of the United
States. Cuba was an ally of the
Soviet Union and received both
diplomatic and financial aid from
it. Nikita Khrushchev, the leader
of the Soviet Union, decided to
convert Cuba into a Russian base.
In 1962, he placed nuclear missiles
in Cuba. The installation of these
weapons put the US, for the first
time, under fire from close range
and nearly doubled the number of
bases or cities in the American
mainland which could be
threatened by the USSR.
Three weeks after the Soviet
Union had placed the nuclear
weapons in Cuba, the Americans
became aware of it. The US
President, John F. Kennedy, and
his advisers were reluctant to do
anything that might lead to
full-scale nuclear war between
the two countries, but they were
determined to get Khrushchev to
remove the missiles and nuclear
weapons from Cuba. Kennedy
ordered American warships to
intercept any Soviet ships
heading to Cuba as a way of
warning the USSR of his
seriousness. A clash seemed
imminent in what came to be
known as the Cuban Missile
Crisis. The prospects of this
We are on a world tour! Will meet you in different countries. Feels good
to be around where events have happened.
Map showing the range of the nuclear missiles under construction
in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban missile crisis
Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
© NCERT
not to be republished
The Cold War Era
3
clash made the whole world
nervous, for it would have been
no ordinary war. Eventually, to
the world’s great relief, both
sides decided to avoid war. The
Soviet ships slowed down and
turned back.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was
a high point of what came to be
known as the Cold War. The Cold
War referred to  the competition,
the tensions and a series of
confrontations between the
United States and Soviet Union,
backed by their respective allies.
Fortunately, however, it never
escalated into a ‘hot war’, that is,
a full-scale war between these two
powers. There were wars in
various regions, with the two
powers and their allies involved
in warfare and in supporting
regional allies, but at least the
world avoided another global war.
The Cold War was not
simply a matter of power
rivalries, of military alliances,
and of the balance of power.
These were accompanied by a
real ideological conflict as well,
a difference over the best and
the most appropriate way of
organising political, economic,
and social life all over the world.
The western alliance, headed by
the US, represented the
ideology of liberal democracy
and capitalism while the
eastern alliance, headed by the
Soviet Union, was committed to
the ideology of socialism and
communism. You have already
studied these ideologies in
Class XI.
WHAT IS THE COLD WAR?
The end of the Second World War
is a landmark in contemporary
world politics. In 1945, the Allied
Forces, led by the US, Soviet
Union, Britain and France
defeated the Axis Powers led by
Germany, Italy and Japan, ending
the Second World War (1939-
1945). The war had involved
almost all the major powers of the
world and spread out to regions
outside Europe including
Southeast Asia, China, Burma
(now Myanmar) and parts of
India’s northeast. The war
devastated the world in terms of
loss of human lives and civilian
property. The First World War had
earlier shaken the world between
1914 and 1918.
The end of the Second World
War was also the beginning of the
Cold War. The world war ended
when the United States dropped
two atomic bombs on the
Japanese cities of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in August 1945, causing
Japan to surrender. Critics of the
US decision to drop the bombs
have argued that the US knew that
Japan was about to surrender and
that it was unnecessary to drop
the bombs. They suggest that the
US action was intended to stop the
Soviet Union from making military
and political gains in Asia and
elsewhere and to show Moscow
that the United States was
supreme. US supporters have
argued that the dropping of the
atomic bombs was necessary to
end the war quickly and to stop
So near yet so far!
I can't believe that
Cuba survived as a
communist country
for so long despite
being located so
close to the US. Just
look at the map.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
4
further loss of American and Allied
lives. Whatever the motives, the
consequence of the end of the
Second World War was the rise of
two new powers on the global stage.
With the defeat of Germany and
Japan, the devastation of Europe
and in many other parts of the
world, the United States and the
Soviet Union became the greatest
powers in the world with the ability
to influence events anywhere on
earth.
While the Cold War was an
outcome of the emergence of the
US and the USSR as two
superpowers rival to each other,
it was also rooted in the
understanding that the destruction
caused by the use of atom bombs
is too costly for any country to
bear. The logic is simple yet
powerful. When two rival powers
are in possession of nuclear
weapons capable of inflicting death
and destruction unacceptable to
each other, a full-fledged war is
unlikely. In spite of provocations,
neither side would want to risk war
since no political gains would
justify the destruction of their
societies.
In the event of a nuclear war,
both sides will be so badly harmed
that it will be impossible to declare
one side or the other as the winner.
Even if one of them tries to attack
and disable the nuclear weapons
of its rival, the other would still be
left with enough nuclear weapons
to inflict unacceptable destruction.
This is called the logic of
‘deterrence’:  both sides have the
capacity to retaliate against an
attack and to cause so much
destruction that neither can afford
to initiate war. Thus, the Cold War
— in spite of being an intense form
of rivalry between great powers —
remained a ‘cold’ and not hot or
shooting war. The deterrence
relationship prevents war but not
the rivalry between powers.
Note the main military
features of the Cold War. The two
superpowers and the countries in
the rival blocs led by the
superpowers were expected to
behave as rational and
responsible actors. They were to
be rational and responsible in the
sense that they understood the
risks in fighting wars that might
involve the two superpowers.
When two superpowers and the
blocs led by them are in a
deterrence relationship, fighting
wars will be massively destructive.
These pictures depict the destruction
caused by the bombs dropped by the
US on Hiroshima (the bomb was code-
named ‘Little Boy’) and Nagasaki
(code-named ‘Fat Man’). Yet, these
bombs were very small in their
destructive capacity (measured in
terms of kiloton yield) as compared to
the nuclear bombs that were to be
available in the stockpiles assembled by
the superpowers. The yield of Little Boy
and Fat Man were 15 and 21 kilotons
respectively. By the early 1950s the US
and the USSR were already making
thermonuclear weapons that had a
yield between 10 and 15 thousand
kilotons. In other words, these bombs
were a thousand times more destructive
than the bombs used in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. During much of the Cold War,
both the superpowers possessed
thousands of such weapons. Just
imagine the extent of destruction that
these could cause all over the globe.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


OVERVIEW
This chapter provides a backdrop
to the entire book. The end of  the
Cold War is usually seen as the
beginning of the contemporary era
in world politics which is the
subject matter of this book. It is,
therefore, appropriate that we
begin the story with a discussion
of the Cold War. The chapter shows
how the dominance of two
superpowers, the United States of
America and the Soviet Union,
was central to the Cold War. It
tracks the various arenas of the
Cold War in different parts of the
world. The chapter views the Non-
Aligned Movement (NAM) as a
challenge to the dominance of the
two superpowers and describes
the attempts by the non-aligned
countries to establish a New
International Economic Order
(NIEO) as a means of attaining
economic development and
political independence. It
concludes with an assessment of
India’s role in NAM and asks how
successful the policy of non-
alignment has been in protecting
India’s interests.
Chapter 1
The Cold War Era
The end of the Second World War led to the rise of two major
centres of power. The two pictures above symbolise the
victory of the US and the USSR in the Second World War.
1.  American soldiers raising the US flag during the Battle of
Iwo Jima, Japan,  on 23 February 1945
Credit: Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,
Photograph by Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press
2.  Soviet soldiers raising the USSR flag on the Reichstag
building in Berlin, Germany, in May 1945
Credit: Reichstag flag, Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei/TASS
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
2
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
In April 1961, the leaders of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) were worried that the
United States of America (USA)
would invade communist-ruled
Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro,
the president of the small island
nation off the coast of the United
States. Cuba was an ally of the
Soviet Union and received both
diplomatic and financial aid from
it. Nikita Khrushchev, the leader
of the Soviet Union, decided to
convert Cuba into a Russian base.
In 1962, he placed nuclear missiles
in Cuba. The installation of these
weapons put the US, for the first
time, under fire from close range
and nearly doubled the number of
bases or cities in the American
mainland which could be
threatened by the USSR.
Three weeks after the Soviet
Union had placed the nuclear
weapons in Cuba, the Americans
became aware of it. The US
President, John F. Kennedy, and
his advisers were reluctant to do
anything that might lead to
full-scale nuclear war between
the two countries, but they were
determined to get Khrushchev to
remove the missiles and nuclear
weapons from Cuba. Kennedy
ordered American warships to
intercept any Soviet ships
heading to Cuba as a way of
warning the USSR of his
seriousness. A clash seemed
imminent in what came to be
known as the Cuban Missile
Crisis. The prospects of this
We are on a world tour! Will meet you in different countries. Feels good
to be around where events have happened.
Map showing the range of the nuclear missiles under construction
in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban missile crisis
Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
© NCERT
not to be republished
The Cold War Era
3
clash made the whole world
nervous, for it would have been
no ordinary war. Eventually, to
the world’s great relief, both
sides decided to avoid war. The
Soviet ships slowed down and
turned back.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was
a high point of what came to be
known as the Cold War. The Cold
War referred to  the competition,
the tensions and a series of
confrontations between the
United States and Soviet Union,
backed by their respective allies.
Fortunately, however, it never
escalated into a ‘hot war’, that is,
a full-scale war between these two
powers. There were wars in
various regions, with the two
powers and their allies involved
in warfare and in supporting
regional allies, but at least the
world avoided another global war.
The Cold War was not
simply a matter of power
rivalries, of military alliances,
and of the balance of power.
These were accompanied by a
real ideological conflict as well,
a difference over the best and
the most appropriate way of
organising political, economic,
and social life all over the world.
The western alliance, headed by
the US, represented the
ideology of liberal democracy
and capitalism while the
eastern alliance, headed by the
Soviet Union, was committed to
the ideology of socialism and
communism. You have already
studied these ideologies in
Class XI.
WHAT IS THE COLD WAR?
The end of the Second World War
is a landmark in contemporary
world politics. In 1945, the Allied
Forces, led by the US, Soviet
Union, Britain and France
defeated the Axis Powers led by
Germany, Italy and Japan, ending
the Second World War (1939-
1945). The war had involved
almost all the major powers of the
world and spread out to regions
outside Europe including
Southeast Asia, China, Burma
(now Myanmar) and parts of
India’s northeast. The war
devastated the world in terms of
loss of human lives and civilian
property. The First World War had
earlier shaken the world between
1914 and 1918.
The end of the Second World
War was also the beginning of the
Cold War. The world war ended
when the United States dropped
two atomic bombs on the
Japanese cities of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in August 1945, causing
Japan to surrender. Critics of the
US decision to drop the bombs
have argued that the US knew that
Japan was about to surrender and
that it was unnecessary to drop
the bombs. They suggest that the
US action was intended to stop the
Soviet Union from making military
and political gains in Asia and
elsewhere and to show Moscow
that the United States was
supreme. US supporters have
argued that the dropping of the
atomic bombs was necessary to
end the war quickly and to stop
So near yet so far!
I can't believe that
Cuba survived as a
communist country
for so long despite
being located so
close to the US. Just
look at the map.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
4
further loss of American and Allied
lives. Whatever the motives, the
consequence of the end of the
Second World War was the rise of
two new powers on the global stage.
With the defeat of Germany and
Japan, the devastation of Europe
and in many other parts of the
world, the United States and the
Soviet Union became the greatest
powers in the world with the ability
to influence events anywhere on
earth.
While the Cold War was an
outcome of the emergence of the
US and the USSR as two
superpowers rival to each other,
it was also rooted in the
understanding that the destruction
caused by the use of atom bombs
is too costly for any country to
bear. The logic is simple yet
powerful. When two rival powers
are in possession of nuclear
weapons capable of inflicting death
and destruction unacceptable to
each other, a full-fledged war is
unlikely. In spite of provocations,
neither side would want to risk war
since no political gains would
justify the destruction of their
societies.
In the event of a nuclear war,
both sides will be so badly harmed
that it will be impossible to declare
one side or the other as the winner.
Even if one of them tries to attack
and disable the nuclear weapons
of its rival, the other would still be
left with enough nuclear weapons
to inflict unacceptable destruction.
This is called the logic of
‘deterrence’:  both sides have the
capacity to retaliate against an
attack and to cause so much
destruction that neither can afford
to initiate war. Thus, the Cold War
— in spite of being an intense form
of rivalry between great powers —
remained a ‘cold’ and not hot or
shooting war. The deterrence
relationship prevents war but not
the rivalry between powers.
Note the main military
features of the Cold War. The two
superpowers and the countries in
the rival blocs led by the
superpowers were expected to
behave as rational and
responsible actors. They were to
be rational and responsible in the
sense that they understood the
risks in fighting wars that might
involve the two superpowers.
When two superpowers and the
blocs led by them are in a
deterrence relationship, fighting
wars will be massively destructive.
These pictures depict the destruction
caused by the bombs dropped by the
US on Hiroshima (the bomb was code-
named ‘Little Boy’) and Nagasaki
(code-named ‘Fat Man’). Yet, these
bombs were very small in their
destructive capacity (measured in
terms of kiloton yield) as compared to
the nuclear bombs that were to be
available in the stockpiles assembled by
the superpowers. The yield of Little Boy
and Fat Man were 15 and 21 kilotons
respectively. By the early 1950s the US
and the USSR were already making
thermonuclear weapons that had a
yield between 10 and 15 thousand
kilotons. In other words, these bombs
were a thousand times more destructive
than the bombs used in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. During much of the Cold War,
both the superpowers possessed
thousands of such weapons. Just
imagine the extent of destruction that
these could cause all over the globe.
© NCERT
not to be republished
The Cold War Era
5
Map showing the way Europe was divided into rival alliances during the Cold War
1. Identify three
countries from each
of the rival blocs.
2. Look at the map
of the European
Union in Chapter 4
and identify four
countries that were
part of the Warsaw
Pact and now
belong to the EU.
3. By comparing this
map with that of
the European Union
map,  identify three
new countries that
came up in the
post-Cold War
period.
Responsibility, therefore, meant
being restrained and avoiding the
risk of another world war. In this
sense the Cold War managed to
ensure human survival.
THE EMERGENCE OF
TWO POWER BLOCS
The two superpowers were keen
on expanding their spheres of
influence in different parts of the
world. In a world sharply divided
between the two alliance systems,
a state was supposed to remain
tied to its protective superpower
to limit the influence of the other
superpower and its allies.
The smaller states in the
alliances used the link to the
superpowers for their own
purposes. They got the promise of
protection, weapons, and
economic aid against their local
rivals, mostly regional neighbours
with whom they had rivalries. The
alliance systems led by the
two superpowers, therefore,
threatened to divide the entire
world into two camps. This
division happened first in Europe.
Most countries of western Europe
sided with the US and those of
eastern Europe joined the Soviet
camp. That is why these were also
called the ‘western’ and the
‘eastern’ alliances.
TURKEY
Ankara
GREECE
ITALY
Rome
Black Sea
Yalta
BULGARIA
Sofia
ALBANIA
Tirana
YUGOSLAVIA
Belgrade
Bucharest
ROMANIA
Budapest
HUNGARY
SWITZ.
Bern
Vienna
AUSTRIA
CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Prague
FRANCE
Paris
PORTUGAL
Lisbon
SPAIN
Madrid
ATLANTIC
OCEAN
London
Brussels
BELG.
WEST
GERMANY
LUX.
NETH.
The Hague
Bonn
EAST
GERMANY
Berlin
POLAND
Warsaw
 IRELAND
Dublin
BRITAIN
North
Sea
NATO Members
Warsaw Pact Members
Other Communist Nations
Others
NORWAY
Oslo
SWEDEN
Stockholm
DENMARK
Copenhagen
Helsinki
FINLAND
Moscow
USSR
© NCERT
not to be republished
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