The Cold War is defined as a period of restrained hostility between the Soviet Union and the United States for nearly 4-decades (1945-1991). No actual war was waged in this time-period, however, both blocs remained wary of an imminent attack. The Soviet Union and the United States never declared the war, nonetheless, the tensions were palpable. The Cold War was a spectacle of an arms race, space race and proxy wars.
1. Rediscovery of Bluetooth
Actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr invented a counter frequency jamming technology to overcome jamming of torpedoes by Germans, however, the idea was shelved until its rediscovery in 1962, courtesy of Cold War. The frequency hopping technology became the predecessor of the present day Bluetooth and Wi-Fi systems.
2. Mission Impossible: Arrival of Face-masks
The CIA had an ax to grind with Soekarno, the leader of the nascent nation of Indonesia. In its desperation, it went to the trouble of designing a full-face mask so to shoot a pornographic video in order to discredit him. The project, however, made no progress.
3. A Tale of Nuking the Moon
Codenamed project Project A119 was an American Air Force sanctioned project initiated in 1958 with a clear intention of nuking our harmless moon with a nuclear missile to showcase Uncle Sam’s superiority over Mother Russia. Hypothetically speaking (much appreciated), when the moon was nuked, it would have produced enough explosion light to be visible to humans on earth. It was purposed to boost domestic morale as the Space Race had commenced with the USSR taking a lead, Uncle Sam needed a one up badly. Amazingly, the blueprints for the project were prepared by our very own revered Carl Sagan. The project was scrapped due to thethreat of public reaction and nuclear fallout.
4. Project MKUltra: A Sci-fi Odyssey
Given the pop culture is laden with the references of this experiment such as The X-Files, Stranger Things, Archer, Jacob’s Ladder, Mel Gibson’s movie Conspiracy Theory, Fringe, Bones, Stephen King’s novel Firestarter, where the subjects have been guinea pigs of such experiments.
In a vain bid to control the mind of a subject, the victims were tested with dosages of LSD, sexual and verbal abuse, isolation, sensory deprivation and hypnosis. The Project MKUltra was a large-scale undertaking encompassing 80 institutions, 44 universities and colleges along with prisons, pharmaceuticals and hospitals.
5. The Rise of term ‘Third-World’
The term third world was coined during the bleak era of Cold War to categorize countries which were non-aligned with Communist bloc and NATO. The First World was represented by European nations and Uncle Sam, whereas Cuba, China and Russia were known as the Second World. Thence, the third world countries came to known as those having a colonial past, such as Asian, African, Oceania, Latin American strip. These countries are periphery countries, which are dominated by leading nations.
6. The Petrov Affair: Armageddon Avoided
During late 1983, the Soviet deployed nuclear warning systems red-flagged the launching of numerous intercontinental ballistic missiles from Uncle Sam’s airbases. The missile attack red-flags were overridden by the good Samaritan Stanislav Petrov. As is the case, the data was erroneous and a glitch in the systems could have laid down the battleground for a nuclear Armageddon. It was confirmed that the satellite had temporarily gone cuckoo.
The world had been on a detrimental collision course before during the peak of Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), considered by most as the height of escalating tensions between the two titans, The USSR and USA. It eventually doused into an agreement, however, it was the climax of cold war interplay.
7. The Americans: All is Fair in (Cold) War
Labeled as Operation Chrome Dome, the US Air Force flew reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union for 8-years (1960-1968) with their B-52 bombers. These jetfighters were armed with thermonuclear missiles airborne and in position. However, 5 of these jetfighters crashed and caused redundant nuclear contamination.
Multiple such programs were codenamed as Chrome Dome, Head Start, Round Robin, Hard Head and Operation Giant Lance. These B-52 bombers were locked, stocked and positioned to tear Russian a new one in this cold war.
8. A Game of Proxy Wars
Admittedly, the two titans never fought an actual war, they were fervently warring via proxy wars. These proxy wars consisted of the Korean War, Vietnam War as well as Yom Kippur War.
9. Casualty of (Cold) War: Civilians
The destined to doom Korean airline 007 was shot-down in 1983 by the Soviet Union as it had entered the Soviet airspace without authorization. As a result, entire 269 passengers went straight to kingdom come without a proper burial. However, the American reconnaissance mission was active during this time. Soviet Union denied knowledge of this incident (so original) but later admitted (extremely original).
10. Origin of Term Cold War
Legendary dystopian author, George Orwell coined the term You and the Atomic Bomb in an essay published in 1945 in a UK newspaper named Tribune. He foreboded a world in which nations lived under a threat of a nuclear holocaust. For him, it was a cold war where nations remained wary of an imminent attack.
Orwell stated in 1946 (subsequent to Moscow conferences) that Russia was planning a cold war on the British Empire. He made his dislike for Russia all the more known. A cold war is now understood as an indirect conflict between two opposing parties, whereas credit to its mainstream popularity is owned by Walter Lippmann with his book titled Cold War.
During the span of these 4 decades, there were 9 different American presidents, listed below in sequence of their tenure:
- Harry Truman
- Dwight Eisenhower
- John F. Kennedy
- Lyndon B. Johnson
- Richard Nixon
- Gerald Ford
- Jimmy Carter
- Ronald Reagan
- George W. Bush