The Cold War: The world's longest war?
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The Cold War is a war that was never declared and never terminated. Historians differ rather seriously on when, how and where it began. They do not, however, differ on the fact that it simply faded away at the end of the eighties, but they assign different events as the turning point in the process. It lasted for almost fifty years and historians will one day have to assign it its rightful place in the history of the twentieth century. Although a number of local conventional wars are generally regarded as in some way or the other associated with the Cold War, a direct military confrontation between the two beligerent superpowers never occurred. In spite of the constant threat of a nuclear war, the atomic bomb was never again used after Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The Cold War also represents the longest peace period in the modern history of Europe. It is also the period of the most intensive arms race and military threats in the history of the world. On several occasions heightened international tension brought the world on the brink of war. These contrasts and its significance for the different interpretations of the Cold War, forms the subject of this article.