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Monday, May 21, 2018
The vast destruction of WWII left two superpowers standing: the United States and the Soviet Union, both with conflicting ideas of how to restore international order.
The resulting Cold War lasted 40 years, during which time the United States and the Soviet Union tried to control as many countries as possible, even if those countries were not very valuable economically or strategically.
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Today's Random Fact:
During the Cold War, over 11 million people died in various conflicts where the Americans supplied one side and the Soviets supplied the other. The Vietnam War (1959–75) was the deadliest proxy war of the Cold War era. Over 3.5 million people died.
The Iron Curtain refers to the border dividing Europe between noncommunist Western Europe and Communist Eastern Europe. Physically, the Iron Curtain stretched 4,225 miles.
Largely in response to the Cold War, twelve western nations created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). If the Soviet Union attacked one country, the others would defend them.
The peak of the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world has ever come to self-destruction.
The Cold War led to some ingenious spy gadgets, such as the "Rectal Escape Kit." A spy would hide the escape kit in his or her rectum, just in case they were captured and imprisoned.
CIA agents during the Cold War used a method of communication based on how their shoelaces were tied. The shoelace patterns could convey messages such as "I have information," "Follow me," or "I have brought another person."
A now–declassified manual titled The Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception includes tips on concealing a doping pill in a matchbook and then covertly dropping it into a person's drink while distracting them by lighting their cigarette.