The turn of the 50s and 60s was another period of increased tension in the divided Germany. It resulted in erecting in 1961 the symbol of the Cold War – the Berlin Wall that literally divided Berlin into the eastern and western part.
However, one of the most dangerous events in the world history took place a year later when the USSR planned to install nuclear missiles in Cuba ruled by Fidel Castro. Thanks to such movement, the USA would have been checkmated by the presence of weapon of mass destruction in a direct proximity of its borders. However, after a couple of days, the threat of a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR was prevented and one of the results of the crisis was installing a “hotline” connecting Moscow and Washington.
In the following years, the American army got involved in the prolonging and bloody Vietnam War, whereas the conflict between the Soviet Union and China was also escalating. The superpowers fought also a “correspondence battle” during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967 when the USA supported the Jewish State, while the USSR backed up their enemy. A year later, the army of the Warsaw Pact, while implementing the “limited sovereignty doctrine” (Brezhnev Doctrine), invaded Czechoslovakia, proving once again that the USSR did not tolerate any breaches in the common front line of the Eastern Bloc states.
1970s was the era of treaties between the superpowers (SALT I, SALT II, on curtailing the manufacture of anti-ballistic missiles and nuclear tests), USSR’s success in Africa and South America, as well as USA’s defeat in the struggle against the communist guerillas in Vietnam that lasted until 1973. In 1975, the final act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was signed, which initiated the period called “détente” (easing, relaxation). Yet, the Soviet invasion on Afghanistan proved an excuse to restore the Cold War at full stretch.
The beginning of the 80s brought a massive wave of workers’ strikes in Poland that led to the formation of the “Solidarity” trade union. Communist authority, forced by the 10-million people social movement to make considerable concessions, reacted introducing a year later the martial law. The communist Soviet Union, offering uncompetitive economy, began losing in the run against the USA, both in terms of technology, in view of the “star wars” programme, and with the US-supported Afghan fighters. Western countries also did not hesitate to place new types of rockets in Europe. All these actions led Mikhail Gorbachev to attempt saving the system by introducing perestroika and glasnost. These, however, resulted in erosion of communism in the USSR which eventually was dissolved in 1991.