What was the Cold War?
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The closest the world came to nuclear war was in 1962 when the Soviet Union moved missiles into Cuba, directly threatening the United States. The missiles were removed when the Americans threatened retaliation.
Up in arms
Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact convinced themselves that the opposing side had overwhelming military superiority over the other. This belief led to the arms race in which each side tried to develop bigger, better and more weapons than the other. The arms race also led to the situation where each side had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other many times over, probably killing off the rest of the world in the process.
It was realized that no one could win such a conflict, and the ruinous cost could never be justified. This economic argument was probably the main reason why the two sides eventually agreed to disarm.
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Date Added: 04 January '12
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