The term “cold war” goes back to a 14th-century medieval writer named Don Juan Manuel, who referred to the uneasy peace between Muslims and Christians in Spain. But it was George Orwell, in a piece titled “You and the Atomic Bomb,” who applied the term as we know it best to the protracted economic, geopolitical and ideological battle between the United States, the Soviet Union and their shifting allies.
The precise dates of the Cold War are the subject of debate, though most agree that it began at some point in the summer of 1945 and continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. Whatever the case, it dominated global politics and culture for the entire second half of the 20th century, and its effects are ongoing.
5 things you didn’t know about the only war that categorically could have ended all wars through total and complete annihilation, the Cold War.