Cold War

1992 Jan 1

Epilogue

United States

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia drastically cut military spending, and restructuring the economy left millions unemployed. The capitalist reforms culminated in a recession in the early 1990s more severe than the Great Depression as experienced by the United States and Germany. In the 25 years following the end of the Cold War, only five or six of the post-socialist states are on a path to joining the rich and capitalist world while most are falling behind, some to such an extent that it will take several decades to catch up to where they were before the collapse of communism.


Communist parties outside the Baltic states were not outlawed and their members were not prosecuted. Just a few places attempted to exclude even members of communist secret services from decision-making. In some countries, the communist party changed its name and continued to function.


In addition to the loss of life by uniformed soldiers, millions died in the superpowers' proxy wars around the globe, most notably in eastern Asia. Most of the proxy wars and subsidies for local conflicts ended along with the Cold War; interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, as well as refugee and displaced persons crises have declined sharply in the post-Cold War years.


However, the aftermath of the Cold War is not considered to be concluded. Many of the economic and social tensions that were exploited to fuel Cold War competition in parts of the Third World remain acute. The breakdown of state control in a number of areas formerly ruled by communist governments produced new civil and ethnic conflicts, particularly in the former Yugoslavia. In Central and Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War has ushered in an era of economic growth and an increase in the number of liberal democracies, while in other parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, independence was accompanied by state failure.

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