1945-1991: Cold War world Wiki
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The flag of the USA.

The Soviet flag.

The Russian flag.


The USA and USSR were both considered 'super powers'. No agreed definition of what is a 'superpower' exists, and may differ between sources. However, a fundamental characteristic that is consistent with all definitions of a superpower is a nation or state that has mastered the seven dimensions of state power; geography, population, economy, resources, military, diplomacy and national identity.

Superpower is a word used to describe a state with a dominant position in international relations and which is characterised by its unparalleled ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of technological, cultural, military and economic strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are pre-eminent among the great powers. The Suez Crisis in 1956 demonstrated the British Empire was no longer a superpower after World War II, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's only superpower. As of 2016, according to "Time" magazine this remains unchanged.

The term first applied to the British Empire, the United States, and the Soviet Union. However, following World War II and the Suez Crisis in 1956, the United Kingdom's status as a superpower was greatly diminished; for the duration of the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union came to be generally regarded as the two remaining superpowers, dominating world affairs. At the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, only the United States appeared to fulfill the criteria of being a world superpower.

Alice Lyman Miller defines a superpower as "a country that has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world, and sometimes, in more than one region of the globe at a time, and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemony."

There have been many attempts by historians to apply the term 'superpower' to a variety of past entities. However, since even the most powerful empires of old had little to no means to exert influence over very long distances, labeling them as such is complicated.

  • The www.thefreedictionary.com/ defines the term as-
    • "Su·per·pow·er (so͞o′pər-pou′ər). A powerful and influential nation, especially a nuclear power that dominates its allies or client states in an international power bloc." http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superpower

The nations who achieved this status[]

Victorian imperial times[]

The British achieved this status in the aftermath of the 1st Opium War with China in 1845 and France got it after the starting their conquest of Cochinchina in the 1862. France lost it in 1940 and the British lost it in 1956.

The Cold War years[]

U.S. President Ronald Reagan (left) and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (right), then leaders of the Cold War's rival superpowers, meeting in Geneva in 1985.

The 1956 Suez Crisis suggested that Britain, financially weakened by two world wars, could not then pursue its foreign policy objectives on an equal footing with the new superpowers without sacrificing convertibility of its reserve currency as a central goal of policy. As the majority of World War II had been fought far from its national boundaries, the United States had not suffered the industrial destruction nor massive civilian casualties that marked the wartime situation of the countries in Europe or Asia. The war had reinforced the position of the United States as the world's largest long-term creditor nation and its principal supplier of goods; moreover it had built up a strong industrial and technological infrastructure that had greatly advanced its military strength into a primary position on the global stage. Despite attempts to create multinational coalitions or legislative bodies (such as the United Nations), it became increasingly clear that the superpowers had very different visions about what the post-war world ought to look like, and after the withdrawal of British aid to Greece in 1947, the United States took the lead in containing Soviet expansion in the Cold War.

The two countries opposed each other ideologically, politically, militarily, and economically. The Soviet Union promoted the ideology of communism: planned economy and a one-party state, whilst the United States promoted the ideologies of liberal democracy and the free market. This was reflected in the Warsaw Pact and NATO military alliances, respectively, as most of Europe became aligned with either the United States or the Soviet Union. These alliances implied that these two nations were part of an emerging bipolar world, in contrast with a previously multipolar world.

The idea that the Cold War period revolved around only two blocs, or even only two nations, has been challenged by some scholars in the post–Cold War era, who have noted that the bipolar world only exists if one ignores all of the various movements and conflicts that occurred without influence from either of the two superpowers. Additionally, much of the conflict between the superpowers was fought in "proxy wars", which more often than not involved issues more complex than the standard Cold War oppositions.

After the Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s, the term hyperpower began to be applied to the United States, as the sole remaining superpower of the Cold War era.  This term, popularized by French foreign minister Hubert Védrine in the late 1990s, is controversial and the validity of classifying the United States in this way is disputed. One notable opponent to this theory, Samuel P. Huntington, rejects this theory in favor of a multipolar balance of power. Other international relations theorists, such as Henry Kissinger, theorize that because the threat of the Soviet Union no longer exists to formerly American-dominated regions such as Western Europe and Japan, American influence is only declining since the end of the Cold War, because such regions no longer need protection or have necessarily similar foreign policies as the United States.

Modern times[]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 which ended the Cold War, the post–Cold War world was sometimes considered to be a unipolar world, with the United States as the world's sole remaining superpower. In 1999, Samuel P. Huntington wrote, "The United States, of course, is the sole state with preeminence in every domain of power – economic, military, diplomatic, ideological, technological, and cultural – with the reach and capabilities to promote its interests in virtually every part of the world." However, he rejected the claim that the world was unipolar: "There is now only one superpower. But that does not mean that the world is unipolar," describing it instead as "a strange hybrid, a uni-multipolar system with one superpower and several major powers." He further wrote that "Washington is blind to the fact that it no longer enjoys the dominance it had at the end of the Cold War. It must relearn the game of international politics as a major power, not a superpower, and make compromises."

Economic decline, corporate corruption, illegal drugs, toxic debt filled and\or corrupted banks, apathy, race-hate filled street wars, heavy political infighting and urban lawlessness are undermining the USA badly as of 2015, but the problems had there roots in the bad political and corporate attitudes late 1990s. America is in chronic decline, but is still a super-power.

  • Their are some actual and alleged up and coming powers though-
    • Brazil- No were near. It was on a par with 1990's China in the 2000s, until the the early 2010's, and then it economically collapsed due to huge official and corporate corruption destroying the recently and fatally mismanaged economy.
    • The EU- If it formed one nation, restrained German selfishness and ended Greek poverty then it would be well on the way. Corrupt bankers, stock traders speculates and mafiosi are a problem, especially in Romania, Bulgaria, the UK, Italy and Spain. The economy collapsed due to official and corporate (especially banks and stock markets) corruption in 2008.
    • India- No were nea. It is only starting up, like 1970s China. Corruption is also a big issue. 
    • China- It was a major sucses story of the 1990s after 20 years of fitful and erratic growth, but the economy had collapsed in the early 2010s due to trade with the imploding European and American economies. China is still strong enough to be a super-power and is showing singes of recovery in 2016 due to more trade with Russia. It is on a near parity to the USA, but is still struggling with some ecanomic problems. Rural poverty, nepotism and corruption are a major issue.
    • Russia- It is a cut down and non-bankrupt version of the USSR. Corruption, nepotisum, reprssion and inefficacy are an issue, just like as in the USSR. It is a superpower, but much weaker than the USA was in it's twighlight years due to lack of resorces and the brains to use them.. 
    • Japan- Was heading for such status in the 1980's but corruption in the haulage industry, firms that were so debt ridden it would worry even Daewoo and 'zombie banks' that were crappy they needed government help to stay afloat. The mess collapsed in 1991 and the imploded by ~20% as of 2010.

Timeline of the status's usage[]

The superpowers.
Nation. Start date. End date. Years as a super power. Historic time scope.
The British Empire\UK*. 1845. 1956. 111. 2nd Opium War to Suez Crisis.
The French Empire\France. 

1862 .

1940. 78. Conquest of Chochin China to Nazi's conquest of France.
The USA* 1945\1981. 1974\1911. 59. WW2 victory to fleeing Iraq (2011 flight), excluding the Nixon years.
The USSR. 1945. 1986. 41. WW2 victory to Chernobyl Atomic Accident.
Japan 1983 1991 8 Bouncing back from the May 26, 1983, tsunami\7.7 magnitude earthquake in the Sea of Japan killed 107 people, including three in South Korea to the

The Lost Decade or the Lost 10 Years (失われた十年\Ushinawareta Jūnen) is a period of economic stagnation in lat ate 1991 and early 1992 to 2000.


2008 ???? 9.... The partial invasion of Georgia to ?
China. 2014. ???? 3.... Some Spratly Islands bases built and computer viruses\hacker attacks on the USA and EU to ?.
India. 2025? ???? Prospective. Yet to happen.

*= Now in terminal decline and near to total ecanomic and social colapse.

Related terminology[]

  1. Hard power  
  2. Soft Power
  3. Smart power
  4. Regional power
  5. Emerging power
  6. Great Power
  7. Middle power
  8. Second Superpower
  9. Small power
  10. Hyperpower
  11. Cultural superpower: Refers to a country whose culturearts or entertainment have worldwide appeal, significant international popularity or large influence on much of the world.  
  12. National power
  13. National Power (AKA, N'power)
  14. Energy superpower: Describes a country that supplies large amounts of energy resources (crude oilnatural gascoaluranium, etc.) to a significant number of other states, and therefore has the potential to influence world markets to gain a political or economic advantage. 
  15. Comprehensive National Power

Also see[]


  1. http://time.com/3899972/us-superpower-status-military/
  2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superpower
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower
  4. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superpower
  5. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm
  6. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1991-02-01/unipolar-moment
  7. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2009-01-01/balanced-strategy
  8. http://www.gaikoforum.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi
  9. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/1217752.stm
  10. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427150630/http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/19990301faessay966/samuel-p-huntington/the-lonely-superpower.html
  11. https://web.archive.org/web/20060613215234/http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/printStoryId.aspx?StoryId=3553
  12. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fODT-qOVoiIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=From+Colony+to+Superpower:+U.S.+Foreign+Relations+since+1776&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wMf4UovmB-nY7Aavw4C4Cg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=From%20Colony%20to%20Superpower%3A%20U.S.%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201776&f=false
  13. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427150630/http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/19990301faessay966/samuel-p-huntington/the-lonely-superpower.html
  14. https://www.casaasia.es/pdf/9200595422AM1127202862621.pdf
  15. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427150630/
  16. http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/19990301faessay966/samuel-p-huntington/the-lonely-superpower.html
  17. http://time.com/3899972/us-superpower-status-military/
  18. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superpower
  19. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower
  20. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superpower
  21. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm
  22. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1991-02-01/unipolar-moment
  23. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2009-01-01/balanced-strategy
  24. http://www.gaikoforum.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi
  25. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/1217752.stm
  26. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427150630/http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/19990301faessay966/samuel-p-huntington/the-lonely-superpower.html
  27. https://web.archive.org/web/20060613215234/http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/printStoryId.aspx?StoryId=3553
  28. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fODT-qOVoiIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=From+Colony+to+Superpower:+U.S.+Foreign+Relations+since+1776&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wMf4UovmB-nY7Aavw4C4Cg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=From%20Colony%20to%20Superpower%3A%20U.S.%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201776&f=false
  29. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427150630/http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/19990301faessay966/samuel-p-huntington/the-lonely-superpower.html
  30. https://www.casaasia.es/pdf/9200595422AM1127202862621.pdf
  31. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427150630/
  32. http://www-stage.foreignaffairs.org/19990301faessay966/samuel-p-huntington/the-lonely-superpower.html