The Cold War was the period of conflict, tension and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies from September 2, 1945 until, in OTL, December 26, 1991. Throughout the period, the rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in multiple arenas: military coalitions; ideology, psychology, and espionage; military, industrial, and technological developments, including the space race; costly defense spending; a massive conventional and nuclear arms race; and many proxy wars.
The Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s following Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's summit conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan, as well as Gorbachev's launching of reform programs: perestroika and glasnost. The Soviet Union consequently ceded power over Eastern Europe and was dissolved in 1991.
Cold War in A World of DifferenceEdit
A factor exacerbating the Cold War and making more difficult the achievement of detente was the existence of a habitable world in the orbit next outwards from Earth, Minerva, known since the 1970s to harbor intelligent life of its own. This knowledge greatly added to the many Earth-bound reasons for competition between the United States and Soviet Union. Both super-powers were determined not to let the other one be the first to land there and reap the potential benefits from an alliance with its non-human inhabitants, on whose capacities little was known but much speculated.
The "Race for Minerva" led both powers to greater assertiveness and aggressiveness on issues not directly connected - for example, in the Middle East, where the super-powers' direct involvement in the conflict between their respective local clients led to the Third Beirut Crisis and brought them to the brink of all-out global war.
In 1986, reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union. He died within months of his ascension of an apparent brain hemmorage. Conspiracy theories held that Gorbachev was in fact secretly assassinated. Many speculated that certain quarters within the USSR were afraid that Gorbachev's reforms would be too extensive, and that he would prove "a weak leader" and let the Americans get to Minerva first.
The Cold War was thus the impetus for the respective US and Soviet space missions to Minerva. Consequently, the Skarmer-Omalo War became essentially a proxy war, as the Soviets supported the Skarmer domain, and the US supported the Omalo.
Cold War in "Black Tulip"Edit
Cold War in The GladiatorEdit
In one alternate infiltrated by Crosstime Traffic, the Soviet Union and its allies won the Cold War after the United States backed down during the Cuban Missile Crisis and withdrew troops from the Vietnam War in 1968. Concurrently, leftists in Western Europe, perceiving the United States' weakness, initiated popular fronts, which gradually ate away at the capitalist institutions while supporting the USSR. Europe as a whole soon fell under the rule of communism. The US followed suit. By the end of the 20th century, the Soviet Union was the superpower.
Cold War in The Valley-Westside WarEdit
The exact cause for the war was lost in the nuclear fire, although Crosstime researchers learned that Vyacheslav Molotov had been appointed to the International Atomic Energy Agency sometime before the war, a divergence from the home timeline.
Cold War in "Joe Steele"Edit
Before World War II, U.S. President Joe Steele was openly hostile to the Soviet Union. It was only the out break of war that brought the two countries in an alliance. After the war, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. found themselves facing each other over a divided Japan. In 1948, North Japan, at the prodding of the Soviet Union, attacked the U.S. vassel state South Japan. A year long war followed, in which both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. fought each other by proxy. The war ended with the tit-for-tat exchange of atomic bombs. Soviet-American political hostility continued after Steele's death in 1953.
The name Cold War is never used in the story. Its parallels are obvious, however.
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