The Cold War (1947/481989) developed out of power-political disagreements between the victorious powers and the ideological east-west-conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after World War Two. It lasted over 40 years, with ongoing, smouldering conflict between the former partners of World War Two. Despite this, the war threshold never developed as a "hot war". Instead, it dominated as a "cold war" within its military dimension (nuclear weapons and their destruction potential), sustained by world political developments in second half of the 20th century. Even at the start of the 21st Century, the international system in its crisis and military alliance structure is still determined by the political and strategic military aftermath of the Cold War.
Military Potentials Both superpowers had built up a worldwide military power through naval alliance positions, directly on the doorstep of the enemy, as well as marine and air bases in allied countries. Numerous nuclear tests developed intercontinental, ballistic missiles and became a direct threat to counterpart's territories. Mid-1980's attempts to respond in time, through effective early detection of hostile intentions, directed the arms race to space-based defence and intelligence systems (radar detection systems). This dense network was supplemented by reconnaissance satellites. It was impossible to effectively and precisely detect wide-scale submarines with nuclear warheads in order to protect agains