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The Cold War, often dated from 1950, is a sustained state of political and military tension between powers in the Allied Pact, dominated by the British Empire and its allies, and powers in the Wake Island Association, dominated by the Union of American People's Republics. This began after the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Imperial Japan, leaving the Empire and the UAPR as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. A neutral faction has arisen with the Non-Aligned Movement founded by France, South Africa, and the Soviet Union; this faction rejects association with either the British-led Allies or the American-led WIA.

The name "Cold War" was coined by the English writer George Orwell, after the dropping of the first atomic bombs in 1946 by British forces on Japan ushered in a new world also foreseen by H.G. Wells. It described a world where the two major powers — each possessing nuclear weapons and thereby threatened with mutual assured destruction — never meet in direct military combat. Instead, in their struggle for global influence they engage in ongoing psychological warfare and in regular indirect confrontations through proxy wars. Cycles of relative calm are followed by high tension, which could lead to world war. The tensest times so far have been during the discovery of a British spy ring in San Diego in 1985, the American blockade of Haiti in 1971, the naval standoff between Australian and Argentine ships in 1956, the Nuclear tests performed by America for the first time in 1952, the British Invasion of Afghanistan to suppress a communist uprising, the Indonesian Civil War (1966-1976), the American CIA tapping into the British parliament in 1991, the East Japanese downing of Aeroflot Flight 3504 (1996), and the sinking of the American submarine "Trout" in 1962. The conflict is expressed through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, extensive aid to client states, espionage, massive propaganda campaigns, conventional and nuclear arms races, appeals to neutral nations, rivalry at sports events (in particular the Olympics), and technological competitions such as the Space Race. The British Empire and America have become involved in political and military conflicts in the Third World.

The Cold War and its events leave a significant legacy, and it is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (such as the internationally successful James Bond film series) and the threat of nuclear warfare.

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