Beyond the Blocs: 75 Key Facts That Define the Legacy of the Cold War

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1Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan

The US Air Force developed a top-secret plan to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon as a display of military might at the height of the Cold War. The mathematical modeling for the explosion was done by Carl Sagan.

2. The height of the Cold War the titanium used in building the legendary SR-71 Blackbird was sourced by the CIA (via dummy companies) from the completely oblivious the Soviet Union.

3. The CIA secretly spiked the bread from a bakery in the French village of Pont-Saint-Esprit with enormous quantities of LSD as part of its cold war mind-control experiments.

4. During the Cold War America used bears to test their ejector seats in supersonic jets.

5. A friendly exchange between an American and Chinese player in the 1971 World Ping-Pong Championship prompted Mao Zedong to invite the American table tennis to China, helping re-open Sino-American relations for the first time since the cold war.

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6Project West Ford

Project West Ford

In 1963, at the height of the Cold War, the US military launched a ring of 480 million needles into orbit around the earth. It was hoped they would more reliably bounce radio signals back to earth in case the Soviets cut through undersea cables. Multiple clumps of these needles are still up there

7. The Third World was so named during the Cold War to describe countries not aligned with the US or USSR and had nothing to do with poverty

8. The Canadian government forcibly relocated Inuit to the most northern parts of the country during the Cold War in order to assert its sovereignty in the area

9. The Soviets gave the offspring of one of their space dogs to JFK’s daughter Caroline during the Cold War in 1961, which went on to have pups with an American dog that JFK jokingly dubbed ‘pupniks’

10. A molten-salt reactor, a piece of technology conceived during the Cold War that forgoes solid nuclear fuel for a liquid one, can generate energy with far greater efficiency than any power technology in existence.

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11Igor Gouzenko

Igor Gouzenko

The Cold War is credited to have started in Canada after a Soviet Cipher Clerk defected to Canada and revealed Stalin's attempts to steal nuclear secrets.

12. Sidney Shachnow walked 2,000 miles for six months across Europe to escape a Nazi concentration camp, joined the US Army, volunteered for the Green Berets in Vietnam, served in a clandestine unit of cold war commandos, received a master's and doctoral degree and attained the rank of Maj. General.

13. The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Communist Bloc.

14. Gorbachev, the guy who pretty much ended the cold war, made a children music CD with Bill Clinton and won a Grammy for it

15. The Stroop effect (e.g. the printed word "blue" colored in red) was used to help detect Russian spies during the Cold War.

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16The Madman Theory

The Madman Theory

During the Cold War, President Nixon devised a strategy to make the USSR think he was crazy and capable of launching nukes at any moment. It was called the "Madman Theory".

17. During the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev said to Mao Zedong that "Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze on Berlin."

18. The US spent $20 million on a cat equipped to spy on the Soviets during the Cold War but it immediately got hit by a taxi

19. In 1983, amidst the cold war, the world was a 'Hairsbreadth from Utter Destruction', but nuclear apocalypse was prevented by a single Russian Colonel

20. A US submarine placed a wire tap on Russian undersea cables to monitor secret military communications during the Cold War, and only found the cable after a week of searching because of a sign on the shore saying "Cable Here. Do Not Anchor."

21Ernst Thälmann Island

Ernst Thälmann Island

Cuba gifted East Germany a small island during the Cold War as a symbol of friendship. Many have claimed that the island is now the last official territory of East Germany as it was not mentioned in the Treaty which united East and West Germany in 1990

22. In 1976, during the height of the Cold War, Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected to the West taking with him the highly secretive MiG-25 fighter plane.

23. The last leader of East Germany is still alive and still, defends his former country despite serving in prison for several years over Cold War crimes

24. The illegal landing of a "mentally unstable" 19-year-old amateur pilot in the Red Square inadvertently helped lead to the fall of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War.

25. Being a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd World Country Depends on Its Cold War Orientation

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