The Cold War was a decades-long period of heightened tensions between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, the two largest military and economic powers on Earth during the the second half of 20th century, and their respective allies.
As the two dominant nation-states to emerge after World War II, the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were diametrically opposed in economic and social philosophy. However, the devastating effects of that conflict combined with the enormous nuclear arsenal of the two countries made open hostilities a disastrous prospect for both. Rather than risk mutual annihilation the two powers engaged in a "cold war" that consisted of intense espionage, political manipulation of satellite states (see "Brush Wars"), and covert military actions. As such it was not an open "war" between the USA and USSR, in a conventional sense.
The atmosphere created by the Cold War put enormous strains on the governments and citizens of both countries. Suspicion of each other's motives was the normal state of affairs, and the military leadership of both sides regularly argued for armed conflict.
When Quark, Rom, Nog, and Odo were thrown back in time to 1947 the military of the US accused them of being involved with the Russians, their Cold War adversary. After the US was on the verge of rejecting Quark's deal, the Ferengi threatened to sell 24th century technology to the Soviets. (DS9: "Little Green Men")
|Earth wars prior to the Federation|
|Crusades • American Revolution • American Civil War • World War I • World War II • Brush Wars • Earth Cold War • Eugenics Wars • World War III • Earth-Kzin Wars • Earth-Romulan War|
The end of the Cold War was the inspiration for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The collapse of the Soviet Union between the release of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI created the anachronism of having an officer at Starfleet Headquarters refer to the city of Leningrad, which after the fall of the USSR reverted to its original name of St. Petersburg.
The character of Pavel Chekov in Star Trek: The Original Series was a controversial move, coming as it did at the height of the Cold War, only six years after the construction of the Berlin Wall and five years after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The script of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Destiny" describes the meeting between Benjamin Sisko and his crew with Ulani Belor and Gilora Rejal as being "like a meeting between Americans and Russians at the height of the Cold War."