The Cold War was an era of hostility between the United States (and our democratic allies) and the Soviet Union (and their communist allies) that began after World War II. During the fifties and sixties, the threat of nuclear attack loomed large, much the way the fear of another terrorist attack concerns us today.
CNN's Cold War site is a companion to their 1998 television documentary of the same name. It explores the Cold War era ("from Yalta to Malta") with features, interviews, glossary, interactive maps, forums, games, and an educators guide. My favorite sections are Culture ("The movies, the books, and the kitsch that defined the times.") and the four interactive games. Do you know your Cold War acronyms? Play The Terminology Test and see if you know the difference between SALT, DMZ, and the NFLA.
Best clicks at the virtual Cold War Museum are the Trivia Game ("Who was the founder of the Soviet Communist Party and leader of the Bolshevik Revolution?") and the decade-by-decade timeline that runs from the '40's to the '90's. Other clicks reveal a variety of quirky collections, such as Cold War patches, posters from " various exhibits and conferences that were hosted by the Central Intelligence Agency, " and "nineteen posters depicting Soviet Military hardware of the 1980's."
During the early Cold War years, CONELRAD was a national Emergency Broadcasting System. Today, "CONELRAD is a site devoted to atomic culture past and present but without all the distracting and pedantic polemics." If I hadn't lived through it, I'd probably think this kitsch collection of Cold War pop culture too bizarre to be true. But, as a child of the fifties, I can vouch for its authenticity. Here's just a few of the many gems awaiting your discovery: Bert the Turtle's Duck and Cover civil defense movie (in a variety of video formats), Kix Atomic "Bomb" ring promotion (only 15 and a cereal box top), and a 24/7 Internet radio broadcast of Cold War era "atomic" hits.
For middle and high-school students, HistoryWiz is a nice combination of onsite features and related offsite links. Start with the M.A.D. The Cold War Multimedia Exhibit (a terrific introductory slide show) and then explore the related features and resources in the right-hand column. Use the link collections to learn more about individual Cold War events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis or the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Steve Schoenherr is a history professor at the University of San Diego. His illustrated outline is an outstanding roadmap to the Cold War era. In timeline format from 1945 to 1991, topics include the arms race, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and all the related U.S. presidents from Truman to Clinton. Movie buffs will enjoy the nine recommended Cold War films; look for Films link at the bottom of the page.