|This article is about the state of hostility that existed between the global superpowers from 1945 to 1990. You may be looking for the camouflage of the same name, featured in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.|
- This article is about a fictional representation of a real world subject.
- "After the end of World War II, the world was split into two -- East and West. This marked the beginning of the era called the Cold War"
- ―Naked Snake
The Cold War was the strategic, economic and ideological struggle between the global superpowers the Soviet Union and the United States of America, supported by their respective and emerging alliance partners. Important allies of the United States were the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, West Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Important allies of the Soviet Union were East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Syria, Egypt (for a while), Romania, Cuba, North Korea, North Vietnam and while maintaining a tenuous relationship with a few other communist states like China and Yugoslavia. The Cold War lasted over four decades, from circa 1947 (the post-World War II period) until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The struggle was widely called the Cold War because it did not involve direct armed conflict between the contestants (by contrast, a so-called "hot" war). The Cold War was instead waged by means of diplomatic maneuvering, economic pressure, selective aid, intimidation, propaganda, assassination, low-intensity military operations and full-scale proxy war, as well as espionage and information from circa 1947 until the terminal decline of the Warsaw Pact in the late 1980s. The Cold War also simultaneously witnessed the largest arms race (both conventional and nuclear) in history, leading to widespread global fears of a potential nuclear war. In addition to the United States and the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, China and Israel also possessed nuclear weapons during the Cold War. However, the fear of causing a nuclear holocaust had prevented the nuclear powers to wage war against each other. Therefore, the policy of nuclear deterrence was the conditional peace experienced by the world.
After World War II, the United States of America and the Soviet Union were in opposition over the expansion of their power. The Soviet Union and Eastern European countries formed the communist camp (East), and the United States, centered on NATO, formed the capitalist camp (West), dividing the world in two. Belonging to neither the East or the West, developing countries were called "third world countries" and became a stage for proxy wars between the East and West. The various branches of the Philosophers, who held influence in America, China, and the Soviet Union, believed that obtaining the lost Philosophers' Legacy would allow victory in the Cold War, causing the various factions to fight among themselves in order to obtain it.
Cold War tensions between the United States and the USSR eventually exploded in Korea when Soviet-backed North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. The United States aided the South Koreans during the early stages of the war and managed to drive the North Koreans back. However, the conflict ended in stalemate in 1953, after an armistice was agreed, although the war itself had not ended yet. U.S. soldier Jack, later known as Big Boss, fought in the Korean War.
During the early parts of the Cold War, extensive testing of nuclear weapons were carried out. Two such U.S. tests were Operation Castle Bravo (better known as the Bravo Shot) at the Marshall Islands, and Operation Buster Jangle Dog at White Sands, Nevada, during which Jack and The Boss were irradiated, respectively. Both armed with nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union and the United States glared at each other with enough power to bring about the destruction of the world.
In the late 1950s, the Soviets betrayed their fellow Communist partners, the Chinese, by withdrawing all funding for their various weapons projects, including "Liangdan yixing", their hydrogen bomb and space rocket project, resulting in the Chinese experiencing failure throughout this time. In addition, the USSR made efforts to extend control over Central America, the United States proverbial backyard.
During the late 1950s, the Soviet Union bluffed about the amount of missiles it had, which the United States also was led to believe, known as the missile gap. Because of this, various sabotage operations were conducted within the Soviet Union by the United States by using a sleeper agent. The person that the President appointed to the mission was The Boss. However, she ended up using the Philosophers' spy network in order to proceed with the operation, due to the CIA refusing to lend her a hand. Things went according to plan until the launch of Sputnik 5, when the CIA pocketed a large percentage of their sleeper agent's pay, resulting in the sleeper agent defecting to the Soviet Union completely and falsifying the leaked documents.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
On April 17-19, 1961, the United States, specifically the CIA, attempted to arrange for Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, in order to oust Fidel Castro from power. However, at a crucial moment, President John F. Kennedy hesitated in sending the support air strike, resulting in their deaths as well as the invasion ending in complete disaster. The CIA and the Pentagon fabricated The Boss's involvement in the invasion in order to cover up the fact that she was hospitalized and under a coma due to the Lady Mercury project going awry. As a result, the CIA and the Pentagon's already tense relations grew worse due to the CIA taking over a lot of the latter's military projects, and Castro was more willing to listen to the Soviet Union in order to have protection against a potential future invasion of America.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
- Main article: Cuban Missile Crisis
The world came close to World War III in 1962 due to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. discovered that Russian ships were exporting missiles into Cuba and launch sites were being constructed along the Cuban coast. The U.S. Navy blockaded all access to Cuba and things came to a head when a few U.S. aircraft were shot down by Cuban SAM sites on intelligence missions. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union mobilized their armies while President Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev held top-secret talks to avert the crisis. Finally in October Khrushchev relented and pulled out of Cuba, averting global catastrophe. However the U.S. had to return a Soviet scientist who had just recently defected. The scientist was returned over the Iron Curtain while the U.S. fed information to all the intelligence agencies around the world that they were dismantling ICBM sites in Turkey. The reason for the Soviet scientist's return to the Soviet Union as the Soviets requirement for standing down would not be known until two years afterwards, when details of the development of a secret weapon were leaked.
The Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater
Having eventually located where the Legacy was at and who owned it, America and China dispatched their own agents to retrieving it. Recovering the Philosophers' Legacy was the true purpose of the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater launched by the United States in 1964, with rescuing Sokolov, and later, disposing of The Boss as a traitor, acting as pretenses towards this goal. At the time, the Legacy was illegally in the possession of GRU Colonel Volgin, who attempted to overthrow Premier Khrushchev using the new weapon called the Shagohod. Naked Snake averted nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by destroying the Shagohod and eliminating both Volgin and The Boss, who had defected as per mission orders in the Virtuous Mission. Half of the Legacy would make its way back to the United States while the other half was presumably kept by the KGB.
|Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]|
San Hieronymo Incident
With the United States having acquired half the Legacy, they were able to continue funding military spending and enjoy economic growth along with its allies. However, the Soviet Union's planned economy could not keep up with the military demands and was beginning to fail. Because of this, the Soviet Union and the U.S. were engaged in SALT talks to reduce their arsenal of nuclear warheads. Without the Legacy, the Soviets could not continue supplying their armed forces that were secretly deployed overseas and abandoned them, the most notable case being the Soviet missile base in San Hieronymo Peninsula. The Legacy was eventually made whole in 1970, retrieved by a reorganized branch of the American Philosophers named the Patriots.
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
Peace Walker Incident
Afterwards, the U.S. and the Soviet Union turned their attention towards Central America. Cuba was already a thorn to the Americans since the 1960s. But if the Soviets could control Central and Latin America (dubbed "America's backyard"), it would cause a big blow against the U.S. due to their economic and trading ties, and the Soviet Union would win the Cold War. In 1974, through the careful manipulation of the Patriots (going under the name of Cipher), the KGB sent Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zadornov to win the support of the FSLN in Nicaragua. In response the CIA sent various agents into Costa Rica as a deterrent and capture the Sandinistas that fled from Nicaragua. The CIA station chief in South America, Hot Coldman, authorized the development of the Peace Walker AI project as the perfect deterrent to nuclear war, working in collaboration with Zadornov, forming the rogue CIA unit known as the Peace Sentinel. The Militaires Sans Frontières, led by Naked Snake (Big Boss), managed to destroy Peace Walker and prevent its launch into Cuba (in the process averting nuclear annihilation) while the Russians lost their control over the FSLN, and by extension any chances of controlling Central America.
End of the Cold War
The Soviets, as a last ditch effort in attempting to win the Cold War, decided to invade Afghanistan during the 1980s. However, they failed in controlling it, due to the American-backed Mujahideen as well as various costs of the invasion being too expensive, and did a systematic withdrawal. Aside from this, the Cold War also had some influence in areas such as Central Africa, in particular standoffs that generally resulted in the various Superpowers having indirect roles in the conflicts by backing various sides via groups like UNITA and the MPLA, as well as Private Forces such as Contract Forces of Africa, Zero Risk Security, Rogue Coyote, and Diamond Dogs, which also was in part due to the expansion of the war economy that was created during the 1970s via MSF.
By the early 1990s, the Soviet Union's power was weakening. The failing of its economic policies, rising discontent in the Warsaw Pact countries, and the successes enjoyed by the United States had eventually caused the Soviet Union to collapse. With the fall of the Berlin Wall signalling the reunification of Germany, the former Soviet Union split up into many countries and renounced communism. The Cold War had ended. As a direct result of its end, Russia ended up having a lot of political instability, and America itself didn't do so well, either, as it slashed its defense budget by 15%, forcing a lot of weapons industries into takeovers or bankruptcies, including ArmsTech, and the Department of Defense was also forced to turn to the private sector for its weapons development as a result. In addition, the reunification of Germany also left several scientists out of work, and cancelled various weapons contracts. Some Russians were also out of a job as a result of the USSR's collapse, some becoming mercenaries or some selling their knowledge on nuclear weapons to the highest bidder.
Behind the scenes
The Cold War played a massive role in the Big Boss-era of the Metal Gear series, and to a lesser extent the Solid Snake era. According to Hideo Kojima, the reason he decided to set Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater during the Cold War's height during the 1960s was so it could get closer to 007 roots of the series, as modern times do not have secret agents as a realistic element, and as an attempt to further the anti-war and anti-nuke messages to explore the Cold War and its ties to the present. On a similar note, the nuclear threat references in Metal Gear Solid were indicated by Ryan Payton to be a holdover of the Cold War that Kojima brought back when making Metal Gear Solid.
Notes and references
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (mentioned only)
- Metal Gear Solid (mentioned only)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (mentioned only)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (mentioned only)
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (mentioned only)
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain