Long Peace

The Long Peace is a term for the historical period following the end of World War II in 1945. This period of Cold War (1945–1991) was marked by the absence of major wars between the great powers of the period, the United States and the USSR.[1][2][3] Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the rise of China as a major power, there followed a quarter of a century of continued absence of direct conflict between major states, though lesser military conflicts occurred.

A phrase meant to express the length of the peace in Europe since 1945 is, "It has been 2,000 years since an army has not crossed the Rhine for so long a time."

It is speculated that the obvious political errors leading to World War I and World War II with their consequent horrors and, thereafter, the acquisition of thermonuclear weapons by the opposing powers exerted a restraining influence on the leaderships of the major powers. See Deterrence theory.


  1. Saperstein, Alvin M. (March 1991). "The "Long Peace"— Result of a Bipolar Competitive World?". The Journal of Conflict Resolution. 35 (1): 68–79. doi:10.1177/0022002791035001004. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  2. Gaddis, John Lewis (1989). The Long Peace: Inquiries Into the History of the Cold War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504335-9.
  3. Lebow, Richard Ned (Spring 1994). "The Long Peace, the End of the Cold War, and the Failure of Realism". International Organization. 48 (2): 249–277. doi:10.1017/s0020818300028186. JSTOR 2706932.

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