Compare And Contrast The Soviet Union And The United States During The Cold War


Compare And Contrast The Soviet Union And The United States During The Cold War

Throughout this article, we will make an in-depth comparison of the contrasts between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States of America (USA) during the era of the Cold War.

We will discuss this whole comparison in these five points below:

  • Geography (USSR had supremacy over the USA)
  • Economic power (The USA was the winner)
  • Military strength and allies (The USA had more allies but no one was the winner)
  • Population (The USSR had more population than the USA)
  • Political stability (The United States was more stable than the Soviet Union)

So, let’s dive right in.

1. Geographic Comparison

Geographically, the Union of Soviet Russia and the United States of America two came to the largest countries list during the Cold War era (1945-1991).

During that time, the USSR was the largest country in the world with a total land area of 22.4 million square kilometers.

Though, in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed into 15 nations; but its successor Russian Federation is still the world’s largest country with 17.1 million square kilometers of area.

However, the USA was and still is not as big as the USSR; but it also comes into the third position on the world’s largest countries list.

The USA’s total land segment is 9.83 million square kilometers.

It means during the time of the Cold War, the geography of the Soviet Union was almost one and a half times bigger than the United States.

So, in the case of land areas, the Soviet Union was the winner of the Cold War.

Although, both nations were quite rich from the perspective of natural resources.

The United States was a capitalist nation, it succeeded in properly utilizing its resources for the nation’s development compared to the Communist nation.

[Fun Fact: Did You Know? USSR Was Almost Half Times Larger Than The Former Planet Pluto. Even Its Successor Nation, Russian Federation Is Still Larger Than The Former Planet]

Compare And Contrast The Soviet Union And The United States During The Cold War

2. Economic Power of The Soviet Union And The United States 

We must agree that the geography of the USSR was much and much larger than the USA, but having massive geography doesn’t mean having a massive economy.

Yes, we agree the Soviet Union’s economy was a large economy in the world during the Cold War era; but compared to the United States it was not that big.

As per some economic statistics, in 1980 the Soviet Union’s GDP was 1.21 trillion dollars (nominal). But on the other hand, the United States GDP was 2.86 trillion dollars in 1980.

You can see the US economy was two times larger than the USSR.

Same way, in 1980 America’s GDP per capita was 12,574.79 USD; but the USSR’s GDP per capita was $5,800 in 1980.

It proves that the American people lived a much better life than Soviet citizens.

So, in the case of economic comparison, the United States of America was definitely the winner of the Cold War.

[Fun Fact: Did You Know? The USSR’s Main Successor Russian Federation’s Total Economy In 2020 Is Only 1.4 Trillion Dollars Compared To The USA’s 20.93 Trillion Dollars. Even The Fun Fact Is, American State California’s Total Economy In 2020 Is Around 3 Trillion Dollars]

Compare And Contrast The Soviet Union And The United States During The Cold War

3. Military Strength And Allies

In the case of military strength, the USA and USSR ranked number one and second positions during that time.

The positions fluctuated from time to time; sometimes the US military became the most powerful and sometimes the Soviets.

For example: In the beginning years of the Cold War (1945-50), the Soviet Union had the strongest land-based military in the world.

Seeing the Soviets’ power on the ground, the US also started making its land-based military power more strong.

Although, the United States had much better dominance over the Navy and Air Force, due to its technological superiority.

With the support of Great Britain and France, they almost dominated the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans without competition.

On the other side, the USA had around 6,800 total nuclear warheads and the USSR had 45,000 nuclear warheads, which was many times larger than the USA.

Now let’s see, who their military allies were.

In 1949, the United States formed NATO, which was a collective military alliance under its leadership.

Its members were:

  • United States
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Britain
  • Portugal
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway

In response to NATO, the Soviet Union also signed a military pact in 1955, named the ‘Warsaw pact’.

Its members were:

  • Soviet Union
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary
  • Albania
  • East Germany
  • Czechoslovakia

We don’t think that we can declare any one of them the winner in military strength comparison, because both of the countries had nuclear capabilities.

If a war would break out between them, then no one remained the winner; the entire world would have been demolished.

[Fun Fact: Did You Know? All The Nuclear Weapons That These Two Giants Had During The Tensions’ Age Could Have Ruined The Whole World For More Than 200 Times]


4. Population

In the population segment, the USSR observed more population than the US.

As per the report of 1956, the Soviet Union’s population was 20.02 crores.

But in the very same year, the USA’s population was 16.89 crores.

The gap kept remaining till 1991.

However, present day, Russia’s population is quite less than the United States.

Russia: 14.45 crores

USA: 32.82 crores.

[Fun Fact: Did You Know? Although Russia Is The Largest Country In The World By Land Area, But Its Population Is Quite Lower Than Many Smaller Countries; Such As Bangladesh, Pakistan, Etc. Even, This Nation Has Lower Population Than An Indian State Uttar Pradesh’s 23 crores]


5. Comparision of Political Stability

Of course, you know that the Union of Soviet Russia was a one-party ruling Communist nation, and on the other hand, the United States of America was a fully democratic nation.

In the case of political stability, both countries were politically quite stable during the Cold War.

But, at the very ending part of the struggle, the USSR became politically unstable.

As a result, it went disintegrated in 1991.

Therefore in this comparison, we think the United States is the real winner.

[Fun Fact: Did You Know? Glasnost And Perestroika Were The Two Main Reform Initiatives Taken By The CPSU’s Leader Mikhail Gorbachev. However, Instead of Reformation, It Completely Disintegrated The Soviet Union]



So, this is a simple comparison of the contrasts from our side between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War.

What do you think about this?

Don’t forget to let us know.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here