HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
Cold War Political Figures Quiz
by Staff
The Cold War was a period of military and political tension following World War II between Soviet Union allies and United States allies. While its leaders were often bitter rivals, we managed to get them all together for this quiz.

This U.S. president's 1954 "domino theory" speech helped set the stage for the country's involvement in the Vietnam War.

  • Harry S. Truman
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • John F. Kennedy

This Soviet leader headed the country when it developed the nuclear bomb in 1949.

  • Joseph Stalin
  • Nikita Khrushchev
  • Leonid Brezhnev

This Soviet leader is known for building the country's nuclear arsenal, including some particularly infamous nuclear missiles sent to Cuba in 1962.

  • Yuri Andropov
  • Leonid Brezhnev
  • Nikita Khrushchev

Which U.S. president stared down Brezhnev, forcing the Soviets to withdraw their missiles from Cuba?

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Lyndon Johnson

This German leader won a Nobel Prize for encouraging closer cooperation between West and East Germany.

  • Konrad Adenauer
  • Willy Brandt
  • Helmut Schmidt

This French president and former World War II general openly criticized U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

  • Charles de Gaulle
  • Rene Coty
  • Michel Debre

What Cuban leader sided with the Soviet Union, much to the annoyance of the United States, its neighbor just 90 miles (145 kilometers) to the north?

  • Che Guevara
  • Fidel Castro
  • Hugo Chavez

Which was a famous Soviet spy arrested in the United States in 1957?

  • Rudolf Abel
  • Andrei Kirilenko
  • Garry Kasparov

This former Burmese teacher served as United Nations secretary-general during the 1960s.

  • Ne Win
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • U Thant

This Polish activist helped bring an end to one-party Communist rule in his country.

  • Lech Walesa
  • Roman Polanski
  • Czeslaw Milosz

This Soviet leader's policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) inadvertently lead to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Boris Yeltsin
  • Vladimir Putin

Which Soviet leader famously invited Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old from Maine, to visit the Soviet Union after she wrote him a letter in 1982?

  • Dmitry Medvedev
  • Leonid Brezhnev
  • Yuri Andropov

It was a short reign for this Soviet leader, who held office for just 13 months in the 1980s.

  • Yuri Andropov
  • Konstantin Chernenko
  • Leonid Brezhnev

After World War II, this U.S. secretary of state implemented an economic aid package for western Europe that helped revitalize its economy and halt Communist expansion in the region.

  • Henry Kissinger
  • George Marshall
  • William Jennings Bryant

This U.S. president first promoted the policy of "containment," which meant the country would work to stop Soviet expansion.

  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Harry Truman
  • Dwight Eisenhower

Which Soviet leader pursued a policy of "detente" with the United States?

  • Nikita Khrushchev
  • Konstantin Chernenko
  • Leonid Brezhnev

This U.S. secretary of state negotiated an end to the Vietnam War.

  • George Marshall
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Warren Christopher

Which U.S. president famously challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" (a reference to the Berlin Wall)?

  • Jimmy Carter
  • Ronald Reagan
  • George H.W. Bush

Vietnam escalated to a full-scale war under what U.S. president?

  • Richard Nixon
  • Lyndon Johnson
  • John F. Kennedy

This woman was arrested in 1950 for providing the Soviets with U.S. military secrets.

  • Ethel Rosenberg
  • Ruth Fischer
  • Claire Phillips

As security secretary for the German Socialist Party, this man was responsible for the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

  • Franz Liszt
  • Heinrich Lubke
  • Erich Honecker

This Wisconsin senator gained a lot of attention when he claimed that the federal government was infiltrated by Communists.

  • Frederick Pabst
  • Joseph McCarthy
  • William Rehnquist

The leader of Romania from 1965-89, this man ruled the country with an iron fist.

  • Nicolae Ceausescu
  • Elie Wiesel
  • Bela Lugosi

Who was the Communist revolutionary who became president of North Vietnam during much of the Vietnam War?

  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Ngo Dinh Diem
  • Dustin Nguyen

After leading the Soviet Union through World War II, this man turned the country into a Cold War superpower.

  • Vladimir Lenin
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Georgy Malenkov

He was the U.S. president during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  • Ronald Reagan
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton

This man led the Communist Revolution in China and served as the country's leader until his death in 1976.

  • Mao Zedong
  • Chiang Kai-shek
  • Yao Ming

The first prime minister of India, this man was a founding member of the nonaligned movement during the Cold War.

  • Aasif Mandvi
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Jawaharlal Nehru

A famous World War II general, this American also led United Nations forces in the Korean War.

  • George Patton
  • Douglas MacArthur
  • Dwight Eisenhower

In the 1980s this religious leader stepped into the political realm by supporting Poland's anti-Communist social movement, led by the trade union Solidarity.

  • Pope John Paul II
  • Dalai Lama
  • Billy Graham