During the cold war, soviet troops weren’t issued toilet paper in the field, leading to them using official documents; Spies were sent in to retrieve these documents from disposal bins. It’s seen as one of the most successful espionage missions of the cold war.
During the Cold War a ‘Three world’ model arose to describe nations either aligned with NATO (first world), the Eastern Bloc (second world) or the ‘Third World’. Rather than economic this was a political grouping loosely describing ‘unaligned’ nations in the ‘developing world’.
Vaclav Bozdech, a soldier in WWII, found a puppy while on the run and planned to kill it so its barking would not alert the Germans. Unable to bring himself to do so, he took it with him, and the dog later helped find survivors of an air raid and saved Bozdech’s life during the Cold War.
Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser was once awoken to a report of 2,200 incoming Soviet missiles: a false alarm due to the malfunction of a 46 cent chip. He wanted further confirmation, and as he lay there in bed in the early morning hours, he decided not to wake up his wife, because if Washington, D.C., was about to be destroyed, he preferred that she die in her sleep. As he was preparing to call President Carter to talk about the American retaliation, and his military aide called back one more time [and] said it was a false alarm.
The US Air Force seriously considered and researched nuking the Moon as a show of force after Russia launched Sputnik, but scrapped it at the last minute as they felt landing on it would be better received by the public.
Digital cameras were developed so spy satellites could send images back to earth more quickly. Before digital cameras in 1976, spy satellites used film. After the film was shot, the satellites loaded the footage into capsules and dropped them from orbit into the atmosphere for collection.
During the Cold War, playground equipment in the US and the USSR was made with the intent of getting children to be interested in the Space Race.
A Russian MIG Pilot defected during the cold war along with his aircraft. When he arrived in the USA he was convinced the CIA had specially stocked the grocery stores he went to because he couldn’t believe the vast array of products for sale.
“In God We Trust” was placed on all U.S. bills during the Cold War as a way to express the United States’ anti-communist beliefs.
During the Cold War, so little information was available about the USSR’s government that Kremlinologists studied the order Soviet leaders appeared (or didn’t appear) during parades, and the timing and spacing between them, to see who was powerful and who had lost influence.