The Most Influential People of the Cold War

List Rules

Vote up the people you feel had the biggest impact during the time of the Cold War.   

The Cold War was a period of confrontation between the two superpowers of the world, the United States and the Soviet Union. During the war, which simmered from 1947 to 1991, the USA and the USSR used different methods and tactics to expand their own global influence and reduce the other's.

The impact and effects of this "war" - although not a violent one - continue to have repercussions well into the 21st Century. Many politicians and political leaders played roles in the Cold War, both from the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies) and the Eastern Bloc (including USA and members of NATO). Among them, which people were the most important?

If you've been wondering about who was president during the Cold War, or who was involved in the Cold War, this list is sure to help. For example, Joseph Stalin was certainly one of the key people in the Cold War. Other Cold War figures include Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Harry S. Truman. 

Scroll through all of the famous people in the Cold War below, and vote up the ones you think had the biggest impact. 

Ranked by
  • Joseph Stalin
    1
    Dec. at 74 (1878-1953)
    • Birthplace: Gori, Georgia
  • Ronald Reagan
    2
    Dec. at 93 (1911-2004)
    • Birthplace: Tampico, Illinois, United States of America
  • John F. Kennedy
    3
    Dec. at 46 (1917-1963)
    • Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
  • Harry S. Truman
    4
    Dec. at 88 (1884-1972)
    • Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, United States of America
  • Nikita Khrushchev
    5
    Dec. at 77 (1894-1971)
    • Birthplace: Kalinovka, Russia
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
    6
    Dec. at 91 (1931-2022)
    • Birthplace: Privolnoye, Krasnogvardeysky District, Stavropol Krai
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
    7
    Dec. at 78 (1890-1969)
    • Birthplace: Texas, Denison, Contiguous United States, United States of America, Grayson County
  • Fidel Castro
    8
    • Birthplace: Birán, Cuba
  • Winston Churchill
    9
    Dec. at 90 (1874-1965)
    • Birthplace: Blenheim Palace, United Kingdom
  • Mao Zedong
    10
    Dec. at 82 (1893-1976)
    • Birthplace: Shaoshan, China
  • Richard Nixon
    11
    Dec. at 81 (1913-1994)
    • Birthplace: California, Contiguous United States, United States of America, Orange County, United States
  • Leonid Brezhnev
    12
    Dec. at 75 (1906-1982)
    • Birthplace: Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine
  • Ho Chi Minh
    13
    Dec. at 79 (1890-1969)
    • Birthplace: Kim Lien, Vietnam
  • Yuri Gagarin
    14
    Dec. at 34 (1934-1968)
    • Birthplace: Klushino, Russia
  • Che Guevara
    15
    Dec. at 39 (1928-1967)
    • Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina
  • Douglas MacArthur
    16
    Dec. at 84 (1880-1964)
    • Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America
  • Henry Kissinger
    17
    • Birthplace: Fürth, Germany
  • Neil Armstrong
    18
    Dec. at 82 (1930-2012)
    • Birthplace: Ohio, United States of America
  • Josip Broz Tito
    19
    Dec. at 87 (1892-1980)
    • Birthplace: Kumrovec, Croatia
  • Margaret Thatcher
    20
    Dec. at 87 (1925-2013)
    • Birthplace: Grantham, United Kingdom
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
    21
    Dec. at 64 (1908-1973)
    • Birthplace: Texas, Contiguous United States, Edwards Plateau, United States of America, United States
  • George Marshall
    22
    Dec. at 78 (1880-1959)
    • Birthplace: Uniontown, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  • Kim Il-sung
    23
    Dec. at 82 (1912-1994)
    • Birthplace: Pyongyang, Pyongan, North Korea
  • Vladimir Lenin
    24
    Dec. at 53 (1870-1924)
    • Birthplace: Ulyanovsk, Russia
  • Pope John Paul II
    25
    Dec. at 84 (1920-2005)
    • Birthplace: Wadowice, Poland