The most characteristic feature of the Cold War, indeed the very reason behind the name, is that superpowers were afraid of the potential consequences between them, as epitomized by the fear of nuclear Armageddon. As a result, both sides were dedicated to fighting the battle through proxies rather than directly. These proxies usually took the form of communists or nationalist rebels that were financed and armed by the Soviet Union and the USA respectively. Throughout this era however, the phrase 'history repeats itself' comes to mind. Both the superpowers seemed to make recurring mistakes that, in one way or another, became interlinked and as a result have created serious consequences. The incessant need of both the Soviet Union and The United States to be the bigger better superpower of the Cold War has created serious repercussions such as defiance states, social movements, and backlashes; in the case of the United States, the Cold War foreign policy seemed to be a 'gift that keeps on giving.' .
Third World 'defiance states' became chess pieces between the superpowers. Through plots and proxies the superpowers were able to play them against one another without directly being involved. Vietnam became a major defiance state that later helped to shape the outcome of the Cold War. Vietnam had been divided into two, in the midst of a communist administration in the North under Ho Chi Minh and an egalitarian government in the South under Ngo Dinh Diem. The Vietnam War became a proxy between the United States, the Soviet Union and communist China. Despite their rivalry for leadership of the communist bloc of nations, the Soviet Union and China collaborated to support North Vietnam's effort to destroy South Vietnam. Ho used guerilla warfare in South Vietnam, piloted by Viet Cong divisions, with the target of bringing together the country under communist decree (Westdad, Cuban and Vietnamese Challenges).