World Leaders of the Cold War

For each position listed and time period, name the Cold War leader.
The ROC (Republic of China) is today commonly known as Taiwan.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: May 19, 2020
First submittedAugust 25, 2014
Times taken9,322
Rating4.19
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Position
Years
Answer
American President
1989-1993
George H. W. Bush
1981-1989
Ronald Reagan
1977-1981
Jimmy Carter
1969-1974
Richard Nixon
1963-1969
Lyndon Johnson
1961-1963
John F. Kennedy
1953-1961
Dwight Eisenhower
1945-1953
Harry Truman
British P.M.
1979-1990
Margaret Thatcher
French President
1981-1995
François Mitterrand
1959-1969
Charles de Gaulle
Israeli P.M.
1984-1986
Shimon Peres
1977-1983
Menachem Begin
1974-1977
Yitzhak Rabin
1969-1974
Golda Meir
1948-1963
David Ben-Gurion
Leader of the
Republic of China
1928-1975
Chiang Kai-shek
Solidarity Chair;
Polish President
1980-1995
Lech Walesa
Chilean Dictator
1974-1990
Augusto Pinochet
Panamanian Leader
1983-1989
Manuel Noriega
Position
Years
Answer
Soviet Leader
1985-1991
Mikhail Gorbachev
1964-1982
Leonid Brezhnev
1955-1964
Nikita Khrushchev
1922-1952
Joseph Stalin
Paramount Leader
of China
1978-1992
Deng Xiaoping
1949-1976
Mao Zedong
East German Leader
1950-1973
Walter Ulbricht
North Korean Dictator
1948-1994
Kim Il Sung
Vietnamese Leader
1945-1969
Ho Chi Minh
Egyptian President
1970-1981
Anwar Sadat
1956-1970
Gamal Abdel Nasser
General Secretary of
the Khmer Rouge
1963-1981
Pol Pot
Yugoslavian President
1953-1980
Josip Broz Tito
Saudi King
1964-1975
King Faisal
Iranian Ayatollah
1979-1989
Ruhollah Khomeini
Iranian Shah
1941-1979
Mohammad Reza
Pahlavi
Cuban Dictator
1961-2011
Fidel Castro
1952-1959
Fulgencio Batista
Indonesian President
1967-1998
Suharto
1945-1967
Sukarno
+1
Level 65
Aug 25, 2014
Mitterrand, Nagy and Ulbricht seems to be not accepted
+1
Level 79
Aug 25, 2014
Thanks. I'll fix it.
+1
Level 79
Aug 27, 2014
I ended up removing Nagy from the quiz anyway. Nobody was guessing him. I added Khomeini instead.
+1
Level 76
May 14, 2020
Better suited for Eastern Europe cold war quiz or something
+2
Level 79
Sep 11, 2014
Deleted Dubcek to make room for Noriega, after deleting Noriega from the World Leaders #2 Quiz.
+2
Level 79
Oct 12, 2019
Noriega does not belong on this quiz. He was a drug dealing tin pot dictator of a third world backwater banana republic that played no role in the cold war. Omit him and put Ford in.
+7
Level 79
Oct 12, 2019
I'd recommend googling "Noriega and the Cold War"
+1
Level 54
Feb 9, 2020
Put dubcek back in
+1
Level 79
May 18, 2020
Very few people were guessing him, and now that this quiz is going to be featured I doubt that QM wants me to start adding in more difficult answers.
+1
Level 59
Sep 19, 2014
I hate having to respell Gorbachov and Khrushov/Khrushiov.
+2
Level 79
Sep 19, 2014
I'll add those spellings.
+2
Level 71
Sep 19, 2014
The years you give for Pol Pot may coincide with his leadership of the Khmer Rouge, but they do not represent the years he held power in Cambodia. That should be 1975-1981.
+1
Level 76
May 14, 2020
It says cold war leaders, who are not necessarily country leaders in this quiz (like Walęsa). That said, Tito was also undisputed leader of Yugoslavia at least since 1945 when the communist party won the elections.
+2
Level 78
Sep 24, 2014
I kept typing Mikhail Baryshnikov, wondering why it wasn't accepted for the Russian leader. Somebody smack me, please?
+8
Level 79
Sep 30, 2014
His summit with American president Michael Jackson was one for the books.
+9
Level 78
Sep 24, 2014
Just wondering why Ford is the only US prez you omitted from the list.
+4
Level 79
Nov 16, 2014
He was only in office 895 days and didn't do that much while there. Ford's presidency saw the fall of Saigon, which was significant, but also something that had been building for a while and he didn't have much to do with it. Additionally, compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union (Bush), the INF treaty/end of the Cold War (Reagan), Iranian revolution and hostage crisis (Carter), '73 Israeli War/disengagement in Vietnam/visiting China (Nixon), escalation in Vietnam/Gulf of Tomkin (Johnson), Cuban missile crisis (Kennedy), Eisenhower doctrine/Iranian coup/Suez crisis/space race (Eisenhower), or the Truman doctrine/NATO/Marshall plan/use of the a-bomb/start of the Cold War (Truman)... it just doesn't seem that important.
+7
Level 67
Nov 17, 2014
Since Ford did lead the U.S.A during the Cold War, doesn't that give him a place on this list, regardless of how insignificant he was?
+7
Level 79
Nov 18, 2014
He's far from the only leader left off this list. I also omitted Hua Guofeng, 3-4 Soviet leaders depending on whether you count Yanayev or not, and a whopping 10 British prime ministers, among others. I left Churchill off the list and I daresay he was a much more significant leader of the Cold War than Gerald Ford. I just decided that he was much more associated with World War 2 and his first term in office so I left him off this quiz.

So, in short, no. This is not a comprehensive list. If it were there would be a few thousand answers.
+3
Level 76
Nov 28, 2018
Not to mention the yearly rotation of Yugoslav presidents after Tito :)

And of course Churchill absolutely belongs on this list but I understand the reason for exclusion.
+2
Level 72
Jun 2, 2016
Pol Pot could only really be described as dictator of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 - before and after that he was just the leader of a Cambodian political party.
+1
Level 68
Oct 12, 2016
Great quiz. I could have done with an extra minute or so, but then I am trying to drag answers from the back of my mind or remember things from when I was only a kid.
+1
Level 64
Oct 16, 2016
Nice quiz! Can you accept just Gaulle? Was wondering why Charles de Gaulle was not being accepted.
+6
Level 57
Dec 5, 2019
Gaulle wasn't his surname - it's de Gaulle.
+2
Level 38
Jan 25, 2018
Kalbahamut: Though I thoroughly disagree with you about Gerald Ford being omitted from this quiz, and I often regard you as a giant PITA... I must admit that you compose awesome quizes. Kudos!
+9
Level 79
Jan 25, 2018
I absolutely am not an enormous piece of unleavened bread.
+4
Level 50
May 29, 2018
Maybe some more British PMs should be included.
+1
Level 79
Jun 4, 2018
Maybe. But I don't really think the quiz is any poorer for the omission of Harold Wilson or James Callaghan. I decided to leave off Winston Churchill because he's on my World Leaders of the World Wars quiz and is much better known for his leadership during that period. Aside from him, Thatcher, and maybe Atlee I don't think there are any British PMs that most people would know or that played a significant role in the events of the Cold War.
+3
Level 66
Jun 2, 2020
"I don't think there are any British PMs that most people would know" yeah you mean American people. Plenty of British people in the website would indeed know of them.
+1
Level 70
Jun 2, 2020
I agree with BlackJohn. If you're in Britain and lived through the Cold War period, then Wilson, MacMillan, Heath and others are every bit as well known as some of the US Presidents, and played their part on the world stage during that time, at least as much as many of those listed.
+3
Level 79
Jun 2, 2020
uh... no... I mean what I said. Most people. As in most (north of 50%) people in the world or even who come to this website. Commonly I've run in to the problem that those living in the UK seem to assume that their country constitutes the entire rest of the world outside of America. This is not the case. You're one small part of it. If I was tailoring this quiz specifically to a British audience then obviously I would have included more British prime ministers, though.

and while, sure, maybe those PMs you mentioned played a part in international politics during the Cold War, #1 how important were they, really, to how the major events of the Cold War (the conflict and many proxy conflicts between the US and USSR) played out? and #2 I'd be willing to bet money that if I put them on this quiz the percentage of people who guessed them would be in the Faisal - Nagy - Dubcek range or slightly higher.
+3
Level 48
Jan 4, 2019
Can you also accept Jiang Jieshi for Chiang Kai Shek? Thanks for the quiz!
+1
Level 30
Oct 12, 2019
Another great quiz kalbahamut! Nomination point coming your way!
+1
Level 30
Oct 12, 2019
If you (or anyone else who sees this) is inclined to take a quiz of mine, that would be incredibly helpful! I have a quiz called "Major 2020 Presidential Candidates" that is on the nomination page and would love feedback on it! Thank you in advance for anyone who checks it out!!
+2
Level 15
Dec 2, 2019
Where's Gerald Ford?
+6
Level 78
Dec 5, 2019
In a tomb next to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI.
+5
Level 72
Jan 17, 2020
Why so many Israeli prime ministers?
+2
Level 79
Jan 17, 2020
Because Israel was at the center of many events important to the Cold War. But likely also because I have a personal fascination with the region and so know more about it myself.
+9
Level 80
Jan 18, 2020
There is a lack of european leaders in this list, especially germans: Adenauer, Brandt, Kohl, Honecker... Berlin was central in the Cold War so I don't understand why you left them. I also have a problem with Lech Walesa here... to put him is a bit cliché, he was not really the leader during the cold war, but an opponent who became president after the end of the cold war in Poland (imo, the 89-91 period is not really the cold war anymore, the USSR was collapsing and the threat was vanishing). Jaruzelski would be more relevant. I see above that you removed Dubcek once, and I don't agree with that either, the Prague Spring is an important episode of the Cold War. So, in short, I know it was never meant to be a comprehensive list, but why not extend this to fifty?
+1
Level 79
Jan 18, 2020
I dunno. Feel like it's already long enough as it is; longer than the other similar quizzes on the site. I am more interested in Middle East history than European history during this period so you may have a point there. I had Dubcek on here before and took him off because he was one of the least-guessed answers I think. I think Walesa is a fair inclusion, sort of like putting on Gorbachev or Bush. It was at the end of the Cold War but still...
+2
Level 81
Jan 22, 2020
It's already been said but there are some gaps. It somehow feels incomplete. I did enjoy it overall
+1
Level 48
Feb 3, 2020
Wałęsa was not a president of Poland during the Cold War. He was elected as a president after the fall of communist regime in 1990
+1
Level 79
Feb 3, 2020
He was president from 1990-1995 and Solidarity Chair before that. The quiz reflects this. The Cold War didn't end until the fall of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. Walesa played a central role in the end of Communism in Poland, which was an important part of the Cold War.
+1
Level 46
Feb 9, 2020
What about Gerald Ford? Why isn't he included in the quiz?
+1
Level 54
May 18, 2020
See in the above comments why he is excluded
+1
Level 79
May 18, 2020
You guys should read up on your Saudi history. It has in many ways impacted the history of the world since the end of World War 2. Faisal is probably the most popular king the country has ever had, though he ended up assassinated. Definitely a pivotal figure in the Cold War and the modern history of the Middle East. Interesting guy.
+2
Level 79
May 18, 2020
Some events worth reading about:
- The Emirate of Diriyah and the alliance between Muhammad bin Saud (son of the patriarch of the House of Saud) and Muhammad ibn AbdulWahab (the cleric credited with founding Wahhabism aka Saudi fundamentalist aka Salafism)
- ibn Saud's alliance with and eventual betrayal of the Ikhwan.
- T.E. Lawrence's campaign against the Ottomans
- The rivalry between the House of Saud and the Rashidi clan of Ha'il
- AbdulAziz's return from exile and conquest of Riyadh (he did so with 40 guys and some pointy sticks)
- The fall of the Kingdom of Hejaz
- AbdulAziz's summit with Franklin Roosevelt
- King Saud's lavish lifestyle and ouster by his brother Faisal
- Faisal's '73 oil embargo against the West over perceived support for Israel
- the attack on Saudi TV in Riyadh after they showed a woman on air
- the seizure of the Kabaa in 1979 which shocked the country backward toward conservatism
+2
Level 45
Jun 2, 2020
Could you please accept Faysal ? It's a common way of spelling that name. Also, it's incorrect to reduce Salafism to the state-sponsored Saudi fundamentalism, which is only a trend of Salafism. Salafism isn't a monolithic movement but a group of reformist trends that emphasize on thinking religion like the first generations did. This definition is more accurate : http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e2072. Saudi authorities are very active in propaganda through TV, Internet and books, and because of that, many Salafis see them as righteous Muslims who rule in a very Islamic way. There are however many Salafi groups and individuals who hate them, sometimes to the extent of declaring them apostates (groups like Al-Qaida and Daesh are prime examples). There also are many people influenced by Salafism but avoid calling themselves Salafis, as the term is often linked to notions like sectarianism, close-mindedness, misogyny, violence, terrorism, etc.
+1
Level 72
May 18, 2020
Great quiz, which I enjoyed taking a second time round a few years later. I still stand by my earlier comment regarding the years given for Pol Pot as Cambodia dictator as whilst he lead the Khmer Rouge for that period, he only led the country between '75 and '79 (I accept that parts of the country were under his control outside of those years, but if in 1974 or 1980 you asked someone who the leader of Cambodia is, the answer would not have been Pol Pot. My only other quibble is that maybe the Israelis getting about as much space as the US and the Soviets is a tad excessive, though it's obviously an eventful part of the world. That said maybe representing Africa and Latin America more would be good - perhaps Mengistu would make a good inclusion.
+3
Level 68
May 18, 2020
So, for British PMs, only Thatcher? Odd. Not even the man who popularized the term Iron Curtain, Winston Churchill? Huh.
+2
Level 79
May 20, 2020
Your complaint is fair. See my rationale in comments above.
+1
Level 74
May 19, 2020
Pol Pot was Cambodia's Prime Minister only from 1975 to 1979, during the Khmer Rouge's rule when millions died. He did not run the country outside of those years.
+1
Level 79
May 19, 2020
The dates on the quiz are when Mr. Pot was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Cambodia, aka the Khmer Rouge. It's true they didn't really gain full control of the country until 1975, though they did control parts of it both before and after. I could change the dates to reflect this, or change the description of his position. I'll think on this and pick one or the other.
+1
Level 79
May 19, 2020
I decided to go with the title change since pinpointing who was the leader of Cambodia during that period is confusing.
+1
Level 83
May 20, 2020
Just wondering what your criteria was for addressing a leader as President, Leader, or Dictator? Thanks!
+1
Level 79
May 20, 2020
None, really. Sometimes I used official titles (president, general secretary, prime minister). Other times I used bland but factual descriptions (leader, dictator (a dictator being a leader with supreme authority, usually one who took power by force)). I admit this was arbitrary. I could have just used "leader" for everyone.
+1
Level 79
May 20, 2020
Some decisions may have been influenced by common usage in English (Pahlavi is commonly referred to as the Shah in English, rarely as king or leader); other times I tried to use a title which would eliminate confusion over what was the correct answer (many countries might have a monarch or president who is a figurehead when real power lies with the prime minister or supreme cleric, etc. In countries like China and Russia, there are/were many different "leaders" with different titles, but usually one guy recognized as holding the real power - in China this guy is referred to commonly as the supreme leader. In Russia you end up with de-facto dictators like president/prime minister Putin, or General Secretary of the Communist party Stalin, at different times using different titles to wield the same level of authority).

#1 concern was clarity.
#2 was just my personal whims.
I wasn't trying to be political or controversial.
+1
Level 68
May 24, 2020
Needs more time @Kal, a minute at least. There are a lot of answers to get in the time, and a good chunk of them are dammed tricky to spell. I didn’t even get finished as I struggled with spelling quite a few of them, the Ayatollah being one. Also, any reason why you don’t accept “Valensa” as a type in? That’s how I have always seen his name spelt in the British media. Great idea fir a quiz though.
+2
Level 79
May 24, 2020
Valensa? For who? Lech Walesa?
+1
Level 68
May 31, 2020
Yeah, although I typoed with the “n” it shouldn’t be there. And a quick Google shows most British media did actually spell it with a “W” rather than the “v” of my memory. So, I suspect you can ignore my comment. It could do with more time though, I don’t know if you have added any since my post, I haven't had time to retake yet.
+1
Level 79
Jun 1, 2020
w/v often used to represent the same phoneme in Polish
+2
Level 72
Jun 2, 2020
I've never read it as "Valensa" but it's a nice attempt at phonetic accuracy (Polish w = English v, and ę is a nasalized e). They should have gone one step further and write "Vawensa" (Polish ł is pronounced the same as the English w).
+1
Level 66
May 27, 2020
Being Canadian I admit my bias, but I think it's worth inserting at least Brian Mulroney into the list as Canadian PM, as he was very close to Thatcher and Reagan, and head of a G7 nation. But, that's just me.
+2
Level 49
May 29, 2020
Too many israeli pms. why are there Indonesian presidents? How is Indonesia remotely relevant? Where is the leaders of West Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, more UK Pms, Brazil or Argentina? Come on, how is a westerner supposed to know the indonesian presidents?
+2
Level 79
May 29, 2020
I'd suggest reading about the Cold War.
+3
Level 48
Jun 3, 2020
Indonesia was a very important battleground in the Cold War. The overthrow of the socialist, communist leaning president Sukarno in 1965 by Suharto, one of his generals, led to a country wide purge of communists party members, their sympathizers, and Chinese immigrants in a spasm of massacres promoted by the rightwing Muslim clergy, land owners and Suharto himself - up to 3,000,000 people died, making it one of the world's most horrific genocides after World War II. Suharto then ruled as a dictator for 30 years. The West was happy to be rid of the communist encroachment in Indonesia, so the genocide was more or less never talked about. But there is a really good documentary on the subject, the Act of Killing, one of the best documentaries I've ever seen
+2
Level 49
May 29, 2020
Also why did you include Ulbricht who is relatively unknown and not Honecker?
+2
Level 72
Jun 2, 2020
Perhaps because the Berlin Wall was built during Ulbricht's tenure. However, both followed the Soviet Union devoutly and were not very important on their own. I would say that West German leaders Brandt (détente) and Schmidt, who co-founded the G7 with French president Giscard, had a greater impact. Schmidt and Giscard also emerged as driving forces in international politics during the rather weak presidencies of Ford and Carter. But as was exhaustively explained elsewhere, you can't have everyone in the quiz. And it's also about who is more recognizable to the general Jetpunk audience.
+2
Level 55
Jun 2, 2020
Okay, so we have Indonesian Yugoslav leaders but not Nehru?
Nehru was the key figure in Non-aligned movement enough in Cold War to appear on this list
+2
Level 79
Jun 2, 2020
Fair complaint. Nehru might be one of the most glaring omissions here.
+1
Level 58
Jun 2, 2020
Yeah I second that, especially considering Nehru's role in the Non-Aligned Movement and Decolonization. In a similar vein, I feel like Kwame Nkrumah would also be a good fit.
+1
Level 79
Jun 2, 2020
I'll admit I never heard of the guy before. Though I could tell from the name he was from Ghana.
+1
Level 67
Jun 2, 2020
Read the comments but I still think Ford and Nehru should be included. the were leaders during the cold war .
+1
Level 35
Jun 2, 2020
Gerald Ford and Erich Honecker?
+1
Level 47
Jun 2, 2020
churchill?
+2
Level 57
Jun 2, 2020
You should add Erich Honecker. He is definitely more known than Ulbricht. Also Israeli Prime ministers are propably guessed only by Jews.
+4
Level 72
Jun 2, 2020
Wow, didn't know that 46% of Jetpunkers are Jews.
+1
Level 43
Jun 2, 2020
I tried Erich Honecker, thought I spelled it wrong, tried again, then made sure I had the right spelling, spelled it again but slower and then finally gave up.
+1
Level 79
Jun 2, 2020
since Honecker was in charge just before the fall of the Berlin Wall you should be able to deduce it's not him from the dates given.
+1
Level 79
Jun 2, 2020
Are you trying to sound anti-Semitic or do you just not know about how central the Middle East was to the Cold War?

Honecker would have made sense to include. Sorry.
+1
Level 52
Jun 4, 2020
Strangely random selection!
+1
Level 79
Jun 5, 2020
These leaders were all very relevant to the events of the Cold War - the series of proxy wars and political power plays around the world from 1945 to 1990 that were a result of the United States and Soviet Union trying to expand their own influence and contain that of the other. For instance, capitalist Batista was closely aligned with the US; then he was overthrown by Castro who was a communist aligned with the Soviets. The Shah of Iran was liberal, secular, and friendly toward the West. The ayatollahs that replaced him were the opposite. Egyptian president Nasser was quasi-socialist and favored to Soviets; when he was replaced by Sadat Egyptian foreign policy pivoted toward the West and Egypt became an important US ally in the Middle East as it remains to this day. And so on. Google [any of the above leaders] + "the Cold War" and you will find out why they are on the quiz.