During the Cold War (1945–1990), the two opposing forces in Europe were the Warsaw Pact countries on the one side, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries on the other side. Soviet domination of the Warsaw Pact led to effective standardization on a few tank designs. In comparison, NATO adopted a defensive posture. The major contributing nations, France, Germany, the USA, and the UK developed their own tank designs, with little in common, while the smaller nations of NATO purchased or adapted these designs.
Tank development continued largely as it had been because of the Cold War. Tanks would not only continue to be produced in huge numbers, but the technology advanced dramatically as well. Tanks became larger and their armour became thicker and much more effective. Aspects of gun technology changed significantly as well, with big advances in shell design and terminal effectiveness.
Many of the changes in tank design have been refinements to targeting and ranging (fire control), gun stabilisation, communications and crew comfort. Armour has evolved to keep pace with improvements in weaponry, and guns have grown bigger.
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