Cold War

  • Stalin

    Joseph Stalin was the communist dictator of Russia who ruled after Lenin. Under Stalin, Russia endured not only the heavy casualties of World War II, but was also subjected to Stalin's harsh Gulag, strict censorship, and sporadic purges. Stalin is significant because he built up the Russian economy/nation and transformed it from a backwards society into an industrial and somewhat modernized country.
  • Iron Curtain

    Iron Curtain
    The "Iron Curtain" was a metaphorical, invisible line separating Europe into two different areas from the finale of World War II in 1945 to the resolution of the Cold War in 1991. On the western side were countries tied to the Western democracies; to the east were the countries tied to the Soviet Union. The Iron Curtain is important because it essentially partitioned Europea into the democratic West and communist East, and contributed to the growing tensions of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
  • The United Nations

    The United Nations
    The United Nations was a worldwide peacekeeping organization that promoted the use of internaitonal law and security, provided economic aid, and supported human rights, social communications, civil and political freedoms, and democracy. The UN is significant because it replaced the ineffective League of Nations formed after World War I and is still effective to this day.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    The Truman Doctrine was delivered in a speech by President Harry Truman declaring that the U.S. would offer economic and military support to Turkey and Greece to push back Soviet influences. The significance of the Truman Doctrine is that it displays the policy of containment, or containing the sphere of Soviet influence to the countries already under their control.
  • The Marshall Plan

    The Marshall Plan
    The Marshall plan was an economic and recovery program for the war-ravaged economies of Europe after World War II. It was put into effect by Secretary of State George Marshall. The Marshall Plan is significant because it swayed many countries away from the Soviet Union and communism towards the Western democracies by providing aid and rebuilding up countries.
  • European Economics Cooperation

    European Economics Cooperation
    The Organization for European Economic Cooperations (OEEC) was conducted by Frenchmen Robert Marjolin, and worked to help facilitate the recovery of war-ravaged countries in Europe after World War II. The historical significance of the EEC was that it helped facilitate the use of America's Marshall Plan to Western Europe and the Soviet's satellites by providing economic and financial aid.
  • Berlin Airlift

    Berlin Airlift
    The Berlin Airlift was a joint effort between the U.S. and the British to supply West Berlin with supplies in response to the Soviet Union's Berlin Blockade. The airlift lasted until May 12, 1949. The Berlin Airlift/Blockade is important because it signifies the growing tension between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S., and how far both of them were willing to go to promote the ideologies of their countries.
  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

    NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
    NATO was formed shortly after the end of World War II and is an international government military alliance. It was orginially formed because of the fear that the Soviet Union would rise to power after the war. NATO is historically significant because it was an organization that promoted international peace and limited countries from attacing each other within the alliance.
  • People's Republic of China

    People's Republic of China
    The People's Republic of China is now what is modern-day China. It is ruled by a communist leader, the most famous being Mao Zedong, who ruled until 1976. The importance of the People's Republic of China is that it formed an alliance with the Soviet Union in 1949, uniting almost the whole Asian contintent.
  • Korean War

    Korean War
    The Korean War began when communist North Korea invaded South Korea at the 38th parallel dividing the two. As an ally, the United States sent troops to protect the democracy in South Korea. The Korean War is significant because it was the first real test of the strength of the newly-founded United Nations, which sent a peacekeeping force. Also, it was a way for the Soviet Union to indirectly get involved by supplying weapons.
  • Ho Chi Minh

    Ho Chi Minh
    Ho Chi Minh was the president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the prime minister, and a leading revolutionary that promoted communism in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is important because the U.S.thought that the fall of Vietnam to communism would have a domino effect on the countries around it. Minh was the leading figure of the communist forces during the Vietnam War.
  • First Hydrogen Bomb

    First Hydrogen Bomb
    The U.S. was the premier country to test the effects of the world's first thermonuclear weapon (the hydrogen bomb) in 1952. The testing was carried out on the Eniwetok atoll located in the Pacific. The significance of the hydrogen bomb was that it put America ahead in the arms race against the Soviets. However, it also increased arms competition and the bomb was some 1,000 times more powerful than any nuclear weapons at the time.
  • Nikita Khrushchev

    Nikita Khrushchev
    Nikita Khrushchev was the successor after Stalin who led the U.S.S.R. into a period called "de-Stalinization," where he denounced the purges and labor camps. Khrushchev was also known for being indecisive and inconsistent. Khrushchev is important because he led Russia out of the strictly communism restrictions under Stalin and stopped a nuclear war between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • KGB

    The KGB was Russia's premier security organization that provided intelligence, internal security, and a covert police body. The importance of the KGB is that they worked with U.S. correspondents to infiltrate America during the Cold War. However, it was brought to an end after the Second Red Scare and age of McCarthyism.
  • Geneva Accords

    Geneva Accords
    The Geneva Accords took place in Switzerland, where the U.S., the U.S.S.R., Great Britain, and the People's Republic of China met to discuss ways to re-install peace in Indochina and annex Vietnam. As a result of the Geneva Accords, Vietnam was divided into two zones (the northern by the Viet Minh and the southern by the State of Vietnam). This division would lead to the Vietnam War.
  • Warsaw Pact

    Warsaw Pact
    The Warsaw Pact was a treaty that bound the Soviet Union to eight other communist countries in Eastern and Central Europe. The significance of the Warsaw Pact was that it was the communist alliance against the democratic NATO formed by the Western democracies.
  • Vietnam

    Vietnam is a country south of China on the Indochina Peninsula. During the 1960s and 1970s, it was the battlefront of communist Vietnam against South Vietnam and their U.S. allies. Vietnam was historically significant because of the domino theory, or that if Vietnam fell to communism, the countries around it would fall too.
  • Suez Canal and Nasser

    Suez Canal and Nasser
    The Suez Canal is the channel connecting the the Mediterrenean Sea to the Indian Ocean through Egypt. Gamal Abdel Nasser was the President of Egypt during the time. The Suez Crisis is important because it resulted in an Egyptian-Soviet political victory, forced Israel to retreat, and ended Britain's status as a superpower.
  • Sputnik

    Sputnik was the first artifical aircraft to be released by the Soviet Union into space in 1957. The importance of Sputnik, besides being the first "spaceship," was that it triggered a new stage in the Cold War known as the Space Age. During this time, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. raced to develop more new technology to advance their militaries.
  • Berlin Wall Built

    Berlin Wall Built
    The Berlin Wall was built by the Soviets to section off West Berlin and the Western democracies from influencing East Berlin and East Germany under communism. The construction of the Berlin Wall signifies the faction of Europe into the democratic West and communist East. Also, it added to the tension between the U.S.S.R and the U.S.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day standoff between the communist U.S.S.R. and the newly-conquered Cuba under Fidel Castro against the United States. The Cuban Missile Crisis is important because it's the closest event of where the Cold War could have turned into a nuclear conflict, and also the first recorded time that both sides would face mutual assured destruction.
  • Leonid Brezhnev

    Leonid Brezhnev
    Under Brezhnev, the U.S.S.R. entered a time called "re-Stalinization" that it had eradicated under Nikita Khrushchev. Until the end of his control in 1982, Russia was ruled by a collective leadership. The era of Leonid Brezhnev is significant because it represents the suppression Russia reverted backed to under a supreme dictator. Brezhnev also made an important decision during the Afghanistan crrisis that undermined the international and internal strength of Russia.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    The Tet Offensive was a three-stage military campaign during the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong against the U.S. and ARVN. It was a series of guerilla attacks on civilians and military personnel and control posts in South Vietnam. The importance of the Tet Offensive is that, in consequence, it prolonged U.S. involvement in the war because of the shortage of troops. Also, it caused the second highest draft during the war and contributed to public resentment.
  • Helsinki Accords

    Helsinki Accords
    The Helsinki Accords were held in Helsinki, Finland, and was a conference between thirty-three states in 1975. The importance of the Helsinki Accords was that it attempted to foster positive communications between the West and the Soviet's satellites. It was also the last action of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
  • Iranian Hostage Crisis

    Iranian Hostage Crisis
    The Iranian hostage crisis began when a belligerent, young revolutionary Islamic force stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking American hostages. The Iranian hostage crisis is historically significant because it was in response to the the Americans ousting Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh (in favor of king Reza Shah Pahlavi) who they thought was trying to ally with the Soviets
  • Russian Invasion of Afghanistan

    Russian Invasion of Afghanistan
    The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan occurred in 1979 and lasted nine years, fighting against an insurgent group named Mujahideen. These insurgent forces were given aid from many of the powerful nations, including the U.S. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is significant because it brought an end to the era of detente, led to further tensions between the two superpowers, and resulted in U.S.-backed conflicts in other countries.
  • Moscow Olympics

    Moscow Olympics
    In 1980, the Summer Olympics were held in Moscow, Russia. The Moscow Olympics of 1980 is historically significant because the U.S. led a boycott on the Games in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. As a result, sixty-five other nations did not participate, making it the lowest recorded number of countries participating since 1956.
  • Los Angeles Olympics

    Los Angeles Olympics
    The Olympics Games of 1984 were held in Los Angeles where over 140 nations participated. The 1984 Olympics are important because it was the first event snce 1896 to be engineered without government financial support. A Soviet-led boycott, along with fourteen other nations, extracted revenge for the U.S.-led boycott on the Moscow Olympics during 1980.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev

    Mikhail Gorbachev
    Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Under Gorbachev, the U.S.S.R. saw many reforms to rejuvinate the economy after Brezhnev's time in office. Mikhail Gorbachev is important because he was the first (and last) president of the U.S.S.R.
  • Perestroika and Glasnost

    Perestroika and Glasnost
    "Perestrokia," meaning restructuring, and "glasnost," meaning openness were coined words Gorbacehv used to describe the renovations in the Soviet society and political body. Perestrokia and glasnot are important because they made the foundation of Gorbachev's program that altered economic practices, internal affairs and relations to overseas countries. It also set the stage for the collapse of the U.S.S.R.
  • Chernobyl

    The disaster in Chernobyl occurred in the Ukraine when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant caught on fire, releasing large amounts of radioactive particles. These high levels of radioactive material caused many deaths and mutations over the years. The disaster at Chernobyl demonstrates the deadly effects of radioactive chemicals on not only buildings, but also on humans and wildlife.
  • Tiananmen Square

    Tiananmen Square
    Tiananmen Square is city square situated in the middle of Bejing, China. During the year of 1989, many Chinese held peaceful protests in the square that resulted in a massacre on June 4. The Tinananmen Square Massacre is significant because it shows Chinese discontentment with their own government and the ruthlessness that communist leaders were willing to demonstrate.
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Fall of the Berlin Wall
    In September of 1989, the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany and Berlin (and virtually Europe) was destroyed. The destruction of the Berlin Wall is important because it signifies the reunification of East and West Germany/Berlin (and Europe), and freed the Germans of communism.
  • Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement

    Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement
    Lech Walesa was the second president of Poland from 1990 to 1995 and the co-founder of the Solidarity movement. The Solidarity movement was the first sovereign trade union in the Soviet bloc. Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement are important because Solidarity was the first free trade union under the Soviets. Also, Lech worked with others to form a coalition government that was non-communist in the Soviet bloc.
  • Boris Yeltsin

    Boris Yeltsin
    Boris Yeltsin was the successor of Gorbachev. Under him, Russian government fell into a period of corruption until the end of his term in 1999. The historical significance is that he was the first president of the newly formed Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russia).
  • End of the U.S.S.R.

    End of the U.S.S.R.
    The dissolution of the U.S.S.R. occurred under new president Boris Yeltsin the day after Mikhail Gorbachev retired. With the end of the U.S.S.R., it acknowledged the independence of twelve different republics of the Soviet Union. The end of the U.S.S.R. is important because it marks the end of the Cold War and communism is Russia.
  • Vladimir Putin

    Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Putin is currently the Russian president and also served as president from 2000-2008, and as prime minister from 2008-2012. Putin is significant because he helped pull Russia out of the crisis during the 1990s and brought political and economic stability.