Cold War Timeline

  • Russian Revolution

    A series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. One was the February Revolution in which the Tsar abdicated his throne and the Provisional Government took power. The other was the October Revolution in which the Provisional Government was overthrown by the Bolsheviks.
  • Manhattan Project

    The United States' first attempt at the creation of the atomic bomb during World War 2.Leslie Grooves was the leader of the project and the government poured 2 billion dollars into it. The reason for the creation of the project was because reports were that nazi scientists had taken the fist step in creating the atomic bomb in 1939.
  • Yalta Conference

    In return for stalins renewed promise to enter the Pacific war, Roosevelt agreed that the Soviet Union should receive some of the territory in the Pacific that Russia had lost in the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. The meeting was intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe.
  • Potsdam Conference

    Stalin, Churchill, and Truman as well as Attlee gathered to decide how to administer punishment to the defeated Nazi Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier, on 8 May. The goals of the conference also included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of war.
  • NATO Established

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by 12 Western nations: the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and Portugal. The military alliance, which provided for a collective self-defense against Soviet aggression, greatly increased American influence in Europe. Today, there are twenty-six member states in total.
  • Communist Revolution in China.

    The final stage of military conflict in the Chinese Civil War. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek, 600,000 Nationalist troops, and about two million Nationalist-sympathizer refugees, predominantly from the former government and business communities of the mainland, retreated to the island of Taiwan..
  • Korean War

    A war between the Republic of Korea (supported by the United States of America, with contributions from allied nations under the aegis of the United Nations) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (supported by the People's Republic of China, with military and material aid from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). It was primarily the result of the political division of Korea by an agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War at the end of World War II.
  • Warsaw Pact Founded

    The Soviet Union and seven of its European satellites sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that put the Soviets in command of the armed forces of the member states. The treaty called on the member states to come to the defense of any member attacked by an outside force and it set up a unified military command under Marshal Ivan S. Konev of the Soviet Union.
  • Sputnik Launched

    Sputnik was launched to correspond with the International Geophysical Year, a solar period that the International Council of Scientific Unions declared would be ideal for the launching of artificial satellites to study Earth and the solar system. However, many Americans feared more sinister uses of the Soviets' new rocket and satellite technology, which was apparently strides ahead of the U.S. space effort.
  • Cuban Revolution

    An armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by Castro's revolutionary government. This government later reformed along communist lines, becoming the present Communist Party of Cuba in October 1965.
  • U2 Incident

    The 1960 U-2 incident occurred during the Cold War on 1 May 1960, during the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and during the leadership of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, when a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down over the airspace of the Soviet Union. The United States government at first denied the plane's purpose and mission, but then was forced to admit its role as a covert surveillance aircraft.
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    An unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States.
  • Berlin Wall Erected

    The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    A thirteen-day confrontation between the Soviet Union and Cuba on one side and the United States on the other during the Cold War. In August 1962, after some unsuccessful operations by the US to overthrow the Cuban, the Cuban and Soviet governments secretly began to build bases in Cuba for a number of medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear with the ability to strike most of the continental United States. On October 14, 1962, a United States Air Force U-2 plane on a mission capture
  • Nixon Visits China

    An important step in formally normalizing relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. It marked the first time a U.S. president had visited the PRC, which at that time considered the U.S. one of its staunchest foes, and the voyage ended 25 years of separation between the two sides. The visit allowed the American public to view images of China for the first time in over two decades.
  • Vietnam War

    The war was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist countries. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes.
  • Soviets Invade Afghanistan

    The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978. As midnight approached, the Soviets organized a massive military airlift into Kabul, involving an estimated 280 transport aircraft and three divisions of almost 8,500 men each. Within a few days, the Soviets had secured Kabul, deploying a special assault unit against Tajberg Palace. Elements of the Afghan army loyal to Hafizullah Amin put up a fierce, but brief resistance.
  • Ronald Reagan Leads USA

    Reagan, aided by the Iran hostage crisis and a worsening economy at home, won the election in a landslide, receiving the highest number of electoral votes ever won by a non-incumbent presidential candidate, and became the 40th President of the United States. Ronald Reagan's public image was closely tied to the American West, although he was raised in the solidly Midwestern state of Illinois.
  • Strategic Defensive Initiative Created

    Proposed by Ronald Reagan to use ground- and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic offense doctrine of mutual assured destruction. It was set up in 1984 within the United States Department of Defense to oversee the Strategic Defense Initiative
  • Mikhail Gorbachev Leads USSR

    Gorbachev's primary goal as General Secretary was to revive the Soviet economy after the stagnant Brezhnev years. In 1985, he announced that the Soviet economy was stalled and that reorganization was needed. Gorbachev proposed a "vague programme of reform", which was adopted at the April Plenum of the Central Committee. He called for fast-paced technological modernization and increased industrial and agricultural productivity, and he attempted to reform the Soviet bureaucracy.
  • Glasnost and Perestroika Instituted in USSR

    Its goals were to include more people in the political process through freedom of expression. This led to a decreased censoring of the media, which in effect allowed writers and journalists to expose news of government corruption and the depressed condition of the Soviet people. Glasnost also permitted criticism of government officials, encouraging more social freedoms like those that Western societies had already provided.
  • Tear Down This Wall Speech

    A speech that was a challenge from United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall as a symbol of Gorbachev's desire for increasing freedom in the Eastern Bloc. About 45,000 people were in attendance; among the spectators were West German president Richard von Weizsacker, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and West Berlin mayor Eberhard Diepgen.
  • Tiananmen Square Protests

    A series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China The movement lasted seven weeks after Hu's death on 15 April. Party authorities declared martial law on 20 May, but no military action took place until 4 June. Contrary to popular perceptions of the event, the violence did not occur during the protests on the actual square, but in the streets of Beijing, as the People's Liberation Army proceeded through the city to Tiananmen Square.
  • Fall of Berlin Wall

    East Germany announced an easing of travel restrictions to the west, and thousands demanded passage through the Berlin Wall. Faced with a growing demonstration, East German border guards allowed citizens to cross. Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself.
  • USSR Abolished

    The presidents of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords, which declared the Soviet Union dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States in its place. Gorbachev yeilded to the inevitable and resigned as the President of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers that had been vested in the presidency over to yeltsin, the president of Russia.