Cold War Timeline

  • Yalta Conference

    Yalta Conference
    It had already been decided that Germany would be divided into occupied zones administered by U.S., British, French, and Soviet forces. How to deal with the defeated or liberated countries of eastern Europe was the main problem discussed at the conference. Stalin called for an interim government. Britain and the United States supported a Polish government-in-exile in London, while the Soviets supported a communist-dominated Polish committee of national liberation in Lublin.
  • Ho Chi Minh Proclaims Vietnamese Independence

    Ho Chi Minh Proclaims Vietnamese Independence
    Hours after Japan's surrender in World War II, Vietnamese communist Ho Chi Minh declares the independence of Vietnam from France. The proclamation paraphrased the U.S. Declaration of Independence in declaring, "All men are born equal: the Creator has given us inviolable rights, life, liberty, and happiness!" and was cheered by an enormous crowd gathered in Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square.
  • Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech

    Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech
    Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union's policies in Europe and declares, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." Churchill's speech is considered one of the opening volleys announcing the beginning of the Cold War. It reffered to refers to the secrecy and isolation of the soviet union and its satellite states, east germany, hungary, and poland, after world war II
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    President Truman asked Congress to provide funds to support Greece and Turkey, which was then under Soviet Pressure to yeild control of the Dardanelles. The Truman Doctrine was set forth to create a policy of support for "free peoplewho are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    American plan to assist Europe in the rebuilding of their economies after WWII in order to prevent the spread of Communism. The plan was in operation for four years, beginning in April 1948.
  • Creation of Israel

    Creation of Israel
    In May 1948, the British officially withdrew from Palestine, and the Yishuv declared the independence of a new Jewish state called Israel on May 14.
  • Formation of NATO

    Formation of NATO
    Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Britain joined with Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, and Iceland to sign a treaty with Canada and the US formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It committed its members to mutual assistance if any of them was attacked.
  • Berlin Blockade Lifted

    Berlin Blockade Lifted
    The Soviets feared the Western Currency circulating in Berlin at better rates than their own currenct, so they chose to seal off Berlin . The Western aalies responded by airlifting supplies to the city for almost a year. In May 1949, the Russians were forced to reopen access to Berlin.
  • Warsaw Pact

    Warsaw Pact
    A series of bilateral treaties providing for close ties and mutual assistnce in case of attack governed Soviet relations with the states of Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact included Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East GErmany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union, gave formal recognition to this alliance system.
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    Korean War

    Armed forces from communist North Korea smash into South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly sprang to the defense of South Korea and fought a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years. The armistice, signed on July 27, established a committee of representatives from neutral countries to decide the fate of the thousands of prisoners of war on both sides.
  • The Suez Intervention

    The Suez Intervention
    After Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, war broke out between Egypt and Israel.The British and the French seized the opportunity to intervene militarily to protect their oil supplies
  • Sputnik launched

    Sputnik launched
    The first satellite, Sputnik, launched to orbit the earh. The Soviet UNion appeared to have achieved an enormous technological superiority over the West.
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    Fidel Castro (1926-) drove his guerilla army into Havana and overthrew General Fulgencio Batista (1901-1973), the nation’s American-backed president. For the next two years, officials at the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) attempted to push Castro from power. Finally, in April 1961, the CIA launched what its leaders believed would be the definitive strike: a full-scale invasion of Cuba by 1,400 American-trained Cubans who had fled their homes when Castro took over
  • U-2 Incident

    U-2 Incident
    An international diplomatic crisis erupted in May 1960 when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) shot down an American U-2 spy plane in Soviet air space and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers (1929-77). Confronted with the evidence of his nation's espionage, President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) was forced to admit to the Soviets that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been flying spy missions over the USSR for several years. The Soviets convicted Powers on espion
  • The Berlin Wall

    The Berlin Wall
    Two days after sealing off free passage between East and West Berlin with barbed wire, East German authorities begin building a wall--the Berlin Wall--to permanently close off access to the West. For the next 28 years, the heavily fortified Berlin Wall stood as the most tangible symbol of the Cold War--a literal "iron curtain" dividing Europe.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis

    The Cuban Missile Crisis
    The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. The United States armed forces were at their highest state of readiness ever and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were prepared to use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend the island if it was invaded.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave broad congressional approval for expansion of the Vietnam War. During the spring of 1964, military planners had developed a detailed design for major attacks on the North, but at that time President Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisers feared that the public would not support an expansion of the war. By summer, however, rebel forces had established control over nearly half of South Vietnam, and Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for
  • The Invasion of Czechoslovakia

    The Invasion of Czechoslovakia
    On the night of August 20, 1968, approximately 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring"--a brief period of liberalization in the communist country. Czechoslovakians protested the invasion with public demonstrations and other non-violent tactics, but they were no match for the Soviet tanks. The liberal reforms of First Secretary Alexander Dubcek were repealed and "normalization" began under his successor Gustav Husak.
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    Détente (a French word meaning release from tension) is the name given to a period of improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that began tentatively in 1971 and took decisive form when President Richard M. Nixon visited the secretary-general of the Soviet Communist party, Leonid I. Brezhnev, in Moscow, May 1972. Both countries stood to gain if trade could be increased and the danger of nuclear warfare reduced.
  • Vietnamization

    At a news conference, President Richard Nixon says that the Vietnam War is coming to a "conclusion as a result of the plan that we have instituted." Nixon had announced at a conference in Midway in June that the United States would be following a new program he termed "Vietnamization." (the gradual withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam while the South Vietnmaese army took over the full military effort.
  • Helsinki Accords

    Helsinki Accords
    The Helsinki Accords, Helsinki Final Act, or Helsinki Declaration was the final act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held in Helsinki, Finland, during July and August 1, 1975. Thirty-five states, including the USA, Canada, and most European states except Albania and Andorra, signed the declaration in an attempt to improve relations between the Communist bloc and the West. The Helsinki Accords, however, were not binding as they did not have treaty status.
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    Afghan Invasion

    A nine year war fought by the Soviets, allied with the Afghan government, against the Mujahideen guerilla rebellion in Afghanistan.
  • Perestroika and Glasnost

    Perestroika and Glasnost
    When Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1931-) became general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in March 1985, he launched his nation on a dramatic new course. His dual program of "perestroika" ("restructuring") and "glasnost" ("openness") introduced profound changes in economic practice, internal affairs and international relations. Within five years, Gorbachev's revolutionary program swept communist governments throughout Eastern Europe from power and brought an end to the Cold War (1945
  • 1989 Revolutions

    1989 Revolutions
    Revolutions erupt throughout eastern Europe. Solidarity reemerges in Poland, Hungary viees for independence, Germany calls for reunification, violent revolutions occur in Romania, and new political forces also emerge.
  • Fall of Berlin Wall

    Fall of Berlin Wall
    The Berlin Wall stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall. Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself. To this day, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.