Cold War Timeline

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    Cold War

  • The Cold War Begins

    The Cold War Begins
    The Cold War officially began after the Truman Doctrine was put into place to give aid to Greece and Turkey to help them resist communism from Russia.
  • US Sends Aid

    The US gives $400 million of military aid to Greece and Turkey. Their goal is to help contain the communism near the Mediterranean.
  • The Communist Information Bureau is Created

    The Soviet Union creates the Communist Information Bureau also known as COMINFORM. The bureau dictates the action of leaders and communist parties across the spheres of influence.
  • Marshall Plan Goes into Effect

    President Harry Truman signs the Marshall Plan into effect. Over time it would give $12.4 billion to Western European countries.
  • Berlin Blockade Begins

    Russian leader Joseph Stalin orders a blockade of supply routes to Berlin to cut off the US and French in East Berlin.
  • Berlin Airlift Starts

    Berlin Airlift Starts
    The US starts the Berlin airlift to deliver supplies to the Western controlled areas of Berlin due to the Berlin blockade
  • NATO is Formed

    NATO is Formed
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is founded by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in order to resist Communist expansion
  • The Berlin Blockade Ends

    The Soviet blockade of Berlin ends with the re-opening of access routes to Berlin. "Moscow realized the blockade had not been successful – it had drawn the Western powers closer together rather than dividing them. Finally, Western countermeasures had inflicted considerable damage on the economic life of East Germany and the other Soviet satellites
  • The Soviet Union Goes Atomic

    The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb. The test succeeds, as the Soviet Union becomes the world's second nuclear power.
  • New Bombs are Tested

    President Truman announces the beginning of the development of a hydrogen bomb.
  • Containment Takes Another Step

    United States State Department Director of Policy Planning Paul Nitze issues NSC 68 arguing for the adoption of containment as the cornerstone of United States foreign policy
  • Korean War Begins

    Korean War Begins
    North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the Korean War. The United Nations Security Council votes to intervene to defend the South while the Soviet Union cannot veto.
  • The Rosenberg Trials

    The Rosenberg Trials
    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II and were executed on June 19, 1953.
  • MacArthur Out of Korea

    MacArthur Out of Korea
    President Harry S. Truman fires Douglas MacArthur from command of US forces in Korea due to him demanding nuclear weapons to be used on the enemy.
  • Mutual Security Act is Created

    President Harry S. Truman signs the Mutual Security Act, announcing to the world, and its communist powers in particular, that the U.S. was prepared to provide military aid to "free people"
  • US Flies Nuclear Bombers over Europe

    Strategic Air Command begins deployments of long-range nuclear bombers to overseas bases like Nouasseur Air Base in French Morocco, placing them within striking range of Moscow.
  • US Builds First Nuclear Submarine

    US Builds First Nuclear Submarine
    The United States lays the keel for the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, The USS Nautilus
  • US Tests New Nuclear Bombs

    US Tests New Nuclear Bombs
    The United States tests their first thermonuclear fusion bomb
  • Joseph Stalin Dies

    Joseph Stalin Dies
    Joseph Stalin dies setting off a power struggle to succeed him
  • Korean War Ends

    An armistice agreement ends fighting in the Korean War After Eisenhower threatens the use of nuclear weapons.
  • Nikita Khrushchev Takes Power

    Nikita Khrushchev Takes Power
    Nikita Khrushchev becomes leader of the Soviet Communist Party.
  • US Launches First Nuclear Submarine

    The U.S. launches the world's first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus. The nuclear submarine would become the ultimate nuclear deterrent.
  • The French Pull Out of Vietnam

    The Viet Minh defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu. France withdraws from Indochina, leaving four independent states: Cambodia, Laos, and what became North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
  • SEATO is Created

    SEATO is Created
    Foundation of the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) by Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States founded to resist Communist expansion
  • The Warsaw Pact is Created

    The Warsaw Pact is founded in Eastern Europe and includes East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union. It acts as the Communist military counterpart to NATO.
  • Geneva Summit

    Geneva Summit
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Prime Minister Anthony Eden of the United Kingdom, Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin of the Soviet Union, and Prime Minister Edgar Faure of France, aka the 'Big Four', attend the Geneva Summit. With Nikita Khrushchev also in attendance.
  • Vietnam War Begins

    Official beginning of the Vietnam War.
  • Kurushchev Speech

    Nikita Khrushchev delivers the speech "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences". The speech marks the beginning of the De-Stalinization.
  • Hungarian Revolution

    Hungarian Revolution of 1956: Hungarians revolt against the Soviet dominated government and are crushed by the Soviet military, which reinstates a Communist government.
  • Dwight Eisenhower Gets Reelected

    Dwight Eisenhower Gets Reelected
    Dwight Eisenhower wins re-election, defeating Adlai Stevenson for the second time in the 1956 presidential election
  • Eisenhower Doctrine

    The Eisenhower Doctrine commits the United States to defending Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan from Communist influence.
  • Nuclear Watch in America

    Nuclear Watch in America
    The Strategic Air Command initiates 24/7 nuclear alert in anticipation of a Soviet ICBM surprise attack capability.
  • US Falls Behind

    The final report from a special committee called by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to review the nation's defense readiness indicates that the United States is falling far behind the Soviets in missile capabilities, and urges a vigorous campaign to build fallout shelters to protect American citizens.
  • Soviet Superiority

    Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile "shooting match" to prove his assertion
  • US in Space

    The U.S. Army launches Explorer 1, the first American artificial satellite.
  • Shots Fired

    A C-118 transport, hauling freight from Turkey to Iran, is shot down. The nine crew members are released by the Russians little more than a week later.
  • A Step Up in The Space Race

    A Step Up in The Space Race
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA is formed.
  • Fidel Castro Takes Power

    Fidel Castro Takes Power
    Fidel Castro wins the Cuban Revolution and becomes the dictator of Cuba.
  • Kitchen Debate

    During the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow US Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet First Secretary Khrushchev openly debate the capacities of each Superpower
  • NLF Formation

    Formation of the NLF by North Vietnam. It is a Communist insurgent movement that vows to overthrow the anti-communist South Vietnamese regime and is supplied extensively by North Vietnam and the USSR
  • U-2 Incident

    U-2 Incident
    American pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down in his U-2 spy plane while flying at high altitude over the Soviet Union, resulting in the U-2 Incident
  • China Split

    The Chinese leadership, angered at being treated as the "junior partner" to the Soviet Union, declares its version of Communism superior and begin to compete with the Soviets for influence, thus adding a third dimension to the Cold War.
  • Khrushchev Visits Again

    Nikita Khrushchev travels to New York City to address the U.N. General Assembly, beginning a month long visit to the United States.
  • John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United States.

    John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United States.
    John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the United States.
  • A Step Up in Space

    John F. Kennedy announces the US intention to put a man on the Moon
  • The Berlin Wall is Built

    The Berlin Wall is Built
    The Berlin Wall is built by the Soviets dividing the city following the breakdown in talks to decide the future of Germany.
  • The First American Orbits Earth

    John Glenn is launched into space aboard Friendship-7 becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. Despite having many delays in the launch itself, the flight is successful.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis

    The Soviets have secretly been installing military bases, including nuclear weapons, on Cuba, some 90 miles from the US mainland. Kennedy orders a "quarantine" (a naval blockade) of the island that intensifies the crisis and brings the US and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war.
  • The Soviets Orbit Mars

    The Soviet Union successfully launches Mars 1 with the intention of making a flyby of Mars.
  • The Hotline is Created

    The Hotline is Created
    The United States agrees to set up a hotline with the USSR, thus making direct communication possible.
  • Partial Test Ban Treaty

    The Partial Test Ban Treaty is signed by the US, UK and USSR, prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons anywhere except underground.
  • JFK is Assassinated

    JFK is Assassinated
    President John F. Kennedy is assassinated during a parade in Dallas, Texas. The shooter Lee Harvey Oswald shot him from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
  • A Step Back

    US President Lyndon Johnson in New York, and Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow, announce simultaneously plans to cut back production of materials for making nuclear weapons.
  • US Gets Involved in Vietnam

    US President Lyndon B. Johnson claims that North Vietnamese naval vessels had fired on two American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin
  • Brezhnev Becomes Leader

    Brezhnev Becomes Leader
    Leonid Brezhnev succeeds Khrushchev to become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
  • US Enters Vietnam

    US Enters Vietnam
    The U.S sends troops to South Vietnam for the first time. The world was shocked by the new level of war involvement shown by the U.S. which greatly angered the Soviets and China.
  • USSR Admits Aid to North Vietnam

    The Soviet Union admits to supplying arms to North Vietnam.
  • Ho Chi Minh Escalates the War

    Ho Chi Minh rejects peace talks on the Vietnam War offered by Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • US Steps It Up In Vietnam

    United States government admit to using chemical weapons in North Vietnam.
  • US Drops Bombs on Innocent People

    US Drops Bombs on Innocent People
    United States air raid on Hanoi kills over 100 North Vietnamese civilians.