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Cold War Timeline

  • Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech

    Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech
    Churchill delivers his ‘Sinews of Peace’ speech which contain the famous phrase “ iron curtain has descended on Europe”
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    President Truman promised to help any country facing a Communist takeover
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    This was a program of economic aid offered by the United States to any European country. The plan was rejected outright by Stalin and any Eastern Bloc country considering accepting aid was reprimanded severely. Consequently, the aid was only given to Western European Countries.
  • Truman signs Marshall Plan

    Truman signs Marshall Plan
    Truman signs the Marshall Plan into effect. By the end of the programs, the United States has given $12.4 billion in economic assistance to Western European countries.
  • Formation of West Germany

    Formation of West Germany
    The French, USA and UK partitions of Germany were merged to form West Germany. This event displayed the unity the three countries now had.
  • Berlin Blockade

    Berlin Blockade
    Russia’s response to the merger of the French, USA and UK partitions of Berlin was to cut all road and rail links to that sector. This meant that those living in Western Berlin had no access to food supplies and faced starvation. Food was brought to Western Berliners by US and UK airplanes, an exercise known as the Berlin Airlift.
  • NATO Formed

    NATO Formed
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formed with member states Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States
  • End of Berlin Blockade

    End of Berlin Blockade
    The Berlin Airlift successfully saves the people of West Berlin from starvation and Russia end the blockade.
  • Communism in China

    Communism in China
    Communist Mao Zedong takes control of China and establishes the People's Republic of China. It is evident to see the influence of Russia in this event.
  • McCarthyism

    Joe McCarthy begins his "witch hunt" for people in the United States who seem to be secret spies for the USSR.
  • USSR and China

    USSR and China
    The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China sign a pact of mutual defense.
  • Korean War Begins

    Korean War Begins
    North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the Korean War. The Soviet Union cannot veto, as it is boycotting the Security Council over the admission of the People's Republic of China.
  • Seoul is Recaptured

    Seoul is Recaptured
    United Nations forces recapture Seoul during Operation Ripper. By the end of March, they have reached the 38th Parallel and formed a defensive line across the Korean peninsula.
  • MacArthur Fired

    MacArthur Fired
    US President Harry S. Truman fires Douglas MacArthur from command of US forces in Korea.
  • Mutual Security Act

    Mutual Security Act
    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 peoples."
  • Bombs are in Place for Attack

    Bombs are in Place for Attack
    Strategic Air Command begins Reflex Alert deployments of Convair B-36 and B-47 Stratojet long-range nuclear bombers to overseas bases like purpose-built Nouasseur Air Base in French Morocco, placing them within unrefueled striking range of Moscow.
  • The Marshall Plan Ends

    The Marshall Plan Ends
    The Marshall Plan ends, with European industrial output now well above that of 1948.
  • New U.S. Bombs

    New U.S. Bombs
    The United States tests its first thermonuclear fusion bomb, Ivy Mike. This shows how weapon development was heightened because of the Cold War.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes President, with John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State. Eisenhower is already well known for his role in the D-Day Invasion.
  • Death of Stailn

    Death of Stailn
    Joseph Stalin died at the age of 74. He was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Korean War Ends

    Korean War Ends
    The Korean war ended. North Korea remained affiliated with Russia while South Korea was affiliated with the USA.
  • U.S. New Weapons

    U.S. New Weapons
    The United States launches the world's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus. The nuclear submarine would become the ultimate nuclear deterrent.
  • Geneva Accords

    Geneva Accords
    This set of documents ended the French war with the Vietminh and divided Vietnam into North and South states. The communist leader of North Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh while the US friendly south was led by Ngo Dinh Diem.

    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. Like NATO, it is founded to resist Communist expansion, this time in the Philippines and Indochina.
  • Non-Aligned Movement is Started

    Non-Aligned Movement is Started
    The Non-Aligned Movement is pioneered by Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. This movement was designed to be a bulwark against the 'dangerous polarization' of the world at that time and to restore the balance of power with smaller nations. It was an international organization of states considering themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
  • Allies out of West Germany

    Allies out of West Germany
    Allied end military occupation of Western Germany denouncing it now safe from Soviet Interference.
  • Warsaw Pact

    Warsaw Pact
    The Warsaw Pact was formed with member states East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union.
  • De-Stalinization

    Nikita Khrushchev delivers the speech "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences" at the closed session of the Twentieth Party Congress of the CPSU. The speech marks the beginning of the De-Stalinization.
  • Hungarian Revolution

    Hungarian Revolution
    This began as a Hungarian protest against Communist rule in Budapest. It gained momentum and on 24th October Soviet tanks entered Budapest. The tanks withdrew on 28th October and a new government was formed which quickly moved to introduce democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. The Prime Minister Imre Nagy made a World broadcast that Hungary was under attack from the Soviet Union and calling for aid. Hungary fell to Russia on 10th November 1956.
  • Suez Crisis

    Suez Crisis
    Following military bombardment by Israeli forces, a joint British and French force invaded Egypt to regain control of the Suez Canal which had been nationalised by the Egyptian leader Nasser. The attack was heavily criticised by World leaders, especially America because Russia had offered support to Egypt. The British and French were forced to withdraw and a UN peace keeping force was sent to establish order.
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy Dies

    Senator Joseph McCarthy Dies
    Senator Joseph McCarthy succumbs to illness exacerbated by alcoholism and dies.McCarthy was the leader of the communist witchhunt in the United States and implemented a lot of fear into the public with allegations.
  • Space Race

    Space Race
    USSR Sputnik II carried Laika the dog, the first living creature to go into space
  • Fallout Shelters

    Fallout Shelters
    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.
  • Soviets Become Close with Iraq

    Soviets Become Close with Iraq
    A coup in Iraq, the 14 July Revolution, removes the pro-British monarch. Iraq begins to receive support from the Soviets. Iraq will maintain close ties with the Soviets throughout the Cold War.
  • NASA

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA is formed. This marks another advancement in United States technology.
  • 2nd Berlin Crisis

    2nd Berlin Crisis
    Start of the second Berlin crisis, Nikita Khrushchev asks the West to leave Berlin.
  • Cuban Revolution

    Cuban Revolution
    Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro becomes the dictator of Cuba. In the next several years Cuban-inspired guerrilla movements spring up across Latin America. Castro will be close with the Soviets throughout the Cold War.
  • Kitchen Debate

    Kitchen Debate
    During the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow US Vice President Richard Nixon and Premier Khrushchev openly debate the capacities of each Superpower. This conversation is known as the Kitchen Debate.
  • NLF/Viet Cong

    NLF/Viet Cong
    Formation of the NLF (often called Viet Cong) by North Vietnam. It is a Communist insurgent movement that vows to overthrow the anti-communist South Vietnamese regime. It is supplied extensively by North Vietnam and the USSR eventually.
  • Paris East/West Talks

    Paris East/West Talks
    Talks between Nikita Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower concerning the fate of Germany broke down when a USA U2 spy plane was shot down over Russian airspace
  • 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, an embarrassment for President Eisenhower.
  • Sino-Soviet Split

    Sino-Soviet Split
    Sino-Soviet 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.
  • First Human in Space

    First Human in Space
    Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyvich Gagarin became the first human being in space.This marked a big accomplishment for the Russians.
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    A force of Cuban exiles, trained by the CIA, aided by the US government attempted to invade Cuba and overthrow the Communist government of Fidel Castro. The attempt failed.
  • Berlin Wall

    Berlin Wall
    Berlin wall built and borders sealed between East and West Germany. This would be one of the most memorable symbols of the Cold War.