The Cold War

By BrianR
  • Division of Berlin

    Division of Berlin
    The separation of Berlin began in 1945 after the collapse of Germany. The country was divided into four zones, where each superpower controlled a zone. In 1946, reparation agreements broke down between the Soviet and Western zones. Response of the West was to merge French, British, and American zones in 1947.
  • Period: to

    The Cold War

  • Bombing of Japan

    Bombing of Japan
    An American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
  • Iron Curtain

    Iron Curtain
    Winston Churchill gave a speech at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, after receiving an honorary degree. With typical oratorical skills, Church introduced the phrase "Iron Curtain" to describe the division between Western powers and the area controlled by the Soviet Union. As such, the speech marks the onset of the Cold War.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    In an address to Congress, President Harry S. Truman declared it to be the foreign policy of the United States to assist any country whose stability was threatened by communism. His initial request was specifically for $400 million to assist both Greece and Turkey, which Congress approved.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    In a speech at Harvard, Sec. of State George C. Marshall outlined what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Europe, still devastated by the war, had just survived one of the worst winters on record. The U-S offered up to $20 billion for relief, but only if the European nations could draw up a rational plan on how they would use the aid. Marshall also offered aid to the Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe, but Stalin denounced the program as a trick and refused to participate.
  • Hollywood Blacklist

    Hollywood Blacklist
    In 1947 HUAC began to summon entertainment professionals on suspicion their work was communist-inspired. Some became known as the "Hollywood Ten." They declined to tell HUAC whether or not they were members of the Communist Party, maintaining that the committee's queries infringed upon their Constitutional rights. The House approved contempt citations. All 10 served up to a year, fined $1,000, and were “blacklisted.” They then faced a difficult time finding a job anywhere in entertainment.
  • Berlin Airlift

    Berlin Airlift
    Supply of vital necessities to West Berlin by air transport primarily under U.S. auspices, in response to a land and water blockade instituted by the Soviet Union in the hope that the Allies would be forced to abandon West Berlin. The massive effort to supply the 2 million West Berliners with food and fuel for heating lasted until May 12, 1949. During the around-the-clock airlift some 277,000 flights were made, many at 3-min intervals.
  • NATO

    military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, which sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in central and eastern Europe after World War II. Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the U-S. Joining the original signatories were Greece and Turkey (1952); West Germany (1955); Spain (1982).
  • Soviet A-Bomb

    Soviet A-Bomb
    The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. It came as a great shock to the United States because they were not expecting the Soviet Union to possess nuclear weapon knowledge so soon. Previously, the United States had used two atomic bombs on Japan to cause them to surrender during World War II. The impact that the possession of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union had upon the United States was that it caused Americans to question their own safety.
  • Communist China

    Communist China
    With help from the Soviet Union the Kuomintang gradually increased its power in China. Chiang Kai-Shek took power in 1925 and began a purge against communists from the organization. Communists who survived established the Jiangxi Soviet. As soon the Japanese surrendered during WW 2, Comm. forces began a war against the Kuomintang. The communists gradually gained control of the country and on 1st October, 1949, Mao Zedong announced the establishment of People's Republic of China.
  • Truman and the H-Bomb

    Truman and the H-Bomb
    Truman reveals his orders to the Atomic Energy Commission to develop the hydrogen bomb.
  • 205 Names

    205 Names
    During a speech to the women's Republican club in Wheeling, West Virginia, Sen. Joseph McCarthy declared, "I have here in my hand a list of 205 names known to the secretary of state as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department."
  • Korean War Begins

    Korean War Begins
    Nearly 100,000 North Koreans smashed across the 38th parallel and overran Seoul, the South Korean capital. On June 27, U.S. President Truman authorized the use of American land, sea, and air forces in Korea; a week later, the United Nations placed the forces of 15 other member nations under U.S. command. Communist China entered the war on Oct. 19, 1950.
  • U-S Forces to Korea

    U-S Forces to Korea
    Truman orders U.S. air and sea forces to aid South Korean troops in resisting the Communist forces of North Korea, which had invaded South Korea the day before.
  • HUAC

    House Un-American Activities Committee was an investigative committee in the House of Reps. which was meant to look into suspected cases of subversion and disloyalty to U-S government. In 1951 the second wave of HUAC hearings begins with Sen. McCarthy leading the charge. Over the next three years McCarthy is a mainstay in the public eye, and he subpoenas some of the most prominent entertainers of the era before HUAC, demanding "the naming of names." McCarthyism ends with his censure in 1954.
  • 1st H-Bomb

    1st H-Bomb
    The world's first hydrogen bomb was exploded by the U-S in the Marshall Islands in the mid-Pacific. It left a crater one-half mile deep and two miles across. Scientists and military personnel witnessed the blast from ships and planes 50 miles away.
  • Stalin

    Joseph Stalin came to power in the Soviet Union after the death of Vladimir Lenin on 21st January 1924. He did not have sole control. He acted as part of a troika with Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. After Lenin's death Stalin eliminated Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin as well as Zinoviev and Kamenev to become sole leader in 1929. Stalin had more people put to death secretly than simply died while under his reign as dictator. 20 million is the accepted number. Died of a stroke at 74 in 1953.
  • Spies Executed

    Spies Executed
    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg became the first native-born Americans to be put to death for espionage by order of a civilian court.
  • Korean War Ends

    Korean War Ends
    War's unpopularity played important role in victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had pledged to go to Korea to end the war. U.S. losses were placed at over 54,000 dead and 103,000 wounded, while Chinese and Korean casualties were each at least 10 times as high. Signing of armistice begins cease fire, calls for calls for demilitarized zone, voluntary repatriation of prisoners, and establishes the thirty-eighth parallel as boundary between North and South Korea.
  • Edward R. Murrow vs. McCarthy

    Edward R. Murrow vs. McCarthy
    Murrow's most-celebrated piece was his 9 March 1954 telecast, in which he engaged Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in a program "told mainly in [McCarthy's] own words and pictures" regarding the communist witch hunt in Washington, D.C. In his review of the now legendary McCarthy program, New York Times' TV critic Jack Gould reflected an ongoing canonization process when he wrote that "last week may be remembered as the week that broadcasting recaptured its soul."
  • U-2 Planes Authorized

    U-2 Planes Authorized
    Eisenhower approves the building of thirty U-2 reconnaissance planes.
  • Warsaw Pact

    Warsaw Pact
    In May 1955, the Soviet Union institutionalized its East European alliance system when it gathered together representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania in Warsaw to sign the multilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, which was identical to their existing bilateral treaties with the Soviet Union. Initially, the Soviets claimed that the Warsaw Pact was a direct response to the inclusion of the West Germany in 1955.
  • Start of Vietnam War

    Start of Vietnam War
    In Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 11/1/55 to fall of Saigon on 4/30/75. Fought b/t N.Vietnam, supported by communist allies, and the government of S.Vietnam, supported by U.S. and other anti-communist nations. The Viet Cong, a lightly armed S.Vietnamese communist-controlled common front, largely fought a guerrilla war. The Vietnam People's Army (N.Vietnamese Army, Vietminh) engaged in a more conventional war. U.S. and S.Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower.
  • Suez Crisis

    Suez Crisis
    After Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, Britain and France began planning an invasion of Egypt, as did Israel. Aware of the Israeli plan to invade the Sinai, French officials suggested that a F-B force could enter Egypt to "separate the combatants", while seizing control of the entire Suez waterway. 5 November the SU sent diplomatic notes to B, F and I threatening to crush the aggressors and restore peace in the Middle East through the use of force.
  • Hungarian Revolution

    Hungarian Revolution
    Students who gathered at Budapest Technical University to protest the hard-line Stalinist government, adopted a declaration demanding 3 reforms of the Hungarian Government: free press, democratic elections, and move away hard-line Stalinist policies. As the rebellion began to spread leaders within the Hungarian government made an appeal to the Soviet Union for troops to help quell the growing rebellion. The following day, H and S troops shot and killed approximately 300 demonstrators.
  • Eisenhower Doctrine

    Eisenhower Doctrine
    Promised military or economic aid to any Middle Eastern country needing help in resisting communist aggression. The doctrine was intended to check increased Soviet influence in the Middle East, which had resulted from the supply of arms to Egypt by communist countries as well as from strong communist support of Arab states. Eisenhower proclaimed, with Congressional, that he would use the armed forces to protect the independence of any Middle Eastern country seeking American help.
  • Sputnik

    Launched by the Soviet Union, Sputnik was the world's first artificial satellite -- a 184-pound, beachball-sized sphere stuffed with eerily beeping radio transmitters. Americans reacted with shock and disbelief.
  • First U-S Satellite

    First U-S Satellite
    First U.S. satellite, Explorer I, is sent into orbit.
  • U-2 Incident

    U-2 Incident
    The USSR did not agree to a U.S. 'Open Skies' proposal in 1955. The U.S. instituted high altitude recon flights over the Soviet Union. The U-2 was the plane of choice of the CIA. By 1960, the U.S. had flown numerous 'successful' missions over and around the U.S.S.R. However, on May 1, 1960, a U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers was brought down near Svedlovsk, Soviet Union. This event had a lasting negative impact on U.S. - U.S.S.R. relations. Details are still a mystery.
  • Bay of Pigs

    Bay of Pigs
    The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful attempt by United States-backed Cuban exiles to overthrow the government of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Increasing friction between the U.S. government and Castro's regime led Eisenhower to break off diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1961. Even before that, however, the CIA had been training anti-revolutionary Cuban exiles for a possible invasion of the island. The invasion plan was approved by Eisenhower's successor, John F. Kennedy.
  • Castro and Cuba

    Castro and Cuba
    Fidel Castro came to power as a result of the Cuban Revolution, which overthrew the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and shortly thereafter became Prime Minister of Cuba. On this date Castor officially declared Cuba a socialist state.
  • Berlin Wall

    Berlin Wall
    The East German government erected the Berlin Wall in order to keep its citizens from fleeing to the West. It came down Nov. 9, 1989.
  • Berlin Wall Erected

    Berlin Wall Erected
    The Berlin border between East and West Berlin is closed. The zonal boundary is sealed in the morning by East German troops. “Shock workers” from East Germany and Russia a seal off the border with barbed wire and light fencing that eventually became a complex series of wall, fortified fences, gun positions and watchtowers heavily guarded and patrolled. In the end, the Berlin Wall was 96 miles long and the average height of the concrete wall was 11.8 ft.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    In 1962, the Soviets were desperately behind the U-S in the arms race. Soviet missiles could only reach Europe. In late April, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. For the U-S, the crisis began on October 15 when recon photos revealed Soviet construction. Tensions eased on Oct. 28 when Khrushchev announced that he would dismantle the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union and expect the U-S not to invade Cuba.
  • Washington/Moscow Hotline

    Washington/Moscow Hotline
    To lessen the threat of an accidental nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union agree to establish a "hot line" communication system between the two nations. The agreement was a small step in reducing tensions between the United States and the USSR following the October 1962 Missile Crisis in Cuba, which had brought the two nations to the brink of nuclear war.
  • Cronkite on Vietnam War

    Cronkite on Vietnam War
    On 2/27/68, Cronkite closed "Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why?" by expressing his view that the war was unwinnable, and that the U-S would have to find a way out. Some of Lyndon Johnson's aides recalled that the president watched the broadcast and declared that he knew at that moment he would have to change course. A month later Johnson declined to run for reelection and announced that he was seeking a way out of the war.
  • Czechoslovakia Uprising

    Czechoslovakia Uprising
    In 1968, new Czechoslovakian Party Leader Alexander Dubcek pushed reforms that would put “a human face” on socialism. Would guarantee freedom of religion, press, assembly, speech, and travel. Dubcek also pushed to improve relations with every nation in the world, regardless of social and political affiliations. His popularity, however, did not extend to the other nations of the Warsaw Pact. troops from Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, and Poland occupied Czechoslovakia.
  • Khrushchev

    Leader of the Soviet Union 1953-1964. Certainly the most colorful Soviet leader. Best remembered for his dramatic, oftentimes boorish gestures and schemes designed to attain maximum propaganda effect, his enthusiastic belief that Communism would triumph over capitalism, and the fact that he was the only Soviet leader ever to be removed peacefully from office--a direct result of the post-Stalin thaw he had instigated in 1956. On 10/14/64 Khrushchev was forced to resign. Died 9/11/71.
  • SALT I

    SALT I
    Brezhnev and Nixon met in November 1969. Two treaties signed: Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, or ABM, and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. ABM treaty included regulation of antiballistic missiles that could be used to destroy incoming ICBM’s launched by other countries. Treaty was ratified by the US on August 3, 1972. The second treaty would place a five year freeze on the number of strategic ballistic missiles.
  • End of Vietnam War

    End of Vietnam War
    The U.S. gov't. viewed the war as a way to prevent communist takeover of S.Vietnam and part of the strategy of containment. The N.Vietnamese gov't viewed it as a colonial war, fought initially against France, backed by the U.S., and later against S.Vietnam, which it regarded as a U.S. puppet state. The war became very unpopular in the U.S. U.S. mil. involvement ended 8/15/73. The capture of Saigon by the N.Vietnamese army in 4/75 marked the end of the Vietnam War.

    Goal was to replace Interim Agreement with a long-term treaty providing broad limits on strategic offensive weapons. Negotiations began Nov. 1972. Major breakthrough in Nov. 1974 between Ford and Brezhnev, agreeing to basic framework. Signed by Carter and Brezhnev on June 18, 1979. Carter transmitted it to the Senate on June 22 for its advice and consent to ratification. On January 3, 1980, however, Carter requested Senate delay in view of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Kept voluntarily.
  • Summer Olympics

    Summer Olympics
    The United States and a number of other countries boycotted the games because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, though athletes from some boycotting countries participated in the games, under the Olympic Flag. This prompted the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics.
  • Brezhnev

    Following Khrushchev’s removal, which Brezhnev helped to engineer, he was named first secretary (later general sec.) of the Communist party. In 1968, in support of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, enunciated the “Brezhnev doctrine,” (the USSR could intervene in the domestic affairs of any Soviet bloc nation if Communist rule were threatened). Favored closer relations with the Western powers, and he helped bring about a dйtente with the U-S. In 1977 he assumed the presidency of the USSR.
  • Evil Empire

    Evil Empire
    “The Soviet Union is an Evil Empire, and Soviet communism is the focus of evil in the modern world” -- Pres. Ronald Reagan. Reagan took a consistently hardline stance against communism, forcing the Soviet Union into bankruptcy as it attempted to keep pace with the U-S' military buildup.
  • SDI

    The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars, was a program first initiated under President Ronald Reagan. The intent of this program was to develop a sophisticated anti-ballistic missile system in order to prevent missile attacks from other countries, specifically the Soviet Union.
  • Yuri Andropov

    Yuri Andropov
    Elected to Politburo, and, as Soviet leader Brezhnev’s health declined, Andropov positioned himself for succession. Andropov was chosen to succeed Brezhnev as general secretary on November 12, two days after Brezhnev’s death. He consolidated his power by becoming chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (president) on 6/16/83. Ill health overtook him by 8/83, and was never seen again in public. Accomplished little; succeeded by former rival Konstantin Chernenko. Died 2/9/84.
  • Konstantin Chernenko

    Konstantin Chernenko
    Chief political leader of the Soviet Union from 2/84 until his death in 1985. Born to a Russian peasant family in Siberia, Chernenko joined the Communist Party in 1931. Trained as a party propagandist, he held several administrative posts before becoming head of agitation and propaganda in Moldavia (1948–56), where he was first noticed by Leonid Brezhnev and brought to Moscow to head a similar department for the party’s Central Committee.
  • Reagan and the Berlin Wall

    Reagan and the Berlin Wall
    General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.
    Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!
    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! —Ronald Reagan, address at the Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987
  • Tiananmen Square

    Tiananmen Square
    Several hundred civilians were shot dead by Chinese army during a military operation to crush a democratic protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Tanks rumbled through the streets as the army moved in from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters. Residents were shocked by the army's extreme response to the peaceful protest. Demonstrators, mainly students, had occupied the square for seven weeks, refusing to move until their demands for democratic reforms were met.
  • Fall of Berlin Wall

    Fall of Berlin Wall
    The East German government announces that visits in West Germany and West Berlin will be permitted. Thousands of East Berliners pass into West Berlin as border guards stand by. People begin tearing down the wall.
  • Collapse of Romania

    Collapse of Romania
    1965 - When Gheorghiu-Dej dies of pneumonia in March Nicolae Ceausescu manoeuvres to become party leader. On attaining the post, he begins to surround himself with loyal subordinates. A new constitution is proclaimed on 21 August and the country renamed the Socialist Republic of Romania. His rule was marked by disastrous ec. schemes and became increasingly repressive and corrupt. In Dec. 1989, a popular uprising, joined by the army, led to the arrest and execution of Ceausescu and his wife.
  • German Reunification

    German Reunification
    Drive for reunification developed in East and West G. in 1990. East G. conservative parties supporting reunification won elections, and dismantled the state. Ec. union with the West occurred in July, and on Oct. 3, political reunification took place. In new national elections (Dec. 1990), the conservative coalition retained power. The economy in the East largely collapsed, and the costs of reunification and privatization of state-owned businesses in the East pushed Germany into recession.
  • Collapse of Soviet Union

    Collapse of Soviet Union
    By 1985 when Gorbachev came to power, the SU was in severe stagnation. He introduced reform: glasnost, or freedom of speech; perestroika, a program of economic reform. Gorbachev unwittingly unleashed emotions and political feelings that had been pent up for decades. The SU’s disintegration began in the non-Russian areas where, in 1987, the government of Estonia demanded autonomy. Realizing that he could no longer contain the power of the population, he resigned on December 25, 1991.