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The Cold War - A Timeline

  • Yalta Conference

    This conference between the winning powers defined what would happen to the remaining territories in very vague terms, causing the USA to falsely believe that the USSR would give democratic rights to Poland. “The Provisional Government which is now functioning in Poland reorganized… [and] shall be pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot.” - text from the Yalta Conference
  • End of WWII in Europe

  • American Use of A-Bombs in Japan without Consulting the USSR

  • Soviet Union takes over Poland and Establishes a Pro-Communist Government

  • Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan

    Truman said that the United States would give monetary aid to any country under communist threat. Over $13 billion was put into non-communist European economies as a way to prevent more countries from falling to communism. "The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive.” - text from the Truman Doctrine
  • Berlin Blockade (ends May 1949)

    Berlin Blockade (ends May 1949)
    The USSR created a blockade to starve West Berlin. American forces gave countless airdrops of food and supplies in response.
  • NATO Formed

    NATO, an alliance between many non-communist countries, promised mutual protection between countries in the case of attack.
  • USSR Explodes First Atomic Bomb

  • Commander Mao’s Communist Revolution Takes Power in China

    Commander Mao’s Communist Revolution Takes Power in China
  • Hydrogen Bomb Development in USA

    The Hydrogen bomb, a bomb infinitely more powerful than the atom bomb, is developed in the USA.
  • McCarthy's Communist Witch Hunt Begins

    American politician Joe McCarthy gained quick fame through his speech about communist spies in which he claimed that he had the names of 205 communists in the federal government. The House Un-American Activities Committee’s searches for spies in the government and the charges of treason towards federal officials like Alger Hiss also contributed to the domestic fear and hysteria called the “Red Scare.”
  • Korean War Begins (Ends July 1953)

    When communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea, the UN intervened and pushed their forces back to China’s border. China saw this as a threat and fought back. This war caused many casualties on both sides and was detrimental to American morale.
  • Nuclear Ban Test Treaty

    Nuclear Ban Test Treaty
    This treaty, signed by the USA, USSR, and UK, prohibited to test nuclear weapons or explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space, allowed underground nuclear testing as long as no radioactive debris fell outside the boundaries of the country that is conducting this test, and pledged to have complete disarmament, to end the armaments race, and to end the contamination of the environment caused by radioactivity.
  • USSR Explodes First H-bomb

    USSR Explodes First H-bomb
  • Warsaw Pact (Ends in 1991)

    Warsaw Pact (Ends in 1991)
    Soviet Union created a mutual defense organization that included these European countries: Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. It was basically the USSR’s “NATO”, so an attack on one is an attack to all. It was created in reaction to West Germany joining NATO. The Soviets saw NATO as a threat to peace and decided to create the Warsaw Pact to defend themselves.
  • Beginning of Vietnam War (Ends in April 1975)

  • The Beginning of the Space Race

    The Beginning of the Space Race
    The battle of the supremacy in spacecraft technology was one of the greatest rivalries of the 20th century. “Race” in the term “Space Race” meant staying ahead of the USSR when it comes to putting satellites and people into space. The goal of both the Soviets and the United States was to put a man on the moon. Science, global relations, and global economy were impacted.
  • The Berlin Crisis

    Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev demanded that the Western powers (US, Britain, and France) must take out their forces of West Germany in the next six months. The Western powers refused to accept this demand which started the three-year crisis. US President Dwight Eisenhower had a meeting with Khrushchev, but neither wanted to give in to the others demands. The negotiations faded and no solution was made.
  • Cuba's Communist Revolution Takes Power

  • John F. Kennedy Elected President of the United States

    John F. Kennedy Elected President of the United States
    He is later assassinated in November, 1963.
  • Construction of Berlin Wall (Ends in 1989)

    The Soviets build a wall separating East and West Germany to keep the “fascists” out, preventing movement to and from each side. It was first a barbed wire that was built overnight and then turned to cement walls and towers. The US condemned this wall, saying that it was immoral to separate families and loved ones. This wall caused an extreme rise of tension between the USSR and the USA. "[The wall is] a nuclear-age equivalent of the Wild West Showdown at the O.K. Corral." - Anonymous
  • JFK Moon Speech

    JFK Moon Speech
    "Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.” Link text
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    The USSR placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, leading to a 13-day standoff between the USSR and USA. The issue was resolved in a quid-pro-quo to remove missiles out of both Turkey and Cuba. "The two most powerful nations had been squared off against each other, each with its finger on the button." -Premier Khrushchev "It is insane that two men, sitting on opposite sides of the world, should be able to decide to bring an end to civilization." -President Kennedy
  • Soviet Union stops Czech uprising

  • USA Puts a Man on the Moon

  • US President Richard Nixon visits China

  • China and USA Begin a Diplomatic Status

  • SALT II Signed

    SALT II was an agreement signed between the USA and the USSR whose goal was to curtail the production of nuclear weapons on both sides.
  • The Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan

    The United States gives aid in the form of supplies to the Afghan rebels.
  • President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev Work to Remove All Nuclear Missiles

    President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev Work to Remove All Nuclear Missiles
    President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev worked to remove all of the nuclear missiles from Europe as well as the rest of the globe. Gorbachev started off with a unilateral freeze of all intermediate missiles. Later on, he worked towards a 50% reduction on intercontinental ballistic missiles and made a deal to cut off all nuclear activities after that.
  • Berlin Wall Removed

    Berlin Wall Removed
    As the Cold War began to die down, it was decided that the East and West sides of Berlin would be unified once more.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev Becomes the 1st President of the Soviet Union

  • US and USSR Agree to the Reunification of Germany

    Germany was officially reunified as one after years of separation. The US and the USSR agreed to support the reunification of the West and East sides of Berlin.
  • Boris Yeltsin becomes President of Russia

  • End of the Cold War

    End of the Cold War
    As the Iron curtain was taken down, Germany was reunited, and the reductions of nuclear arsenals, the Cold War came to an end. Tensions still remain high between the US and Russia, but the majority of the conflict ended with the Cold War.