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The Cold War

  • Russian Revolution

    Russian Revolution
    The Russian Revolution (March 8, 1917 - June 16, 1923) was a time of social and political war across Russia after WWI. It began when Tsar Nicolas II was executed (the destruction of monarchy) and when the Soviet Union was created by the Bolsheviks with a new communist government. This kick-started the Cold War, because Russia became communist and the U.S. began to realize the threat of communism.
  • The Potsdam Conference

    The Potsdam Conference
    The Potsdam Conference (July 1945) was the meeting of the three leading Allied powers of WWII: President Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. While intending to divide control of Germany and secure peace, Churchill and Truman disagreed with Stalin about his Communist ideas for Europe, wanting freedom and democracy. This started the wide gap between the U.S. capitalist and USSR communist ideas, leading to the Cold War.
  • Atomic Bombs

    Atomic Bombs
    In August of 1945, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs, called the Manhattan Project, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to make Japan surrender. Stalin was alarmed at this because he knew that President Truman would not hesitate to use the weapon again, which lead to the Soviet Union's development of the atomic bomb. With this new technology came a new type of warfare with cold threats and hostility instead of actual combat.
  • The Long Telegram

    The Long Telegram
    The Long Telegram was an 8,000 word dispatch to Washington from U.S. Embassy, Moscow, worker George F. Kennan explaining why the Soviet Union was starting to drift from peace with the U.S. and more towards domination of Europe. Kennan wanted the U.S. to contain the Soviet Union's effort to spread Communism across Europe. This encourage the U.S. to protect the world from communism and fight in the Cold War.
  • The Iron Curtain

    The Iron Curtain
    The Iron Curtain was a "line" of divide in Europe separating the Soviet Union from the West. As the Soviet Union started to militarize and behave like an enemy, Britain and the U.S. became concerned about the countries around the Iron Curtain in what was called the Soviet "sphere of influence." In the sphere, the Soviet Union had taken control of countries and forced them into Communism, also creating a "buffer zone" of land in front of Russia in case of attacks.
  • The Molotov Plan

    The Molotov Plan
    The Molotov Plan (1947) was a plan for economic and political aid to Eastern European countries devised by Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet foreign minister. When the U.S. created their Marshall Plan to aid all of Western Europe (so that it wouldn't fall to communism), the Soviet Union rejected this and set up their own plan to help the Soviet sphere of influence. This again created a divide between the countries and encouraged them to fight in the Cold War.
  • The Hollywood 10

    The Hollywood 10
    The Hollywood 10 were ten movie directors/actors/writers from Hollywood who refused to undergo testing by the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) to determine if they were communist. Because of the fifth ammendment, the 10 believed that they could not be questioned about beliefs or freedom of speech. However, the Hollywood 10 were eventually sentenced to jail and forbidden from the motion picture industry.
  • The Truman Doctrine

    The Truman Doctrine
    The Truman Doctrine (1947) was an agreement that President Truman requested before Congress to provide aid to Greece and Turkey in their fight against communism and the Soviet Union. This was a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy and reminded Americans that they were responsible to provide aid to countries who needed help. This was also the U.S. taking action and initiating the Cold War.
  • Alger-Hiss Case

    Alger-Hiss Case
    The Alger-Hiss was when a U.S. state official named Alger Hiss was accused of being a communist and sending secrets from the state department to the Soviet Union. The House would have dismissed the case because there was no incriminating evidence presented but Richard Nixon discovered evidence that Hiss had committed treason. He was only accused of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison. This caused a lot of suspicion and panic in the U.S. and they began to search for more spies.
  • The Marshall Plan

    The Marshall Plan
    The Marshall Plan was an economic aid program suggested by George C. Marshall to provide support to other countries who were struggling with hunger, poverty, etc. Marshall was afraid that people living in post-war Europe would give in to communism to avoid starvation, so he devised a plan. The U.S. gave nets to fishermen, money to reboot Italian auto communities, and rebuilt buildings everywhere, plus more. This was the moment where the U.S. was truly established as the world power.
  • Berlin Blockade

    Berlin Blockade
    The Berlin Blockade was initiated by Joseph Stalin because the Soviet Union did not want Germany to become a unified country again, so they completely shut off West Berlin from power, food, and other necessities in order to run the U.S. out of Europe. When the whole of Western Germany (owned by Great Britain, France, and the U.S.) issued a new currency, Stalin saw this as unification and took action. The blockade lasted 15 months.
  • Berlin Airlift

    Berlin Airlift
    The Berlin Airlift was an effort by the U.S. to resupply West Berlin to prevent it from starvation from the Berlin Blockade. Planes carrying food and medical supplies landed in Berlin every three minutes during the 15 month operation. Stalin eventually gave up on trying to force the U.S. out and lifted the blockade.
  • NATO

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 and consisted of Canada, 10 other European countries, and the U.S. This organization was created after the Berlin Blockade when the U.S. and other countries realized the need for an alliance against Soviet hostility.
  • First Soviet Bomb Test

    First Soviet Bomb Test
    The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949. It was tested in modern-day Kazakhstan, code named "RDS-1" and was similar to the U.S. "Fat Man" bomb because Soviet spies stole secrets from the Manhattan Project. The bomb was pushed into development because of Stalin's panic over the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and was developed by Igor Vasilyvich Kurchatov.
  • Chinese Communist Revolution

    Chinese Communist Revolution
    The Chinese Communist Revolution started in 1949 when Mao Zedong, a Communist leader, created the People's Republic of China (PRC). This declaration ended the war between the two political parties who had been fighting since WWII, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party/Kuomintang (KMT). As a result, the U.S. was reluctant to extend diplomacy to China.
  • The Korean War

    The Korean War
    The Korean War started when North Korean soldiers crossed the 38th parallel (line between North Korea and South Korea) on June 25, 1950. American forces joined to help South Korea in July 1950. This was the first military attack of the Cold War. Following WWII, the Soviets owned North Korea and America owned South Korea. This aggression proved to Truman that communists were bent on taking over the world, and he decided to fight in Korea to stop this and "liberate" the North (McArthur's idea).
  • Rosenberg Trial

    Rosenberg Trial
    The Rosenberg Trial (1948) was the trial of a Jewish couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were accused of sending bomb secrets from the Manhattan project to the Soviet Union to help them develop atomic bombs. While there was little evidence of the Rosenbergs' committing the crime, they were still convicted of treason and executed in 1953.
  • Army-McCarthy Hearings

    Army-McCarthy Hearings
    The Army-McCarthy Hearings were court hearings lead by Joseph McCarthy, a Wisconsin senator against the U.S. army security, who investigated him under the pretense of falsely using influence to prioritize an army member. McCarthy became famous because he said that he could give a list of names of communists in the state department, after the Alger-Hiss case scare. People who were scared believed him, even though he had no evidence. CBS reporter Edward Murrow later proved him to be a fraud.
  • The Warsaw Pact

    The Warsaw Pact
    The Warsaw Pact was a treaty between the Soviet Union and seven other surrounding European countries. The treaty stated that all members were to protect each other from outside attacks and raised a Soviet military marshal, Ivan Konev over military matters. The Warsaw Pact was created because the U.S. created the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and tried to include/re-militarize West Germany, which alarmed the Soviets because they didn't want another unified, powerful German state.
  • Hungarian Revolution

    Hungarian Revolution
    The Hungarian Revolution started in October 1956 when Hungarian protesters began demanding democracy in the political system and freedom from the Soviets. The Communist Party appointed Imre Nagy to make order, but he did not. He asked the Soviets to withdraw their troops and overthrew the one-party rule. He also withdrew Hungary from the Warsaw Pact. In November 1956, the Soviet Union sent troops into Budapest, killing 2,500 Hungarians and causing 200,000 others to flee, ending the revolution.
  • U2 Incident

    U2 Incident
    In May, 1960, a U.S. U-2 plane flying over the Soviet Union was shot down by the USSR. Its pilot, Gary Powers, was taken captive and sentenced to 10 years in prison as the U.S. was faced with the fact that it had been spying on the USSR. This caused a disruption in a conference in Paris between the U.S. and USSR because the USSR wanted the U.S. to give their word that no more flights would be taken over Soviet Territory. This only added to the rift between the two countries in the Cold War.
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    The Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961) started when Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba. The U.S. was afraid that Castro supported communism so they made plans for an invasion of Cuba. For troops, a group of Cuban exiles was trained by the CIA. The mission failed because President Kennedy approved of an invasion but didn't want to send navel or air support. This impacted the Cold War because the Soviet Union would help Cuba to get a foot in "America's backyard," which started the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Berlin Wall

    Berlin Wall
    The Berlin Wall was a divide between East Berlin and West Berlin from 1961-1989. The wall was built by the German Democratic Republic (communist East Germany) to stop people from going to East Berlin and to keep the "fascists" in West Berlin. Few were allowed across the border after, separating families. Many people tried to escape by tunneling under, climbing buildings over, and driving cars into the wall. After it was resolved, the Berlin Wall remained an very important symbol of the Cold War.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) occurred when the U.S. noticed that Soviet ships were bringing missiles/troops to Cuba, and that there were missiles pointed at the U.S. While U.S. forces prepared a defense attack, Robert Kennedy secretly met with Khrushchev, who said he would remove the missiles if Kennedy promised that Cuba wouldn't be invaded and if missiles in Turkey were removed. This made people realize that there was MAD for anyone who launched a nuclear attack, which changed the Cold War.
  • Assassination of JFK

    Assassination of JFK
    On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot in the head and neck at 12:30 pm in a Dallas, TX motorcade. He was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he died at 1 pm, 46 years old. His murderer was a man from New Orleans named Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald supported the S.U. and Cuba and hated capitalism. He was arrested 2 hours later and eventually executed on live TV. JFK was buried 3 days later on November 25 with high military honors and left a lasting impact on his country.
  • Invasion of Czechoslovakia

    Invasion of Czechoslovakia
    The Invasion of Czechoslovakia happened in 1968 when 200,000 Soviet "Warsaw Pact" troops and 5,000 tanks marched into Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union had seized control of Czechoslovakia in 1948, where it was ruled as a communist country under Stalin. The goal of the invasion was to stop the liberalization that had been happening in Czechoslovakia under First Secretary Alexander Dubcek, known as the "Prague Spring." The Czechoslovakians tried to protest the invasion, but were stopped by tanks.
  • Nixon Visits China

    Nixon Visits China
    In February of 1972, President Nixon decided to visit Beijing, China, for diplomacy and to improve relations between the U.S. and the communist PRC (People's Republic of China). This helped China and America to establish better relations and led the Soviet Union open their country to international trade. After this, the Soviet Union and the U.S. signed a consensus to reduce nuclear weapons, which showed that both countries were willing to take action to protect their countries and end the war.
  • Reagan Elected

    Reagan Elected
    On January 20, 1981, President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was inaugurated as the 40th president of the U.S; he served 2 terms. His 1980 campaign won him 51% popular vote and an electoral margin of 489-49. He was the only president (of his time) to express the fact that communism must be destroyed. During his presidency, Reagan negotiated with Soviet nuclear war, decreased taxes, and encouraged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Ultimately, he was one of the factors that ended the Cold War.
  • SDI Announced

    SDI Announced
    The SDI announcement on March 3, 1983 by Ronald Reagan was the ultimate end to the Cold War. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was supposedly a $30 billion project to create a laser system in space that would destroy any incoming nuclear attacks and prevent total nuclear destruction. It was nicknamed the "Star Wars" plan because it was similar to science fiction; as it turns out, the plan was never carried out, it was only a fear tactic for the Soviet Union.
  • Geneva Conference with Gorbachev

    Geneva Conference with Gorbachev
    The Geneva Conference (November 19 and 20, 1986) was a conference in Geneva, Switzerland between President Reagan and Gorbachev. They met for the first time to talk about diplomatic relations, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the arms race. Reagan wanted the conference to create a better relationship with the S.U; however, most of the conference was arguing about the arms race. The conference formed a relationship that helped both countries end the Cold War.
  • "Tear Down this Wall" Speech

    "Tear Down this Wall" Speech
    In June 1987, President Reagan traveled to East Germany to deliver a speech about abolishing the divide in Germany. He famously exclaimed, "If you seek peace...Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" This caused Gorbachev to change the U.S.S.R foreign policy dramatically; he decided that domination cannot be a foreign policy and that countries can have their own freedom and government. After this, many countries like Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria revolted against communism and some chose democracy.
  • Fall of Berlin Wall

    Fall of Berlin Wall
    The Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) was after the U.S.S.R. changed their foreign policy. East Germany also revolted against communism and forced the communist leader, Erich Honecker, to quit in 1989. New leaders tried to reform East Germany, but the people still revolted and brought tools to destroy the 30-year old Berlin Wall. Germany was finally joined together again in 1990. After this, the Soviet Union became weak and was dissolved by Gorbachev on December 25, 1991, ending the Cold War.