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The Cold War: 15 Major Events

  • Europe's "Iron Curtain"

    Europe's "Iron Curtain"
    Gradually, The Cold War had begun to be talked about as a battle between East and West; division of Europe. Winston Churchill referred to areas under Soviet control as languishing behind an "Iron Curtain". This metaphor stuck and there continued to be this idea that Europe was seperated by an iron curtain with communist dominated countries on the wrong side of the curtain, and relatively, democratic on the other side; gravitating towards the U.S.
  • The Marshall Plan

    The Marshall Plan
    Also known as the European Recovery Program, this plan was designed to finance the economic recovery of Europe between 1948 and 1951. It successfully met its objective of restoring the confidence of the European people in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole. This is named after George C. Marshall, Secretary of State, whom on June 5, 1947, announced this Program in a speech at Harvard University.
  • Early Post-War Years: The Berlin Blockade

    Early Post-War Years: The Berlin Blockade
    The Soviets were thrown into an economic choas after America and Britian proposed to establish a new currency into West Berlin. Due to this event, Soviets decided to shut down all railroads, roads and passages of travel on land and water between West Berlin and West Germany. This started the "Berlin Blockade", forcing the city to essentially be abandoned. Although forms of travel and communication on land and water were cut off, air was not. Thus the "Berlin Airlift" began.
  • NATO establishment

    NATO establishment
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created to prevent the "iron curtain", or communism, from spreading to other nations. The United Kingdom and United States, along with 10 other nations became apart of this organization.
  • End of the Berlin Blockade

    End of the Berlin Blockade
    Unable to cause such a disastrous event such as shooting down the planes bringing in food, supplies and other goods (Berlin Airlift), Stalin was forced to end the blockade; U.S. coming out on top.
  • Korean War

    Korean War
    The Korean War was very important for the Cold War because it signifies that the Cold War's focus was moving into Asia. North Korea was set up as a communist state, and South Korea was set up as a client of the U.S.; in other words an anti-communist state. Due to these differences, North Korean troops came across the border and attacked South Korea. In an attempt to stop the spread of communism and protect the South Koreans being attacked, Harry Truman allowed the U.S. troops to step in.
  • The Warsaw Pact

    The Warsaw Pact
    On this day, the Warsaw Pact was established and signed. This treaty, a mutual defense oraganization, put the Soviets in charge of the armed forces of the member states, including Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria.
  • The Space Race: Sputnik 2

    The Space Race: Sputnik 2
    The Soviets shocked the Western World by putting two satelites into orbit that were both powered by rockets; potentially able to carry misles someday. This launching portrayed the possiblity of space-based weapons. The second sputnik launch put the first organic form of life into space which sparked the idea of putting men into space as well. With the Soviets taking the lead in this technology there was a real concern that it would tip the balance of the cold war.
  • U-2 Spy Incident

    U-2 Spy Incident
    The U-2 was a high-altitude jet aircraft meant for surveillance, intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. The USSR shot down an American U-2 spy plane in Soviet air space, capturing its pilot. The pilot was sentenced to 10 years in prison after Presient Eisenhower was forced to admit to the Soviets, that the CIA had been flying spy missions over the USSR for years. However, they were able to release him after capturing a Soviet agent and offering a trade; first-ever U.S.-USSR "spy swap".
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    In attempt to get rid of Castro, President Kennedy planned to train Cuban's (those that resisted Castro) and turn them into commandos; give them proficiency with weapons and military tactics, sending them in as an invasion force. This was done in hope that other Cubans would join and that gradually it would knock Castro out of power. This invasion turned out to be a disaster and an ultimate fail. Kennedy eventually came forth and admitted that the U.S. was behind this invasion and failure.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    In short, in the month of October, President Kennedy agreed for the Soviets to start construction of launching facilities for nuclear weapons, without knowing the Soviets actual plan; finish construction quietly and get misles in place before the U.S. could do anything about it. Although, in this attempt, a U.S. servaliance aircraft picked up on this and it was immediately put to a hault by Kennedy. This became known as the moment when the two superpowers came closest to a nuclear showdown.
  • Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

    Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
    The Soviet Union sent in hundreds and thousands of their troops into Afghanistan. Immediately, they took complete military and political control of Kabul and other portions of the country. This event of the Cold War marked the only time which the Soviet Union invaded a country, outside of the Eastern Bloc. Also, this event began a long attempt to prolong the Afghan civil war; suggesting to maintain a friendly atmosphere and government, along their borders.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall
    As the Cold War began to fade across the eastern side of Europe, there was an annoucement of a change in its relations with the West. Citizens were free to cross the border. From East and West , the people of Berlin went to the wall yelling "open the gate"! People began using picks, hammers and such, to knock down the wall, as well as bulldozers and cranes. The wall was soon gone, and for the first time since 1945, Berlin was united. again