Cold War

The United States, the UK, and the Soviet Union were allies during World War II. However, immediately after that, Winston Churchill described the new climate in Eastern Europe as having an “Iron Curtain” falling upon it. He was of course referring to the Soviet Union.

Necessity brought the three countries together during WWII. They had common enemies, the Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. That was the only reason, but the truth is they had differing political, social, and economic ideals; this was why the United States and the Soviet Union became rivals right after the war. The two nations never engaged the other directly but were involved in “Proxy Wars” which included the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Cold War Timeline (1945-1991)

1945 Feb 4-11 – In discussing the reorganization of Post-War Europe, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin meet in the Yalta Conference.

Apr 23 – Harry Truman takes over as president and establishes his position to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

Aug 2 – The reconstruction and division of Europe is agreed upon during the Potsdam conference.

Aug 6 – The U.S. uses an atomic weapon for the first time against the Japanese on the city of Hiroshima, and later on Nagasaki.

Sep – A clerk working for the Soviet Embassy in Canada, Igor Gouzenko, defects and gives vital information to the west regarding the USSR.

1946 Jan – Nationalist and Communist China resume the activities of the Civil War.

Feb 9 – Stalin gives a speech saying that communism and capitalism cannot co-exist.

Mar 5 – Winston Churchill, in a response to Stalin gives his “Sinews of Peace” speech wherein he refers to the Iron Curtain descending upon Europe.

Mar 10 – President Truman demands Russia/USSR to vacate Iran.

Jul 1 – A series of nuclear tests by the USA are conducted at the Bikini Atoll, the activity is known as Operation Crossroads.

1947 Sep 2 – The USA organizes with 19 Latin American nations to sign the Rio Pact.
1948 Feb 25 – USSR takes over Czechoslovakia.

Mar 17 – In order to protect Europe from Communism, the Brussels Pact is signed.

Jun 24 – The Berlin Blockade is a crisis that was borne out of the Cold War and lasts for 11 months.

1949 Apr 4 – The formation of NATO is ratified.

May 12 – The Berlin Blockade comes to an end.

Oct – Communist Mao Tse Tung takes over China and defeats the Nationalists.

Dec 1 – The Nationalists in China led by Chiang Kai-Shek moves to the island of Formosa, present day Taiwan.

1950 Feb – A communist witch hunt in the US begins, led by Joe McCarthy.

Jun 24 – The Korean War begins with Stalin equipping North Korea with Soviet weapons in the invasion against South Korea.

1951 Jan 12 – The Federal Civil Defense Administration is created.

Apr 11 – General Douglas MacArthur is relieved from service by President Truman.

1953 Jun 19 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for their involvement as communist spies.

Jul 27 – The Korean War ends through the signing of an armistice agreement.

Aug 19 – Operation Ajax is the CIA operation that overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

Sep 7 – Soviet Communist Party chooses a new leader in Nikita Krushchev.

Dec 8 – President Dwight Eisenhower gives his Atoms for Peace speech to the UN General Assembly.

1954 Mar – The Soviet Union create their own national security agency, the KGB (Committee for State Security).

May – The Philippines is infiltrated by communist factions known as the Huk.

Jun 18-27 – Another covert operation by the CIA was the Guatemalan Coup d’etat aimed to depose President Guzman.

Jul – Vietnam is divided to north and south at the 17th parallel.

Sep 8 – SEATO is created in order to resist communist expansion in South East Asia which has spread to the Philippines and Indochina.

1955 Feb 24 – The Soviet Union create their own national security agency, the KGB (Committee for State Security).

May 9 – The Philippines is infiltrated by communist factions known as the Huk.

May – Another covert operation by the CIA was the Guatemalan Coup d’etat aimed to depose President Guzman.

Jul 18 – Vietnam is divided to north and south at the 17th parallel.

1956 Jun 28 – The Soviet Union create their own national security agency, the KGB (Committee for State Security).

Jul 26 – The Philippines is infiltrated by communist factions known as the Huk.

1957 Jan 5 – The Eisenhower Doctrine is a promise of the US to defend Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan against Communist influence.

Apr – North Vietnam stirs a Communist insurgency in South Vietnam.

Aug 26 – The first ICBM is launched using a Vostok.

Oct 1 – In anticipation of a potential soviet ICBM nuclear attack, the Strategic Air Command issues 24/7 alerts which lasted until 1991.

Oct 4 – The Soviets successfully launch Sputnik into orbit.

1958 Jul 14 – Iraq receives support from the USSR beginning in the 14 July Revolution by overthrowing the Hashemite Monarchy.

Nov – Nikita Khrushchev demands the West to leave West Berlin in the second Berlin Crisis.

1959 Jan 1 – Fidel Castro becomes leader of Cuba through the Cuban Revolution in a communist take-over.

Sep – Visiting the US, Khrushchev is denied entry into Disneyland. He goes to SeaWorld instead.

Dec – The FNL (Viet Cong) is formed in North Vietnam. It is a movement by communists with plans to overthrow the South Vietnam government.

1960 Aug 9 – A communist revolt in Laos, known as Pathet Lao takes place.
1961 Jan 3 – President Eisenhower severs diplomatic relationship with Cuba and closes the embassy (US) in Havana.

Apr 15 – In an attempt to invade Cuba by the CIA, the mission fails. This is known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

Aug 13 – After failing to decide the future of Germany, the Berlin Wall is erected by the Soviets.

Oct 27 – Legendary Checkpoint Charlie begins stand off between US & Soviet tanks.

Oct 31 – Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested is detonated by the Soviet Union.

1962 Sep 8 – China invades India, the Himalayan War, and attempts to claim certain border area.

Oct 16 – Soviets covertly install military bases and nuclear weapons on Cuba, the standoff is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963 Jul 25 – The UK, US, and USSR sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty, limiting the testing of nuclear weapons to nearly any place except underground.

Nov 2 – The CIA is suspected in the assassination coup of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam.

Nov 22 – JFK is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

1964 Aug 4 – The US involvement in the Vietnam War is precipitated by the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

Oct 14 – Leonid Brezhnev takes over as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

1965 Apr 28 – American forces are sent to invade the Dominican Republic to prevent a communist takeover.

Sep 30 – Indonesian generals attempting a coup are killed in the 30 September Movement.

Nov 14 – The Battle La Drang signals the first incursion between US and Vietnam forces.

1967 Mar 12 – President Sukarno of Indonesia is overthrown by General Suharto.

Apr 25 – The Treaty of Tlatelolco is signed by thrity-three Latin American and Caribbean countries that prohibit nuclear weapons in those areas.

Jun 5 – The Six Day War is Israel’s invasion of the Sinai Peninsula in response to Egyptian aggression.

Aug 8 – To prevent further communist threat in Southeast Asia, the Bangkok Declaration is established.

1968 Jan 23 – North Korea boards and captures the USS Pueblo, later known as the Pueblo Incident.

Jan 30 – As the war in Vietnam intensifies, one of the major events take place known as the Tet Offensive.

Jul 1 – The Nuclear Proliferation Treaty is made available for signature.

1969 Jan 20 – Richard Nixon is elected President of the USA.

Mar 2 – China and the Soviet Union continue to have border clashes, known as the Sino-Soviet Conflict.

Jul 20 – The USA becomes the first to land on the moon with Apollo 11.

Jul 25 – The US begin withdrawal from Vietnam to allow “Vietnamization” to take place. This puts the burden of combat on the South Vietnamese.

Sep 1 – Libya allies itself with the Soviet Union with the expulsion of the US and UK along with the overthrow of the Libyan monarchy led by Moammar al-Gaddafi.

1970 Mar 5 – The UK, US, and the Soviet Union enter into an agreement known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Other countries also signed the treaty.

Mar 17 – Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia are bombed by the United States.

Apr – Nixon extends the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

1971 Mar 26 – The Bangladesh Liberation War breaks out. The war results in the creation of the independent country of Bangladesh.

Sep 3 – A prelude to Detente, the Four Power Agreement on Berlin was agreed upon by the main wartime allied powers, the UK, US, USSR, and France.

Sep 11 – Nikita Khrushchev dies.

Oct 25 – The People’s Republic of China is recognized by the UN General Assembly by passing Resolution 2758.

1972 Feb 21 – For the first time, a US president, Nixon, visits the People’s Republic of China.

May 26 – The beginning of Detente between the US and USSR results in the signing of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I).

Sep 1 – Outside of diplomatic and military circles, American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer defeats Soviet-French grandmaster Boris Spassky.

1973 Jan 27 – America’s involvement in the Vietnam War ends by the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.

Sep 11 – Chilean Marxist President Salvador Allende is overthrown via a coup d’etat led by Augusto Pinochet who received backing from the US.

Oct 6 – Egypt and Syria attack Israel in what was known as the Yom Kippur War.

1974 Jun – France leaves SEATO which results in the disbanding of the organization.

Aug 9 – Richard Nixon resigns and is replaced by Gerald Ford as President of the U.S.

Sep 12 – The Derg, a Marxist military junta, ousts the pro-western monarchy of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia

1975 Apr 17 – The Maoist Khmer Rouge forcibly takes hold of Cambodia. Genocide is practiced by the Khmer that results to the “Killing Fields.”

Apr 30 – South Vietnam falls and surrender’s Saigon. North and South Vietnam are united ruled by a Communist Government.

Jul 1 – The Helsinki Accords are signed by the Canada, all European states (except Albania and Andorra), and the USA. The purpose of the accords was to ease the tension between the West and the Communist bloc.

Jul – A joint effort in their space programs by the US and the Soviets brought us the famous Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. An end to the the Space Race.

1976 Feb – The Soviet Union and Cuba install a Communist government in Angola.
1977 Jul 23 – US backed Somalia attacks Soviet supported Ethiopia which gives rise to the Ogaden War.
1978 Dec 25 – After the overthrow of Afghani President Sardar Mohammed Dauod, resulting in his murder, a Communist regime takes over in Afghanistan.
1979 Jan 7 – A pro-Vietnam/pro-Soviet government is installed in Cambodia after Vietnam deposes the Khmer Rouge.

Jan 16 – From monarchy to theocracy, the Iranian Revolution ousts vestiges of Shah Reza Pahlavi, a pro-western supporter and installs the Ayatollah Khomeini as leader in Iran.

Feb 17 – China attacks North Vietnam for invading Cambodia, this is part of the Sino-Vietnamese War.

May 9 – In South America, Marxists in El Salvador engage in a war against the government which was being supported by the US.

Jun 18 – Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement.

Jul 17 – The Somoza dictatorship of Nicaragua is overthrown by Sandinista revolutionaries.

Nov 4 – Hardline Islamist students in Iran overwhelm the American Embassy. This is the beginning of the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Dec 24 – Afghanistan is invaded by the Soviet Union to salvage the existing communist rule in that region, this led to the end of Detente.

1980 Aug 31 – Poland workers wanting more civil rights signed the Gdansk Agreement in the Communist controlled country.
1981 Jan 20 – One of the reasons Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as President of the US is his opposition to the “concessions” of Détente.

Nov 23 – The CIA support the anti-Sandinista rebels. The Sandinista’s are avowed Marxists.

Dec 13 – Martial law is declared in Poland by communist General Jaruzelski. The declaration was an attempt to stop the Polish Trade Union from gaining power.

1982 Feb 24 – To prevent the overthrow of governments in the region by communist forces, the Caribbean Basin Initiative is announced by President Reagan.

Nov 14 – The Soviet Union chooses Yuri Andropov as General Secretary.

1983 Jan – South African Dieter Gerhardt is arrested by the FBI in New York for being a Soviet Spy. This further proved that the Soviets had engaged in more desperate attempts to infiltrate the US.

Mar 8 – President Reagan calls the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” during a speech given to the National Association of Evangelicals.

Mar 23 – In a move to protect the United States from nuclear threats, specially against the Soviets, President Reagan proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Sep 1 – A Soviet interceptor aircraft shoots down a Korean Air Lines plane killing 269 passengers. The US condemns this act and put the Soviets on alert.

Oct 25 – The United States invade Grenada to overthrow the Marxist/Communist government, abort the construction of a Soviet-funded airstrip, and expel Cuban soldiers.

1984 Feb 13 – A new General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Konstantin Chernenko.

Jul 28 – Countries allied with the Soviet Union decide to boycott the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The move was meant to show the US that the communists were still united.

Dec 16 – Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR and Margaret Thatcher of the UK meet to discuss Soviet leadership candidates.

1985 Mar 11 – Mikhail Gorbachev rises to power in the Soviet Union that supports the campaign of “glasnost” as opposed to “perestroika”, two Soviet ideals.

Nov 21 – For the first time, Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan meet at Geneva, Switzerland.

1986 Apr 26 – In one of the worst Soviet nuclear plant accidents, Chernobyl, in the Ukraine, explodes. This came to be known as the Chernobyl disaster.

Oct 11-12 – The Reykjavik Summit in Iceland takes place where President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union meet to discuss nuclear arms control. A move that eventually leads to the end of the Cold War.

1987 Jun 12 – President Reagan visits West Berlin. This is where he gives his challenge to Soviet Leader Gorbachev: “Mr. Gobachev, tear down this wall!” Referring to the Berlin Wall.

Dec 8 – Gorbachev and President Reagan sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in Washington D.C. It has been said that this was the official end of the Cold War.

1988 May 15 – Soviet Union forces begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan. The US and Soviet Union agree to no longer interfere in the affairs of the Afghani’s.
1989 Jan 20 – The United States have a new President in George H.W. Bush.

Jun 4 – Poland holds a “semi-free” election in which the Solidarity Trade Union wins 99% of the senate seats available and all the seats in parliament. This weakens the communist hold in the country.

Nov 9 – The Berlin Wall Falls. Revolutions spread across Eastern Europe, mostly in countries under the Soviet Union’s control. The borders dividing East and West Berlin have been opened.

Dec 3 – The end of the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev and President Bush make the announcement of the Malta Summit that “the long lasting era of peace has begun.”

1991 Dec 25 – The Soviet Union official dissolves after Gorbachev resigns as its president.