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Cold War Timeline

Add dates of important events first. Top to bottom, left to right. It doesn't have to be super organized, as long as everything is ADDED TO THE PATH.

Dillon Sylte

on 19 May 2014

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Transcript of Cold War Timeline

Islands off the coast of Taiwan; controversy during 1968 US election about the necessity of protecting them (for the ROC) against the PRC (not yet recognized). Kennedy=unnecessary, Nixon=necessary
Some argue that the Cold War began way back in 1917 when the US intervened in Bolshevik Revolution.
Yalta Conference
US nukes Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Japanese surrender
End of World War II
Cold War Begins
Winston Churchill delivers "Iron Curtain" Speech
Given during tour in US
At this point many Americans still saw Russia as a WWII ally, so the speech was seen as "warmongering and unnecessary"
Yalta Conference
discussing Europe's post-war reorganization
The big Three: Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin
Major Points:
Germany and Berlin into 4 zones
Poland was point of contention. Roosevelt wanted to avoid the problem, Churchill pushed for free dem. elections.
Truman Doctrine
Franklin D Roosevelt
At Yalta FDR's health is failing, Churchill's Physicial calls him a dying man
Dies April 12th, 1945
Harry S. Truman
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
Secretary of State
James Byrnes
appointed by Truman
Policy set forth in speech
Marshall Plan
Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia
June 24
Berlin Blockade Starts
Berlin Airlift
North Atlantic Treaty Organization ratified
May 12
Berlin Blockade ends
Mao Zedong takes control of China
Soviets explode first atomic bomb
Soviets have consolidated their Sphere of Influence
McCarthyism coming soon...
Joe McCarthy begins Communist witch hunt
Korean War begins
June 19
The Rosenbergs are executed
Korean War ends
Vietnam splits into North and South
Warsaw Pact formed
October - November
Hungarian Revolution
Suez Crisis
Sputnik Launched
Khrushchev's Ultimatum
West has 6 months to withdraw from Berlin
Castro takes control of Cuba
Khrushchev visits US
Doesn't get to go to Disneyland
:( poor Nikita
U-2 incident
Kennedy elected President
a U2 Spy Plane
Potsdam Conference
Bay of Pigs
Berlin border closed, Berlin Wall constructed
US involvement in
Cuban Missile Crisis
Taylor-Rostow Report
By General Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow, calls for more troops, both US and ARVN
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty ratified
President Kennedy assassinated
Gulf of Tonkin
Czechoslovakian revolt
Crushed by Soviet troops
Richard Nixon enters office
Ran on platform of getting US out of Vietnam
Peace with Honor in Vietnam
Appealed to the "Silent Majority"
a socially conservative group who don't like hippies or anti-war stuff
'68 Presidential Election
Lyndon B Johnson (Dem candidate) unexpectedly pulls out, after loss of NJ primary
Robert F Kennedy (Dem candidate) assassinated, after win at CA primary
Tet offensive
Military victory for US, psychological for Vietcong/Vietminh
Anti-War protests, sometimes violent at many primaries
Hubert Humphrey is Dem nomination
Nixon Wins
Spiro Agnew is VP
Tet Offensive
The first Moon landing
Go America!
Nixon extends the Vietnam war into Cambodia
Gaither Report released
Claimed there was a large "Missile Gap," US behind USSR
There actually wasn't, but it scared people
Crisis of
in U.S.
Pentagon Papers published
Nixon visits China
SALT I signed
October 6-25
Arabs attack Israelis on most sacred holiday
Egypt asks Soviets for aid
Causes tensions between US and USSR
Israel gains even more territory than in the Six Day war in 1967
Ceasefire in Vietnam
break-in at Watergate, scandal begins
Nixon resigns
A plan which allocated aid money to Europe in order repair the nations damaged by World War II. This was in line with the US need for a stable Europe and Germany in order to guarantee a stable global economy, and eliminate the threat of another World War. However, it threatened the Soviets who feared a strong Germany, and this fed the split of the US/USSR alliance.
N. Vietnam defeats S. Vietnam
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) created
Year of the Dragon
U.S. and communist China establish official diplomatic relations
SALT II signed
Shah of Iran overthrown; Iranian Hostage Crisis
Soviets invade Afghanistan
Solidarity Union is formed in Poland
Truman Doctrine literally states that the US would help Turkey and Greece economically after WWII. This was to prevent soviet influence. By some historians this is stated to be the start of the Cold War. In this doctrine Truman stated it was "the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." This would remain policy.
Kennan's all like "woah wait that's not what I meant"
Soviets block railways and highways into Allied controlled areas of Berlin. Thus West Berlin has no supplies.

Stalin looks bad because he is imprisoning people
Vietnam increases
in order to combat the Soviet plan, British and US planes flew in supplies. Eventually this embarrassed the Soviets and the blockade was lifted.

US (esp Air Force) looks great because they're saving imprisoned people
A result of WWII split up agreements. US funds the Republic of Korea, China funds the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Fight between Communists and Democracy.
US communists convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage during the war. They were assumed to have shared information about the atomic bomb with the soviets.
Military defense agreement between 8 communist countries established by the Soviets.
Response to NATO accepting West Berlin in the Paris Pacts in 1954
Iran-Contra Affair revealed to public
Uprising against the Soviet-installed Hungarian government
Government fell and many pro-communists were executed
New government withdrew from Warsaw Pact
After claiming to be willing to negotiate, the Soviet Politburo changed its mind and crushed the new government
Imre Nagy
Iceland Summit (actually called Reykjavík Summit, but that's too hard to spell)
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
US and USSR are using developing countries as chess pieces, trying to gain dominance
US thinks no one can be neutral
Egypt is playing both sides against the middle to gain more money/weapons
Nasser redistributes land and plans the Aswan Dam
US is to give money for Aswan dam and UK is to pull out troops.
US too slow with money, and UK troups create vacuum in Middle East
Nasser retaliates with the nationalization of the Suez Canal
British, French and Israeli forces attacked Egypt. UN forced British to withdraw; made it clear Britain was no longer a world power. Egyptian/Soviet political victory.
Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan
Poland becomes independent
Decline of USSR
U-2 spy plane is shot down over Soviet Union
US first denies plane's purpose
US becomes very embarrassed
USSR and US relations deteriorate even more
Tienanmen Square protests
Hungary becomes independent
A failed CIA invasion attempt to take down Castro. The CIA trained Cuban Refugees (mostly members of the upper and uppermiddle class) in order to have them land at the Bay of Pigs and start a coup. The CIA trained forces were defeated in 3 days.
Berlin Wall falls
First artificial satellite to be launched into Earth's orbit
Communist governments fall in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Rumania
Germany reunited
Soviet Union breaks up
The End
Mikhail Gorbachev
comes to power
Surprise attack made by the Viet Cong on the South Vietnamese on the Vietnamese New Years
Both sides had agreed to a cease-fire
Largest military operation from either side of the war
Previously US public was convinced that the Vietcong weren't even able to mount an offensive
Strategic loss, psychological win for VC
loss of moral for US; wake up call that we were losing
The Gulf of Tonkin incident consisted of two reports of attacks on US ships in Vietnam's Tonkin Gulf. The first attack lead to a sea battle. The second attack, although claimed by the US National Security Agency, never happened. However these reports led to the passing of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed the US to intervene in the Vietnam War (and any other Southeast Asian nation) to fight against communism.
between US, USSR and UK
prohibited testing of nuclear weapons everywhere but underground
meant to slow arms race and prevent excess nuclear matter in the atmosphere
Strategics Arms Limitation Talks between US and USSR
Led to Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
Stopped Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles however did not address MIRVs
Often argued SALT I failed to do enough to lower arms tensions
Nixon's people break into the Democratic National Committee HQ. Nixon had also been tape-recording conversations. This leads to his resignation.
June 5-10
Six Day War
Memory Tip: June is the sixth month!
Yom Kippur War
Who caused the Cold War?
Ronald Reagan meets with Mikhail Gorbachev
Talks failed last minute, however lead to the important Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Important step for US-Soviet relations in order to release tensions
Reagan wanted to speak about human rights, although Gorbachev wanted to focus on arms issues
Eventually from this talk, Reagan and Gorbachev spoke about human rights, which became a
Blames the USSR
Stalin was an expantionist totalitarian
Views the US as defender of Freedom
for example, Stalin's secret speech is used as evidence of Stalin's aggression and desire to expand.
Kissinger is a traditionalist author
Maybe this all happened because Stalin was afraid of US
So he wanted a buffer zone in Europe
Russia has always been invaded from the west
There is a lot of evidence to support that the US was being overly-aggressive
Stalin's secret speech: the agrument for the revisionists is that it was only party rhetoric, he's been saying stuff like that since day 1
Lafeber is a revisionist.
Shared blame
Both sides miscalculated and over-reacted
After the fall of USSR
Documents released, so now people could look at the war from the Soviet's view
No longer would critizing the US's actions be considered anti-american
All agreed that Poland should be more democratic, but this agreement meant little.
Roosevelt's "4 Policemen:" the US, USSR, Great Britain, and China. [Idea fell apart by the Potsdam conference.]
Stalin wanted a Pro-Soviet govt in Poland (buffer zone)
Churchill and Roosevelt wanted pro-west members too
Article X: Sources of Soviet Conduct
The Long Telegram
Part of the policy of Containment
Written by George F. Kennan, known as the father of containment, in response to US treasury department
This document becomes the core of American foreign policy with Soviet Union
It states: USSR has eternal conflict with capitalism and will try and use controllable marxists to fight capitalists. USSR would have internal weakness
USSR is expansionist but not adventuristic
Written by George F. Kennan for the US secretary of defense, but published in the magazine Foreign Affairs under the pseudonym "x"
Was not originally the official US foreign policy, but once Kennan was found to be the author, it became adopted as such.
Stated idea of containment
A lot of ideas from Article X were misinterpreted, however the US government followed it anyway
Top secret document during Truman Era which was later made public in 1970.
Emphasized military over diplomatic responses to communism (counter to what Kennan suggested)
It is "a policy of calculated and gradual coercion."
Emphasized peacetime military spending, and putting money into allies who would fight communist spread.
Korean War makes its demands legitimate
USSR and Cuba plan to build missile base for medium range and intermediate ranged ballistic missiles
US spyplanes photograph missile sites being constructed in Cuba
Bases could potentially allow Cuba to target every major city in the US, especially D.C.
Regarded as one of the Cold War's biggest events, and a moment which came closest to nuclear conflict
First moment which Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) became a considered factor in international arms agreements
Israel launched a surprise preemptive air attack against Arab forces. Within 6 days the Israeli's had defeated the Arab forces and gained control of the Gaza strip, Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and West Jerusalem.
Memory Tip: 7+3=10 and October is the 10th month
Iranians were angry with their Shah, who was backed by the US. In a response to the perceived US efforts to undermine the Iranian Revolution, 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days in the US Embassy.
This was a huge embarrassment for the United States
Between Carter and Brezhnev
This treaty addressed the MIRVs
Banned new missile programs
However, the treaty was never formally ratified by the United States
Reagan Administration facilitated the sales of weapons to Iran, despite an embargo
There were hopes that the sales would release the hostages
Funds were hoped to aid Nicaraguan Contras, which had been prohibited by congress
Signed by Gorbachev and Reagan, this treaty eliminated nuclear and conventional ground launched missiles.
Each nation was allowed to watch the other nation destroy their missiles.
As China began to liberalize their economy, people started to vocalize their issues with inflation, limited job opportunities and corruption within the party.
When General Secretary Hu Yaobang died, people began to gather for protests (mostly students)
Seven weeks of protest was ended by violent acts from the government as they tried to disperse the masses (using fire).
solidarity protests are going on at the same time. (i.e. right before poland becomes independent) there was fear that there would be a simliar crackdown
this is was an anti-bureaucratic social movement which used civil resistance to support laborer and social rights
Ford is in office following Nixon's resignation until 1977
Carter enters office
Everyone was shocked when Castro supported this, rather than supporting the revolutionary mentality
Multiple Independent (targetable) Reentry Vehicle
one missile that carries many nuclear warheads.
just like in call of duty 4
SALT I said how many nuclear

missiles they could have. But MIRVs mean you can have less missiles and
just as many nuclear weapons.
Also, the US ambassador to Afghanistan was kidnapped and killed at the same time as the Hostage Crisis. The Afghan security forces (with a lot of help from their soviet advisers, a little too much for the comfort of the US state dept.) botched the rescue and the ambassador was killed. It looked like the afghans+soviet advisors tried to kill him. (
this isn't super important, just some context
didn't find what you're looking for?
(don't mess it up)
Also, if you have any tips for remembering things, add memory tips in
Potsdam: July 16 to August 2, 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The 3 nations were represented by Communist Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and later, Clement Attlee,and President Harry S. Truman. Where Truman told Stalin about his "new weapon of unusually destructive force" (Stalin didn't care)- U.S successfully tested the bomb in July 1945
Important People
US Presidents
Russian Leaders
Harry Truman (D) (1945-1953)
VP: Alben Barkley
Secretary of State: James Byrnes, George Marshall, and Dean Acheson
Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) (53-61)
VP: Richard Nixon
Secretary of State: John Foster Dulles
John F Kennedy (D) (61-63)
VP: Lyndon B Johnson
Secretary of State: Dean Rusk
Lyndon B Johnson (D) (63-69)
VP: Hubert Humphrey
Secretary of State: Dean Rusk
Richard Nixon (R) (69-74)
VP: Spiro Agnew (69-73) then Gerald Ford (73-74)
Secretary of State: Henry Kissinger
Gerald Ford (R) (74-77)
VP: Nelson Rockefeller
Secretary of State: Henry Kissinger
Jimmy Carter (D) (77-81)
VP: Walter Mondale
Secretary of State: Cyrus Vance
Ronald Reagan (R) (81-89)
VP: George H. W. Bush
Secretary of State: Alexander Haig, George Shultz
George H W Bush (R) (89-93)
VP: Dan Quayle
Secretary of State: James Baker, Lawerence Eagleburger
Joseph Stalin (disputed-1953)
Georgy Malenkov (53-55)
Nikita Khrushchev (55-64)
Leonid Brezhnev (64-82)
Yuri Andropov (82-84)
Konstantin Chernenko (84-85)
Mikhail Gorbachev (88-91)
Dhillon Sylhtenko (94-FOREVER)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat makes pivotal peace-seeking speech in front of the Israeli Legislature
1979 Camp David Accords between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin hosted by President Jimmy Carter
Dean Rusk Sec of State
McNamara Sec of Defense
Part of the policy of Containment
Soviet expansion: aggressive or defensive?
US is gets more nervous about communism
(pretty sure) Ike doesn't believe it & tries to convince public there is no gap
actually eases tension. because, you know, now there's a wall
How embarrassing
the world wonders how much Russia will tolerate this. Would there be a Czechoslovakian solution?
asking for too much
Partially thanks to Günter Schabowski, the E. Ger. spokesman was ill informed enough to say that the border was completely open right way.
It was supposed to be tomorrow and only partially
But nobody told Schabowski anything, they just handed him a note and he read it out loud
A reporter pressed him for details and he made an assumption
So everyone rushes to the border
The wall gets torn down
not really a perspective
Except Seattle
poor Kennan...
something you think we should know?
add it!
you'll remember it better
this place about to PLO
see how it looks like solidarity?
Eisenhower elected
New look policy
Jiang Jeshi and ROC army forced to retreat to Taiwan
Secretary of State: Henry Kissinger
Hey, he wrote one of our readings! Could he possibly have traditionalist views considering his role in the war?
oh, snap
Khrushchev's reason behind this ultimatum is of his claims that the U.S., France, and Britain not upholding the the Potsdam Agreement. As a result, the US, France, and Britain were to withdraw and leave West Berlin in complete control of the Soviets. However, the US, Britain, and France refuse.
Clement Attlee was the British Prime Minister from 1945-1951, and during his time as minister he nationalized major industries, and created many social programs for the welfare of the people. He was also leader of the Labour Party from 1935-1955. He came after Churchill, right at the end of the war.
Clement Atlee
If you add something, include it on "the path." Click the path button in top left corner.
otherwise no one will see it.
well did he? anyone?
good luck tomorrow
UN forces, on the brink of defeat, rallied and formed a defensive perimeter around the port city of Pusan, at the southern-most tip of Korea. The perimeter was held for six weeks, until the counter attack at Inchon (behind the N. Korean lines) caused the N. Korean forces to collapse. Turned the war around.
Remember the order of the cities: the UN was "pushed" [Pusan] back, then "inched along" [Inchon] to victory.
Yes he did! He tried to convince the US in the Eisenhower doctrine to let Khrushchev act tough because we (supposedly) have the actual advantage
Treaty of Moscow
Treaty between USSR and FRG that had USSR recognize the FRG and the FRG recognized the GDR.
Normalization of relations between the two Germanys.
Willy Brandt
Glasnost Policy
: maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information
: political and economic reforms introduced in June 1987; restructuring of the Soviet economy
Helsinki Accords
Final Act of the conference
35 nations participating agreed that Europe's existing political frontiers could not be changed by force
Accepted numerous provisions guaranteeing the human rights and political freedoms of their citizens
An attempt to improve relations between communist bloc and the west
not that Stalin didn't care, he already knew that the US was making nuclear weapons
Battle of Pusan Perimeter
Battle of Inchon
Aug 5-Sept 18
Sept 15
The 1960 Four Powers Paris Summit breaks down as a result. Khrushchev walks out because Kennedy won't say sorry.
Matsu & Quemoy
Public finds out the government as been deceiving them about the Vietnam War all along
What ended the Cold War?
as with all things history, there are many different answers to this question, and most of them are valid.
some reasons include
Out spending the USSR
Military overspending - this one is true. The USSR spent about 15% of its GDP on defense in the 1980s; the USA spends about 3-5%.
Containment was a costly ideological policy for the US, but it was about keeping allies in the third world, not the fitness of the USSR.
the USSR had a pretty bad time with its third-world allies, because it had to prop up their economies (see Cuba, North Korea) and was never able to extract much back in cash or resources.
Here's some other reasons (econ):
The Soviet economy by the 1980s was burdened with the worst inefficiencies of central planning. Because decisions were made at the top, the demand for consumer goods was ignored, and factories pumped out a lot of heavy goods and raw materials that didn't really have anywhere to go.
Once a new enterprise was built, there was little reinvestment into modernizing its machinery after that, so by this time some of these raw goods were poor quality compared to ones sourced from the West.
Factory managers were given productivity quotas instead of profit targets. Inefficient modes of production were kept as long as they met production quotas.
As the central planners grew more unreliable, enterprises often hoarded the inputs they were able to acquire, and occasionally bartered them to other enterprises for the goods they had hoarded. Large-scale, necessary bartering is basically when you can start to call an economy failed.
After decades of progress, Soviet health stalled in the 1970s and probably declined in the 1980s. Alcoholism keeps the male life expectancy around 60, and...
50+ years of gung-ho repetition of the industrial revolution (with socialist propaganda) turned the USSR into an ecological disaster zone.

As others have said, the USSR was growing paranoid about US capabilities.
They lost a decade-long war in Afghanistan which siphoned off thousands of lives and billions of dollars. This demoralized their military establishment.
Eastern Europe began to rumble; having only ever been in the communist bloc since the late 1940s, the Warsaw Pact countries always required threats of force (with some bloody repression e.g. Hungary 1956) to keep them in line with the Kremlin's leadership. Notably in the early 1980s the USSR was unable to crush Solidarity (an oppositionist union in Poland) even though they instituted martial law.
This coincided with the reformist Gorbachev taking power in the USSR: seeing that Soviet socialism was on the precipice, glasnost "openness" and perestroika "restructuring" were his two policies to decrease censorship and to encourage political debate and, to a tiny degree, a market economy.
In 1985 the Kremlin told the puppet governments in Eastern Europe that it would no longer intervene militarily to save them from opposition. This policy, called the Sinatra Doctrine, is as good a "beginning of the end" point as any, since it was the first of many abdications of power by the USSR.
Political Factors
The Firebombing of Tokyo
Greater loss of life than both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A Firebombing Air Raid on civilians that destroyed 16mi^2 of Tokyo. Both Japanese and American Officials put deaths at around 100,000. However this is likely inaccurate (even this conservative estimate is greater than the atomic bomb attacks). The average density was 103,000 inhabitants per square mile, and 16mi^2 was burned. Both sides probably had reason to minimize civilian deaths. The firebombs devastated the city, a large part of which was made of wood and paper.
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