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US Cold War Timeline
Transcript of US Cold War Timeline
Blockade/ Airlift The Berlin blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road and canal access to the areas of Berlin under Allied control. Their aim was to force the western powers to allow the Soviet zone to start supplying Berlin with food and fuel, thereby giving the Soviets practical control over the entire city. In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people in West Berlin. The United States Air Force and the British Royal Air Force flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing up to 4700 tons of daily necessities such as fuel and food to the Berliners. The success of the Berlin Airlift brought embarrassment to the Soviets who had refused to believe it could make a difference, and the blockade was lifted in May 1949 and resulted in the creation of two separate German states Formation of the NATO The Chinese Civil War (literally "Nationalist-Communist Civil War") was fought between the Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). The war began in April 1927. The war represented an ideological split between the Western-supported Nationalist KMT and the Soviet-supported Communist CPC. In mainland China the war is more commonly known as the "War of Liberation". The civil war carried on until the Second Sino-Japanese War interrupted it, resulting in the two parties forming a Second United Front. Japan's campaign was defeated in 1945, marking the end of World War II, and China's full-scale civil war resumed in 1946. To this day, since no armistice or peace treaty has ever been signed, there is controversy as to whether the Civil War has legally ended. HUAC/
The Hollywood Established in 1938, The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, investigated allegations of communist activity in the U.S. during the early years of the Cold War. The committee wielded its power as a weapon and called citizens to testify in high-profile hearings before Congress. This intimidating atmosphere often produced dramatic but questionable revelations about Communists infiltrating American institutions and subversive actions by well-known citizens. HUAC's controversial tactics contributed to the fear, distrust and repression that existed during the anticommunist hysteria of the 1950s. The Korean War On June 25th 1950, the Cold War suddenly turned bloody and expensive. Within a few days, North Korea's invasion of South Korea brought about a United Nations' "police action" against the aggressors. That immediately produced heavy military and naval involvement by the United States. While there were no illusions that the task would be easy, nobody expected that this violent conflict would continue for more than three years. Though America's Armed Forces had suffered from several years' of punishing fiscal constraints, the end of World War II just five years earlier had left a vast potential for recovery. U.S. materiel reserves held large quantities of relatively modern ships, aircraft, military equipment and production capacity that could be reactivated in a fraction of the time necessary to build them anew. Ethel and Julius
Rosenberg Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage during a time of war and executed on June 19, 1953. Their charges were related to the passing of information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. This was the only execution of civilians for espionage in United States history. In 1995, the U.S. government released a series of decoded Soviet cables, codenamed VENONA, which confirmed that Julius acted as a courier and recruiter for the Soviets but which were ambiguous about Ethel's involvement. The other atomic spies who were caught by the FBI offered confessions and were not executed, including Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, who supplied documents to Julius from Los Alamos and served 10 years of his 15-year sentence Alger Hiss Alger Hiss was an American lawyer, government official, author, and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department and U.N. official. Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948 and convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950. On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, testified under subpoena before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that Hiss had secretly been a Communist while in federal service. Chambers had previously testified under oath that Hiss had never been a Communist or a spy, and Chambers would admit, under oath, to other instances where he had committed perjury under oath. Called before HUAC, Hiss categorically denied the charge. When Chambers repeated his claim on nationwide radio, Hiss filed a defamation lawsuit against him. McCarthyism McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism. The term has its origins from the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, "McCarthyism" soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The Suez Canal Crisis The Suez Canal Crisis was a diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 between Egypt on one side, and Britain, France and Israel on the other, with the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations playing major roles in forcing Britain, France and Israel to withdraw. The three allies, especially Israel, were mainly successful in attaining their immediate military objectives, but pressure from the United States and the USSR at the United Nations and elsewhere forced them to withdraw. As a result of the outside pressure Britain and France failed in their political and strategic aims of controlling the canal and removing Nasser from power. Israel fulfilled some of its objectives, such as attaining freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran. The Warsaw Pact Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty between eight communist states of Eastern Europe in existence during the Cold War. The founding treaty was established under the initiative of the Soviet Union and signed on 14 May 1955, in Warsaw. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the communist states of Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was a Soviet military reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955, per the Paris Pacts of 1954. Brinkmanship Brinkmanship is the practice of pushing dangerous events to the verge of—or to the brink of—disaster in order to achieve the most advantageous outcome. It occurs in international politics, foreign policy, labour relations, and military strategy involving the threatened use of nuclear weapons. This maneuver of pushing a situation with the opponent to the brink succeeds by forcing the opponent to back down and make concessions. This might be achieved through diplomatic maneuvers by creating the impression that one is willing to use extreme methods rather than concede. During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear force was often used as such an escalating measure. Adolf Hitler also used brinkmanship conspicuously during his rise to power. The Hydrogen Bomb The U.S. detonated its first deliverable thermonuclear weapon on February 28, 1954, at Bikini. Known as the "Shrimp" device of the "Castle Bravo" test. although it was the most powerful explosion in the history of American nuclear testing, it became the worst radiological disaster in U.S. history. The combination of the unexpectedly large blast and poor weather conditions caused a cloud of radioactive nuclear fallout to contaminate over 7,000 square miles, including Marshall Island natives, as a snow-like mist. The contaminated islands were evacuated, but the natives received enough of a radioactive dose that they suffered far elevated levels of cancer and birth defects in the years to come. Half a world away, the first Soviet two-stage thermonuclear bomb was tested in Kazakhstan on November 22, 1955. The bomb, airdropped from 10,000 feet, yielded 1.6 megatons, and the yield could have been doubled. The fact that the U.S.'s "Bravo" hydrogen bomb test in 1954 had yielded 15 megatons propelled the Soviets to continue research on even more powerful bomb designs. Sputnik Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. The surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis, began the Space Age and triggered the Space Race, a part of the larger Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. The Bay of Pigs
Invasion The Bay of Pigs Invasion, was an unsuccessful military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the paramilitary group Brigade 2506 in April 1961. A counter-revolutionary militia trained and funded by the United States government's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Brigade 2506 fronted the armed wing of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF) and intended to overthrow the revolutionary leftist government of President Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado. Launched from Guatemala, the invading force were defeated by the Cuban armed forces, under the command of Prime Minister Fidel Castro, within three days. Flexible Response Flexible response was a defense strategy implemented by John F. Kennedy in 1961 to address the Kennedy administration's skepticism of Dwight Eisenhower's New Look and its policy of Massive Retaliation. Flexible response calls for mutual deterrence at strategic, tactical, and conventional levels, giving the United States the capability to respond to aggression across the spectrum of warfare, not limited only to nuclear arms. Shooting Down the
U-2 Spy Plane An American U-2 spy plane is shot down while conducting espionage over the Soviet Union. The incident derailed an important summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that was scheduled for later that month. On May 1, 1960, a U-2 flight piloted by Francis Gary Powers disappeared while on a flight over Russia. On May 16, a major summit between the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France began in Paris. Issues to be discussed included the status of Berlin and nuclear arms control. As the meeting opened, Khrushchev launched into a tirade against the United States and Eisenhower and then stormed out of the summit. The meeting collapsed immediately and the summit was called off. Eisenhower considered the "stupid U-2 mess" one of the worst debacles of his presidency. The pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was released in 1962 in exchange for a captured Soviet spy. The Eisenhower
Doctrine Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression from another state.Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the commitment of U.S. forces "to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against covert armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism. In the global political context, the Doctrine was made in response to the possibility of a generalized war, threatened as a result of the Soviet Union's attempt to use the Suez War as a pretext to enter Egypt. Coupled with the power vacuum left by the decline of British and French power in the region after the US protested against the conduct of their allies during the Suez War, Eisenhower felt that a strong position needed to better the situation was further complicated by the positions taken by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was rapidly building a power base and using it to play the Soviets and Americans against each other, taking a position of "positive neutrality" and accepting aid from the Soviets. The Cuban Missile
Crisis The Crisis was a 13-day confrontation between the Soviet Union and Cuba on one side, and the United States on the other, in October 1962. It is one of the major confrontations of the Cold War, and is generally regarded as the moment in which the Cold War came closest to turning into a nuclear conflict. It is also the first documented instance of the threat of mutual assured destruction (MAD) being discussed as a determining factor in a major international arms agreement. The confrontation ended on October 28, 1962, when Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached an agreement with Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a US public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba. Secretly, the US agreed that it would dismantle all US-built Jupiter IRBMs deployed in Turkey and Italy. The Hotline The Hotline is a daily political briefing published - alongside National Journal - by the Atlantic Media Company ("AMC") from its headquarters at The Watergate complex in Washington, DC. It is edited by Reid Wilson with Josh Kraushaar. The Hotline was founded by Doug Bailey and published independently until its acquisition in 1996 by National Journal Group - a subsidiary of AMC. The Hotline's primary audience includes Congressional staffers, political operatives and pundits. It intends to be a comprehensive, non-partisan digest of that day's political events relating to upcoming statewide and national elections. Its primary publication, The Hotline, is published daily, condensing newspaper, magazine and Internet political coverage from the previous 24 hours. Its headlines are irreverent, relying on puns and inside jokes. The Limited Test
Ban Treaty It is a treaty prohibiting all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. It was developed both to slow the arms race (nuclear testing was, at the time, necessary for continued nuclear weapon advancements), and to stop the excessive release of nuclear fallout into the planet's atmosphere. It was signed and ratified by the governments of the Soviet Union and United Kingdom and the United States in 1963. It was signed by the governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, named the "Original Parties", at Moscow on August 5, 1963 before being opened for signature by other countries. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate on September 24, 1963 by a vote of 80 to 19. The treaty went into effect on October 10, 1963. The Race To
The Moon It was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (USA) for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, the Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national security and symbolic of technological and ideological superiority. The Space Race involved pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, sub-orbital and orbital human spaceflight around the Earth, and piloted voyages to the Moon. It effectively began with the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 artificial satellite on 4 October 1957, and concluded with the co-operative Apollo-Soyuz Test Project human spaceflight mission in July 1975. The Space Race had its origins in the missile-based arms race that occurred just after the end of the World War II, when both the Soviet Union and the United States captured advanced German rocket technology and personnel. The Berlin Wall The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period. In 1989, a series of radical political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc's authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The physical Wall itself was primarily destroyed in 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990. The Domino Theory The domino theory was a theory during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world. Referring to communism in Indochina, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower put the theory into words during an April 7, 1954 news conference:
Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences. The Tonkin Gulf
Resolution The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was a joint resolution that the United States Congress passed on August 7, 1964, in response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. It gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of "conventional'' military force in Southeast Asia. Specifically, the resolution authorized the President to do whatever necessary in order to assist "any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty". This included involving armed forces. It was opposed in the Senate only by Senators Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening. Senator Gruening objected to "sending our American boys into combat in a war in which we have no business, which is not our war, into which we have been misguidedly drawn, which is steadily being escalated". The Johnson administration subsequently relied upon the resolution to begin its rapid escalation of U.S. military involvement in South Vietnam and open warfare between North Vietnam and the United States. The Policy
Of Detene Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation.
In reference to the general easing of geo-political tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States which began in 1971, as a foreign policy of U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford called détente; a 'thawing out' or 'un-freezing' at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War. The period was characterized by the signing of treaties such as the SALT I and the Helsinki Accords. A second Arms-Limitation Treaty, SALT II, was discussed but never ratified by the United States. There is still ongoing debate amongst historians as to how successful the détente period was in achieving peace. Détente ended after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, which led to America's boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Ronald Reagan's election as president in 1980, based in large part on an anti-détente campaign Nixon's Trip
To China Occurring from February 21 to 28, 1972, the visit allowed the American public to view images of China for the first time in over two decades. Throughout the week the President and his most senior advisers engaged in substantive discussions with the PRC, including a meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong, while First Lady Pat Nixon toured schools, factories and hospitals in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou with the large American press corps in tow. Nixon dubbed the visit "the week that changed the world." The repercussions of the Nixon visit were vast, and included a significant shift in the Cold War balance, pitting the PRC with the U.S. against the Soviet Union. Nixon going to China has since become a metaphor for an unexpected or uncharacteristic action by a politician. Salt I Treaty SALT I is the common name for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Agreement, also known as Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. SALT I froze the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels, and provided for the addition of new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers only after the same number of older intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and SLBM launchers had been dismantled. Negotiations lasted from November 17, 1969, until May 1972 in a series of meetings beginning in Helsinki. Subsequent sessions alternated between Vienna and Helsinki. After a long deadlock, the first results of SALT I came in May 1971, when an agreement was reached. Further discussion brought the negotiations to an end on May 26, 1972, in Moscow when Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev signed both the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement Between The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. This helped improve relations between the U.S. and the USSR. Glasnost
Perestrokia Glasnost was a policy that called for increased openness and transparency in government institutions and activities in the Soviet Union. Glasnost is often paired with Perestroika, another reform instituted by Gorbachev at the same time. The word "glasnost" has been used in Russian at least since the end of the 18th century. The word was frequently used by Gorbachev to specify the policies he believed might help reduce the corruption at the top of the Communist Party and the Soviet government, and moderate the abuse of administrative power in the Central Committee. It was an ordinary, hardworking, nondescript word that was used to refer to a process, any process of justice of governance, being conducted in the open." Glasnost can also refer to the specific period in the history of the USSR during the 1980s when there was less censorship and greater freedom of information. The Wall Comes
Dowm The date on which the Wall fell is considered to have been 9 November 1989 but the Wall in its entirety was not torn down immediately. The East German regime announced the opening of ten new border crossings the following weekend, including some in historically significant locations. Crowds on both sides waited there for hours, cheering at the bulldozers which took parts of the Wall away to reinstate old roads. New border crossings continued to be opened through the middle of 1990, including the Brandenburg Gate on 22 December 1989. On 13 June 1990, the official dismantling of the Wall by the East German military began in Bernauer Strabe. On 1 July, the day East Germany adopted the West German currency, all de jure border controls ceased, although the inter-German border had become meaningless for some time before that. The dismantling continued to be carried out by military units and lasted until November 1991. Only a few short sections and watchtowers were left standing as memorials. The fall of the Wall was the first step toward German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990. Meeting Between
Bush & Yeltsin President Bush and President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia (Feb. 2, 1992) proclaimed a new era of "friendship and partnership" as they declared a formal end to seven decades of rivalry. the two leaders reviewed the prospects for further support for Mr. Yeltsin's program of reforms and for arms control proposals that could reduce the number of nuclear warheads that each nation deploys to as few as 2,500. But they indicated at a news conference after their meeting that no agreements had been reached on either issue, and that the matters would be taken up that winter. The centerpiece of the meeting was a declaration signed by the two men that outlined general principles for relations between the United States and Russia. The declaration was largely a restatement of cooperative policies established between Washington and Moscow before the Soviet Union collapsed and Mikhail S. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet President at the end of December. Salt II SALT II was a controversial experiment of negotiations between Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev from 1972 to 1979 between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, which sought to curtail the manufacture of strategic nuclear weapons. SALT II was the first nuclear arms treaty which assumed real reductions in strategic forces to 2,250 of all categories of delivery vehicles on both sides. Six months after the signing, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and in September of the same year, the Soviet combat brigade deployed to Cuba was discovered. In light of these developments, the treaty was never formally ratified by the United States Senate. Its terms were, nonetheless, honored by both sides until 1986 when the Reagan Administration withdrew from SALT II after accusing the Soviets of violating the pact. Cold War Timeline