Cold War

Timeline created by JCThornton10
  • H.U.A.C.

    (House of Un-American Activities Committee) A committee of the U.S. House of Representatives that investigated U.S. communist activity during the Cold War. This is significant because it could catch spies before they turned against the U.S.
  • Iron Curtain Speech

    Speech by Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri in which he introduced the term “Iron Curtain.” The term was meant to describe the division between Western Europe and the Soviet controlled areas in the East. This is important because there was now a name to describe the ongoing tension.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Address presented to Congress by president Harry Truman asking Congress for $400 million in economic and military assistance to Turkey and Greece. This is important because like the Marshall Plan, it was a policy that angered the Soviets because they were trying to persuade the two countries to choose Communism.
  • Marshall Plan

    A plan enacted by George Marshall that gave European nations $14 billion dollars until 1951. This is significant because this was one of the policies that angered the Soviets because they felt the U.S. should be letting Europe rebuild on its own.
  • Berlin Airlift

    The Soviets issued a blockade where no traffic was allowed into Berlin. To get around this and to help the Germans stranded in Berlin through a harsh winter, the U.S. airlifted supplies on over 270,000 flights. This is significant because it was a direct disobey of command by the U.S. which angered the Soviets.
  • Soviets Detonation of the Atomic Bomb

    The Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb, code name “First Lightning,” in Kazakhstan in which it incinerated a scientist-constructed town and test animals. Three months later, President Truman announced to the public that the Soviets too had the atomic bomb. This is important because now both sides could conduct a nuclear war.
  • NATO

    North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Was founded in a response to a Soviet threat against the Allies. This is important because every time the Soviets wanted to do something, the U.S. vetoed which never allowed problems to be solved.
  • Chinese Communist Revolution

    Under new leader Mao Zedong, China fell to Communism, which led to the U.S. suspending diplomatic ties with China for years. This is important because there is now a large nation under Communist rule right near Russia that is Communist.
  • McCarthyism

    The practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence. This is important because this happened a lot in the U.S. during the Cold War.
  • Alger Hiss

    An American lawyer who helped establish the U.N. He was accused of being a Soviet spy and charged with perjury in 1950. This is important because there are many significant spies that alter the course of the Cold War and Hiss is one of the earliest ones.
  • Korean War

    Korean War (1950) – Over 75,000 troops from Soviet backed North Korea crossed the 38th parallel into Western backed South Korea in the first military action of the Cold War. This is significant because the two sides were no in combat with the possibility it could escalate into another World War.
  • Rosenberg Spy Case

    The FBI arrested Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel for espionage. Both were found guilty of persuading two other people to give them classified information on nuclear weapons and received the death penalty. This is important because the Soviets possibly could have gotten vital information that would have then been used against the U.S.
  • McCarran

    A U.S. Security Act that passed statutes in response to what Congress perceived as threats of violent and forcible overthrow of the U.S. Government. This is significant because the U.S. feared they were going to get overthrown by spy groups and Soviet inspired U.S. Communist groups.
  • Stalin's Death

    Stalin died on March 6 due to illness, much to the dismay of the Soviets. This is significant because there would soon be a leader that would have a dramatic impact on the Cold War, whether positively or negatively.
  • Dien Bien Phu

    Decisive battle in the first Vietnam War, which lasted for 57 days and ended when French reinforcements arrived. This is important because it gave another territory that the Soviets could possibly convert to Communism.
  • Massive Retaliation

    An all-or-nothing strategy by the U.S. to completely destroy the Soviets to the point where they can’t fight back using nuclear weapons. This is significant because the Soviets would then try to retaliate themselves which could be the foundation to a nuclear war.
  • H Bomb

    First H bomb (hydrogen bomb) tested by the Soviets in the secret city of Sarov. This is significant because the Soviets were preparing to use force against the U.S. and the U.S. was going to retaliate.
  • Yalta

    Conference that took place in Russia from February 4, 1945 to February 11, 1945 in which the Big Three (Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin) made important decisions on the future of the war as well as postwar. This is important because many of these decisions were broken by The U.S. and the Soviet and those were some of the key reasons for the Cold War
  • Domino Theory

    The theory that if one country fell to Communism then the neighboring countries would too. This is important because it contrast with the Truman Doctrine, which says that it will try to stop the spread of Communism.
  • Guatemalan Coup

    The new leader of Guatemala was attempting to install a Communist government so the CIA stepped in and overthrew the government. This is significant because the Soviets did not like the U.S. preventing the spread of Communism.
  • Vietnam War

    A long war that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. This is important because the Soviets backed on side and the U.S. backed another side, in one of the biggest events of the Cold War.
  • Warsaw Pact

    The Soviet Union and seven of its European satellites (Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria) sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that put the Soviets in command of the armed forces of the member states. This is significant because now not only would the U.S. have to fight against the Soviets, but now the Soviets and seven other militaries.
  • Khrushchev's Secret Speech

    A speech made by Nikita Khrushchev to a closed session of the Twentieth Party Congress in which he denounced Joseph Stalin as a good leader for the Soviet Union. This is significant because it will create internal conflicts amongst the Soviets and temporarily distract their attention from the U.S.
  • Sputnik

    Worlds first artificial satellite launched on October 4, 1957 by the Soviet Union. This is significant because it was the start of the space race and the Americans did not want to get beat by the Soviets.
  • Space Race

    A competition between the Soviets and the U.S. to become the dominant power in outer space in terms of exploration and research. This is important because it was a twenty-year long competition where a lot of money was spent so neither country would be beaten.
  • Neutron Bomb

    Developed by Sam Cohen to defend against Soviet attacks. This is important because it started the arms race where both sides created, and then dropped, over 1000 bombs.
  • Fidel Castro

    Cuban socialist leader who took power in 1959 and created a Marxist socialist state. This is significant because the Soviets now have a Marxist ally close to the U.S.
  • U-2 Spy Plane Affair

    A U.S. spy plane sent out by the CIA and captained by Gary Powers was taken down in Russia after many other successful spy missions. This is important because the U.S. was caught spying which will lead to retaliation by the Soviets.
  • Bay of Pigs

    An invasion of 1,400 American trained Cubans who fled after Castro took power. They were overwhelmed and surrendered within 24 hours. This is important because the U.S. is attacking one of the Soviets allies.
  • Berlin Wall

    A wall built by East Germany to prevent Westerns from undermining their state and to keep defections from East to West. This is significant because it represents another division between the U.S. and the Soviets.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    13 day standoff between leaders of the U.S. and the Soviets about placing Soviet backed nuclear missiles just 90 miles from the U.S. shore. This is important because this was a direct threat on the U.S. by positioning missile so close.
  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

    A treaty signed by the U.S. Britain and the Soviets to stop dropping nukes. This is significant because all three countries go on to violate this treaty.
  • Hotline

    A direct phone line from the White House to the Kremlin in Moscow so that President Kennedy could have contact with the Soviet premier in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This is important because this symbolizes a chance for peace between the two sides.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gave congressional approval for Lyndon Johnson to expand the Vietnam War north. This is important because the Soviets were winning the war and this was an attempt to get back on top by the U.S.
  • Indonesian Coup

    A displace of power in Indonesia and the result of a new government. This is significant because another Communist country appears while the U.S. is trying to prevent new Communist countries.
  • Leonid Brezhnev

    Became first Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He drafted the Brezhnev Doctrine and orchestrated the Warsaw pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. This is significant because a new ruler brings new ideas and possibly new troubles to the Cold War.
  • Six Day War

    Israel went on a six day attacking spree conquering lands and doubling their size in the middle East. The United Nations asked Israel to knock it off but they refused resulting in tension in the Middle East. This is significant because both the U.S. and the Soviets are in the U.N. so they now have a small side conflict as well.
  • U.S.S. Liberty

    A U.S. intelligence ship that was on its way to Israel when it was repeatedly attacked by Israeli recon planes. This is important because the U.S. was on its way to intercept signals that may have started the Six Day War.
  • Trsscomm

    (Technical Research Ship Special Communications) Delivered real time intercepts Washington during the Cold War. This is significant because it was a contributing factor to the sinking of the U.S.S. Liberty.
  • Prague Spring Rebellion

    A political liberalization of Czechoslovakia during the time period control by the Soviets. Reformists ruled for a few weeks before the Soviets and its allies invaded to halt the reforms. This is important because it is another example of the Soviets actually using military force in which the U.S. must react to.
  • Tet Offensive

    A series of major attacks by the Vietcong and North Vietnamese against the South Vietnamese and the U.S. forces in South Vietnam. This is important because the loses in this battle showed that the Soviet backed North Vietnam could beat the U.S. backed South Vietnam.
  • John Walker

    A high-ranking U.S. Navy officer who turned into a Soviet spy selling $1 million worth of documents. He recruited many friends and family and wasn’t caught until his ex-wife turned home in in 1986 and he received a life sentence for espionage. This is important because he transferred crucial information to the Soviets that could have given them a military advantage.
  • U.S.S. Scorpion

    A U.S. submarine that disappeared at sea with 99 members aboard and was never found. This is significant because the U.S. believed that it was the Soviets who sank the ship, which led to other events.
  • Brezhnev Doctrine

    This is a Soviet policy which called for the use of Warsaw Pact forces to intervene in any Eastern Bloc nation which was seen to compromise communist rule and Soviet domination, either by trying to leave the Soviet sphere of influence or even moderate its policies. This is significant because there is now a legitimate chance that the Soviets will take military action at any time, which would cause the U.S. to respond.
  • SALT

    (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) this first negotiations lasted until 1972 between President Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev. The second negotiations in 1972 lasted for seven years until Brezhnev and President Carter signed the treaty. Both treaties were in result of the nuclear arms race. This is important because this is another sign that the War could be coming to a close.
  • Vietnamization

    The U.S. policy of transferring the tasks of fighting and directing the war to the South Vietnam government. This is significant because it is the U.S. basically acknowledging defeat.
  • Détente

    French term meaning “release of tensions.” This happened in the 70s which was a relaxation period in the War before the invasion of Afghanistan. This is important because the public thought the Cold War was coming to an end.
  • Cambodia and Khmer Rouge

    The Khmer Rouge overtook Cambodia until 1979 and turned the country into a detention center. This is important because it is a Communist country that the U.S. has to deal with.
  • Helsinki Accords

    Major declaration signed at the conclusion of the CSCE. This was an effort to ease tensions between the Soviets and the Western powers. This is significant because it is a third sign the war could be ending.
  • Afghanistan War

    An internal conflict between the Anti-Communism Muslim guerillas and the Communist government sparked a war in which the Soviets jumped in to resume conflicts after some downtime in the Cold War. This is important because the U.S. now has to be alert because there is another Communist country trying to pop up.
  • M.A.D. Mutually Assured Destruction

    A doctrine drafted during the Cold War to prevent both sides from completely destroying each other with nuclear missiles. This is important because this is right before the Cold War started to heat up again and this s yet another example of it possibly slowing down.
  • Solidarity

    A Polish trade union federation. It was the first non-Communist federation in a Warsaw Pact country. This is important because the Soviets could possibly be losing a satellite country.
  • Perestroika

    The restructuring of the economy and bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. This is important because it could have significant impacts on the cold war, for the better or for worse.
  • Ronald Reagan

    Became president at the height of the Cold War. Reagan ordered American troops to invade Grenada and liberate the island from its ruling Marxist dictator. This is significant because it signaled the end of the Brezhnev Doctrine and began a series of events that brought down the Soviet Empire.
  • SDI

    (Strategic Defensive Initiative) A program, also known as Star Wars) was a program put in place by President Reagan which was intended to develop a sophisticated anti-ballistic missile system in order to prevent missile attacks from other countries, specifically the Soviet Union. This is significant because last decade the war was starting to cool down but now it has heated back up with the Soviets and the U.S. threatening each other once again.
  • Glasnost

    The Soviet policy permitting open discussion of political and social issues. This is significant because this could result in more downtime in the Cold War because there is less aggressiveness.
  • Gorbachev

    Became the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union until 1991 and ruled at the same time as President Reagan. This is important because there is now a new set of leaders that cause the action to heat back up once again.
  • INF Treaty

    The first nuclear weapons agreement in which the U.S. and the Soviets agreed to reduce their weapon production. This is important because this could release the tension if there are fewer weapons.
  • German Reunification

    The East German conservative parties won elections and economic union with the West ensued. This is important because the Soviets have gained another ally now.
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    Space Race

    A race by the Soviets and the U.S. to create as many nuclear weapons as possible due to the belief that more weapons meant more power. This is important because the world was getting closer and closer to seeing a nuclear war develop.