Cold War 1946 - 1991

Timeline created by Paul-Gambhir
In History
  • An 'Iron Curtain' Falls Over Europe

    An 'Iron Curtain' Falls Over Europe
    The 'iron curtain' was a metaphor that described the ideological and physical boundaries that separated Democratic Western Europe from Communist Eastern Europe. On this day, Winston Churchill used the term 'iron curtain' to describe this divide. It is considered an important milestone describing the beginning of the souring relationship between Western and Eastern Europe (Churchill). Image:
  • The Berlin Airlift Begins

    The Berlin Airlift Begins
    Amid a souring relationship, the Soviet Union decided to blockade the Western-Half of Berlin, which was controlled by the Allies after the Second World War. In response, the Allies flew supplies into West Berlin, and the Soviet Union was unable to stop the delivery of supplies there. The Airlift was a success for the Allies, and after 10 months, the Soviets lifted their blockade (The Berlin Airlift). Image:
  • The Soviet Union Tests its First Atomic Bomb

    The Soviet Union Tests its First Atomic Bomb
    On this day the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb. The test was a success, and it meant that a war between the United States and the Soviet Union would be much more destructive than previously thought. From now on, the world lived under the threat of nuclear war, and nuclear weapons were no longer exclusive to the United States (Soviets).
  • The Korean War Begins

    The Korean War Begins
    The Korean War was the first major proxy war between the Communist East and the Democratic West. It was the first in a series of proxy wars that each side partook in to gain global influence. Borders were hardly changed by the end of the war ( Editors. "Korean War.").
  • The Vietnam War Begins

    The Vietnam War Begins
    The Vietnam War lasted for two decades, with the US getting involved a decade into the war. It was a major proxy war fought during the cold war, with North Vietnam (under a communist government) finally winning the war a couple of years after the US pulled out amid dwindling public support ( Editors. “Vietnam War.”) Image:
  • The Berlin Wall is Formed

    The Berlin Wall is Formed
    The Soviet Union began construction on the Berlin Wall, which was meant to keep its own people out of West Berlin. This was because of the increasing number of people leaving for West Berlin because of how economically prosperous it was. Border crossings ended almost immediately, and the wall was further reinforced over the coming weeks. For many in West Berlin, it represented the failures of the Soviet Union (The Construction).
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    This event was the closest the Soviet Union and the United States came to nuclear war. Castro, leader of Cuba, allowed the Soviet Union to have nuclear missile sites set up in Cuba aimed at the United States. In response, the US blockaded and was on the brink of an invasion of Cuba when a deal was made: the Soviets would remove their missiles from Cuba, and the US would remove their missiles from Turkey (The Cuban).
  • The United States launches the Strategic Defense Initiative

    The United States launches the Strategic Defense Initiative
    The US launches the Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed ‘Star Wars’. The plan was to develop a defense system to eliminate the threat that nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union posed to the US. It cost $30 billion dollars, and the US didn’t get close to developing significant defensive technologies. The program was scrapped in 1993 (Kennedy). Image:
  • Gorbachev Takes Power

    Gorbachev Takes Power
    Gorbachev criticized the Soviet Union’s economic system and called for transparency in government. He removed price controls, allowed private businesses to operate, and relaxed trade barriers. These reforms were made to boost the Soviet economy, but they restructured the government, and the Soviet Union began to collapse ( Editors. “Perestroika."). Image:
  • The Berlin Wall Falls

    The Berlin Wall Falls
    After revolutions and unrest in countries across the Soviet Union, the country was on the brink of collapse. On this day crowds of East Germans tore apart the Berlin wall and crossed the border into West Germany. It marks the reunification of Germany (The Collapse). Image:
  • The Soviet Union Dissolves

    The Soviet Union Dissolves
    As part of his reforms, Gorbachev allowed elections to occur. A coup occurred, and Gorbachev resigned as head of the Soviet Union. His democratically elected successor, Yeltsin, took power and allowed Soviet states to declare independence. The day Yeltsin took power is the day the Soviet Union collapsed (The Collapse). Image: