Cold War Timeline

Timeline created by Danilla
  • Russian Revolution

    Russian Revolution
    The Russian Revolution was the mark to the end of the Romanov dynasty, or the Tsarist authority. A brutal battle between the Communist Bolsheviks led by Lenin and the Democratic Mensheviks, the Communists eventually won and formed the Soviet Union that lasted for more than half a century.
  • Potsdam Conference

    Potsdam Conference
    The Potsdam Conference was held in Berlin between the leaders of the three most powerful nations after the war. President Harry S. Truman, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met to discuss postwar boundaries, control of defeated Germany and securing peace terms. This meeting helped the nations peacefully compromise and find a solution to equally recovering from the war.
  • Atomic Bomb - Japan

    Atomic Bomb - Japan
    With the invention of nuclear weapons, Truman gave orders to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima when Japan refused unconditional surrender in the war in the Pacific. After suffering mass destruction and casualties, they still refused defeat, so America dropped a second devastating bomb over Nagasaki which ultimately led the Emperor to accept the contract.
  • Iron Curtain

    Iron Curtain
    The iron curtain was the name given to the boundary separating western Europe from Eastern Europe and Russia that lasted for decades. The barrier was used by the Soviet Union to block itself from contact with the Western Hemisphere and non-communist influence in Western Europe. The barrier led to higher political tensions between Communists and Westerners, especially the US.
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    The Truman Doctrine was a policy that President Harry Truman passed through Congress that would give aid to countries struggling with threats from violent minority groups or Communism empowerment. Some of the first nations to receive help were Greece and Turkey. The doctrine was the groundwork for creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and ultimately leading to the Cold War.
  • Molotov Plan

    Molotov Plan
    The Molotov Plan was a system created by Soviet Union's Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov. It proposed giving aid to rebuild Asian and Eastern European countries that were in the Soviet's Sphere of Influence. It was a symbol of refusal to accept the American Marshall Plan and aid from an anti-Communist nation. This decision further grew tensions between the Soviets and US.
  • Hollywood 10

    Hollywood 10
    The Hollywood 10 consisted of a group of people who refused to answer questions of the House of Representatives of Un-American Activities Committee. A 1950’s film denounced McCarthyism and blacklisting within the film industry was directed by John Berry and created massive controversy as well.
  • Berlin Blockade

    Berlin Blockade
    The Berlin Blockade lasted for nearly a year and was enforced by Stalin's Soviet Union. They pushed out all Westerners from Eastern Germany and starved the people by stealing their resources into rebuilding their own country (USSR). This situation angered America and so military action was soon taken to retaliate.
  • Berlin Airlift

    Berlin Airlift
    Because the Soviet Union blocked western access to Berlin in one of the first major crises in the Cold War, the Allies airdropped supplies to the city in hopes of saving them from starvation. The Soviets feared the US was trying to gain control of their German sector and felt their power was being challenged.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    The Marshall Plan was a program of massive economic assistance to European countries that was proposed by US Secretary of State George C. Marshall. Up to $13 billion was invested into aiding the nations associating with the Allies. The Plan also encouraged the idea of stopping the spread of Communism, which antagonized Russia.
  • Soviet Bomb Test

    Soviet Bomb Test
    The Soviet bomb test was the first successful test of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union. The development of the bomb relied heavily on spy rings within the American Manhattan Project and German scientist knowledge. This discovery eventually led to a great fear of Communism and Russian spies in America, creating witch hunts and accusatory trials for Soviet-related espionage.
  • NATO

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a multi-country group formed between the allies after WW2 as an opposition to the Soviet Union activities. NATO was formed on April 4th 1949, shortly after World War II ended. The organization further set apart the Western Hemisphere from the USSR, leading to political boundaries.
  • Alger Hiss Case

    Alger Hiss Case
    This case was against Alger Hiss, a former state department official accused of spying for the Soviet Union. He was convicted of purgury and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
  • Korean War

    Korean War
    The first major militant conflict within the Cold War began when North Korea, under Communist influence, invaded South Korea and the anti-Communist U.S. became involved. The Korean War has since not technically ended but has instead signed an armistice.
  • Rosenburg Trial

    Rosenburg Trial
    Julius and Ethel Rosenburg were accused of having connections to plot to pass US bomb secrets to the Soviet Union. They were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death by electric chair in 1953. The trial was one of the most controversial conflicts known in the US during the Red Scare.
  • Battle of Dien Bien Phu

    Battle of Dien Bien Phu
    The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the decisive engagement in the first Indochina War. After French forces occupied the Dien Bien Phu valley in late 1953, commander Vo Nguyen Giap's troops placed heavy artillery in caves of the mountains overlooking the French camp. Eventually, the war ended with the French leaving Indochina.
  • Geneva Conference

    Geneva Conference
    The Geneva Conference was a meeting among several nations that took place in Geneva, Switzerland from April 26 – July 20, 1954. It was intended to settle outstanding issues resulting from the Korean War and the First Indochina War. Disagreement among nations later led to Vietnam's split to Northern and Southern states and increasing stress between Communism and America.
  • Army-McCarthy Hearings

    Army-McCarthy Hearings
    The Army-McCarthy Hearings were a set of trials by the United States Senate Subcommittee investigating U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and the United States Army. These trials settled the controversy of McCarthyism and the presence of Communist spies witch hunts.
  • Warsaw Pact

    Warsaw Pact
    The communist response to the NATO formation, the Warsaw Pact created a mutual assistance between the Soviet Union and its satellite states. The pact ensured defense between the countries within the group. Like the creation of NATO, the Warsaw Pact grew political tensions between the split groups.
  • Hungarian Revolution

    Hungarian Revolution
    The Hungarian Revolution was a national uprising against the communist-controlled government of Hungary. This took place in 1956 on October 23rd and continued until November 10th.
  • U2 Incident

    U2 Incident
    The American spy plane known as the U2 was shot down within Soviet airspace in Kosulio. This occurred during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency on May 1st, 1960. The incident led to higher tensions between the Soviets and Americans.
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion

    Bay of Pigs Invasion
    A failed CIA driven military operation that planned for the invasion of Cuba. The US military landed on the 17th of April 1961 and was initially successful but only had half of the support needed and was quickly overturned.
  • Berlin Wall

    Berlin Wall
    Built in August of 1961, the Berlin Wall officially began the division of eastern and western Europe for most civilians. The wall also divided Berlin into two sides for each superpower. It was eventually torn down in November 1989.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    The thirteen day period of confrontation between the U.S. and Cuba over the ballistic missiles placed in Cuba as a response to U.S. actions. This conflict is regarded as the closest the Cold War got to becoming a full scale nuclear war.
  • Assassination of Diem

    Assassination of Diem
    On November 2, 1963, South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem was murdered in Saigon in a coup carried out by a group of generals operating with the approval of the U.S. government. This eventually led to the US takeover of the war.
  • Assassination of JFK

    Assassination of JFK
    Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through downtown Dallas, Texas. People all around the world were shocked and angry at the news of this brutal murder, and questions of the assassination records case still exist today.
  • Tonkin Gulf Resolution

    Tonkin Gulf Resolution
    On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing President Johnson to take any measures he believed were necessary to retaliate and to promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. His main motive was to avoid the spread of Communism in Asia, which the Soviets disapproved of.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder

    Operation Rolling Thunder
    Operation Rolling Thunder was the codename for an American bombing campaign during the Vietnam War. It marked the first sustained American assault on North Vietnamese territory and represented a major expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Riots of the Democratic Convention

    Riots of the Democratic Convention
    In 1968, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, thousands of Vietnam War protesters battled police in the streets, while the Democratic Party fell apart over an internal disagreement concerning its stance on Vietnam. It caused long-term political consequences, destroying faith in politicians, in the political system, in the country, and in its institutions.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    The Tet Offensive were attacks infiltrated by the Northern Vietnamese Communist government carried out against South Vietnam. In response, US military, along with South Vietnam, retaliated using strategic battle techniques that forced North Vietnam to retreat. Although a great victory, the rest of America strongly opposed the US' growing involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Assassination of MLK

    Assassination of MLK
    Martin Luther King Jr was an influential African-American civil rights leader who was fatally shot from a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennesee on April 4, 1968. Even though his life ended in a brutal murder, he set the path for the black communities across America that were resisting oppression, fighting for civil rights. His tragic death led to many furious riots across the nation shortly after.
  • Assassination of RFK

    Assassination of RFK
    Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated shortly after his brother's assassination and Martin Luther's when he already won the California Presidental Primary. After being shot multiple times by a Palestinian man in a Los Angeles hotel, the murder placed harsher tensions between an already divided nation. Robert Kennedy was beloved by the people and considered the only leader that could have brought America peace after stressful political troubles.
  • Invasion of Checkoslovakia

    Invasion of Checkoslovakia
    On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union led Warsaw Pact troops, including Russians, Pols, Bulgarians, Hungarians, and Eastern Germans in an invasion of Czechoslovakia to suppress on reformist trends in Prague. Although the Soviet Union’s action successfully halted the pace of reform in Czechoslovakia, it had unintended consequences for the unity of the communist bloc.
  • Election of Nixon

    Election of Nixon
    Eight years after losing to John F. Kennedy's presidential election, Richard Nixon won the majority votes in fall of 1968. Being a Republican, he was the first president in the 20th century to be elected without his party winning Congress or House of Representatives. Nonetheless, he was heavily involved in the Vietnam War between Communist Russia and the Vietnamese people. His presidency eventually led to a successful reelection in 1972.
  • Kent State Shooting

    Kent State Shooting
    The Kent State Incident was the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio during a mass protest against the Vietnam War on May 4, 1970. Four students were killed and nine others injured which enraged Americans everywhere. Soon after, strikes forced the temporary closure of colleges across the country. The tragic event ultimately tilted public opinion against the war and President Richard Nixon.
  • Nixon Visits China

    Nixon Visits China
    In February of 1972, President Richard Nixon took a dramatic first step toward normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks in the midst of ongoing Vietnam War. Nixon’s historic visit began the slow process of the re-establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and communist China.
  • Ceasefire in Vietnam

    Ceasefire in Vietnam
    On January 9, 1973, a ceasefire was finally reached between Vietnam and the US. President Nixon ordered all American bombing in North Vietnam to a halt. Soon after, the Vietnam War was officially over, but would continue to affect people for many generations to come.
  • Fall of Saigon

    Fall of Saigon
    Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, was captured by Communist North Vietnam on April 30th, 1975. Thousands desperate to escape stormed the US embassy building, awaiting the US military helicopters that would aid in leaving the country. Many survivors today, American and Vietnamese, live in the US under a free nation.
  • Reagan Elected

    Reagan Elected
    The presidential election that took place on November 4, 1980, changed America’s history, placing Ronald Reagan at its forefront and ushering in a new era of conservatism.
  • SDI

    The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), publicly anounced by the President in 1983, was the introduction of a new technology - space-based missile defense, also known as "star wars". The idea behind it was that satellites would annihilate incoming Soviet missiles before they could reach the US using lasers. Although the invention was merely theoretical at the time, the Soviet Union felt threatened and intimidated by President Reagan, as SDI was a part of his goal to destroy Communism.
  • Geneva Conference with Gorbachev

    Geneva Conference with Gorbachev
    The leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, met at a summit conference in Geneva for the first time. The meeting boded well for the future, as the two men seemed to develop a close relationship and held talks on international diplomatic relations and the arms race. By 1987, both sides had resolved a wide range of arms control issues, including SDI.
  • "Tear Down this Wall" Speech

    "Tear Down this Wall" Speech
    This speech was given by President Ronald Reagan at the western Berlin wall to the German people. This speech contained the famous line “Tear down this wall!” that Reagan directed to Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time. Yet, there is little evidence that the speech had any substantial influence on the actual breaking down of the Berlin Wall, which was finally deconstructed in 1989 and Germany was a unified country at last.
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Fall of the Berlin Wall
    On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, marking the beginning of the end as the Cold War began to thaw. The citizens of Berlin were officially allowed to cross the border starting at midnight on the same day. Germany and its people once again became a unified nation.