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Cold War



  • End of WWII

  • Winston Churchill’sIron Curtain” Speech


  • George Kennan sent Long Telegram explaining reasons USSR must be "contained"

  • ​Document link


  • Truman Doctrine (Greece and Turkey)

  • "it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

  • Cominform

  • Communist Information Bureau - in charge of publishing propaganda to encourage international communist solidarity.


  • Marshall Plan (Soviets create Comecon)

  • Announced in 1947

  • ​Monetary aid to European countries

  • Berlin blockade and airlift (11 months)

  • Yugoslavia (led by Tito) stands up to Stalin

  • Alger Hiss Case


  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) created

  • Russia acquired atomic bomb

  • Klaus Fuchs, British scientist who worked on Manhattan project, admitted giving A-Bomb secrets to Russians

  • Chinese Revolution

  • Mao Zedong (Communist) defeats Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) (Nationalist)

  • Nationalists retreat to Taiwan, create Republic of China (ROC)

  • Mao creates People's Republic of China (PRC)


  • McCarthy Trials

  • ​Joe McCarthy presented list of 205 members of the Communist Party still working for the State Department.

  • McCarren Internal Security Act

  • Passed by US Congress over Truman's veto

  • Made it unlawful to support establishment of a totalitarian government

  • Restricted employment and travel of those joining Communist-front organizations

  • Authorized creation of detention camps for subversives


  • NSC-68 (April)

  • National Security Council proposal to Truman

  • To Quadruple the US defense budget

  • And forming alliances with non-Communist countries

  • Korean War (Jun. 25, 1950-Jul. 27, 1953)

  • North Korea under Kim Il Sung moved south of 38 parallel attacking U.S.-backed Synghman Rhee

  • UN approved action against North (Moscow had boycotted the meeting),

  • U.S. sent troops led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur

  • Eisenhower ended war in 1953 (armistice)


  • Ethel and Julius Rosenberg trial (executed 1953)


  • US acquired Hydrogen Bomb


  • Eisenhower inaugurated (Jan)

  • Stalin died

  • Russia acquired hydrogen bomb (US had H-Bomb in 1952)


  • Army-McCarthy hearings, called a "witch hunt."

  • French defeated in Indochina by Ho Chi Minh at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam

  • Eisenhower "domino theory" speech (Apr. 7)


  • Warsaw Pact created May 14

  • Geneva Conference July 18

  • Held in Switzerland, Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikola Bulganin

  • Proposal to create "open skies" to eliminate chance of surprise nuclear attack

  • Soviets rejected proposal but first thaw in relations

  • Austria independent July 27


  • Khrushchev De-Stalinization

  • Issues secret speech delivered at the 20th Communist Party Congress in Moscow denouncing Stalin’s terror and “cult of personality” (de Stalinization).

  • Speech published in New York Times.

  • "Peaceful co-existence"

  • Result: resources to production of consumer goods, less power to secret police, freedom to writers

  • Russian authors

  • Solzhenitsyn publishes “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” describing Stalin concentration camp

  • Boris Pasternak publishes “Doctor Zhivago” (but not allowed to receive Nobel Prize in Literature)

  • Poland

  • Poland's Communist party elect moderate, Gomulka, Gomulka refuses to give in to Soviet demands but promises military loyalty, Poles enjoy new degree of independence including increased toleration of Catholicism

  • Hungary

  • Liberal Communist leader Imre Nagy promised free multiparty elections and to pull Hungary out of Warsaw Pact

  • Soviets sent tanks and troops to suppress rebellion, US didn't help because engaged in Suez

  • Suez Crisis

  • ​Gamal Abdel Nasser asked US to help fund Aswan Dam, US refused

  • Wanted to nationalize Suez Canal (owned by Britain and France)

  • Britain, France and Israel invaded.

  • Eisenhower furious, condemned the attack

  • Chinese-Soviet split

  • China (Mao) criticizes USSR (Khrushchev) for backing away from Marxism.


  • Soviets launch Sputnik, 1st satellite to orbit Earth

  • Suez Crisis: Israel, UK, Fr. invaded Egypt after Nasser tried to nationalize Suez Canal

  • Eisenhower Doctrine: Aid to Middle East countries


  • Mao launched Great Leap Forward in China (1958-1961)

  • ​To rapidly industrialize China, 30 million died of starvation

  • Congress created National Defense and Education Act

  • Money for school for math, science, foreign language education

  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

  • Created to direct US efforts to build missiles and explore outer space.


  • Fidel Castro overthrew U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencia Batista, in Cuba (Jan.)

  • Khrushchev barred from Disneyland (Sept. 19)


  • OPEC created (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela)

  • Soviets withheld aid from China, leads to China detonating own bomb (1964) and border clashes (1968)

  • Russians shot down U.S. U-2 spy plane flying over Soviet Union.

  • Ended USSR thaw


  • Eisenhower farewell address (Jan. 17, 1961)

  • Warned against negative impact of the Cold War and the military-industrial complex.

  • John F. Kennedy inaugurated Jan. 20

  • Bay of Pigs (April)

  • Ill-fated U.S. attempt to topple Castro regime (under JFK)

  • Berlin Wall (Aug. 13)

  • ​Built by East Germany with Khrushchev's support around West Berlin

  • After more than three million East Germans flee to W. Berlin. ("Brain Drain")

  • Franz Fanon wrote “Wretched of the Earth”


  • Cuban Missile Crisis

  • U.S. spy planes discover Soviet Missiles being installed in Cuba

  • Khrushchev v. JFK --> close to nuclear war

  • Oct. 29, Khurshchev backs down, missiles taken out

  • US promises not to invade Cuba

  • Pulls out of Turkey 6 months later


  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed by JFK (Aug. 5)

  • John F. Kennedy killed by Lee Harvey Oswald (Nov. 22)


  • Nikita Khrushchev ousted from power by politburo

  • Brezhnev to power (1964-1982): Communist Party clamped down on Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov and other outspoken dissidents


  • Chinese Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976)

  • ​Attempt to reignite revolutionary spirit by cleansing China of those who didn't support Mao. Millions humiliated or killed.


  • Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring

  • Czech Communist leader Alexander Dubcek initiates reforms in order to create “socialism with a human face,” ends censorship, democratic reforms.

  • Result – Brezhnev called on other Warsaw Pact countries to invade Czechoslovakia to remove Dubcek from power.

  • Issued “Brezhnev Doctrine” (text) to stop reforms from spreading.


  • US pulled out of Vietnam (Nixon)


  • Helsinki Agreement: Confirmed Europe's borders est. in WWII, human rights, détente.


  • Soviets invaded Afghanistan

  • Islamic Revolution in Iran: Ayatollah Khomeini overthrows US-backed Shah Mohammed Pahlavi


  • Death of Tito in Yugoslavia causing ethnic tensions and economic issues


  • Brezhnev died


  • Mikhail Gorbachev installed as the new leader in USSR

  • He launched Glasnost and Perestroika


  • Glasnost (“openness”)

  • Encouraged Soviets to discuss ways to reform country. People learn truth about state of Soviet Union and Chernobyl nuclear disaster

  • Perestroika (economic “restructuring”)

  • Gorbachev to restructure economy to remove some bureaucratic control to encourage greater productivity.

  • Demokratizatsiya (“democratization”) Calling for election of a new legislature, a 2,250-member Congress of People’s Deputies.

  • Slobodan Milosevic became president of Serbia


  • Poland – “Solidarity

  • Polish cleric (John Paul II) becomes Pope

  • Lech Walesa leads Polish workers to form a democratic trade union called “Solidarity”- Polish voters overwhelmingly rejected Communist Party and elect Solidarity candidates – 1st time people in Eastern Bloc peacefully vote a Communist regime out of power

  • East Germany – Opening of Berlin Wall

  • Fall of Berlin Wall – Inspired by Poland, East Germans demand change in their government, Nov. 9, new East German leaders opened Berlin Wall, marked to Cold War in Eastern Europe

  • Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution

  • General strike led by Vaclav Havel resulted in collapse of Communist government


  • Yugoslavia (six Republics), Serbs under Milosevic ethnic cleansing

  • Yugoslavia dismantled 1990-1992 (video)


  • START I signed by US president George H.W. Bush and Gorbachev sign

  • Reducing number of nuclear warheads to under 10,000 each side

  • August Coup

  • Hardliners who believed Gorbachev had gone too far with Glasnost and Perestroika staged unsuccessfully coup while Gorbachev was vacationing in Crimea

  • Boris Yeltsin, president of Russian SSR, defeated coup members


  • CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)

  • Created from ten former Soviet Republics after collapse of Soviet Union

  • Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan

  • START II signed by George H.W. Bush and Yeltsin

  • Reduced nuclear warheads to 3,000 and US economic aid to Russia


  • Czechoslovakia peacefully split into Czech Republic and Slovakia

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