Cold War Timeline

          As we begin our Cold War Timeline, recognize that simmering beneath the surface of each year of the Cold War was the fear of a hot war. In every sense, the Cold War touched every corner of the globe and predated the accepted chronology assumed to begin in 1945. In the years prior to this date, the relationship between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and its predecessors in power, can only be described as cool.

          American free enterprise and Russian socialism were philosophically opposed to each other. Thus early relations between the countries were routinely frigid. A mutual enemy created a warming trend between the United States and a Russia that had already evolved into the Soviet Union during the World War 2 years. This political climate had a short shelf life. Geopolitical disagreements post World War 2 between the Soviet Union and the United States were almost never resolved, but rather settled by mutual inaction, or unilateral action accompanied by threats against any further action. Civility between the heads of state were at best strained and at worst menacing.

          The United Nations existed during these years as a platform for strident Soviet communist propaganda that constantly sought advantages and spheres of influence with the growing number of independent third world countries. Their veto power rendered the United Nations impotent to resolve international crises. The major exception to United Nations inaction resulted from a Soviet procedural and strategic error. Their intentional absence during votes on North Korean aggression opened the door for a United Nation vote that approved the use of member troops to halt North Korean ambitions.

          Both the Korean War (1950-1953) and the following Vietnamese conflict (1965-1975) served the cause of the Soviet Union. It committed the blood and treasure of the United States to conflicts that taxed its resources and damaged its domestic tranquility. During these war years, the Soviets encouraged surrogates to fight the battles and drain their fragile economies while the Russians sat on the sidelines to enjoy the spectacle.

          This Cold War period marked the ascendancy of the United States as the major world power challenged only by the Soviet Union. Inevitably, this created an arms race that encompassed heaven and earth. The power of the United States dollar and its use by American leaders, as well as internal Soviet problems, gradually eroded the strength and ideology of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War.

After your review of this timeline, we call your attention to the additional links located below this table detailing the diverse elements of this unusual war.

Causes and Events of the Cold War:
1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s

Causes and Events in the Cold War Timeline
with some scattered editorial observations
Cold War Timeline
Russia, with largest army in the world, enters World War 1, and joins allies (Great Britain and France) to form Triple Entente.
Bolshevik revolution not only eliminated the Russian monarchy, but in less than one year also the provisional socialist government led by Alexander Kerensky. The provisional government was forcibly disbanded by the Red Guard leading to ascendancy of Vladimir Lenin and formation of a Soviet (legislature) government led by the Bolshevi.
New Soviet government attempted to gain armistice agreement with Germany (Central Powers alliance). Failed because of German demand for territorial concessions.
Red Army (Bolsheviks) engages in civil war with White Army whose main aim was destruction of the “red”.
Cold War Timeline
German military pressure forces Russia to concede the Ukraine and Poland to Germany and end war pursuant to Brest-Litovsk Treaty. Russian deaths in war almost 2 million casualties.
Unique events in Cold War Timeline
President Woodrow Wilson’s antipathy to the Bolsheviks ideology to spread communism grants secret aid to White Army.
President Wilson dispatches U.S. troops to Russian ports of Vladivostok and Archangelsk ostensibly to protect Allied supplies stored for Russian army use against Germany. U.S. troops engage Red Army in limited actions that led to over 100 U.S. dead.
U.S. soldiers leave Russian soil. Long memories of this history are reflected 25 years later in the Cold War and bears repeating in the Cold War Timeline.
Cold War Timeline
White Army diversity of leadership and fractionated goals regarding formation and head of a new government led to their defeat.
Victorious Bolsheviks form Union of Soviet Socialists Republics as they “acquire” neighboring Asian countries on its borders.
Joseph Stalin gains post as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.(1922-1952)
Cold War Timeline
Great Britain and Nazi Germany agree to German annexation of Sudetenland. Soviet Union not invited although border revisions viewed by Russia as a German spring board for a Russian invasion by Germany.
While the Soviets are meeting with Great Britain and France about an alliance, they shift to a non aggression treaty with Germany that grants the Soviet Union rights to annex eastern Poland. This Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was condemned by President Franklin Roosevelt and referring to Russia said, “dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world”. He further suggested “a moral embargo”. (Quotations furnished by U.S. Department of State—Office of the Historian.) Add another memory embedded in the Cold War Timeline.
Germany attacks Poland and brings Great Britain and France into the war.
Cold War Timeline
France falls to Germany. President Roosevelt attempts to repair relationships with the Soviet Union and cites Germany as a common enemy.
Secretary of State Sumner Wells confers with Soviet Ambassador Constantine Oumansky rejects demands to recognize border alterations due to invasions Poland, Finland, and Rumania.
Germany (Operation Barbarossa) invades Russia.
Aug President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet secretly and agree on war goals. They will not countenance any territorial changes as a spoil of war.
Oct Lend-Lease aid to Soviet Union and Roosevelt overcomes strong congressional minority objections.
Dec United States enters war as ally of Great Britain.
U.S. Special Envoy Harry Hopkins dispatched to Soviet Union to assess its military preparedness and recommends the aid to Roosevelt. The decision to provide aid has its detractors in the United States, dilutes the positive policy, and adds to the litany of Cold War causes.
History of 2nd Front Builds Cold War Attitudes
1941- Early in the war, Germany’s eastern front created tremendous pressure on the lives of Russians and their resources. Russian deaths and casualties were enormous. Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, sought the opening of a new front and pressed Great Britain to initiate a cross channel invasion of occupied France. The British unable to comply.
1942- Roosevelt responds to Stalin entreaty for a second front to relieve his country, and promises Stalin an invasion later in the year. Allied forces unable to comply.
1943- Another promises by Britain and the United States for a second front does not materialize.
1943- Tehran Conference- Roosevelt and Churchill agree with Stalin on the necessity of a cross channel invasion. However, they do not agree with Stalin on Polish border revisions. Nor will they accept Soviet hegemony in the Baltic nations without a referendum. Parties agree on the sovereignty of Iran invaded by United Kingdom and Soviet Union to secure safe southern route of war supplies to the Soviets.
1944- Stalin recalls his ambassadors from London and Washington underscoring his demand for a 2nd front.
Cold War Timeline
June 6--- D Day invasion of French Normandy coast. A tepid Cold War Timeline moment.
Dec Fighting in the Greek civil war between communist and conservative forces.
Cold War Timeline
Yalta Conference held in Soviet Crimea and Roosevelt accedes to Stalin demand for control of Poland and Eastern Europe. However, Churchill presses Stalin to agree to free elections in Poland to determine its status. Stalin agrees but breaks promise. Another issue to dog the Cold war. Some historians point to Yalta, like Lexington and Concord, as the opening shot of the Cold War.
Apr President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies of cerebral hemorrhage. Untested Vice President Harry Truman succeeds Roosevelt.
May Germany surrenders to Allied forces.
Britain and the United States cede portions of German occupied territory it controls to Soviet Russia. Ultimately, that increases the political power over their control of East Germany.
July President Truman puts a stamp on his new administration and advises the Soviets that the United States has a nuclear arsenal. Was that a threat?
Aug Atomic bomb dropped on Japan.
Japan unconditionally surrenders and its territories restricted to its home islands.
Potsdam Conference more notable for replacement of two of the big three leadership: President Harry Truman for deceased Roosevelt and Clement Attlee replaces Churchill defeated in English election. Polish boundaries are set. Division of Germany into four zones each to be controlled By France, Great Britain, United States, Soviet Union. These decisions insure a spill over into the Cold War and particularly splitting Germany into east and west blocs.
Sept United Kingdom and U.S. leave Iran and Soviet Union promises to follow. Promise is hollow and with Soviet aid an indigenous communist group declares independent state, People’s Republic of Azerbaijan.
Nov Yugoslavia breaks with Soviet Union under rule of Marshall Tito.
Cold War Timeline
Albanian government seized by Communists and form People’s Republic of Albania.
United States protests to United Nations about Soviet Union Iranian policy.
United States establishes the Constabulary force that replaces combat troops in its zone. Acts as a de facto police force and protects its 40,000 square mile borders against Soviet incursions.
Mar Soviet Union responds to U.N. resolution and withdraws from Iran, but extracts Iranian promise to grant them concessions for Iranian oil.
Winston Churchill defines Soviet Union activities (“police governments”) and its proselytizing Communist International organization as a threat to the security of democracies in a speech at a Missouri college. He stated, “In front of the iron curtain which lies across Europe are other causes for anxiety”. The “iron curtain” analogy will become a term of art describing international communist activities for 45 years. As a subtext, Churchill advocates for a United Nations military force.
July Philippines gain independence and immediately faced with a communist led rebellion by HUK forces gives lie to the belief that the Cold War was bloodless.
Sept U.S. State Department enunciates plan to maintain American troop strength in Europe indefinitely. Applying heat as we record this event in the Cold War Timeline
Dec French troops return to Indochina setting ground for battling northern communists.
Shah Pahlavi government returns with army to Iran and bans all insurgent communists.
Cold War Timeline
Truman Doctrine formulated to contain and halt expansion of communism.
Apr Bernard Baruch, financier and later day presidential advisor, described the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union as a “Cold War” and is the patriarch of the Cold War Timeline. George Orwell, 2 years earlier, describes the relationships between hypothetical world powers as a "cold war" under the cloud of mutual assured destruction.
May Truman approves congressional appropriation of 400 million dollars for military aid for Greece and Turkey.
June Marshall Plan announced (signed April 1948) designed to rebuild Europe and perceived as a threat by Soviet Russia fearful of a rearmed Germany.
Sept United states vehemently opposed to Soviet oil concessions in Iran. Unquestionably an early chapter in the Cold War timeline.
Oct Iranian council rejects Soviet oil concessions and negates the earlier agreement.
Nov United Nations resolution calls for unification of Korea.
Dec Romanian monarchy falls (King Michael abdicates) and communist rule begins under the name of Popular Republic of Romania, and Soviet power is extended and sets the template for further expansion in the following year.
United States and Great Britain sign Bizone agreement designed to unite the economic activities of their respective zones. This agreement is a tacit acknowledgement that unification of the entire country is remote. However, the agreement proves to accelerate the economic recovery of West Germany to the detriment of the Soviet controlled East Germany.
Cold War Timeline
Communists seize control of Czechoslovakia adding another buffer zone to the Russian border. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk found dead and presumed murdered.
Mar United Nations recognizes an independent Israel pursuant to prior United Nations two state partition vote of 1947. The new vote finds the United States acting in concert with the Soviet Union. A Cold War heat lamp shines on the Middle East.
May South Korea forms the Republic of Korea and elects a conservative president, Syngman Rhee.
June Soviet Union orders a complete blockade of all roads leading to Berlin intending to starve the population and forcing U.S., Britain and France to abandon their zones of control.
United States leads its allies in an airlift to thwart Soviet plan and blockade ends in May 1949.
July South Korea ratifies a constitution.
Aug Whitaker Chambers accuses U.S. state department official, Alger Hiss, as a communist plant. Ultimately convicted for perjury in 1950.
Sept Soviet Russia responds and declares the north's People’s Republic of Korea as the sole government of all Korea.
Cold War Timeline
West Germany declares Bonn as the new capital of the Federal Republic of Germany and Allies end their administrative control of their zones. Konrad Adenauer elected Chancellor. Soviet Union responds in October declaring East Berlin the capital of their eastern zone of the German Democratic Republic and appoints a puppet government.
Conrad Adenauer becomes first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
June Threat of communist infiltration at all levels of U.S. society including government finds voice in the congress and dubbed as the “red scare” as it morphed into the McCarthy “red” witch hunts of 1950.
July North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) formed alliance between European partners and the United States to protect the security of Europe. The obvious threat: Soviet Union.
Sept Mao Zedong, ideological partner of the Soviet Union and a recipient of its aid, cements control of China and ends its civil war by defeating nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek and forcing their removal from the mainland to Taiwan.
Soviet Russia test fires atomic bomb and creates the multi lateral deterrent of “mutually assured destruction”.
Soviet Russia invokes its veto power in the United Nations to exclude membership of Italy and Portugal.
Dec Chiang Kai-Shek escapes Chinese mainland and establishes a national government in Taiwan.
Cold War Timeline
United States recognizes Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia signaling diplomatic recognition of their governments and supporting an independent Vietnam in a French union.
Soviet-China pact resolves territorial disputes, mutual defense and aid to China.
Mar Chiang Kai-shek establishes nationalist government on Taiwan (formerly Formosa).
April U.S. National Security Council emphasizes military preparedness rather than diplomatic efforts to contain the aggressiveness of the Soviet Union (NSC 68). This becomes the dominant government policy of successive presidencies until 1970 when this secret resolution is disclosed to the public.
May U.S. military aid to French in Indochina.
June North Korean forces cross 38th parallel and invade South Korea. 1950 is dominated by the ebb and flow of the Korean conflict. An extensive review of the Korean conflict from 1950-1953 and its impact on the Cold War is highlighted in the timeline Korean War Facts and Causes 1950-1953. Suffice to note that Soviet Union supported the North Korean action.
Sept McCarran Internal Security Act designed to monitor communist activity in the United States.
Cold War Timeline
Tibet invaded by China and under state of permanent occupation. Dalai Lama escapes into exile in 1959.
Mar Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted and sentenced to death for espionage for Soviet Union for passing atomic bomb secrets.
Apr European Coal and Steel Community Agreement sponsored by France incorporated almost all democratic continental European nations including West Germany into a limited economic union. This was a precursor of the European Union. Its shelf life, with many revisions and added democratic countries, lasted to 2002.
May British born, Soviet spy operatives, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, embedded in sensitive areas of the British government escape to Moscow ahead of arrest. A month before they were identified by British and United States intelligence services as members of the Cambridge Five, Soviet sympathizers for two decades. No Cold War timeline is complete without reference to this “dirty” side of the cold war which also gave rise to a new genre of novels.
July William Oates, Associated Press correspondent, arrested in Czechoslovakia for spying on behalf of the United States and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Released in 1953.
Sept United States actively pursuing Soviet containment policies in the Pacific region and executes security treaty with Australia and New Zealand.
Oct United States rolls out the Mutual Security Act providing military aid for national movements supporting democracy.
Cold War Timeline
Stalin proposes the unification of a neutral Germany. The allied nations rejected this out of hand. They were suspicious of Soviet intentions. This begs the “what if” question if the Allies had explored further dialogue. Would it change the history of the Cold War?
May European Defense Community Treaty creates supranational army to offset superior Soviet fire power. It attempts to resolve the debate about a rearmed Germany by incorporating the German force into supranational army. Although supported by United States, many countries were unhappy, and not signatories, fearful of sublimating their military power to outside forces.
June The B-29 proved its devastating power in world War 2, participated in The Berlin airlift. and was highly effective in the air over Korea. Nextly utilized by the Strategic Air Command. Their increased capacity to reach the Russian heartland without refueling from a North African base added to the concern of the Soviet Union who were made particularly aware of their nuclear bomb load. 24/7 air capability added in 1957.
Sept Immigration and Nationality Act establishes a base line to exclude immigration to the U.S. based on ideology.
Nov United States test explodes hydrogen bomb.
Cold War Timeline
Dwight D. Eisenhower elected 34th president. As a Republican representing a party that had asserted that the Democrats were “soft on communism”, he was in a stronger position to conclude the Korean war. He rejected continuing the war with a new and great offensive and replaced the commanding general for a contrary view.
Mar Stalin dies and leaves a heritage of a centralized Soviet economy, industrializing the country, and altering the agrarian society into a large state run cooperative. During his lifetime, he created a cult of personality by creating a god-like image in an atheist pantheon.
June Revolt of workers in East Germany put down by Soviet tanks.
July Korean armistice signed.
Aug C.I.A. working with British intelligence manufacture evidence of communist involvement in the Iranian government led by Premier Mossadegh, and develops a coup to restore the Shah (king) Pahlavi to the throne. He has an anti communist history. This move leads to Islamic revolution in 1979.
Sept The battle for succession of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics co-opted by Georgi Malenkov as Premier. However, the real power lies with Nikita Khrushchev, head of the Communist party. Malenkov’s tenure lasts 23 months and during that period tone is less harsh toward the west. Korean armistice was presumably approved by Soviets although Chinese decision more relevant.
Aug Soviet Union successfully tests hydrogen bomb.
Cold War Timeline
Berlin Conference brought France, United Kingdom, United States and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics together to resolve outstanding issues and included Korea and Indochina. The only positive accomplishment was the agreement in principal of Austrian sovereignty and, as insisted by the Soviets, a guaranty of future Austrian neutrality. A Geneva follow-up was scheduled.
May Ho Chi Minh guerillas defeat French at Dien Bien Phu and force French withdrawal from Indochina.
June Senator Joseph McCarthy levels charges about communist penetration of U.S. atomic program. In same year, censured by U.S.Senate.
Central America becomes a battle ground between Marxist forces and autocratic governments with significant U.S. involvement resulting in a change of government in Guatemala.
July Geneva Accord: Brought together all countries that had some involvement in Indochina, a temporary agreement divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel and provided a path for withdrawal of French forces.
Aug On the heels of the Korean War, China shells Taiwan military on its off shore islands, Quemoy and Matsu. Prompts the United States to threaten intervention and use of the atomic bomb is discussed in the public square. The latter possibility may have prompted the Chinese to discontinue artillery attack.
France rejects European Defense Community treaty and signals the end of its effectiveness. However, its theory has lasting effect on Europe’s future moves toward unity.
Sept United States and Great Britain concludes South East Asia Treaty with various Asian partners to form a barrier to protect the Philippines and Indo China from communist expansion. An early protective building block of the Domino theory.
Nov Leftist guerillas, Front for National Liberation (FNL), attack French troops in Algeria. The Cold War Timeline extends its reach to Africa.
Cold War Timeline
Gamal Nasser “appointed” president of Egypt.
Feb Baghdad Pact brought together United Kingdom with Asian countries, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan. Turkey to formulate policy to thwart Soviet expansion. United States promises both political and military support. Egyptian leader, Gamal Nasser, as a leader of the Arab world and non-aligned nations, strongly criticizes agreement A half century later, these same Asian signatories of the pact, no longer dogged by communist dogma, are involved in an Islamic revolution and its fall out alters the political climate of the middle east.
Israeli troops attack Egyptian stronghold in Gaza and dislodge their forces.
Mar Soviet Union extends aid to Syria and expands its influence in the middle east. This relationship continues through 2012 aiding the beleaguered Syrian dictator involved in civil war.
Apr Third World countries led by India and Egypt assert their neutrality— ostensible philosophy of non aligned nations.
May Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) joins North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and begins rearmament to the obvious distress of Soviet Russia.
Soviet Union forms a military alliance (Warsaw Pact) includes countries controlled by Communists or those with Soviet puppet heads of state.(East Germany, Hungary, Rumania, Albania, Poland, Czechoslovakia) as a propaganda counterweight to NATO.
Austria occupation ends and is declared “neutral”.
July Big 4 leaders meet to lower pressure of Cold War to discuss disarmament and trade issues.Eisenhower meets with Prime Ministers Anthony Eden (UK), Edgar Faure (France) and Nikolai Bulganin (USSR 1955-1958). Eisenhower meets Nikita Khrushchev for the first time. Talks are not fruitful.
Sept In response to Israel’s campaign in Gaza, President Nasser makes arms purchase from Soviet bloc country, Czechoslovakia.
Cold War Timeline
Nasser installs one party government in Egypt. Recognizes Communist People’s Republic of China. United States and Great Britain disturbed with Nasser’s “left leaning” trend revoke earlier promise to finance Egypt’s Aswan Dam.
Feb Nikita Khrushchev addresses closed meeting of 20th Congress of the Communist Party and condemns actions of Josef Stalin during his reign. Historians point to this as a turning point in the broadening of a Soviet government less dependent on one man rule. This signals a subtle change in the dictatorial nature of the Soviet system that had greatly suppressed its own people..
July Gamal Nasser of Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal restricting international shipping. Claims that loss of funds to build Aswan Dam created need for Suez Canal revenue to finance the project. Nasser becomes hero of Arab world.
Oct Hungarian people revolt against communist puppet government and the rebellion is suppressed by Soviet tanks. Appeals from the rebels to the United States for help are not heeded by Eisenhower government.
Great Britain, France and Israel coordinate attack on Egypt to force reopening of Suez Canal. President Eisenhower stridently demands cessation of attacks.
Nov Khrushchev at a Moscow embassy affair addresses western diplomats and declares with usual bombast, “We will bury you”. This statement angers U.S. public. At a later date, Khrushchev walks back his ill conceived statement and rephrases its meaning to the effect that the communist system will bury the capitalist system. These seemingly remote incidents take on a prominent position in the Cold War timeline.
Eisenhower reelected to 2nd term.
Dec Suez Canal belligerents agree to cease fire.
Cold War Timeline
Eisenhower commits forces to deter Soviet aggression in middle east.
Mar European Economic Community (EEC) comprised of Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, France, West Germany, and Luxembourg.
Aug Soviet Union test fires Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (IBM).
Oct Soviet Union launches Sputnik into the atmosphere.
Dec United States counters and successfully test fires Atlas missile (IBM).
U.S. National Security Council believes that the Soviet Union has missile superiority and spurs fear of a “missile gap”.
Federation of Malaya formed replacing British colonial rule. Between 1948 and 1960 (Malayan Emergency) insurgent communist guerillas fought British and then the new Federation creating an orbit for communist insurgencies in the entire Indo-China peninsular.
United States launches first satellite (Explorer) into Orbit.
Mar Nikita Khrushchev adds Premier to older title of First Secretary of the Communist Party and moves from de facto leader to official commander of the Soviet Union (1958-1964).
Soviet Union announces suspension of further atmospheric testing of nuclear devices.
July An officers revolt in Iraq in 1946 (July Revolution) deposed the Hashemite King (related to Hashemite Kingdom established in Jordan-1946) believed to be too pro British (see above-1955 Baghdad Pact). The new government clashed with all political elements in the Arab world and only maintained good relations with the Soviet Union. Regime ended in 1963.
Aug Inexplicably, Chinese create 2nd crises in the Taiwan Strait and bomb Island of Quemoy.
Sept United States reconnaissance plane shot down in Armenian airspace (Soviet bloc nation) by Russian air force plane.
Oct United States and Great Britain respond to Soviet gesture and suspend atmospheric testing of nuclear devices.
Nov Khrushchev demands that western powers abandon West Berlin, unite east and west Germany as neutral and nuclear free or accept Germany as permanently divided. West rejects. However, as the year closed the leaders agreed on cultural exchanges scheduled for 1959 to improve relationships.
Cold War Timeline
Fidel Castro (Premier 1959-76; President 1976-2008) takes command of Cuba and replaces the United States backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista (1952-1959). President Eisenhower understands Castro sympathies with communism and seeks to subvert his dictatorial rule.. Enlists aid of C.I.A.
July U.S. Congress passes resolution “Captive Nations” condemning Soviet control of the people of countries in eastern Europe.
Cultural exchange agreement of 1958 results in Soviet exhibit in New York City (June) and U.S. exhibit in Moscow. Vice President Nixon hosts Premier Khrushchev at the pre opening of the U.S. modern kitchen exhibit. Khrushchev commenced an attack on the Captive Nations resolution which led to a heated debate with Nixon over the superiority of communism versus capitalism. (“Kitchen Debate”) Rhetorical low point in the Cold War timeline.
Sept Premier Khrushchev meets for 2 days with Eisenhower at Camp David (Md) they express optimism over disarmament issues and agree to 1960 Paris meeting. That optimism will be dashed in May 1960.
Dec Viet Cong formed to overthrow U.S. supported Diem, South Vietnam government. Both its guerilla force and regular army forces will receive aid from the north as well as from Soviet Union.
Cold War Timeline
Eisenhower instructs C.I.A. to train Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. Training camp in Guatemala.
May U-2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers shot down over Soviet Union. Plane was designed to fly at altitudes that could evade Soviet radar. Plane was presumably shot down by ground missile at an unexplained lower altitude. Powers tried as spy and sentenced in Soviet court to 10 years. Released in a spy exchange with the United States almost 2 years later.
Paris Conference scheduled at earlier Camp David meeting (1959) scuttled due to U-2 incident. Temperature in the Cold War timeline is zero degree Fahrenheit.
June Sino-Soviet division over communist philosophies of government and potential ability to influence world affairs leads to greater role for China in geopolitics.
July Native communist insurgencies active in Indochina.
Oct During a speech by the Philippine delegate to the United Nations in which he excoriated the Soviet Union for crushing freedom, Premier Khrushchev used his shoe to bang it on his desk while demanding a point of order to halt the speech of the delegate.
Nov John F. Kennedy elected 35th President. He ran on a platform promising to be hard on communism and in support of the liberty and security of the United States. As a junior senator from Massachusetts, he proposed the establishment of a peace corp. which will be fulfilled in 1961.
Cold War Timeline
In the closing days of the Eisenhower administration, he closes Havana embassy severing relations with Cuba.
Mar Kennedy approves aid plan for Latin America.
Apr Kennedy after much soul searching with his Cabinet approves Bay of Pigs invasion by 1,300 C.I.A. trained Cuban refugees. Kennedy had sought plausible denial for U.S. involvement, but like the invasion a complete failure.
Soviet’s launch first human (Yuri Gagarin) into space orbit around the earth.
May United States launches man (Alan Shepard, Jr.) into sub-orbital flight.
Kennedy authorizes U.S. advisors to aid South Vietnam government fight against Viet Cong.
Kennedy announces Apollo Program to land man on the moon.
June United States rings IBM missiles around Soviet perimeter in allied countries stretching from Turkey to Great Britain.
At Vienna summit, Kennedy and Khrushchev heatedly debate a range of issues from Berlin to the fate of Indochina. Despite cordial photo ops, the discussions were barely civil with the Soviet Premier demanding again (November 1958) an agreement on unifying Germany within 6 months, allies removing troops and threat to turn over control of the east zone to the East German government; the president rejects the ultimatum. However, Kennedy appeared to accede to Soviet methodology in governance of the East. Kennedy later admitted that Khrushchev had the upper hand in the meeting, and added that he expected a “long, cold winter”. A quip that earns special honors in any Cold War timeline.
Aug Soviet’s seal the east west border between them and the Allies zones and commence construction of a wall that divides Berlin. Soviet fear for a mass depopulation from east to West Germany.
Sept Soviet’s resume atmospheric testing of their first thermonuclear bomb.
United States resumes underground tests of nuclear device.
Dec Operation Pedro Plan is implemented to rescue Cuban children from a life of deprivation, and temporarily resettle them in the United States pending emigration of their families into the U.S. 14,000 children are rescued when plan discontinued due to Cuban missile crisis (October 1962).
Cold War Timeline
U.S .Astronaut, John Glenn, orbits earth.
Apr United States resumes atmospheric nuclear tests.
Oct Cuban Missile crisis defined as the brink of nuclear war. On October 16, Kennedy is briefed on a report and photos obtained by U.S. U-2 spy plane displaying medium range ballistic missiles in Cuban bases. A series of cabinet meetings includes General Taylor, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss U.S. options including invasion, naval blockade. Under Secretary of State George ball highlighted the consequences which included Soviet seizure of West Berlin, an attack on Turkey, as well as nuclear war. Kennedy elected an immediate naval blockade which Khrushchev tested with an approaching Soviet freighter. Before contact was made, Khrushchev signaled a way out. Kennedy adopted two options presented in exchange for Soviet removal of missiles and bases. He agreed that the United States would not invade Cuba, and by secret side agreement, to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. By the end of October the last Soviet air force planes left Cuba and the crisis was over. October 1962 was the hottest period of the Cold War.
President Kennedy addresses West Berlin audience and announces America’s solidarity with their aspirations for peace and freedom and says, “Ich bin ein Berliner”. (I am a Berliner.)
France withdraws its navy from NATO forces.
United States and Soviet Union install direct telephonic communications eliminating time delays in the event of an emergency affecting their interests.
July Limited Test Ban Treaty signed by Great Britain, United States, and Soviet Union prohibiting nuclear tests including in space, but excepting underground testing. France and China reject treaty. They are not as yet nuclear powers.
Nov It is no secret that the United States is disaffected with the Diem autocratic rule in South Vietnam. For that reason the CIA purportedly is involved in his assassination, but no evidence offered.
November 1, 1963, President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas by lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. Soon after Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as 36th president, conspiracy theories arise alleging complicity in the murder that includes communists among others. Warren Commission Report September 14, 1964, implicates only Oswald who acted alone.
Cold War Timeline
In a joint announcement, United States and Russia agree to cut production of nuclear materials. This is the forerunner of the 1972 ABM treaty in 1972.
Aug Two U.S. destroyers attacked in North Vietnam’s Tonkin gulf. A question arises as to the location of the U.S. ships in territorial Vietnamese waters. Nevertheless, congress authorizes President Johnson to retaliate. Johnson orders bombing of North Vietnam.
Oct Nikita Khrushchev is removed from power and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary of the Communist Party—the real seat of power (1964-1982), a hard line cold war warrior.. A bloodless transfer of authority in the Soviet Union was the exception to the rule in Soviet annals. Alexei Kosygin succeeds Khrushchev as Premier (1964-1980).
Nov President Johnson elected to a full 4 year term.
U.S. Marines land in South Vietnam. Heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
Apr U.S. Marines land in Dominican Republic to prevent communist takeover of government and a repeat of the Cuban experience.
Nov Battle of Ia Drang: first major battle for U.S, army, 1st Cavalry Division engaged North Vietnamese regular troops and Viet Cong. Both sides declared victory.
Dec At this time, almost 200,000 U.S. Troops in South Vietnam and by 1966 the number jumped to 400,000.
Cold War Timeline
France withdraws from NATO.
United States, United Kingdom, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics join many smaller countries outlawing use of military in outer space.
Mar General Suharto overthrows President Sukarno of Indonesia, a communist sympathizer, replacing an autocratic government.
June Israel invades Sinai and defeats Egypt in 6 day war.
Glassboro (NJ) Summit conference brings President Johnson and Premier Kosygin together in a more moderate atmosphere to discuss limiting anti-ballistic missiles. Unresolved.
Aug Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) formed by Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia to form a bulwark against communist expansion. The Cold War timeline expands the participants.
Cold War Timeline
USS Pueblo intercepted and detained vessel and crew by North Korean navy and not released until December of the same year. Conflicting messages of the belligerents regarding the question of an incursion into Korean waters.
July United States, United Kingdom, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signatories of Non Proliferation Agreement to refuse assistance to non-nuclear countries to help develop nuclear capability for military use.
Apollo moon landing.
Aug Alexander Dubcek, First Secretary of communist Party of Czechoslovakia (1968-1969), attempted to liberalize his country’s economy and separate and divide it along internal geographic lines. This “Prague Spring” was met with the forces and tanks of the Warsaw Pact countries and ended any progressive movement. In 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became 2 independent nations.
Nov Brezhnev Doctrine was response to Prague Spring and declared that Warsaw Pact countries would use their combined forces to suppress any deviation from communist orthodoxy in communist bloc countries.
Richard Nixon sworn in as 37th president of the Unite States. His campaign promise was that he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam war that did not materialize.
July Manned Apollo spacecraft lands on the moon.
Sept Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam, dies.
Muammar Kaddafi gains control of Libya, eliminates business interests of western nations and aligns with Soviet Union. Is summarily executed in revolt against his rule October 2011.
Willy Brandt becomes Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany and sets the table for future attempts to bridge political divide with Soviet Union and particularly East Germany. This was an implicit abandonment of the Hallstein Doctrine that was official West German policy since 1955. The Doctrine declared that the Federal Republic of Germany would not maintain diplomatic relations with any country that recognized its East German neighbors, German Democratic Republic.
Nov March on Washington D.C. protesting Vietnam War.
Cold War Timeline
President Nixon’s National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, met with North Vietnam representative, Le Duc Tho in Paris and discussed conflicting plans to end the war. Ineffective because of communist demand that U.S. troops withdraw from Vietnam and abandon their backing of South Vietnam government. Subsequent discussions were equally without result (December 1972).
Mar Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty signed by Big 5 nuclear powers, France, United Kingdom, United States, United Soviet Socialist Republics and China. Agreement to prevent spread of nuclear weapons to non nuclear countries.
Prince Norodom Sihanouk deposed as ruler of Cambodia. Succeeded by General Lon NOl disposed to ally Cambodia with the United States was immediately attacked by Khmer Rouge and North Vietnamese forces that had established military camps on eastern border of Cambodia. Their location was a safe haven for communist forces adjacent to U.S. forces in South Vietnam.
Apr President Nixon orders U.S. forces to invade Cambodia to attack communist forces. Prior to this overt action, the president's secret bombings of Cambodia were disclosed by U.S. press.
May National Guard troops shoot and kill 4 Kent State (Ohio) students protesting Cambodian invasion. Similar incident duplicated at Jackson State college (Mississippi) eleven days later killing 2 students.
Sept Nasser dies in Cairo and succeeded by Anwar Sadat.
Oct Salvador Allende elected president of Chile and begins nationalization of basic industries. President Nixon begins plotting with CIA to create conditions for a coup.
Cold War Timeline
Bangladesh, with military help from India, gains independence from Pakistan. By December, is recognized by Communist Warsaw pact nations.
May Egypt signs friendship treaty with Soviet Union. Abrogated in March 1976.
Sept 4 Power Treaty-Berlin Agreement (United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France) resolve West Berlin access to West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany). Effective 1972.
Oct Peoples Republic of China admitted to the United Nations and replaces the Chinese Taiwan based government. United States votes against admission. In November, the new member joins the Security Council with full veto rights.
Cold War Timeline
President Nixon visits China and spends a week in this communist country denting the relationship between Soviet Union and China.
May Egypt signs Friendship Agreement with Soviet Union includes a provision that the Soviets would come to Egypt’s defense if middle east uncertainties endangered Egypt. This upset the United States, but Golda Meir, Premier of Israel, was prescient when she suggested that there was little new in the agreement which had a short 4 year shelf life. Initial down slide when Sadat, in 1972, sent 20,000 Soviet advisors packing to Russia.
The time was ripe for Soviet and United States agreement on arms limitation. The Soviet Union was embroiled in border conflicts with its communist neighbor, China, and the U.S. war in Vietnam seemingly not on track for an early conclusion. President Nixon and Premier Brezhnev meet in Moscow to sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty resulting from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) which limited the number of intercontinental ballistic missile for each side, and maintained the number of existing missiles aboard submarines to then current levels. The treaty provided for verification and was ratified by the U.S. Senate in August. A major warming trend in the Cold War timeline.
June Basic Agreement provided diplomatic relations between Allied nations and East Germany. Effective 1972.
Aug President Nixon continues draw down of American troops in Vietnam but initiates heavy bombing campaign against North Vietnam.
Sept Olympic gold medal awarded to Soviet Union basketball team in a disputed win over the United States 51-50. The back story: with time ended on the game clock, and a U.S. player on the foul line (Doug Collins) makes the shot and the score is 50-49 in favor of the U.S. Mr. Renato Williams Jones, a British known Soviet sympathizer, and Secretary General of the Federation of Amateur Basketball, orders, without Olympic authority, the game officials to add 3 seconds to the game clock. They comply and the Soviet team makes a shot and wins gold 51-50. American team appeals to Olympic panel and is denied by the Hungarian head of the panel. President Nixon: “Well we got screwed”. (This Cold War Timeline is indebted to Bloomberg News for this information.)
Nov President Nixon reelected.
Dec The Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic recognize the sovereignty of each, and former de facto recognition of East Germany becomes de jure. Basic Treaty 1972 abrogates Hallstein Doctrine. (See 1969)
United States commences saturating bombing campaign of North Vietnam, “Linebacker II” a/k/a “Christmas Bombing”. A last hurrah for U.S. in Vietnam to assure President Thieu of continuing support for his government despite forthcoming peace agreement.
President Nixon warns his South Vietnam counterpart and ally, President Thieu, that he must make peace with North Vietnam or U.S. will seek a peace accord without him. In a television address to the U.S, public, Nixon declares the United States war in Vietnam is over.
Paris Accords provide terms of United States and South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) peace agreement with North Vietnam (Democratic Government of Vietnam). U.S. recognizes the sovereignty of North Vietnam as provided in the Geneva Agreement of 1954. Neither North nor South Vietnam intended to observe the peace as war continues until 1975.
Mar Last U.S. combat troops leave Vietnam. Draft ends although there had been no “calls” since 1972. Signals an all volunteer army.
June Prague Treaty between West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) and Czechoslovakia recognizing borders of each.
Sept Chilean military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet deposes President Allende. Pinochet begins repressive rule.
Oct Egypt (requesting Soviet aid) and Syria attack Israel on Jewish High Holy Day and ends in 6 days with a cease fire.
Nov War Powers Act limits presidential power to engage in undeclared war.
Cold War Timeline
India joins nuclear club with underground test.
June Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) abandoned with French departure from Indochina.
Aug President Nixon resigns to avoid impeachment relating to Republican operatives involvement with Watergate burglary. Vice president Gerald Ford succeeds as 38th president.
Sept Pro western ideology Ethiopia overthrown by Marxist military junta.
Nov SALT II: President Ford and Premier Brezhnev agree on a structure for further talks for arms limitations.
Cold War Timeline
City of DaNang (South Vietnam) falls to North Vietnam.
April Cambodia falls to insurgents, Khmer Rouge. New government commits mass genocide and institutes a Chinese style agrarian communism. Government falls to Vietnamese and Viet Minh forces and held power until 1989. The Vietnamese original invasion found support with the Soviet Union and condemnation from China.
City of Saigon (capital of South Vietnam) falls to North Vietnam.
June Civil War in Angola- the Maoists are aided by Cuba. In 1976, a communist government is in place with aid of Cuba and Soviets.
July Soviets and United States jointly engage in a space flight an end point in the Cold War Timeline.
Aug Helsinki Accords resulted from a conference dealing with security issues and cooperation. A multi nation meeting with all the European powers, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United States, Canada, Australia. All existing boundaries were acknowledged and the human rights of all people were supported. Human rights were more honored in the breach than in practice by the Soviets.
Mar Isabel Peron, President of Argentina, overthrown by military junta beginning an era of repression against its citizens.
May At the time that the Soviets were installing medium range missiles in eastern Europe, they met with the United States to limit the size of underground nuclear tests.
NATO counters with deployment of intermediate range missiles.
Nov Jimmy Carter elected 39th president of the United States.
Cold War Timeline
Mao Zedong dies.
United Nations Security Council votes to admit as a member state Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Aug After serious debate surrounding Chinese intentions about the possibility of their seizing control of the Panama Canal, the United States agrees to surrender control of the Panama Canal to Panama. Transfer effected in 1999.
Cold War Timeline
The Afghanistan border runs along the Soviet Union about 1,000 miles and open to commercial contacts for decades. Afghanistan forces sympathizers with communist ideologies over throws the Kabul based government and establishes the Peoples Democratic Republic.
May After a security review, President Carter recommends increased support for NATO. A definite cooling of détente.
Sept Camp David Accords: Israel and Egypt agree to peace when Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets with Prime Minister Anwar Sadat.
Dec United States and China effect diplomatic relations.
Shah of Iran escapes Iran and an Islamic fundamentalist governed under cleric rule is installed.
Mar Maurice Bishop leads the New Jewel Movement with its Marxist orientation in the take over of Grenada. Soviet extends its influence from Cuba into other areas of the Caribbean Sea.
Nuclear explosion at 3 mile island.
June Salt II talks produces agreement on limitation of long range missiles, but Soviet’s other aggressive activities in Afghanistan dilutes Senate’s enthusiasm and treaty never ratified.
July Nicaraguan Sandista Marxists overthrow Anastasio Somoza dictatorship who was an anti communist rampart for the United States in Central America.
President Carter will furnish aid to any Soviet opponent and by December increases aid for U.S. military build-up.
Sept Soviet leaning Afghanistan president is assassinated.
Nov 63 Americans are held by Iranians in exchange for return of Shah.
Dec Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to remove an erratic changing government that is in flux. President Carter, spurred by Representative Charles Wilson, begins aid to the Mujahidin fighters in the long war to oust the Soviets. Charles Wilson comments that our help is “payback” for Soviet actions against our war effort in Vietnam. Serious climate change reflected in Cold War Timeline as well as President Carter’s grain embargo on Soviet Union with direct reference to their Afghanistan invasion. Carter is concerned with Soviet penetration so near to the Persian gulf.
NATO pursues duel purposes: simultaneously deploy missiles and arms control.
Cold War Timeline
President Carter declares the Persian Gulf a U.S. vital interest reflecting hostage crisis and oil supply.
July United States military fails to rescue hostages from Iranian captivity.
Aug Poland: Gdansk, Lenin Shipyard, scene of striking workers met by martial law. Settlement agreement grants workers greater civil rights and freedom to organize trade units free of communist control. The “Solidarity Movement” for civil rights opened the door for other similar movements in the Soviet bloc nations. The Solidarity Movement was led by Lech Walesa, a shipyard electrician, whose political ascendency followed.
Nov Ronald Reagan elected 40th President. Ran on anti détente platform.
Iran releases American hostages.
Feb General Wojciech Jaruzelski, hand picked by Soviets, made Premier of Poland which is now a center of world attention due to Solidarity movement challenging communist authority.
Apr President Reagan lifts Carter grain embargo against Soviet Union.
Aug Lybia’s leader, Muammar Qadhafi(1969-2011),maintained a close relationship with the Soviets dependent upon them for arms and technical aid exchanged for oil. Against this back drop, Libya challenged U.S. aircraft over disputed open waters and lost 2 aircraft.
Oct In Egypt, President Anwar Sadat assassinated after an 11 year rule and succeeded by his Vice President, Hosni Mubarak, later deposed in 2011.
Nov CIA plots to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government by supplying arms to Contras.
In Amsterdam, huge protest against NATO military build up.
President Reagan carries out campaign promise and announces large military expansion over 6 year period.
Dec Premier Jaruzelski imposes martial law in Poland intended to eliminate Solidarity Movement threat to communist rule.
Cold War Timeline
President Reagan responds to recent hemisphere challenge to governments by leftist forces and announces Caribbean Initiative to prevent violent overthrow.
Mar Daniel Ortega, leader of leftist Sandinista government, suspends Nicaraguan constitution.
Apr President Reagan announces travel ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba.
May Spain joins NATO.
June Israeli ambassador to Great Britain assassinated and Israel invades Lebanon and engages Syrian troops.
Sept Social Democratic Labour Party elected in Sweden.
Nov Leonid Brezhnev dies and is succeeded by Yuri V. Andropov (1982-1984).
Solidarity leader, Lec Walesa, released by Polish government.
Cold War Timeline
President Reagan believed that American foreign policy should recognize the need for outspending the Soviet Union in military preparedness in order to defeat them because of their aggressive nature. He described them in a speech thusly: “---------to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire---“.
Later in the same month, Reagan proposed the research and production of an anti missile shield---Strategic Defense Initiative—dubbed Star Wars.
May President Reagan supports efforts of the Contras to overthrow Nicaraguan Sandinistas.
July Poland ends martial law.
Sept Soviet plane shoots down Korean passenger airliner and claims it was on a spying mission. Vehemently denied by the United States.
Oct Terrorist attack kills 241 U.S. marines stationed in Lebanon. Troops subsequently removed by the United States.
Grenada had been tilting for several years toward Cuba and the Soviet Union under the leadership of Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement. This was another thorn in the side of the United States policy in the Caribbean. President Reagan saw the opportunity to intervene when there was serious dissension in the Jewel Movement. He dispatched the marines who encountered both native resistance and Cuban soldiers. After several days the island was pacified, and a government more friendly to the U.S. was installed.
Nov A NATO missile test exercise is almost misinterpreted by the Soviets as an actual attack. This incident ranks with the Cuban missile crisis as scariest in the cold War Timeline.
Dec Soviet reaction to the above policies of the west is their suspension of START talks.
Cold War Timeline
Konstantin Chernenko assumes post of General Secretary Soviet Communist Party. Dies in 1985.
July Soviet bloc nations boycott summer Olympics in United States. A second instance of sports playing a political role in the Cold War Timeline. ( U.S.Boycott of summer Olympics in Moscow.)
Nov President Reagan reelected to a second term.
United States and United Soviet Socialist Republics agree to new talks on nuclear and space issues.
Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991) assumes full command of the Soviet Union. The terms Perestroika and Glasnost began to surface and over the next several years became part of the Soviet policy. Perestroika translates as restructuring. Gorbachev translated it as revolution of the economy. New incentives for greater production and rewards for goals met. Glasnost has been analogous to to the right to free speech. Both policies were directly responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. The failure of economic reforms was accentuated by the free speech, and freely discussed its ineffectiveness that fostered the idea of the inability of the government to perform. The attempt to refocus on the domestic economy also led to the elimination of aid to Soviet satellite countries and the subsequent failure of their governments to stem the demand for social liberalization. These factors are high points in the demise of the Soviet empire reflected in this Cold War timeline.
Aug Soviets declare a 5 month moratorium on nuclear testing. President Reagan rejects Soviet gesture as propaganda.
Sept Soviets propose new START goal for deep reductions in nuclear arms.
Dec Gorbachev releases famous dissident, Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet nuclear scientist, held in internal exile (1980-1986) in closed city of Gorky.
Cold War Timeline
Gorbachev supports elimination of all nuclear devices over 15 years if the United States would abandon their anti missile Star Wars program. Reagan counters he would agree to a 50% reduction, but retain anti missile program.
Apr United States bombs Libya to punish them for terrorist attacks against Americans.
Chernobyl worst accidental nuclear explosion in history which contaminated huge areas of the Ukraine and spread westward into Europe .
Oct Reykjavik Summit brought Gorbachev and Reagan together in Iceland where, for the first time, human rights became part of the conversation and led directly to agreement on intermediate range missiles in 1987.
$100 million appropriation for aid to Contras in their fight against Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
Nov Iran-Contra Affair made public disclosing its illegality for trading arms for Iranian hostages, and using the proceeds to support the Contras in their battle in Nicaragua. Fall out led to indictment of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger later pardoned (1990) by President George H.W. Bush.
President Reagan addresses the Russian people over Voice of America radio. He tells them that their countries are about to achieve permanent peace.
Cuba withdraws forces from Angola.
Feb Congress cuts funds to Nicaraguan Contra. Later finds that the actions of the administration was a “disdain” for the law.
Mar Czechoslovakia begins economic and political reforms.
June Reagan, in Berlin, declares, “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall”.
Sept Erich Honeker Head of the East German country and General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party (1971-1989) makes first official visit to West Germany.
Dec Gorbachev signs agreement in Washington D.C. removing all intermediate range missiles in Europe.
Cold War Timeline
Soviets and United States meet again in Geneva to work on START treaty to establish limitations on nuclear weapons.
Cuba withdraws troops from Angola.
Feb Soviets withdraws troops from Afghanistan . Premier Gorbachev recognizes futility of Soviet involvement.
June Gorbachev tells hierarchy of Communist Party that policies must change and reforms must be executed.
July Gorbachev publicly speaks of free elections and the end of arms race.
U.S. Navy erroneously downs Iranian commercial flight.
Aug In Poland, the Solidarity Movement demands official recognition of their union.
Sept Several of “old guard” purged from the Soviet Politburo.
Nov George H. Bush elected as 41st President.
Cold War Timeline
Chinese protesters seeking liberalization of policy mass in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square crushed by tanks and troops.
May Gorbachev travels to China to repair relations between the countries.
June Polish parliamentary elections result in overwhelming victory for Solidarity candidates, and the first free election in the Soviet bloc.
Oct Erich Honecher's 20 year reign of East Germany ends.
Nov Berlin wall starts to come down.
Dec President Bush meets with Gorbachev on Malta and agree that the end of cold war is in sight and push START talks agenda.
Democracy returns to Chile.
Romanian citizens revolt and execute communist puppet leadership. The only eastern Soviet bloc country to seek freedom in a coup similar to the French Revolution.
Czechoslovakia, in a free election, elects a president.
United States invades Panama to seize its dictator, heretofore an ally, Manuel Noriega (1983-1989), to stand charges in an American court on drug related charges.
Cold War Timeline
Sandinistas in Nicaragua defeated in election and end Marxist regime.
Mar Lithuania signals independence for Baltic countries of Soviet bloc.
East Germans vote for unification of East and West Germany.
May Boris Yeltsin elected president of Russia in first popular election in Russian history. (1991-1999). He survived a coup attempt in 1993.
July U.S. Strategic Air command stands down 24/7 security. flights.
Aug Iraq invades Kuwait and signals start of United States Gulf War— Operation Desert Storm.
Dec Lec Walesa elected president of Poland.
Cold War Timeline
Gulf War ends and Iraq signs cease fire terms.
Warsaw Pact ends.
June Desert Storm victory parade in Washington D.C.
July Start Treaty signed reducing nuclear weapons.
Soviet Union dissolved.
Sept All Occupying powers of Germany cancel all treaty rights pertaining to Germany.
Dec President Bush announces end of Cold War, and all Soviet institutions dissolved. Concludes the Cold War Timeline.

Every American war was defined and illuminated by thousands of moving parts. In a sense, a war machine is like a huge wheel designed to advance a strategy, a goal, but inherently capable of sudden stops and reversals. You may examine the wheel and its component spokes (links) that propelled the American war machine, all trans-formative, and the human hands that created the turns and pivots that marked this war and our times.

Cold War History: Chapter 1 Truman and Eisenhower

Cold War History: Chapter 2  Kennedy and Johnson

Cold War History: Chapter 3  Nixon, Ford, Carter

Cold War History: Chapter 4 Reagan, Bush

Return from Cold War Timeline to History of American Wars