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Cold War Timeline






Stalin and Churchill meet creating the Percentages Agreement splitting up Europe

USSR – Stalin

USA – Roosevelt

England - Churchill



Yalta Conference (Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt) Divide Germany into Zones, Free elections in Europe



Potsdam Conference (Stalin, Churchill, Truman) Stalin took much of Germany, expelled 5 million Germans, did not allow elections, Truman tells of A-Bomb

USA - Truman


1st Indochina War begins between Ho Chi Minh and the French

N.Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh



Iran seeks help from UN because the USSR won’t take out their troops

March 5th Churchill gives his Iron Curtain speech

England – C. Atlee


March 12th Truman Doctrine created to help defend Greece and Turkey form communist aggression

June 5th Marshall Plan created to give economic aid to Western Europe. Offered to Eastern Europe but Stalin refuses to let them take it


Feb. Czech Coup puts communists in power. Sovietization of Eastern and Central Europe is complete

March – Tito and Stalin split ways

June Us creates a new currency in West Germany (FRG)

June 24th Stalin begins the Berlin Blockade and the West responds with Berlin Airlift

FRG – Konrad Adenaur

GDR – Erich Honecker


October Mao wins the Civil War in China, the Nationalists flee to Taiwan and on October 1st Mao declares the People’s Republic of China

China – Mao


June – Kim Il Sung has North Korea invade South Korea starting the Korean War

N.Korea – Kim Il Sung

S. Korea – Syngman Rhee


March – Stalin Dies

July – East German protest and demonstrate over wages. They are put down by Soviet tanks

July – Korean War comes to an end

CIA leads coup in Iran putting the Shah in power

USSR – Malenkov…Khrushchev

USA - Eisenhower





USA is paying 80% of France’s Indochina war

May- Dien Bien Phu battle ends the war for France, complete humiliation.

Geneva Accords end the war and promise free elections

USA – Eisenhower

USSR – Khrushchev

China - Mao

S. Vietnam – Ngo Dinh Diem


US blocks elections in Vietnam and supports Ngo Din Diem who is unpopular in South Vietnam

October – Poland and Hungary experience popular uprisings against their regimes. Poland ends peaceful, Hungary is crushed by Soviet Tanks and Imre Nagy is murdered

Suez Canal Crisis occurs when Britain, France and Israel attack Egypt turning Nasser into a hero

Poland – Gomulka

Hungary - Nagy…RIP then Kadar is installed

Egypt – Abdel G. Nasser


Castro comes to power in Cuba


U2 Spy Plane incident ruins talks between US & USSR

NLF (National Liberation Front) created in Vietnam in response to blocking elections

Lumumba from the Congo is assassinated

USA – Eisenhower

USSR - Khrushchev


April – Bay of Pigs fails horribly making the US look bad

August – Berlin Wall is built

USA- John F. Kennedy



October Cuban Missile Crisis happens


Buddhist Monks burn themselves in protest in Vietnam

Ngo Din Diem is assassinated

JFK is assassinated


Gulf of Tonkin Resolution created getting US heavily involved in Vietnam

USA – Johnson

USSR – Brezhnev

China - Mao



Tet Offensive in Vietnam shows public it is unwinnable war

My Lai Massacre happens

Student protests occur all over the World in reaction against Parents and society and materialism

Czechs rise up and demand reforms, Dubcek creates Socialism with a Human Face, Soviets crush the revolution (Brezhnev Doctrine)

Nixon wins Presidential election begins détente

N. Vietnam (1969) : Ton Duc Thang

USA – Nixon

USSR – Brezhnev

China – Mao

Czech. - Dubček


Nixon visits China

Paris Accords signed ending Vietnam War

September- General Pinochet launches US supported military Coup against socialist leader Salvador Allende in Chile, killing Allende in the process

USA – Nixon

National Security Advisor :

Henry Kissinger


Nixon resigns due to Watergate scandal

Coup in Portugal to overthrow rightwing government leads to independence for Angola which leads to a civil war involving the Superpowers

USA – Ford

USSR - Brezhnev


North Vietnam invades South Vietnam and finally unifies the country

Helsinki Accords are signed by over 30 countries


Carter win US presidential elections, his presidency is plagued by economic problems


USA - Carter



February - Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini takes power in Iran and the Shah of Iran flees, seeking asylum in the US

Strikes in Poland lead to the creation of the trade Union Solidarity with Lech Walesa as the leader

Dec. – Islamic students take the US embassy hostage for 444 days

December 25th Soviets invade Afghanistan


Iran: Shah…then Ayatollah Khomeni

USA – Carter

Poland - Jaruzelski

USSR – Brezhnev

China – Deng Xiaoping



Reagan wins US presidential election, US hostages in Iran are released

USA- Reagan

USSR - Brezhnev


February – Brezhnev dies, Andropov takes over

Polish communists impose martial law after labor strikes get out of hand and arrest Lech Walesa

USSR – Andropov

Poland - Jaruzelski


March – Reagan give “Evil Empire” speech

September – Soviets accidentally shoot down South Korean civilian airliner KAL-007 who went off track

December – Able Archer 83 NATO exercise occurs, Soviets believe it is a real attack raising tension to an extreme level

USA – Reagan

China – Deng Xiaoping

USSR - Andropov


Andropov dies, Chernenko takes his place as leader of Russia

USSR - Chernenko


Chernenko dies, Mikhail Gorbachev takes power

USSR – Gorbachev

USA - Reagan


February – Gorbachev introduces reforms: Perestroika and Glasnost

April – Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes

September – Reykjavik Summitt between Gorbachev and Reagan ends with no decision on nuclear disarmament but opens the door for more talks

Soviet dissident Sakharov is released

November – Iran-Contra Scandal surfaces for Reagan


Reagan gives his “Gorbachev tear down this wall!” speech in Berlin



Gorbachev kicks out people who oppose him in the politburo and gives “Sinatra Doctrine” speech killing the Brezhnev doctrine

Dec. Walesa and Jaruzelski meet to discuss Polish labor problems and Round Table talks

Hungarian communist reformers allow for more free assembly

May 2nd Hungary cuts down fence on Austrian border (leading to exodus of East Germans who quickly travel to Hungary)

June 3rd Poland has free elections and Solidarity wins by a landslide communism is dead there

July 6th Hungary reburies Imre Nagy and rehabilitates him 1956 was not counterrevolutionary

August 19th Hungary holds a Pan European Picnic on border with Austria helping East Germans to escape to freedom

October – Hungarian Communist Party changes to the Socialist Party and gets rid of Communist dictatorship

October 18th 1989 Egon Krenz removes Erich Honecker from power in East Germany

November 4th People protest in East Berlin

November 9th The Berlin Wall is opened and brought down for good

November 17th – Student march in Czech. Is attacked (staged?) rumors of a student killed lead to more protests and demonstrations

November 19th Jakes (Czech communist leader) relaxes travel restrictions

November 19th Vaclav Havel helps create the Civic Forum, which is run out of a theater

November 25th Czech communists resign and Havel becomes president of new free Czech. In Dec.

USA – Reagan

USSR – Gorbachev

Poland – Jaruzelski and then Lech Walesa

GDR – Erich Honecker then Egon Krenz

FRG – Helmut Kohl

Czech. – Jakes…then Havel

England - Thatcher


Nationalist movements lead to Soviet states like Lithuania and Latvia and Estonia to break away from the USSR, including Russia

Dec. Gorbachev resigns as president USSR is no more

USA – Bush Sr.

Russia – Boris Yeltsin

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