Cold War Timeline


Yalta Conference

2/4/1945 - 2/11/1945

It was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe's post-war reorganization.

Potsdam Conference

July 17, 1945 - August 2, 1945

Gathered to decide how to administer the defeated Nazi Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier, on 8 May (V-E Day). The goals of the conference also included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaty issues, and countering the effects of the war.

Truman Doctrine

March 12, 1947

An American foreign policy created to counter Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War.

Marshall Plan

June 3, 1948

An American initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave over $12 billion[1] (approximately $120 billion in current dollar value as of June 2016) in economic support to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II.

Berlin Airlift

June 24, 1948 - May 12, 1949

One of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.

NATO Formation

April 4, 1949

An intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.

Korean War

June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953

Began when North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal force, came to the aid of South Korea. China came to the aid of North Korea, and the Soviet Union gave some assistance.

Warsaw Pact Formation

May 14, 1955

A collective defense treaty among the Soviet Union and seven other Soviet satellite states in Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

Vietnam War

November 1, 1955 - April 30, 1975

A war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam.

Hungarian Revolution

October 23, 1956 - November 10, 1956

A nationwide revolt against the government of the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956.

First Human In Space

April 12, 1961

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space when he launched into orbit on the Vostok 3KA-3 spacecraft (Vostok 1).

Bay of Pigs Invasion

April 17, 1961 - April 19, 1961

A failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the CIA-sponsored paramilitary group Brigade 2506 on 17 April 1961

Berlin Wall Built

August 13, 1961

A guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989.

Cuban Missile Crisis

October 16, 1962 - October 28, 1962

A 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union concerning American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.

First Man on the Moon

July 20, 1969

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC.

Invasion of Afghanistan

December 24, 1979 - February 15, 1989

Lasted over nine years from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known as the mujahideen fought against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

Solidarity Movement Begins in Poland

September 17, 1980

Became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country. Solidarity gave rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement that, at its height, claimed some 9.4 million members. It is considered to have contributed greatly to the fall of communism.

Glasnost and Perestroika Adopted

March, 1985

A political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s, widely associated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his glasnost (meaning "openness") policy reform.

Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 9, 1989

During the night of November 9, 1989, crowds of Germans began dismantling the Berlin Wall.

Malta Summit

December 2, 1989 - December 3, 1989

A meeting between US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, taking place on December 2–3, 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was their second meeting following a meeting that included Ronald Reagan, in New York in December 1988. During the summit, Bush and Gorbachev would declare an end to the Cold War although whether it was truly such is a matter of debate.

Unification of Germany

October 3, 1990

The process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic (GDR/DDR/East Germany) joined the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG/West Germany) to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city.

End of the Warsaw Pact

July 1, 1991

The Czechoslovak President Václav Havel formally ended the 1955 Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance and so disestablished the Warsaw Treaty after 36 years of military alliance with the USSR.

Formal end of the Soviet Union

December 26, 1991

The Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26, 1991. The declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).