History GCSE Timeline


World War I

28 July 1914 - 11 November 1918

Wall Street Crash of 1929


Stocks became unstable, values plummeted. Led to the Great Depression.

World War II

1 September 1939 - 2 September 1945

Cold War

1947 - 1991

Truman Doctrine Speech

March 12, 1947

Start of the policy of containment. One of the longest running foreign policies (1947-1990's (end of Cold War)).

Korean War

25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953

Cuban Revolution

July 26, 1953 - January 1, 1959

Vietnam War

November 1, 1955 - April 30, 1975

Bay of Pigs Invasion

April 17, 1961

Cuban Missile Crisis

October 14, 1962 - October 28, 1962

League of Nations

League of Nations formed

January 16, 1920

No USA. No USSR till 1934 (ex. 1939(Finland invasion)). No Germany till 1926 (Hitler removed 1933). Japan left 1933 (Manchuria). Italy left 1937 (Abyssinia + sanctions).

Upper Silesia

20 March 1921

Upper Silesia (industrial area) split between Germany (West) and Poland (East) following Plebiscite (G. overall win).

Aaland Islands

20 October 1921

League success. Given to Finland. Demilitarised.

Ruhr occupation

January 1923

France (supported by Belgium) invade the Ruhr (without consulting L of N) because of German failure to pay reparations.


Approx. August 1923 - Approx. September 1923

Italian general + staff killed on border, Mussolini demanded payment, Greece refused. Mussolini invaded Greek island Corfu. League of Nations told Greece to pay and ordered Italian forces to be removed. This exposes weaknesses in the League because it allowed Italian bullying tactics to work. To address this weakness, Geneva Protocol was made by Britain and France.

Locarno Pact (made outside of League)


Mutual frontier of France, Belgium and Germany were guaranteed. Treaties and pacts like these were made in case the League failed.


September 18th 1931 - Approx. March 1932

Japan soldiers staged attack on railway line. Used excuse of Chinese banditry, launched invasion. China appealed to League, Japanese gov't promised to withdraw. Army continued without gov't permission. 1932 renamed Manchukuo. Economic sanction failed as League members wanted to continue trading. No military sanctions (uncertain of results).

Disarmament Conference

Approx. 1932 - Approx. 1934

Member nations doubtful, Hitler used this as an excuse to leave conference then League stating France would not disarm. Japan also left the League. Disarmament failed.

Abyssinian Crisis

Approx. 1935 - Approx. 1936

Mussolini invades Abyssinia (looking to gain more support following recession). War with Abyssinia was an easy way of doing this (they had a weak army). League put economic sanctions on Italy but these had little effect because essential war materials (such as oil and coal) were not sanctioned, and the Suez Canal (supplying army) remained open (for fear of Italian naval attacks).
December 1935 Hoare-Laval pact between Britain and France (to give 2/3rds of Abyssinia to Mussolini in exchange for peace) failed because it was leaked to press (public protest). The war continued and capital Addis Ababa taken (May 1936). Sanctions lifted in July 1936.


German Revolution

November 1918

Kaiser abdicates before signing armstice, his autocratic government is replaced with the democratic Weimar Republic.

Spartacist Uprising

January 1919

Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg attempt to overthrow Ebert's gov't and install communist gov't. Failed because the Freikorps beat them. This showed weakness bc gov't relied on Freikorps.

Bavaria communist rebellion

April 1919


Ruhr communist rebellion

March 1920


Kapp Putsch

13 march 1920 - 17 march 1920

Freikorp captured Berlin, gov't fled to Dresden, called general strike. Putsch failed, Kapp and Luttwitz fled. Gov't survived, but this showed weakness again.



German currency became worthless. Replaced and stabilised by Stresseman afterwards. Caused by gov't printing money to pay reparations and striking workers in the Ruhr.

Ruhr occupation

January 1923

France (supported by Belgium) invade the Ruhr (without consulting L of N) because of German failure to pay reparations.

Munich Putsch

November 1923

Stormtroopers break into political meeting (led by Hitler and Ludendorff). Kahr (Bavarian PM) forced to agree at gunpoint, allowed to go home. He calls the police. The next day Hitler and Nazis march into Munich, and there is a short fight against the police and army. 19 stormtroopers killed, Hitler dislocates shoulder and flees. Two days later he is arrested. Sentenced to a lenient 5 year, only serves 9 months. In the trial Hitler publicly speaks of the Nazi party, this raises public awareness. Dictates Mein Kampf, this becomes bestseller and gives Hitler a lot of money and attention.

Restructuring Nazi party

Approx. 1925 - Approx. 1926

25 point program: eg. greater Germany (racial + Anchluss), Lebensraum, wellfare.
Rebranding of party: National Socialist German Worker's Party.
Goebells appointed propaganda minister (1926): adapts propaganda to public opinion.
Slogan: Work, Freedom, Bread.
Hitler uses modern technology (private plane) to attend many speeches.

Rise of Extremism

Approx. 1929 - Approx. 1932

6 million unemployed in Germany (1932, Great Depression). This causes Rise of Extremism. Nazis gain much support for fear of Communism. Heinrich Breuning (chancellor) increases taxes, cuts wellfare, further reducing support for Weimar gov't. July 1932 Nazi had majority of seats (230).

Hitler becomes Chancellor

January 30, 1933

Von Papen (after losing to Von Schleicher (wanting to replace him)) recommends Hitler as chancellor and himself as vice chancellor. Persuades Hindenburg that Hitler can be controlled as there would be a Nazi minority in the Reichstag. As Nazis became powerful they withdrew from the Reichstag, compromising its power.

Hindenburg dies

August 2, 1934

Hitler assumes the role of both president and chancellor, becoming the Fuhrer.

Containment: Korea

Korean War

25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953

N. Korea convinced Stalin to supply them with weapons and support. S. Korea requested the same from the USA, but Truman declined, still wary from WWII. N. Korea (supported by USSR and China) attacks just after all US troops had left Korea. They invade South Korea (supported by USA), UN demanded N. Korea withdrawal, when refused, MacArthur appointed supreme commander of UN forces. Task Force Smith was deployed at the front line, coming from the 24th Infantry Division occupying Japan. These troops were not very well trained, and outnumbered. S. Korean and UN forces were pushed back to Pusan Perimeter, N. Korea takes Seoul. MacArthur (against the odds) succeeds in Inchon Invasion (where it was only deep enough in September to accommodate US ships. UN and S. Vietnamese forces push to the Chinese border (Yalu River), ignoring Chinese warning (MacArthur wanted to nuke China). Chinese Volunteer Army (with around 3 million units) push back to the original 38th parallel. Stalemate occurs, and truce is called.

Was containment successful (Korea)?

27 July 1953

Containment is successful, though MacArthur's greediness cost many unnecessary casualties. North Korea remained communist: some thought Truman was weak for not further rolling back and eradicating communism from Korea and then even China. However, main goal of containment was successful.

Containment: Cuba

Cuban revolution

Approx. 1956 - Approx. 1959

1956: Castro, aided by Che Guevara, wages a guerrilla war
1958: US withdraws military aid to Batista
1959: Castro leads guerrilla army of 9,000 into Havana, Batista flees. Castro become PM, brother Raul becomes deputy, Guevara become 3rd IC.
Many are exiled from Cuba, go to America (very anti-Castro).



All US businesses are nationalised without compensation. American companies lose a lot of money.

JFK elected

January 20, 1961

Bay of Pigs

April 1961

Cuban exiles (trained and supplied by US) invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Eisenhower's plans, JFK meddles (removed US air support for fear of starting a war). Exiles are slaughtered and captured. Plan to gain support of people and start a uprising failed as Castro was very popular. USA bails out prisoners with supplied that Cuba needed such as medicine and baby food (worth $25M).

Operation Mongoose

October 1961

Trying to sabotage and destabilise the regime (setting fire to sugar crops, etc.)

Cuba communist

December 1961

Castro proclaims Cuba as a communist state, allies with USSR. Following US trade embargo, Cuba needed to import oil and sell sugar somewhere else. Khrushchev begins trading with Cuba at inflated prices (to help Cuba).

Cuban Missile Crisis

October 14, 1962 - October 28, 1962

Fearing US invasion, Castro allows Russia to put missiles on Cuba. American U-2 spy plane pictures Russian missile ports with nuclear capability to reach every major US city.
Kennedy Blockades Cuba (not an act of war) days before more Russian transports arrive, giving time for a Soviet decision. Transports turn around before the blockade.
Khrushchev sends two telegrams. The first offering to remove missiles if US does not invade, the second offering to remove missiles if US remove missiles from Turkey.
JFK publicly responds to first telegraph. Robert Kennedy meets in secret in Russia, agreeing to covertly remove missiles from Turkey after a few months.
This makes Khrushchev seem the peacemaker, is viewed as weak by USSR, fired later.

Was containment successful (Cuba)

October 28, 1962

Containment unsuccessful in Cuba itself. Cuba remained communist. However, there was a reduction in Soviet influence in Cuba, as Cuban-Soviet relations degrade because Castro wanted to keep the missiles in Cuba.
Near threat to America is removed, but missiles have to be removed from Turkey.
Both USA and USSR made large compromises.

Containment: Vietnam

Vietminh defeat Japan

Approx. 1941 - Approx. September 1945

Supported by USA, Vietminh defeat Japan, and Ho Chi Minh declares independence as Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

French fight Vietminh

Approx. 1946 - Approx. 1954

French (with US support) fight Vietminh (with communist Chinese support). Vietminh defeat France in all but Dien Bien Phu, battle lasts for two months. French government agrees to peace talks in Geneva.

Vietnam divide

July 20, 1954

Ho Chi Minh and Vietminh given control of communist N. Vietnam. Ngo Dinh Diem named leader of S. Vietnam (capitalist, US puppet).
Americans delay general election because Ho Chi Minh would win (Diem was unpopular).

Guerrilla tactics before US involvement

Approx. 1957 - Approx. 1964

1957: Vietminh begin Guerrilla attacks in South Vietnam. As intensity of attacks and assassinations increase, US aid provided increases.

1959: First US casualties, military advisors killed.
1960: National Liberation Front (NLF) formed as communists realise election will never happen.
1963: Diem killed in military coup (backed by USA), military gov't installed. 15,000 US military advisors.
1964: Gulf of Tonkin incident, US troops and ships destroyed. Johnson (president after JFK assassination) goes to congress, congress grant "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution"

US involvement in Vietnam

Approx. 1965 - Approx. 1973

February 1965: Operation Rolling Thunder bombing campaign begins
March 1965: US troops land in Vietnam.
US troops inexperienced in guerrilla warfare (trained to fight in Europe), lose many battles. High casualties.
1968: N. Vietnam launch Tet Offensive, fails massively (US much better in general warfare), serves as good propaganda for N.
1969-70: Nixon elected, claims he will bring peace to Vietnam. Mai Lai Massacre and other unpleasant events made public through media, US public very anti-war. 4 Kent State University students shot dead during protest. Nixon begins removing troops from Vietnam, and instating more S. Vietnamese troops (Vietnamisation).
1973: All US troops withdrawn from Vietnam. Cease fire signed in Paris, though war continued.
1975: N. Vietnamese and NLF captured Saigon.

Was containment successful (Vietnam)


Containment failed in Vietnam, and communism spread to neighboring Cambodia and Laos. However, the Vietnam war gave time to other countries in Western Asia from becoming communist because they had time to stabilise gov'ts (this may have stopped further Domino Effect).

Breakdown of Peace

Germany dissatisfied

Approx. 1919

Territorial provisions, disarmament clauses, war guilt, reparations, etc.
Danzig (overwhelmingly German) under L of N control

Japan dissatisfied

Approx. 1919

Racial equality clause rejected at Paris Peace Conference (mainly by Australia and USA).

Expected to receive more of Germany's former trading rights in China.

Italy dissatisfied

Approx. 1919

Italy wanted a greater share of Germany and Turkey's former colonies.

Hitler's foreign policy

Approx. 1933 - Approx. 1939

German rearmament, remilitarisation of the Rhineland, Anschluss (union with Austria (March 1938)), Sudetenland given to Germany from Czechoslovakia after Munich Agreement, claim made over Danzig and Polish Corridor.

Reintroduction of conscription

Approx. March 1935


Approx. 1936 - Approx. 1939

Policy of appeasement adopted, Germany and other dictatorships were allowed to do as they wanted.