Cold War Debate Timeline

Military/Physical Aggression

Berlin Blockade

1948 - 1949

Russia’s response to the merger of the French, USA and UK partitions of Berlin was to cut all road and rail links to that sector. This meant that those living in Western Berlin had no access to food supplies and faced starvation. Food was brought to Western Berliners by US and UK airplanes, an exercise known as the Berlin Airlift.

Korean war

06/25/1950 - 07/27/1953

Stalin supports North Korea who invade South Korea equipped with Soviet weapons

Bay of Pigs

April 17, 1961 - April 19, 1961

a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored paramilitary group Brigade 2506 on 17 April 1961. A counter-revolutionary military group (made up of mostly Cuban exiles who traveled to the United States after Castro's takeover, but also of some US military personnel[6]), trained and funded by the CIA, Brigade 2506 fronted the armed wing of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF) and intended to overthrow the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro. Launched from Guatemala and Nicaragua, the invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, under the direct command of Castro.

Nixon bombs North Vietnam

December 18, 1972

Richard Nixon announces the beginning of a massive bombing campaign in North Vietnam.

Chilean Coup

September 11 1973

The democratically-elected Marxist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, is deposed and dies during a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

Communist Regime in Afghanistan

december 25, 1978

A Communist regime is installed in Afghanistan.

Iranian theocracy

January 16, 1979

The Iranian Revolution ousts the pro-Western Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and installs a theocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini.

Iranian Hostage Crisis

November 4, 1979 - January 20, 1981

A group of Iranian students and militants stormed the American embassy and took 53 Americans hostage to show their support for the Iranian Revolution.



1924 - 1953


1945 - 1953

Ended WWII in his first months in office by dropping atomic bomb on Japan
Role in Cold War - supported foes of Communism


1953 - 1961

Managed cold war tension
Ended war in Korea


1958 - 1964

Serving as premier for Soviet Union
Removal from power because of Cuban Missile Crisis and failures of policies


1961 - 1963

Advocate of civil rights in America
Famous for Cuban Missile Crisis, Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, and Alliance for Progress


1963 - 1969

Passage of civil rights legislation and Vietnam War
Vision was to implement “A Great Society” for American’s


1964 - 1982

Reinforced his power after Stalin’s death in 1953
Became president of the USSR in 1960
Took control of Soviet Union in 1964

Richard Nixon

1969 - 1974


Gerald Ford

1974 - 1977



1976 - 2008

Established the first Communist state in the west
Ruled over Cuba for nearly five decades

Jimmy Carter

1977 - 1981

Ronald Reagan

1981 - 1989

Foreign Interactions


1945 - 1989

“It must be the policy of the United States,” he declared before Congress in 1947, “to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation…by outside pressures.” Truman

Yalta Conference

February 1945

The "Big Three" allied leaders—United States President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill—meet at the Yalta Conference to make arrangements for the postwar world order. Their contradictory agreements include a declaration to respect democracy throughout Europe, but also the recognition of a de facto Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. At Yalta, the Allies also finalize plans to divide Germany into separate zones of occupation.


July 17 1945 - August 2 1945

The "Big Three" leaders of the United States, Soviet Union, and Great Britain meet at the Potsdam Conference. President Harry Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill continue the work begun at Yalta to determine the future of postwar Europe. Churchill is replaced midway through the negotiations by new Prime Minister Clement Attlee after Churchill's party loses elections in Britain. The conference establishes a military administration for Germany and agrees to put Nazi leaders on trial for war crimes.

Korea divided

August 10, 1945

At the end of World War II, Korea—occupied during the war by Japanese forces—is divided at the 38th Parallel, and two new states are established. North Korea is run by communist Kim Il-Sung, while South Korea is run by anticommunist autocrat Syngman Rhee.

Iron Curtain Speech

march 5, 1946

Churchill delivers his ‘Sinews of Peace’ speech which contain the famous phrase “ iron curtain has descended on Europe

Second Red Scare

1947 - 1957

The second Red Scare occurred after World War II (1939–45), and was popularly known as "McCarthyism" after its most famous supporter, Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthyism coincided with increased popular fear of communist espionage consequent to a Soviet Eastern Europe, the Berlin Blockade (1948–49), the Chinese Civil War, the confessions of spying for the Soviet Union given by several high-ranking U.S. government officials, and the Korean War.

Formation of West Germany

June 1948

The French, USA and UK partitions of Germany were merged to form West Germany

Rosenbergs executed

June 19, 1953

executed in the US for espionage, for passing atomic secrets to the USSR.

Geneva Accords

July 21, 1954

This set of documents ended the French war with the Vietminh and divided Vietnam into North and South states. The communist leader of North Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh while the US friendly south was led by Ngo Dinh Diem.

Space Race

1957 - 1975

battle for dominance in space between the US and USSR

Dulles/Eisenhower Wedge

1969 - 1972

drive a wedge between China and USSR. They thought best way to do it was by confrontation of China. Confrontations would caused Chinese to doubt Soviet support.



Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) agreement signals the beginning of détente between the U.S. and USSR.

Nixon visits China


Nixon visits China, the first visit by a U.S. President since the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

End of Detente

December 24, 1979

The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to oust Hafizullah Amin, resulting in the end of Détente.


Manhattan Project established


The US sets up the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapon. It eventually employs more than 130,000 people and costs US$2 billion ($25 billion in 2012 dollars).

UN calls for elimination of atomic weapons

January 24, 1946

In its first resolution, the UN General Assembly calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and sets up a commission to deal with the problem of the atomic discovery.

First U.S. peacetime atmospheric nuclear test

July 1, 1946

First U.S. peacetime atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Russell-Einstein Manifesto

July 9, 1955

Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein and other leading scientists issue a manifesto warning of the dangers of nuclear war and urging all governments to resolve disputes peacefully.

IAEA comes into play

July 29, 1957

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes into existence with the mission of promoting and overseeing the peaceful use of nuclear technology. President Dwight Eisenhower had called for the creation of such an agency in his December 1953 “Atoms for Peace” proposal.

UK Disarmament Campaign

February 17, 1958

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK holds its first meeting. Its iconic emblem becomes one of the most widely recognized symbols in the world.

France explodes first nuclear weapon

February 13, 1960

France explodes its first atomic bomb in the Sahara desert. It has a yield of 60–70 kilotons. It later moves its nuclear tests to the South Pacific. These continue up until 1996.

Partial Test Ban Treaty

August 5, 1963

A treaty banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space and under water is signed in Moscow, following large demonstrations in Europe and America against nuclear testing.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty


This treaty is intended to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. To date, 189 countries have signed the treaty, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Only India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea have not signed the treaty (as sovereign states). Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons, and the nuclear-weapon states make a legal undertaking to disarm.

Possible nuclear abolition

11 October 1968

US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev meet at Reykjavik, Iceland, where they seriously discuss the possibility of achieving nuclear abolition.

Smiling Buddha Test

May 18, 1974

India conducts an underground nuclear test at Pokharan in the Rajasthen desert, codenamed the “Smiling Buddha”. The government falsely claims it is a peaceful nuclear test.