Origins of the Cold War

Basic Rundown

Atlantic Charter

August 1941

Pact between FDR and Churchill embodying Wilsonian Ideals for a post-war Europe and world.

Yalta Conference

February 1945

Intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe.

Death of FDR

April 1945

Replaced by Truman. Heavily impacted the developing relations between USA and USSR

Potsdam Conference

July 1945

The goals of the conference included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of the war. Also encompassed what reparations Germany would have to pay.

George Kennan Long Telegram

February 1946

Helped establishment of hard-line American attitudes

Stalin's Election Speech

February 1946

Alarmed US government. References USA and Britain as "freedom-loving" countries.

Stalin Speech Criticizing Churchill

march 1946

Criticizes Churchill for believing that English-speaking countries are superior. A direct response to Iron Curtain speech.

Iron Curtain Speech

march 1946

Churchill likens the spread of the communism to an iron curtain descending upon Europe.

Stalin Assures Cooperation

September 1946

Stalin offers public assurances for peace. Stages retreats out of northeast China, Iran, and areas in Scandinavia and Tripolitania.

Stalin with peaceful intentions

january 1947 - july 1947

Marshall Plan

June 1947

Proposed by Marshall to initiate containment doctrine. Loan/Grant program to Europe (also extended to Soviets but rejected).

X Article published

july 1947

Penned by Kennan under pseudonym. Helped develop hard-line stance.

Cominform Established

September 1947

Coordination of Soviet states by Stalin

Berlin Blockade


Communist coup in Czech Goverment

February 1948

One-party states imposed in eastern Europe and Czech government overthrown. A hardening of Soviet policy.


June 1948

National Security Council report offers start picture of ideological structure. Triples defense spending.

Soviet Nuclear Test


Successful nuclear test by Soviets

Build up of spheres of influence through proxy nations


Communist victory in China


Mao Zedong successful in China, Nationalists defeated by Communists.

Soviet Military Build up

1949 - 1950

NATO formed

April 1949

NATO established

Stalin Dies

March 1953

Death of Stalin, Cold War takes on more tangible shape.

NSC-162/2 and President Eisenhower

October 1953

Dwight Eisenhower's appraisal of US policy focuses on dangers/costs of Cold War. Reduction of military spending. No clear winner through nuclear weapons.

Renewal of summit meetings


After 10 years of estrangement, meetings reinstated between western/eastern nations.

Khruschev and the 20th Congress of the Communist Party


Stalin's legacy attacked, new global war not inevitable as previously assumed.