The Yalta Conference was the 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 General Secretary Joseph Stalin for the purpose of discussing Europe's post-war reorganization.
Atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima
August 6, 1945
America drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan because the Japanese were not complying with American demands.
End of World War II
September 2, 1945
World War II ends after 6 years and 1 day. The end of World War II brought tension between the Allies, especially between Russia and the United States - they disagreed about how the European map should look and how borders would be drawn in the period following the war. Two superpowers were now against each other.
The Gouzenko Affair
September 5, 1945
Igor Gouzenko, a clerk working in the Soviet embassy in Canada defects and provides proof to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of a Soviet spy ring operating in Canada and Ameirca, helping to change perceptions of the Soviet Union from an ally to a foe.
February 22, 1946
George F. Kennan writes his Long Telegram, which describes his interpretations of the intentions of the Soviets.
Iron Curtain Speech
March 5, 1946
Winston Churchill makes his "Iron Curtain" speech, talking about the split of Europe between western, democratic nations and the Soviet communists.
March 12, 1947
President Harry Truman announces the Truman Doctrine, giving aid to Greece and Turkey to prevent them from falling into Soviet hands and therefore, Communist.
"Cold War" term is coined
April 16, 1947
The term "Cold War" is coined to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
June 5, 1947
George Marshall makes a plan for a program of assistance to war-ravaged countries of Europe. Known as the Marshall Plan.
Marshall Plan signed into law
April 3, 1948
President Truman signs the Marshall Plan into effect.
June 24, 1948
Stalin orders the blockade of all land routes from West Germany to Berlin, in an attempt to starve the French, British, and American forces from the city. In response, the three Western powers launch the Berlin Airlift to supply the citizens of Berlin by air.
April 4, 1949
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is founded by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in order to resist Communist expansion.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
March 29, 1951
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted of espionage for passing American secrets to the Soviets.
June 2, 1954
Senator Joseph McCarthy makes his first accusations of communism, that they have infiltrated the CIA and atomic weapons industry.
Soviets launch first man-made missile
Soviets launch their first man-made missile. One of the many events in an expensive arms race between the U.S. and the Soviets during the crisis period of the Cold War.
October 4 1959
NASA is formed.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Invasion in Cuba which heightened the tensions during the Cold War.
May 25 1961
President Kennedy announces the US intention to put the first man on the moon.
East Germany builds the Berlin Wall.
October 31 1961
The Soviet Union tests and then detonates the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested, with an explosive yield of about 50 megatons.
Cuban Missile Crisis
October 16 1962
Soviets are secretly installing military bases with nuclear weapons on Cuba. President Kennedy orders a naval blockade of the island, intensifying the crisis and almost bringing the US and the Soviet Union to a nuclear war. They later reach a compromise.
November 22 1963
Kennedy is shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. Some believe that communist countries were involved in his assassination, but nobody will ever know for sure.
January 20 1969
Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States.
U.S. lands first man on the moon
July 20 1969
The U.S. accomplishes Apollo 11, manned by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
March 5 1970
A treaty ratified by the U.K. with the Soviets and Americans.
Aid to Cambodia
November 18, 1970
United States begins aid to Cambodia to support the Lon Nol regime which is opposed by the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists.
Four Power Agreement on Berlin
September 3 1971
Signed by the U.K., the U.S., the Soviet Union and France.
May 26 1972
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) starts. Signals the beginning of a détente between the U.S. and the USSR.
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
First joint flight of the U.S. and Soviet space programs - a symbol of détente and the true end to the space race.
June 18 1979
President Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT II, which outlined limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. Another sign of détente.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
March 4, 1933 - April 12 1945
Harry S. Truman
April 12 1945 - January 20 1953
Dwight D. Eisenhower
January 20 1953 - January 20 1961
John F. Kennedy
January 20 1961 - November 22 1963
Lyndon B. Johnson
November 22 1963 - January 20 1969
January 20 1969 - August 9 1974
August 9 1974 - January 20 1977
January 20 1977 - January 20 1981
End of World War II (1945 - 1947)
1945 - 1947
The 1940s period during the Cold War was really only half of the decade, as the Cold War started when World War II ended in 1945. This period is characterized by the start of negative American sentiment towards the Soviet Union and the subsequent containment started with the Marshall Plan.
Beginnings of the Cold War (1947 - 1953)
1947 - 1953
Went from the advent of the Truman Doctrine in 1947 to the end of the Korean War in about 1953. The creation of the Eastern Bloc was in this time period as well. The Berlin Blockade was a part of this time period which served to heighten tensions, as well as the formation of NATO against the Warsaw Pact. This period is characterized with rising tensions which will develop and become the high point of the Cold War.
Crisis and Escalation (1953 - 1962)
1953 - October 16 1962
Starting with the death of Joseph Stalin and ending with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War found its peak in this time period. Unrest occurred in the Soviets' Eastern Bloc, and Eisenhower and Khrushchev's new take on leadership in the U.S. and the Soviet Union (respectively) shifted the dynamic of the Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the culmination of all the stress with the Cold War - the red scare and McCarthyism had tensions regarding Communist running high in America. The space race was started in this period as well.
Détente (1962 - 1979)
October 17 1962 - 1979
Americans, as participants of the Cold War, were forced to adjust to a new and more complicated pattern of international relations where the world was not divided into to clearly opposed blocs as it was before. The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 put fear in Americans of a nuclear war but by the end of the crisis, the Soviets withdrew their missiles from Cuba and so did America from Turkey. The U.S. won the race for space in 1969 when they landed the first man on the moon before the Soviets did, bringing much pride. Many symbols of détente were coming about in this period after the Cuban Missile Crisis.