The Cold War Timeline

Major Events of the War

Iron Curtain

1945 - 1991

Description of the physical, ideological and military division of Europe between the western and southern capitalist states and the eastern, Soviet dominated communist nations during the Cold War, 1945 - 1991.

Berlin Airlift

June 27, 1948 - May 12, 1949

The dropping of thousands of tons of food and medical supplies to starving West Berliners in effort to promote capitalism in a communist country, after Joseph Stalin closed off all highway and railway access to the city in mid-1948.

Communist Revolution China

October 1, 1949

On October 1, 1949, Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong
declared the creation of the People's Republic of China. The announcement ended with civil war between the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist Party,which broke out following World War II and had been preceded by on and off conflict between the two sides since the 1920's.

Korean War

1950 - 1953

A conflict that lasted from 1950 to 1953 between North Korea, aided by China, and South Korea, aided by United Nations forces consisting primarily of U.S. troops.

The Rosenberg Trails


In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit Espionage for helping the Soviet Union acquire the secrets to the atomic bomb from the United States during World War II. Judge Irving R. Kaufman, who presided at the trial, sentenced the Rosenbergs to death in an electric chair after concluding their "betrayal” to America.

Space Race

1957 - 1969

The Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union for the exploration of outer space. The space race was prompted by the USSR’s launch of the first orbiting space satellite, Sputnik I , in 1957. The Sputnik launch prompted President Eisenhower to form NASA and Kennedy to push for a lunar landing by the end of the 1960s.

Major conferences

Potsdam conference


A meeting held in Potsdam in the summer of 1945 among US, Soviet, and British leaders that established principles for the Allied occupation of Germany following the end of World War II.

Yalta Conference

February, 1945

A meeting between the Allied leaders Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin in February 1945 at Yalta, a Crimean port on the Black Sea. The leaders planned the final stages of World War II and agreed on the subsequent territorial division of Europe.

Major plans/Bills

Montgomery G.I. Bill


A bill passed in 1944 that provided federal grants for education to returning World War II veterans.

Truman doctrine

March 12, 1947

President Truman's policy of providing military and financial aid to any country threatened by communism ideology

Marshal Plan

April 1948 - 1952

A plan devised by President Truman and Secretary of State George Marshall that used over $10 billion to rebuilding Western Europe after World War II. Although the Soviet Union fiercely opposed the plan, Truman knew that rebuilding the region would provide stability and prevent another world war. The Marshall Plan was successful and allowed British, French, Italian, and German factories to exceed pre war production levels within just a few years.

68 (NSC-68)


A classified 1950 proposal that the United States quadruple defense and military spending in order to counter the Soviet threat. NSC-68 set a precedent for increasing defense spending throughout the Cold War, especially after North Korean forces attacked South Korea in June 1950.

The Mccarran act


Legislation proposed by Senator Patrick Anthony Mc Carran and enacted by Congress in 1950 that subjected alleged members of designated Communist-action organizations to regulation by the federal government.

Major Organizations

Alger Hiss

1945 - 1991

was an American lawyer, government official, author, and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department and U.N. official.

Truman's Loyalty Board

March 21, 1947

In response to public fears and Congressional investigations into communism in the United States, President Harry S. Truman issued an executive decree establishing a sweeping loyalty investigation of federal employees.



Because of the threat posed by the large numbers of Soviet troops along the border of West Germany, 15 Western nations formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(Atlantic Alliance) after World War Two.