Important dates and events of cold war
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  • 1. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA B.A. LL.B SEMESTER-III (2010): “GLOBAL POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE” “IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR” By DR. AFROZ ALAM ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF POLITICS NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA MOBILE: +919438303041 E-MAIL: afrozalam2@gmail.com afroz@nluo.ac.in 1945 February: The Yalta Conference occurred. The Allies (the USA, the USSR, Great Britain and France) agreed to divide Germany into four occupation zones. April: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died. Harry S. Truman elected as President of USA. He was determined to take a "tougher" stance with the Soviets than his predecessor had. July: US President Harry S. Truman informs Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin that the United States has nuclear weapons. August: The Potsdam Conference occurred. The Allied powers agreed to split Germany's capital, Berlin, into four zones as well. August 6 and 9: The world's first military use of an atomic weapon against the Japanese city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. 1946 February: George F. Kennan writes his Long Telegram, describing his interpretation of the objectives and intentions of the Soviet leadership. March: Winston Churchill warns of the descent of an Iron Curtain across Europe. 1947 January: The American and British zones of control in Germany are united to form Bizonia. President Harry Truman announces the Truman Doctrine. The Doctrine states that the USA will remain committed to "contain" further communist expansion. Truman cites the domino effect as a possibility. April: Bernard Baruch, in a speech given during the unveiling of his portrait in the South Carolina House of Representatives, coins the term "Cold War" to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. May: US extends $400 million of military aid to Greece and Turkey, signalling its intent to contain communism in the Mediterranean. June: Secretary of State George Marshall outlines plans for a comprehensive program of economic assistance for the war-ravaged countries of Western Europe. It would become known throughout the world as the Marshall Plan. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 1
  • 2. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 1948 April: Truman signs the Marshall Plan into effect. By the end of the programs, the United States has given $12.4bln in economic assistance to European countries. June: In Germany, the Bizone and the French zone launch a common currency, the Deutsche Mark. June: Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin orders the blockade of all land routes from West Germany to Berlin, in an attempt to starve out 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. June to May, 1949: The Berlin Airlift defeated Russia's attempt to starve West Berlin. 1949 April: 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. May: In Germany, the Bizone merges with the French zone of control to form the Federal Republic of Germany, with Bonn as its capital. August: The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb. The test, known to Americans as Joe 1, succeeds, as the Soviet Union becomes the world's second nuclear power. October: Mao Zedong declares the foundation of the People's Republic of China - adding a quarter of the world's population to the communist camp. October: The Soviets declare their zone of Germany to be the German Democratic Republic, with its capital at East Berlin. 1950 February: The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China sign a pact of mutual defense. March: Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek moves his capital to Taipei, Taiwan, establishing a stand- off with the People's Republic of China. May: Robert Schuman describes his ambition of a united Europe. Known as the Schuman Declaration, it marks the beginning of the creation of the European Community. June: North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the Korean War. June: The United Nations votes to send forces to Korea to aid South Korea. The Soviet Union cannot veto, as it is boycotting the Security Council over the admission of People's Republic of China. October: United Nations forces cross the 38th parallel, into North Korea. October: China invades Korea with 300,000 soldiers, catching the United Nations by surprise. November: United Nations forces approach the Yalu River. In response, China invades Korea again, but with a 500,000 strong army. This offensive forces the United Nations back towards South Korea. 1951 September: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States sign the ANZUS Treaty. This compels the three countries to cooperate on matters of defense and security in the Pacific. October: President Harry S. Truman signs the Mutual Security Act, announcing to the world, and its communist powers in particular, that the U.S. was prepared to provide military aid to "free peoples." November: President Harry Truman asks Congress for U.S. military and economic aid for the communist nation of Yugoslavia. 1952 October: The United Kingdom successfully tests its atomic bomb in Operation Hurricane. The test makes the UK the world's third nuclear power. November: The United States tests their first thermonuclear bomb, Ivy Mike. 1953 January: Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes President of the United States. March: Joseph Stalin dies, setting off a power struggle to succeed him. July: Korean war which was started in 1950 ended with Cease-fire September: Nikita Khrushchev becomes leader of the Soviet Communist Party. 1954 January: The United States launches the world's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus. The nuclear submarine would become the ultimate nuclear deterrent. June: Senator Joseph McCarthy charges that communists have infiltrated the CIA and the atomic weapons industry. September: Foundation of the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) by Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Like NATO, it is founded to resist Communist expansion, this time in the Philippines and Indochina. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 2
  • 3. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 1955 February: The Baghdad Pact is founded by Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. It is committed to resisting Communist expansion in the Middle East. April: The Non-Aligned Movement is pioneered by Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. This movement was designed to be a bulwark against the 'dangerous polarization' of the world at that time and to restore balance of power with smaller nations. It was an international organization of states considering themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. May: West Germany joins NATO and begins rearmament. May: The Warsaw Pact is founded in Eastern Europe and includes East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union. It acts as the Communist military counterpart to NATO. May: Austria is neutralized and allied occupation ends. July: President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States, Prime Minister Anthony Eden of the United Kingdom, Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin of the Soviet Union, and Prime Minister Edgar Faure of France, known as the 'Big Four', attend the Geneva Summit. Also in attendance was Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union. 1956 July: Egypt President Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal October: Hungarian Revolution of 1956: Hungarians revolt against the Soviet dominated government. They are crushed by the Soviet military, which reinstates a Communist government. October: Suez Crisis: France, Israel, and the United Kingdom attack Egypt with the goal of removing Nasser from power. International diplomatic pressures force the attackers to withdraw. Canadian Lester B. Pearson encourages the United Nations to send a Peacekeeping force -the first of its kind- to the disputed territory. Lester B. Pearson wins a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions, and soon after becomes Canadian Prime Minister. 1957 January: The Eisenhower doctrine commits the US to defending Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan from Communist influence. November: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile "shooting match" to prove his assertion. 1958 July: A coup in Iraq, the 14 July Revolution, removes the pro-British monarch. Iraq begins to receive support from the Soviets. Iraq will maintain close ties with the Soviets throughout the Cold War. 1959 January: Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro becomes the leader of Cuba although refrains from declaring the country Communist. Cuban-inspired guerrilla movements spring up across Latin America. September: Khrushchev visits U.S. for 13 days. December: Formation of the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. It is a Communist insurgent movement that vows to overthrow the anti-communist South Vietnamese government. It is supplied extensively by North Vietnam. 1960 February: France successfully tests its first atomic bomb, Gerboise Bleue, in the middle of the Algerian Sahara Desert. May: American pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down in his U-2 spy plane while flying at high altitude over the Soviet Union, resulting in the U-2 Incident, an embarrassment for President Eisenhower. June: Sino (China)-Soviet split: The Chinese leadership, angered at being treated as the "junior partner" to the Soviet Union, declares its version of Communism superior and begin to compete with the Soviets for influence, thus adding a third dimension to the Cold War. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 3
  • 4. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 1961 January: John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United States. April: Bay of Pigs Invasion: A CIA-backed invasion of Cuba by counter-revolutionaries ends in failure. June: Kennedy meets with Khrushchev in Vienna. June: Jupiter IRBM deployment to Turkey begins, joining the Jupiters deployed to Italy as well as the Thor IRBMs deployed to the UK as nuclear missiles placed within striking distance of Moscow. August: The Berlin Wall is built by the Soviets following the breakdown in talks to decide the future of Germany. October: The Soviet Union detonates the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested, with an explosive yield of some 50 megatons. Sept: Russia resumed testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. December: Fidel Castro openly describes himself as a Marxist-Leninist. 1962 September: Himalayan War: Chinese forces attack India, making claims on numerous border areas. October: Cuban Missile Crisis: The Soviets have secretly been installing military bases, including nuclear weapons, on Cuba, some 90 miles from the US mainland. Kennedy orders a "quarantine" (a naval blockade) of the island that intensifies the crisis and brings the US and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war. In the end, the Soviets back down and agree to withdraw their nuclear missiles from Cuba, in exchange for a secret agreement by Kennedy pledging to withdraw similar American missiles from Turkey, and guaranteeing that the US will not move against the Castro regime. November: End of the Himalayan War. China occupies a small strip of Indian land. The war will influence India, one of the leaders of the non-aligned movement, to indeed align itself with the Soviets in a decade. 1963 June: The United States agrees to set up a hotline with the USSR, thus making direct communication possible. August: The Partial Test Ban Treaty is signed by the USA, UK and USSR, prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons anywhere except underground. November: John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. There is much speculation over whether communist countries, or even the CIA, were involved in his assassination, but none of it is ever proven. Kennedy's vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of the United States. 1964 April: US President Lyndon Johnson in New York, and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow, announce simultaneously plans to cut back production of materials for making nuclear weapons. October: Leonid Brezhnev succeeds Khrushchev to become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union October: China tests its first atomic bomb. The test makes China the world's fifth nuclear power. 1965 March: US military build up to defend South Vietnam. North Vietnam has also committed its forces in the war. US begins sustained bombing of North Vietnam. August: Second Indo-Pakistani War. September: The Second Indian-Pakistani War ends in a cease-fire. 1966 March: France withdraws from NATO command structure. May: Communist China detonates a third nuclear device 1967 April: 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries sign the Treaty of Tlatelolco in Mexico City, which seek the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. May: Egypt blocks the Straits of Tiran, then expels UN peacekeepers and moves its army into the Sinai Peninsula in preparation for possible attack on Israel. June: In response to Egypt, Israel invades the Sinai Peninsula, beginning the Six-Day War. August: Bangkok Declaration is established to quell the communist threat in Southeast Asia. 1968 July: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is opened for signature. 1969 January: Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States. March: border clashes between the Soviet Union and China July: ”Vietnamization” begins with U.S. troop withdrawals from Vietnam and the burden of combat being placed on the South Vietnamese. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 4
  • 5. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 1970 March: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified by the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States, among others, enters into force. 1971 March: Third Indo-Pakistani War, Bangladesh gains independence from Pakistan. September: Four-Power Agreement on Berlin is signed by the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, and the United States. October: The United Nations General Assembly passes Resolution 2758, recognizing the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China. 1972 February: Nixon visits China, the first visit by a U.S. President since the establishment of the People's Republic of China. May: Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) agreement signals the beginning of détente between the U.S. and USSR. 1973 October: Yom Kippur War — Israel is attacked by Egypt and Syria, the war ends with a ceasefire. 1974 June: SEATO formally ends after France leaves the organization. August: Gerald Ford becomes President of the United States upon the resignation of Nixon. 1976 September: death of Mao Zedong 1977 January: Jimmy Carter becomes President of the United States. June: U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance assures skeptics that the Carter administration will hold the Soviet Union accountable for its recent crackdowns on human rights activists. July: The Ogaden War begins when Somalia attacks Ethiopia. It got ended in March 1978. 1978 March: The Ogaden War ends with Somalia's defeat. April: Afghanistan President [[Sardar Mohammed Daoud's government is overthrown when he is murdered in a coup led by pro-communist rebels. December: A Communist regime is installed in Afghanistan 1979 February: Sino-Vietnamese War, China launches a punitive attack on North Vietnam to punish it for invading Cambodia. January: The Iranian Revolution ousts the pro-Western Shah,Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and installs a theocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini. CENTO dissolves as a result. May: War breaks out in El Salvador between Marxist-led insurgents and the U.S.-backed government. June: U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, sign the SALT-II agreement, outlining limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. July: President Carter signs the first directive for secret aid to opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, Afghanistan.[3] July: Marxist-led Sandinista revolutionaries overthrow the U.S.- backed Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua. The Contra insurgency begins shortly thereafter. September: Nur Mohammed Taraki, The Marxist president of Afghanistan, is deposed and murdered. The post of president is taken up by Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin. November: Islamist Iranian students take over the American embassy in support of the Iranian Revolution. The Iran hostage crisis lasts until January 20, 1981. December: The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to save the crumbling communist regime there, resulting in the end of Détente. 1981 January: Ronald Reagan inaugurated 40th President of the United States. Reagan is elected on a platform opposed to the concessions of détente. 1982 February: President Ronald Reagan announces the "Caribbean Basin Initiative" to prevent the overthrow of governments in the region by the forces of communism. November: Yuri Andropov becomes General Secretary of the Soviet Union. 1983 March: Ronald Reagan proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or "Star Wars"). September: Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov averts a worldwide nuclear war by (correctly) NOT interpreting a computer glitch as an American nuclear attack. November: Exercise Able Archer 83 — Soviet anti-aircraft misinterpret a test of NATO's nuclear warfare procedures as a fake cover for an actual NATO attack; in response, Soviet nuclear forces are put on high alert. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 5
  • 6. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 1984 February: Konstantin Chernenko is named General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. 1985 March: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union. August: Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union begins what it has announced is a 5-month unilateral moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons. The Reagan administration dismisses the dramatic move as nothing more than propaganda and refuses to follow suit. Gorbachev declares several extensions, but the United States fails to reciprocate, and the moratorium comes to an end on February 5, 1987. November: Reagan and Gorbachev meet for the first time at a summit in Geneva, Switzerland, where they agree to two (later three) more summits. 1986 April: Chernobyl disaster: A Soviet nuclear power plant in the Ukraine explodes, resulting in the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. October: Reykjavik Summit: a breakthrough in nuclear arms control. October: Ronald Reagan signs into law an act of Congress approving $100 million of military and "humanitarian" aid for the Contras. November: Iran-Contra affair: the Reagan administration publicly announces that it has been selling arms to Iran in exchange for hostages and illegally transferring the profits to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. 1987 June: Gorbachev announces Glasnost and Perestroika. Gorbachev's goal in undertaking Glasnost is to pressure conservatives within the Party who oppose his policies of economic restructuring (Perestroika). It is Gorbachev's hope that through initiatives of openness, debate and participation, that the Soviet people will support Perestroika. June: During a visit to Berlin, Germany, U.S. President Ronald Reagan famously challenges Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in a speech: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" (The Berlin Wall). November: After nearly a year of hearings into the Iran-Contra scandal, the Joint Congressional Investigating Committee issues its final report. It concludes that the scandal, involving a complicated plan whereby some of the funds from secret weapons sales to Iran were used to finance the Contra war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, was one in which the administration of Ronald Reagan exhibited "secrecy, deception, and disdain for the law." December: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Some later claim this was the official end of the Cold War. Gorbachev agrees to START I treaty. 1989 January: George H. W. Bush is inaugurated as 41st President of the United States. February: Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan. June: Tiananmen Square Massacre: Beijing protests are crushed by the communist Chinese government, resulting in an unknown number of deaths. August: Solidarity (Polish trade union) in Poland elects Lech Walesa as leader of the first non- communist government in the East Bloc. October: The Hungarian constitution is amended to allow a multi-party political system and free elections. The nearly 20-year rule of communist strongman Erich Honecker comes to an end in East Germany. November: Revolutions in Eastern Europe: Soviet reforms and their state of bankruptcy have allowed Eastern Europe to rise up against the Communist governments there. The Berlin Wall is breached when Politburo spokesman, Günter Schabowski, not fully informed of the technicalities or procedures of the newly-agreed lifting of travel restrictions, mistakenly announces at a news conference in East Berlin that the borders have been opened. December: At the end of the Malta Summit, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush declare that a long-lasting era of peace has begun. Many observers regard this summit as the official beginning of the end of the Cold War. December: Democracy is restored in Chile. December: Romanian Revolution. Rioters overthrow the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu, executing him and his wife, Elena. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to violently overthrow its Communist regime or to execute its leaders. 1990 October: Germany is reunified NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 6
  • 7. IMPORTANT DATES AND EVENTS OF COLD WAR 2010 1991 July: Warsaw Pact was formally dissolved. August: Soviet coup attempt of 1991. The August coup, in response to a new union treaty to be signed on August 20. December: US President George H. W. Bush, after receiving a phone call from Boris Yeltsin, delivers a Christmas Day speech acknowledging the end of the Cold War December: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the USSR. The hammer and sickle is lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. December: The Council of Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR recognizes the dissolution of the Soviet Union and decides to dissolve itself. December: All Soviet institutions cease operations. NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 7