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Cold War Timeline - 1945 - 1991


Cold War Timeline: Key events via the Cold War Timeline during the dangerous period of "non-hostile belligerency" from 1945 - 1991.

The Cold War Presidents (1945 - 1991)

Nine US Presidents were in office during the uncertain time in history which started in 1945 and ended in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. The US Presidents  during the Cold War were Harry Truman, Dwight D Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H Bush.

Cold War Timeline for Kids
The main events of the Cold War can be seen in the short, History Timeline. Click the links for comprehensive articles on each of the important incidents such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Berlin Blockade and Airlift, the Korean War, the U2 incident and the Vietnam War.

1945: The WW2 Manhattan Project leads to US development of the Atomic Bomb

1945: The Potsdam Conference builds a high level of distrust between the USSR and the USA

1945: United Nations was established to avoid another war but its peace mission was jeopardized by the Cold War.

1945: The Eastern Bloc (The Iron Curtain) established dividing the East from the West

1946: The Long Telegram from George Kennan advises the US Government to adopt policy of Containment

1946: The policy of Containment leads to the Domino Theory

1946: Operation Crossroads - nuclear weapon tests conducted by the US at Bikini Atoll

1947: The speech to congress known as the Truman Doctrine pledges to resist communism

1947: The Marshall Plan authorized the US government to supply military aid against communism

1947: The Roswell UFO Incident and the secret experiments on aircraft and weapons in Area 51

1947: National Security Act creates the U.S. Air Force (USAF), NSA and the CIA.

1947: Loyalty Review Program screened federal government employees during second Red Scare

1947: HUAC House of Un-American Activities Committee.

1948: West Germany is founded and Stalin mounts the Berlin blockade in East Germany

1948: The Berlin Airlift (1948 - 1949) - US supplies west Berlin by air

1949: NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was formed

1949: USSR tests its first atomic bomb and the Cold War Arms Race begins

1949: Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists sign a Treaty with the USSR - Cold War spreads to East Asia

1950: The Korean War (1950 - 1953) between the Soviet-backed communist North Korea and China against the US and UN backed South Korea.

1950: McCarthyism (1950 - 1954) brings in the era of anti-communist hysteria

1951: CONELRAD established in the US to issue radio warnings of Nuclear Attack Alerts

1954: The First Taiwan Strait Crisis  - brinkmanship forces the Chinese Communists to back down.

1954: Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was formed as the Southeast Asian version of NATO

1955: The Soviet Union created the alliance known as the Warsaw Pact

1955: The Vietnam War (1955 - 1975) between communist North Vietnam (supported by USSR) against the non-communist South Vietnam (supported by US)

1956: The "Secret Speech" in which Khrushchev denounces the tyranny of Stalin

1956: The Hungarian Revolution which ended when Russian tanks moved into Budapest.

1956: The Suez Crisis (1956) and the Soviets gain a foothold in the Middle East

1957: The Eisenhower Doctrine pledged economic and military aid to the Middle East and Asia

1957: USSR launch Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite

1957: The Cold War Space Race starts (1957 - 1975)

1958: NASA is established

1960: USA Corona Spy Satellite - successful recovery of photographs from space

1960: The U-2 Incident - US U2 spy plane shot down over Russia and pilot, Gary Powers captured

1961: The Berlin Wall erected dividing East and West Berlin

1961: Checkpoint Charlie Incident a standoff between U.S. and Soviet tanks at the Berlin Wall

1961: The Bay of Pigs Invasion - CIA-backed botched invasion of Cuba

1961: The Cuban Missile Crisis bringing the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation

1962: USSR launches Zenit Spy Satellite, takes photographs above the USA

1964: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave LBJ a free hand to escalate the Vietnam War.

1968: The Prague Spring, Czechoslovakia ended with a Soviet invasion

1968: USA launched the Apollo 8 Manned Moon Orbit

1969: USA places First Man on the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in Apollo 11 lunar module

1972: The SALT Agreements - Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (1972 - 1979) between USA and the USSR

1973: The Paris Peace Accords was signed on January 27, 1973 including a ceasefire agreement heralds the End of the Vietnam War.

1975: USA / USSR First multi-national manned missions ending the Cold War Space Race

1979: Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (1979 - 1989)

1983: Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) - Star Wars

1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)

1991: Collapse of the Soviet Union and the End of the Cold War

US American History
1945-1993: Cold War Era

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Updated 2018-01-01

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