*Ivy Mike was the code name given to the first test of a thermonuclear device, where the explosive yield is from nuclear fusion.
*On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was created which was tested at Alamogordo, New Mexico at the “Trinity” site. The bomb had two main objectives: a quick end of WWII, and possession by the US would allow control of foreign policy.
The Cold War started between the Soviet Union (officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed between 1922 to 1991.) with it’s satellite states (formally independent in the world but under political, economic and military influence from another country) – known as the Eastern Bloc and the United States with it’s allies – known as the Western Bloc.
The Satellite States of the Soviet Union: The People’s Socialist Republic of Albania (Satellite 1944-1960;government extant until 1992); The Polish People’s Republic (1944-1989); The People’s Republic of Bulgaria (1946-1990); The People’s Republic of Romania (1947-1965); The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1948-1960 and also 1968-1989); The German Democratic Republic (1949-1990) and finally The Hungarian People’s Republic (1949-1989). The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia is sometimes known as a Soviet satellite, though it broke from Soviet orbit in the 1948 Tito-Stalin split, when the Cominform offices moved to Bucharest from Belgrade, and Yugoslavia formed the Non-Aligned Movement. The People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, controlled by Stalinist Enver Hoxha, broke ties with Soviet Union the 1960 Soviet-Albanian split following Soviet de-Stalinization process. The countries listed were all members of the Eastern Bloc at least between 1945-1948. From 1978 to 1991, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan can also be considered a Soviet satellite, the central government in Kabul was in line with the Eastern Bloc and supported by Soviet military in 1979 to 1989. The East Turkestan Republic (1944-1946) was a Soviet satellite until it was taken into the People’s Republic of China along with rest of Xinjiang. The Mongolian People’s Republic was a Soviet satellite from 1924 to 1991. It was controlled by the Soviet Union until it no longer existed in February 1992, less than two months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The Eastern Bloc (a term created by NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was used to refer to former communist states in Eastern and Central Europe which include the Soviet Union, countries in Warsaw Pact and Albania and Yugoslavia (Warsaw Pact countries include Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania) The Warsaw Pact came into being after the socialist republic of Czechoslovakia came to fear the reinforcement of armaments of West Germany by its Western Allies, and wanted to make a pact with fellow communist European states. After the end of WWII, the countries which were to be brought under the banner of NATO did not confirm their approval to support Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union and other socialist republics. Therefore in 1955 May 14th, the Warsaw Pact was created. The reason behind the creation of the Eastern Bloc was because of the aftermath of WWII which exposed the expansive Russian border. The communist government didn’t think it was a good idea to completely withdraw from neighboring countries it had taken over during the war. Therefore it was decided there should be a buffer zone made of loyal neighbors.
The Eastern Bloc was created during WWII as a united force led by the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) It’s initial intention was to fight Nazi Germany. However, after the war, the Union lacked a unified goal. Stalin was afraid of neighboring countries converting to capitalism, he mobilized and funded socialist movements which grabbed power to become socialist states with loyalty to Moscow. These countries along with Russia created the Warsaw Pact, also known as the Eastern Bloc. The members of the Eastern Bloc across eastern and central Europe include: Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary.
*NATO: Intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The countries are as follows: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Montenegro (as of 5 June 2017) Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, The United Kingdom, The United States. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on April 4th 1949. NATO is based on a collective defence system where its independent members agree to mutual defence in relation to an attack by any external party.
The Western Bloc: Refers to capitalist countries under the leadership of the U.S. and NATO against Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. The latter are called the Eastern Bloc. The countries were as follows: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, West Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain (from 1982), Turkey, UK, U.S., Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand. Other countries backed, supported or allied by Western powers: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Republic of China, Dominican Republic, Iran (until 1979), Israel, Japan, Kenya, Khmer Republic (1970-1975), South Korea (during Korean War), Laos (until 1975), Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Vietnam (during Vietnam War), North Yemen, Zaire.
- 4th February to 11th February 1945. The Yalta Conference. Meeting between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin to decide what will take place at the end of the war. They discussed the following topics: Partitioning of Germany, Fate of Poland, The United Nations, German reparations.
- 8th May 1945: V E Day (Victory in Europe Day). Victory in Europe as Germany surrenders to the Russian Army. (On 30th of April 1945 Adolf Hitler committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin) – The Battle of Berlin (designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by Soviet Union, and also known as the Fall of Berlin) was one of the last major offensives of the European theatre of WWII.
- 3rd July 1945: U.S, France, Britain and Soviet Union occupy zones of Berlin.
- 17th July 1945: Potsdam Conference begins in Germany. This conference took place at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 17th July to 2nd August 1945. The participants include U.S., U.K, and Soviet Union represented by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman. This conference divided Germany and Austria into four zones. It was also agreed that Berlin would be divided into four zones. The Russian Polish border was determined and Korea was divided into Soviet and American zones.
- 6th August 1945: U.S. Army Air Force drops atom bomb on Hiroshima.
- 9th August 1945: U.S. Army Air Force drops atom bomb on Nagasaki (situated on a long, narrow bay on Japan’s main island, Kyushu)
- 14th August 1945: VJ Day. The Japanese surrendered bringing WWII to an end.
- 16th August 1945: Soviet Union and Poland sign treaty accepting Soviet-Polish frontier.
- 19th August 1945: The Vietminh seize power from Japan in French Indochina.
- 2nd September 1945: Vietnam Independence. Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam an independent republic.
- 5th March 1946: Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech. Churchill delivers ‘Sinews of Peace’ which includes the famous sentence “..an iron curtain has descended on Europe”
- 12th March 1947: Truman Doctrine. President Truman committed to support any country facing Communist takeover.
- June 5th 1947: Marshall Plan. The United States introduced this economic aid programme to any European country. This plan was rejected by Stalin and any Eastern bloc country accepting aid would be reprimanded as well. Therefore aid was only provided to Western European countries.
- September 1947: Cominform. The USSR set up the Communist Information Bureau which was responsible for the creation of the Eastern Bloc and which divided the world into imperialist and anti-imperialist. This was a Soviet-dominated organization of Communist parties.
- June 1948: West Germany formation. The French, USA and UK partitions of Germany were merged to create West Germany.
- June 24th 1948: Berlin Blockade. Russia’s reaction to the merger of the French, USA and UK partitions of Berlin was to cut all road and rail links to that sector. So those living in Western Berlin had no access to food supplies and were starving. Food was brought to Western Berlin by US and UK airplanes (also known as the Berlin Airlift)
- May 1949: End of Berlin Blockade. Russia ended the blockade of Berlin.
- 4th April 1949: NATO formation. NATO also known as The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formed with member states Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However as of today there are 29 members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, The United Kingdom and The United States. (1989: Fall of Berlin Wall, 1991 NATO creates partnerships with former adversaries after the break-up of the Soviet Union, 1995 when Europe reunited NATO engages in its first major-crisis management operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2001 Large-scale terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., Nato invokes Article 5 for the first time ever and adopts a broader approach to security, 2003 NATO takes command of the International Security Assistant Force – ISAF – in Afghanistan, 2010 NATO adopts the 2010 Strategic Concept “Active Engagement, Modern Defence”
- 25th June 1950: Korean War. The Korean War began with North Korea invaded South Korea.
- 5th March 1953: Stalin. When Joseph Stalin died at the age of 74, he was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev.
- 27th July 1953: Korean War. The Korean war ended. North Korea remained associated with Russia while South Korea was associated with the U.S.
- Summer 1954: Geneva Accords. This set of documents ended the French War with the Vietminh and divided Vietnam into North and South states. The communist leader of North Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh while the U.S. south was led by Ngo Dinh Diem.
- 14th May 1955: Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact was formed with member states East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact was a collective defence treaty, signed in Warsaw Poland (of Central and Eastern Europe) during the Cold War.
- [The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954, but also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to keep control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe. This Pact was created as a balance of power or counterweight to NATO; there was no direct military confrontation between them. The conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in proxy wars. Both the Warsaw Pact and NATO led to the expansion of military forces and their integration into the respective blocs. It’s largest military engagement was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 (with involvement of all Pact nations except Albania, Romania, and East Germany), which, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel in its entirety with the spread of the Revolutions in 1989 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland and its electoral success in June 1989.]
- [The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. Sometimes they call this period the Fall of Nations, a play on the term Spring of Nations that is sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848. The events of the full-blown revolution began in Poland in 1989 and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania.] East Germany withdrew from the Pact following the reunification of Germany in 1990. On 25th February 1991, at a meeting in Hungary, the Pact was declared at the end by the defence and foreign ministers of the six remaining member states. The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the Collective Security Treaty Organizations shortly thereafter.]
- 23rd October 1956: Hungarian Revolution. This started as a Hungarian protest against Communist rule in Budapest. It gathered people from where and on the 24th October Soviet tanks got into Budapest. The tanks backed out on 28th and a new government was created which started to introduce freedom of speech, democracy, and freedom of religion. The Soviet tanks came back on the 4th of November surrounding Budapest. The Prime Minister at the time, Imre Nagy [Hungarian communist politician who served as Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People’s Republic from 1953 to 1955 and in 1956 Nagy became leader of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against the Soviet-backed government, for which he was executed two years later] made a World broadcast that Hungary was under attack from the Soviet Union and calling for aid. Hungary fell to Russia on the 10th of November 1956.
- 30th October 1956: Suez Crisis. Following military attack missiles by Israeli forces, a joint British and French force seized Egypt to regain control of the Suez Canal which had been nationalised by the Egyptian leader Nasser.[Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt after Mohamed Naguib who resigned on the 14th November 1954, Nasser served from 1954 until his death in 1970, he led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced land reforms the following year. Following a 1954 attempt on his life by a Muslim Brotherhood member, he cracked down on the organization, put President Mohamed Naguib under house arrest and assumed executive office. He was formally elected president in June 1956.] The attack was criticised by World leaders specifically U.S because Russia had offered to help Egypt. The British and French were forced to withdraw and a UN peace keeping force was sent to establish order.
- 1st November 1957: Space Race. USSR Sputnik II carried Laika the dog, the first living creature to go into space.
- 1960: Paris East/West talks. Talks between Nikita Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower regarding the future of Germany broke down when a USA U2 spy plane was shot down over Russian airspace. [Nikita Khrushchev was a Soviet statesman who led the Soviet Union during the Cold War as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the de-Stalinzation of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for many liberal reforms in places of domestic policy. In 1964 his party colleagues removed him and put Leonhid Brezhnev in charge as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.] [Dwight Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War 2, he was a five-star general in the Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942-43 and the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944-45 from the Western Front.]
- 12th April 1961: Space Race. The first human being in space was Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyvich Gagarian.
- 17th April 1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion. During the Cuban revolution, the M1 Garand was the standard rifle for both the Cuban Army and the Rebels. As for the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban were already using new weapons, but it was widely used by the invading exiles. The Bay of Pigs invasion was a failed attempt by the US-sponsored Cuban exiles to reverse Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution beginning with a military invasion of Northern Cuba. A Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored rebel group, Brigade 2506, tried an invasion on 17th April 1961 that lasted just three days. Brigade 2506 was a counter-revolutionary military group made up mostly of Cuban exiles who had traveled to the US after Castro’s takeover but also included some US military personnel.
- 13th August 1961: Berlin Wall. The Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany) began to create a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall” or “antifascist bulwark,” between East and West Berlin. The main purpose of this wall was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it mainly served the goal of stemming mass defections from East to West. The Berlin Wall stood until November 9th 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border whenever they wanted. That night, ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall. Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others got hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself. As World War two came to an end in 1945, a pair of Allied peace conferences at Yalta and Potsdam determined the fate of Germany’s territories. They split the defeated nation into four “allied occupation zones”: The eastern part of the country went to the Soviet Union, while the western part went to the United States, Great Britain and eventually France.
- 14th October 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis. Also known as the Caribbean Crisis or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day (October 16 – 28, 1962) confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union initiated by the American discovery of the Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war. The Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to Cuba’s request to place nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion as a response to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Fidel Castro and Khrushchev in July 1962, and construction of a number of missile launch facilities started later that summer. Meanwhile the 1962 US Elections were under way, and the White House denied charges for months that it was ignoring dangerous Soviet missiles 90 miles (140 km) from Florida. The missile preparations were confirmed when an Air Force U-2 spy plane created clear photographic evidence of medium-range (SS-4) and intermediate-range (R-14) ballistic missile facilities. The US created a naval blockade in place in order to try to provoke Soviet-backed forces in Berlin as well. The US declared it would not allow offensive weapons to be sent to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and sent back to Soviet Union. After seven days of negotiations, an agreement was reached between US President John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev. In exchange for a US public declaration and agreement to avoid invading Cuba again, the Soviets would dismantle their weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union (which would need to be verified by the United Nations) However in secret, the US agreed that it would dismantle all US-built Jupiter MRBMs, [PGM-19 Jupiter was the first nuclear tipped, medium-range ballistic missile ‘MRBM’ of the US Air Force (USAF) it was a liquid-propellant rocket using RP-1 fuel and LOX oxidizer with a single Rocketdyne LR79-NA rocket engine making 667 kN of thrust. It was armed with 1.44 megaton W49 nuclear warhead. The contractor was Chrysler Corporation] which had been deployed in Turkey against the Soviet Union; there has been debate on whether or not Italy was included in the agreement as well. When all offensive missiles and llyushin II-28 light bombers [NATO reporting name: Beagle is a jet bomber of the immediate postwar period that was originally manufactured for the Soviet Air Forces. It was Soviet Union’s first such aircraft to enter large-scale production.] had been withdrawn from Cuba, the blockade officially ended on November 21, 1962. The negotiations between the US and Soviet Union pointed out the necessity of a quick, clear, and direct communication line between Washington and Moscow. In the end, the Moscow-Washington hotline was created. A series of agreements later reduced US-Soviet tensions for many years until both parties began to build their nuclear arsenal even further. As a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis: Removal of the Soviet Union’s nuclear missiles in Cuba. Removal of American nuclear missiles from Turkey and Italy, Agreement with the Soviet Union that the US would never invade Cuba w/o direct provocation, and finally the creation of a nuclear hotline between the US and the Soviet Union.
- 22nd November 1963: JFK Assassination. JF Kennedy was assassinated while on a visit to Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder but there has always been rumors that he was not the only one involved and that there was a possibility there may have been communist or CIA complicity.
- 15th October 1964: USSR. Nikita Khrushchev removed from office and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.
- July 1965: Vietnam War. Also named Second Indochina War and as the Resistance War Against America in Vietnam, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1st November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30th April 1975 [Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam by the People’s Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong on 30th April 1975.] It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Soviet Union, China and other communist allies supported North Vietnam, and the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies supported the South of Vietnam. The war, considered a cold war-era proxy war by some people, lasted 19 years with direct involved from the U.S. ending in 1973, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War which ended with all three countries becoming communist in 1975. 150,000 US troops were sent to Vietnam.
- 20th August 1968: Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Or also known as the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia (or also Operation Danube) was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries which are Poland, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20-21 August 1968. Around 250,000 Warsaw pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that evening, with Romania and Albania refusing to get involved. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not get involved in the invasion because they were following orders from Moscow not to cross the border of Czechoslovakia just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 wounded during the occupation. The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubcek’s Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.
- 21st December 1968. Space Race. US launched Apollo 8 -first manned orbit of the Moon. [There was also something called the Space Race which was the 20th century competition between two Cold War enemies, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States, to achieve firsts in spaceflight capabilities. It had its origins in the ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War 2. The competition began on August 2 1955 when the Soviet Union responded to the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year, by declaring they would also launch a satellite in the near future. The Soviet Union achieved its first launch with October 4 1957 orbiting Sputnik 1, and sent their first human to space with the orbital flight of Yuri Gagarin on April 12 1961]
- 20th July 1969. Space Race. US Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon.
- 30th April 1970. Vietnam War. President Richard Nixon ordered troops to go to Cambodia. He declared to a television audience that the American military troops, accompanied by South Vietnamese People’s Army, were to invade and attack Cambodia. The invasion was under the pretext of disrupting the North Vietnamese supply lines. They also attacked in order to destroy the Viet Cong base camps, that were backing the operations of South Vietnam. Although he declared it officially, there had been air raids in Cambodia for the last year, without the American citizen’s knowledge. Nixon had been ordering bombings on Cambodia for months before actually announcing an invasion. The image of Nixon appeared all over the televisions and the New York Times and on the cover of Time magazine. A journalist from Time wrote (this was extracted but paraphrased) “At one point during his television address to the nation last week, Nixon lost his place in the typescript. For 4 to 5 seconds he shuffled pages, eyes darting through paragraphs to pick up the trail again. For the nation watching, it was an instant of complex psychology. There was the acute embarrassment and sympathy for the speaker who has fluffed his lines. There was also, for some, an eccentric partial hope that he could not continue, an absurdist, McLuhan logic would apply: “The U.S. was about to move in Cambodia, but the President lost his place in the script.’ The instant passed. Richard Nixon went on.” Many reports similar to this one, along with his declaration of the invasion was spread all over the US, and the American citizens were soon filled with disbelief and fear. Nixon had promised “Vietnamization,” and many of the citizens felt failed by the President they trusted. The relief that the soldiers may have been coming home quickly fled the minds of all their waiting families. All the people of American became filled with anger and shock. In the end, protests both peaceful and violent erupted across the country. This reaction was important in the Vietnam War conflict, it marked the beginning of the large disagreement between American Citizens and Military arrangements that Nixon declared.
- 3rd September 1971. Four Power Agreement Berlin. Also known as the Berlin Agreement or Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin was agreed by four wartime Allied powers (represented by the ambassadors) The ministers were Alec Doughlas-Home of UK, the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics’ Andrei Gromyko, France’s Maurice Schumann, and the US’s William P. Rogers signed together to put into motion at a ceremony in Berlin on 3rd June 1972. The agreement wasn’t a treaty and didn’t need any formal ratification. The Berlin Agreement by reconfirming the existence of the rights and responsibilities of the four powers for the future of Berlin and Germany as a whole (which Soviets claimed to have abrogated as a result of the Berlin crisis of 1959-1962) the Agreement described the basis for a series of East-West agreements which ushered in the period known as Detente. It also reestablished ties between two parts of Berlin, improved travel and communications between the two parts of the city and brought improvements for the residents of the Western Sectors. The Agreement was translated into English, French, and Russian languages but there was no authentic text in the German language. The translations used by the two German states have some differences. After the agreement entered into force, the Soviet Union used this vague wording in an effort to loosen West Berlin’s ties with the Federal Republic of Germany. But, the agreement contributed greatly both to a reduction of tensions between both sides and to expanded contacts between the two parts of Germany. It made an important contribution to the process which resulted in the reunification of Germany in 1990. Along with the Allied agreement, the Basic Treaty recognized two German states, and the two countries pledged to respect one another’s sovereignty.
- 26th May 1972. SALT. Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty signed between US and USSR. During the late 1960s the US learned that the Soviet Union had embarked upon a massive Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) buildup designed to reach parity with the United States. In January 1967, President Lyndon Johnson announced that the Soviet Union had begun to create a limited Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) defense system around Moscow. The development of an ABM system could allow one side to launch a first strike and then prevent the other from retaliating by shooting down incoming missiles. Johnson called for strategic arms limitation talks (SALT) and in 1967, he and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin met at Glassboro State College in New Jersey. Johnson said they must gain “control of the ABM race” and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara argued that the more each reacted to each other’s escalation, the more they had chosen “an insane road to follow.” While abolition of nuclear weapons would be impossible, limiting the development of both offensive and defensive strategic systems would stabilize U.S.-Soviet relations.
- 15th August 1973. Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords ended American involvement in Vietnam.
- 17th April 1975. Cambodia Killing Fields. The Khmer Rouge attacked and took over Cambodia. Those that were supporters of the old regime, or had links or supposed links to foreign governments as well as many intellectuals and professionals were killed in a genocide that became known as the ‘Killing Fields’
- 30th April 1975. Vietnam. North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese led to the whole country becoming Communist.
- July 1975. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Joint space venture between USA and USSR heralded as an end to the ‘Space Race’.
- 20th January 1977. Carter President. Jimmy Carter became the 39th President of the US.
- 4th November 1979. Iranian hostage crisis. A group of Iranian students and militants stormed the American embassy and captured 53 Americans hostage to show support for Iranian Revolution. [Iranian Revolution caused by discontent with Shah’s rule, exile of Ruhollah Khomeini, Social injustice, religious motives. It started with a series of events involving the overthrow of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the US-backed monarchy was supported by leftist Islamist organizations and student movements.]
- 24th December 1979. Afghanistan. Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. This lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known as mujahideen as well as smaller Maoist groups fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government. The mujahideen groups were backed by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan making it a Cold War proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees mostly to Pakistan and Iran. The war derives from a 1978 coup when Afghanistan’s communist party took power, initiating radical modernization reforms throughout the country. These reforms were unpopular among more traditional rural population and established power structures. The repressive nature of Soviet Afghanistan (who executed thousands of political prisoners) led to the rise of anti-government armed groups and by April 1979 large parts of the country were in open rebellion. In September 1979 President Nur Mohammad Taraki, was murdered under orders of the second-in-command Hafizullah Amin, which sourced relations with Soviet Union. Eventually, the Soviet government, under leader Leonid Brezhnev, deployed the 40th Army on December 24th 1979. Arriving in the capital Kabul, they staged a coup, killing president Amin and installing Soviet loyalist Babrak Karmal from a rival faction. The deployment had been called an “invasion” (by western media and rebels) or a legitimate supporting intervention (by the soviet union and the afghan government) on the basis of the Brezhnev Doctrine.
- July 1980. Olympic Boycott by USA. Number of countries incl. USA boycotted the summer Olympics held in Moscow in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Other countries like Great Britain got involved under the Olympic flag rather than their national flag.
- 13th December 1980. Poland. Martial law was declared to crush the Solidarity movement.
- 20th January 1981. Iranian hostage crisis ended. The Iranian hostage took 444 days to end.
- June 1982. START. During a summit in Geneva Reagan proposed Strategic Arms Reduction Talks. This was a bilateral treaty between US and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. This was signed on 31st July 1991 and became implemented on 5th December 1994. The treaty barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMS) and bombers. START negotiated the biggest arms control treaty in worldwide history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in removing of about 80% of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence. This was proposed by Ronald Reagan and it was renamed START I after negotiations started on the second START treaty. On April 2010, the replacement New START treaty was signed in Prague by US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Following ratification by the US Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia, it went into force on 26 January 2011. This treaty was the first to provide reductions of American and Soviet/Russian strategic nuclear weapons.
- July 1984. Olympic boycott by Russia. Russia and 13 allied countries boycotted the summer Olympics held in LA in response for the US boycott of 1980.
- 11th March 1985. Govbachov leader of USSE. Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union.
- 26th April 1986. Chernobyl Disaster. This a nuclear accident that took place at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (Ukraine) near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history and is one of only two nuclear energy disasters rated at seven-the maximum severity-on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.
- June 1987. Glasnost and Perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev announced his intention to follow a policy of glasnot-openness transparency and freedom of speech; and perestroika – restructuring of government and economy. He also advocated free elections and ending the arms race.
- 4th June 1989. Tiananmen Square. Anti Communist protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China were crushed by the government. The death count is unknown.
- August 1989. Poland. Tadeusz Mazowiecki elected leader of the Polish government – the first eastern bloc country to become a democracy.
- 23rd October 1989. Hungary proclaimed itself a republic.
- 9th November 1989. Fall of Berlin Wall.
- 17th November – 29th December 1989. Velvet Revolution. Also known as the Gentle Revolution, was a series of peaceful protests in Czechoslovakia that led to the overthrow of the Communist government.
- 2nd, 3rd December 1989. Malta Summit. This meeting between Mikhail Gorbachov and George H W Bush reversed much of the provisions of the Yalta Conference 1945. It is seen by some as the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
- 16th – 25th December 1989. Romanian Revolution. Riots broke out which culminated in the overthrow and execution of leader Ceausescu and his wife.
- 3rd October 1990. German reunification. East and West Germany reunited as one country.
- 1st July 1991. End of Warsaw Pact.
- 31st July 1991. START. The treaty that was signed between US and Russia.
- 25th December 1991. Gorbachev resigned. The hammer and sickle flag on the Kremlin was lowered.
- 26th December 1991. End of the Soviet Union. Russia formally recognized the end of the Soviet Union.