5, 1946: President Truman indicates that the US will not recognize future
communist governments, since "I'm sick of babying the Soviets"
9, 1946: Before the Communist Party Congress, Stalin suggests that communism and
capitalism were incompatible.
22, 1946: George Kennan's
Long Telegram, one of the most famous documents of the Cold War, contending that Russian
behavior was determined by a "traditional and instinctive Russian sense of
insecurity," and that "we have here a political force committed
fanatically to the belief that with US there can be no permanent modus vivendi."
- March 5,
1946: Former British prime minister Winston Churchill, at Fulton, Missouri,
declares that an "Iron Curtain"
has descended on Europe.
10, 1946: Truman demands Russia withdraw from Iran, which had been jointly
occupied by the British and the Red Army during World War II, with no oil concessions and
no annexation of Azerbaijan.
12, 1946: Former Vice President and then Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace delivers a Madison
Square Garden speech announcing ""the tougher we get with Russia, the
tougher they will get with us"; he was forced to resign as Secretary of Commerce
12, 1947: President Truman announces the Truman Doctrine,
informing Congress, "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to
support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by
- June 5,
1947: Secretary of State George Marshall, in a commencement address at Harvard University,
announces a package of economic assistance to aid in European recovery. Though not
"directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty,
desperation and chaos," the Marshall Plan further divides Europe into two spheres of influence.
- July 26,
1947: Congress passes the National Security
Act, which creates a civilian Secretary of Defense (the first was James Forrestal), a
National Security Council, a Central Intelligence Agency--but does not call for universal
25, 1948: Communists overthrow the government of
Eduard Beneš in Czechoslovakia,
the last democratic nation in the Soviet bloc.
- June 24,
1948: Further increasing tensions over Europe's future, the Soviets
begin a blockade of the Western zones in occupied Berlin; the Allied powers would respond
with an 11-month airlift to supply the beleaguered city.
- Apr. 4,
1949: The NATO treaty is
- July 14,
1949: The USSR explodes its first atomic
- Oct. 1,
1949: The Communist Party completes its triumph in the Chinese Civil War, as Mao Zedong
- January 1950: Truman announces
that the United States will build the
- June 1950: North Korea invades
South Korea; the UN
invokes its collective security provisions to aid the South;
and the United States send troops. The war will end in
stalemate nearly three years later.
- Fiscal Year 1951: With the
implementation of NSC 68 (see assignment one), U.S. military
- January 1953: Republican Dwight
Eisenhower replaces Truman as President; implements a new
national security policy, NSC 162/2 (see assignment one), which
calls for increased reliance on nuclear weapons and covert
activities and decreased overall military spending.
- March 1953: Soviet dictator Josef
Stalin dies; after a protracted power struggle, is eventually
replaced by Nikita Khrushchev.
- June 1954: A U.S.-sponsored coup
topples the left-leaning democratically elected government
- July 1954: The
Geneva Accords recognize the independence of communist North
Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam; elections to reunify
the country, which are never held, are scheduled for 1956.
- November 1956: Soviet troops
invade Hungary to topple a neutralist regime that had
assumed power after anti-communist protests.
- January 1959: Fidel Castro assumes
power in Cuba. Within 18 months, Castro will have proclaimed
himself a Marxist and severed relations with the United States.
- January 1961: Democrat John
Kennedy replaces Eisenhower as President; delivers
Inaugural Address promising to aggressively confront the
Soviet Union through a variety of tactics.
- April 1961: An invasion of Cuba by
U.S.-sponsored Cuban exiles ends disastrously at the
Bay of Pigs.
- August 1961: Seeking to stem the
tide of refugees from communist East Germany into non-communist
West Berlin, Nikita Khrushchev authorizes construction of the
- October 1962: The world seems to
come to the brink of nuclear war with the
- 1963: Kennedy
dramatically raises the U.S. role in South Vietnam, both by
increasing the number of troops in the country and by
approving a U.S.-sponsored coup that toppled the government
of South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem.