Cold War - HISTORY

Cold War

Churchill delivers Iron Curtain speech

In one of the most famous orations of the Cold War period, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declares, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” ...read more

Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM

The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter’s position on the Greek civil war. The expulsion was concrete evidence of the permanent split that had taken place between Russia and Yugoslavia. The Soviet Union had established ...read more

Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party

Just two days after Mikhail Gorbachev was re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, announces his resignation from the Party. Yeltsin’s action was a serious blow to Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union ...read more

Yalta Conference foreshadows the Cold War

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet to discuss the Allied war effort against Germany and Japan and to try and settle some nagging diplomatic issues. While a number of important agreements were reached at the ...read more

Warsaw Pact ends

After 36 years in existence, the Warsaw Pact—the military alliance between the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites—comes to an end. The action was yet another sign that the Soviet Union was losing control over its former allies and that the Cold War was falling ...read more

West Germany joins NATO

Ten years after the Nazis were defeated in World War II, West Germany formally joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a mutual defense group aimed at containing Soviet expansion in Europe. This action marked the final step of West Germany’s integration into the ...read more

Vice President Nixon is attacked

During a goodwill trip through Latin America, Vice President Richard Nixon’s car is attacked by an angry crowd and nearly overturned while traveling through Caracas, Venezuela. The incident was the dramatic highlight of trip characterized by Latin American anger over some of ...read more

Voice of America begins broadcasts to Russia

With the words, “Hello! This is New York calling,” the U.S. Voice of America (VOA) begins its first radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union. The VOA effort was an important part of America’s propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.The VOA began in 1942 as a ...read more

United States walks out of World Court case

For the first time since joining the World Court in 1946, the United States walks out of a case. The case that caused the dramatic walkout concerned U.S. paramilitary activities against the Nicaraguan government. For the Reagan administration, efforts to undermine the Sandinista ...read more

United States tests first hydrogen bomb

The United States detonates the world’s first thermonuclear weapon, the hydrogen bomb, on Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific. The test gave the United States a short-lived advantage in the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. Following the successful Soviet detonation of an atomic ...read more

United States invades Grenada

President Ronald Reagan, citing the threat posed to American nationals on the Caribbean nation of Grenada by that nation’s Marxist regime, orders the Marines to invade and secure their safety. There were nearly 1,000 Americans in Grenada at the time, many of them students at the ...read more

United States charges Soviets with espionage

During a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Henry Cabot Lodge charges that the Soviet Union has engaged in espionage activities at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for years. The charges were obviously an attempt by the United States ...read more

United Nations defeats Soviet motion

Slightly more than two months after the United Nations approved a U.S. resolution calling for the use of force to repel the communist North Korean invasion of South Korea, the Security Council rejects a Soviet resolution that would condemn the American bombing of North Korea. The ...read more

United Nations essay contest angers Soviets

On this day, Soviet representatives condemn an essay writing contest sponsored by the United Nations. The incident, though small, indicated that the Cold War was as much a battle of words as a war of bombs and guns. In 1950, the Public Information Department of the United Nations ...read more

U.S. table tennis team visits communist China

The U.S. table tennis team begins a weeklong visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the invitation of China’s communist government. The well-publicized trip was part of the PRC’s attempt to build closer diplomatic relations with the United States, and was the beginning ...read more

U.S. troops land in the Dominican Republic

In an effort to forestall what he claims will be a “communist dictatorship” in the Dominican Republic, President Lyndon B. Johnson sends more than 22,000 U.S. troops to restore order on the island nation. Johnson’s action provoked loud protests in Latin America and skepticism ...read more

U.S. policymakers express optimism

In the light of a deepening ideological rift between the Soviet Union and China, U.S. officials express their belief that Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev will seek closer relations with the United States. Unfortunately, the optimism was somewhat misplaced. Although China and the ...read more

U.S. and Soviet negotiators make progress

U.S. and Soviet diplomats meeting in Washington, D.C., make significant progress in negotiations concerning the role to be played by the newly reunified Germany in Europe. U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze carried out most of the ...read more

U.S.-Soviet summit meeting collapses

In the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May 1, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev lashes out at the United States and President Dwight D. Eisenhower at a Paris summit meeting between the two heads of state. Khrushchev’s outburst angered Eisenhower and ...read more

U.S. aid to Contras signed into law

In a short-lived victory for the Nicaraguan policy of the Reagan administration, the President signs into law an act of Congress approving $100 million of military and “humanitarian” aid for the Contras. Unfortunately for Ronald Reagan and his advisors, the Iran-Contra scandal ...read more

U.S. Senate approves United Nations charter

In a ringing declaration indicating that America’s pre-World War II isolation was truly at an end, the U.S. Senate approves the charter establishing the United Nations. In the years to come, the United Nations would be the scene of some of the most memorable Cold War ...read more