Cold War Timeline
Timeline Description: The Cold War was a time of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was called a "cold" war because there was never any fighting. The main area of disagreement between the two countries was politics because the Soviet Union was communist and the U.S. did not want communism to spread to other countries.

Date Event
February 8, 1945 World War II allies attend the Yalta Conference.

The United States and the Soviet Union attend the Yalta Conference after World War II to discuss what to do with Germany. The country is divided and East Germany is controlled by the Soviet Union and made a communist nation.
June 8, 1949 Celebrities are accused of being a member of the Communist Party.

Many celebrities in the U.S. are accused of being a communist for no reason. Senator Joseph McCarthy is the man behind the accusations and is responsible for hurting the careers of many innocent people who could not get jobs after being accused.
August 29, 1949 The Russians test an atomic bomb.

The Soviet Union successfully tests its first atomic bomb, which the U.S. calls Joe 1. In addition to the U.S., there are now two countries in the world with nuclear weapons.
June 25, 1950 The Korean War begins.

Korea invades South Korea, starting the Korean War. The U.S. gets involved in the war to try and stop the spread of communism.
March 29, 1951 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are accused of being Russian spies. They were executed for giving secrets to the Soviet Union about the atomic bomb.
July 27, 1953 The Korean War ends.

North and South Korea agree to end fighting in the war. The country is still divided, though, and North Korea remains communist.
September 7, 1953 Nikita Khrushchev becomes the leader of the Soviet Union.

After Joseph Stalin died on March 5, 1953, there was a fight to see who the next leader of Russia would be. Nikita Khrushchev becomes the leader of the Communist Party and his rival, Lavrentiy Beria, is executed three months later.
December 1956 North Vietnam invades South Vietnam.

Communist North Vietnam invades South Vietnam, which is not communist. The United States will eventually join the war in Vietnam to try and stop the spread of communism.
January 1, 1959 Cuba has a revolution.

Fidel Castro becomes the president of Cuba after a revolution that overthrows Fulgencio Batista. Castro does not say that Cuba is communist, but Cuba becomes an ally of the Soviet Union.
April 17, 1961 The U.S. fails in its attempt to invade Cuba.

The U.S., trying to stop communism in Cuba, tries to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The invasion is a failure and Castro remains in control of the country.
August 13, 1961 The Berlin Wall is built.

The Soviet Union, which occupies East Germany, builds a large wall that divides the city of Berlin. People who live in East Germany are not allowed to cross over into West Germany.
October 16, 1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis begins.

The U.S. discovers that the Soviet Union has put nuclear missiles in Cuba, 90 miles from the U.S. President John Kennedy demands that the missiles be removed and after 13 days of tense negotiations, Khrushchev agrees.
August 4, 1964 The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution leads to U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

President Lyndon Johnson tells Congress that U.S. ships were fired on in Vietnam. Even though it may not have happened the way the president said it did, Congress agrees to allow the U.S. to get involved in the Vietnam War.
April 30, 1975 North Vietnam wins the Vietnam War.

After taking control of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, North Vietnam wins the Vietnam War. The country is united as a communist nation.
March 11, 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes president of the Soviet Union.

Mikhail Gorbachev becomes president of the Soviet Union and works for a new era of peace. Over time, he signs treaties and policies that help bring an end to the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.