March–April: US and Britain outraged as Stalin excludes them from a role in Poland and turns Poland over to a Communist puppet government he controls.
March–April: Stalin outraged at inaccurate reports about Operation Sunrise that American OSS in Switzerland is negotiating a surrender of German forces; he demands a Russian general be present at all negotiations. Roosevelt vehemently denies the allegation, but closes down the operation in Switzerland. A Russian general is present at the negotiations in Italy that lead to surrender.
April 12: Roosevelt dies; Vice President Harry S. Truman takes over with little knowledge of current diplomatic efforts, no knowledge of the atomic bomb, and a bias against Russia.
August 8: The USSR honors its agreement to declare war on Japan within three months of the victory in Europe, and invades Manchuria.
August 9: With no Japanese response to his ultimatums, Truman gives permission for the world's second and last military use of an atomic weapon against the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
September 2: The Japanese surrender unconditionally to the US. General Douglas MacArthur takes over occupation of Japan, and freezes out Russian and other allied representatives.
September 5: Igor Gouzenko, a Russian working in the Soviet embassy in Canada, defects and provides proof to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of a Soviet spy ring operating in Canada and the U.S. The revelations helps change perceptions of the Soviet Union from an ally to a foe.
July 11: The US announces new occupation policies in Germany. The occupation directive JCS 1067, whose economic section had prohibited "steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany [or] designed to maintain or strengthen the German economy", is replaced by the new US occupation directive JCS 1779 which instead notes that "An orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany."
August 14: India and Pakistan gain independence from the United Kingdom.
September: The Soviet Union forms the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) with which it dictates the actions of leaders and communist parties across its spheres of influence.
November 14: The United Nations passes a resolution calling for the withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Korea, free elections in each of the two administrations, and the creation of a UN commission dedicated to the unification of the peninsula.
June 21: In Germany, the British zone and the French zone launch a common currency, the Deutsche Mark.
June 24: Stalin orders the Berlin Blockade, closing all land routes from West Germany to Berlin, in an attempt to starve out the French, British, and American forces from the city. In response, the three Western powers launch the Berlin Airlift to supply the citizens of Berlin by air.
June 28: The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter's position on the Greek civil war.
June 28 to May 11, 1949: The Berlin Airlift defeats Russia's attempt to starve West Berlin.
November 20: The American consul and his staff in Mukden, China, are made virtual hostages by communist forces in China. The crisis did not end until a year later, by which time U.S. relations with the new communist government in China had been seriously damaged.
May 11: The Soviet blockade of Berlin ends with the re-opening of access routes to Berlin. The airlift continues until September, in case the Soviets re-establish the blockade. Brune argues, "Moscow realized the blockade had nor been successful – it had drawn the Western powers closer together rather than dividing them. Finally, Western countermeasures had inflicted considerable damage on the economic life of East Germany and the other Soviet satellites."
October 16: Nikos Zachariadis, leader of the Communist Party of Greece, declares an end to the armed uprising. The declaration brings to a close the Greek Civil War, and the first successful containment of communism.
June 25: North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the Korean War. The Soviet Union cannot veto, as it is boycotting the Security Council over the admission of People's Republic of China.
July 4: United Nations forces engage North Korean forces for the first time, in Osan. They fail to halt the North Korean advance, and fall southwards, towards what would become the Pusan Perimeter.
September 30: United Nations forces land atInchon. Defeating the North Korean forces, they press inland and re-capture Seoul.
October 2: United Nations forces cross the 38th parallel, into North Korea.
October 5: Forces from the People's Republic of China mobilize along the Yalu River.
October 22: Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, falls to United Nations forces.
October 22: China intervenes in Korea with 300,000 soldiers, catching the United Nations by surprise. However, they withdraw after initial engagements.
November 15: United Nations forces approach the Yalu River. In response, China intervenes in Korea again, but with a 500,000 strong army. This offensive forces the United Nations back towards South Korea.
January 4: Chinese soldiers capture Seoul.
March 14: United Nations forces recapture Seoul during Operation Ripper. By the end of March, they have reached the 38th Parallel, and formed a defensive line across the Korean peninsula.
March 29: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II; they were executed on June 19, 1953.
September 1: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States sign the ANZUS Treaty. This compels the three countries to cooperate on matters of defense and security in the Pacific.
October 10: President Harry S. Truman signs the Mutual Security Act, announcing to the world, and its communist powers in particular, that the U.S. was prepared to provide military aid to "free peoples."
November 14: President Harry Truman asks Congress for U.S. military and economic aid for the communist nation of Yugoslavia.
December 12: The International Authority for the Ruhr lifts part of the remaining restrictions on German industrial production and on production capacity.
April 28: the Treaty of San Francisco, signed by Japan on September 8, 1951, comes into effect, and Japan signs the Treaty of Taipei, formally ending its period of occupation and isolation, and becoming a sovereign state.
December 4–8: Eisenhower meets with Churchill and Joseph Laniel of France in Bermuda.
January 21: The United States launches the world's first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus. The nuclear submarine would become the ultimate nuclear deterrent.
March 13: The KGB is created as the successor agency of the NKVD.
May 7: The Viet Minh defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu. France withdraws from Indochina, leaving four independent states: Cambodia, Laos, and what became North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The Geneva Accords calls for free elections to unite Vietnam, but none of the major Western powers wish this to occur in the likely case that the Viet Minh (nationalist Communists) would win.
May: The Huk revolt in the Philippines is defeated.
June 2: Senator Joseph McCarthy claims that communists have infiltrated the CIA and the atomic weapons industry.
June 18: The elected leftist Guatemalan government is overthrown in a CIA-backed coup. An unstable rightist regime installs itself. Opposition leads to a guerrilla war with Marxist rebels in which major human rights abuses are committed on all sides. Nevertheless, the regime survives until the end of the Cold War.
October 23: Hungarian Revolution of 1956: Hungarians revolt against the Soviet dominated government. They are crushed by the Soviet military, which reinstates a Communist government.
October 29: Suez Crisis: France, Israel, and the United Kingdom attack Egypt with the goal of removing Nasser from power. International diplomatic pressures force the attackers to withdraw. Canadian Lester B. Pearson encourages the United Nations to send a Peacekeeping force, the first of its kind, to the disputed territory. Lester B. Pearson wins a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions, and soon after becomes Canadian Prime Minister.
November 3: Sputnik 2 was launched, with the first living being on board, Laika.
November 7: The final report from a special committee called by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to review the nation's defense readiness indicates that the United States is falling far behind the Soviets in missile capabilities, and urges a vigorous campaign to build fallout shelters to protect American citizens.
November 15: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile "shooting match" to prove his assertion.
June: A C-118 transport, hauling freight from Turkey to Iran, is shot down. The nine crew members are released by the Russians little more than a week later.
July 14: A coup in Iraq, the 14 July Revolution, removes the pro-British monarch. Iraq begins to receive support from the Soviets. Iraq will maintain close ties with the Soviets throughout the Cold War.
August: Thor IRBM deployed to the UK, within striking distance of Moscow.
July 24: During the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow US Vice President Richard Nixon and Premier Khrushchev openly debate the capacities of each Superpower. This conversation is known as the Kitchen Debate.
August 7: Explorer 6 is launched into orbit to photograph the Earth.
December: Formation of the NLF (often called Viet Cong) by North Vietnam. It is a Communist insurgent movement that vows to overthrow the anti-communist South Vietnamese regime. It is supplied extensively by North Vietnam and the USSR eventually.
February 16: France successfully tests its first atomic bomb, Gerboise Bleue, in the middle of the Algerian Sahara Desert.
April: Jupiter IRBM deployment to Italy begins, placing nuclear missiles within striking range of Moscow (as with the Thor IRBMs deployed in the UK).
June: Sino-Soviet split: The Chinese leadership, angered at being treated as the "junior partner" to the Soviet Union, declares its version of Communism superior and begin to compete with the Soviets for influence, thus adding a third dimension to the Cold War.
July 20: Neutralization of Laos is established by international agreement, but North Vietnam refuses to withdraw its personnel.
September 8: Himalayan War: Chinese forces attack India, making claims on numerous border areas.
October 16: Cuban Missile Crisis: The Soviets have secretly been installing military bases, including nuclear weapons, on Cuba, some 90 miles from the US mainland. Kennedy orders a "quarantine" (a naval blockade) of the island that intensifies the crisis and brings the US and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war. In the end, both sides reach a compromise. The Soviets back down and agree to withdraw their nuclear missiles from Cuba, in exchange for a secret agreement by Kennedy pledging to withdraw similar American missiles from Turkey and Italy, and guaranteeing that the US will not move against the Castro regime.
November 21: End of the Himalayan War. China occupies a small strip of Indian land.
June 20: The United States agrees to set up a hotline with the USSR, thus making direct communication possible.
June 21: France announces that it is withdrawing its navy from the North Atlantic fleet of NATO.
August 5: The Partial Test Ban Treaty is signed by the US, UK and USSR, prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons anywhere except underground.
November 2: South Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated in coup. CIA involvement is suspected.
November 22: John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas. There has been some speculation over whether communist countries or even CIA were involved in the assassination, but those theories remain controversial. Kennedy's vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of the United States.
October 22: Egypt defects to the American camp by accepting a U.S. cease-fire proposal during the October 1973 war.
November 11: The Soviet Union announces that, because of its opposition to the recent overthrow of the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende, it will not play a World Cup Soccer match against the Chilean team if the match is held in Santiago.
June: SEATO formally ends after France leaves the organization.
August 9: Gerald Ford becomes President of the United States upon the resignation of Nixon.
April 30: North Vietnam wins the war in South Vietnam. The South Vietnam regime falls with the surrender of Saigon and the two countries are united under a Communist government.
May 12: Mayagüez incident: The Khmer Rouge seize an American naval ship, prompting American intervention to recapture the ship and its crew. In the end, the crew is released from captivity.
June 25: Portugal withdraws from Angola and Mozambique, where Marxist governments are installed, the former with backing from Cuban troops. Civilwar engulfs both nations and involves Angolans, Mozambicans, South Africans, and Cubans, with the superpowers supporting their respective ideologies.
July: The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project takes place. It is the first joint flight of the US and Soviet space programs. The mission is seen as a symbol of détente and an end to the "space race".
December 12: NATO Double-Track Decision - NATO offers mutual limitation of ballistic missiles combined with the threat that in case of disagreement NATO would deploy more middle-range nuclear weapons in Western Europe.
August 31: In Poland the Gdańsk Agreement is signed after a wave of strikes which began at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdańsk. The agreement allows greater civil rights, such as the establishment of a trade union, known as Solidarity, independent of communist party control.
January 17: Martial law was lifted by Ferdinand Marcos in preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul II.
January 20: Ronald Reagan inaugurated 40th President of the United States. Reagan is elected on a platform opposed to the concessions of détente.
January 20: Iran hostage crisis ends.
August 19: Gulf of Sidra Incident: Libyan planes attack U.S. jets in the Gulf of Sidra, which Libya has illegally annexed. Two Libyan jets are shot down; no American losses are suffered.
October 27: A Soviet submarine, the U137, runs aground not far from the Swedish naval base at Karlskrona.
November 23: The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) begins to support anti-Sandinista Contras.
July 7: Ten-year-old Samantha Smith accepts the invitation of Soviet premiere Yuri Andropov and visits the Soviet Union with her parents. Smith had written to Andropov to ask if he would "vote to have a war or not?" Smith's letter, published in the Soviet newspaper Pravda, prompted Andropov to reply and invite the girl to the U.S.S.R. The widely publicized event leads to other Soviet-American cultural exchanges.
September 26: The U.S.S.R. nuclear early warning system reports launch of multiple U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles. Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, an officer of the Soviet Air Defence Forces, correctly identifies them as false alarms. This decision is seen as having prevented a retaliatory nuclear attack based on erroneous data on the United States and its NATO allies, which likely would have resulted in nuclear war and the deaths of hundreds of millions of people.
October 25: U.S. forces invade the Caribbean island of Grenada in an attempt to overthrow the Communist government, expel Cuban troops, and abort the construction of a Soviet-funded airstrip.
November 2: Exercise Able Archer 83 — Soviet anti-aircraft misinterpret a test of NATO's nuclear warfare procedures as a fake cover for an actual NATO attack; in response, Soviet nuclear forces are put on high alert.
August 11: During a microphone sound check for his weekly radio address, President Ronald Reagan jokes about bombing the Soviet Union. "My fellow Americans," Reagan says. "I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." The quip is not aired but is leaked to the press. The Soviet Union temporarily puts its defense forces on high alert.
August 6: Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union begins what it has announced is a 5-month unilateral moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons. The Reagan administration dismisses the dramatic move as nothing more than propaganda and refuses to follow suit. Gorbachev declares several extensions, but the United States fails to reciprocate, and the moratorium comes to an end on February 5, 1987.
November 21: Reagan and Gorbachev meet for the first time at a summit in Geneva, Switzerland, where they agree to two (later three) more summits.
February 13: France launches Operation Epervier (Sparrowhawk) in an effort to repulse the Libyan invasion of Chad.
November 3: Iran-Contra affair: The Reagan administration publicly announces that it has been selling arms to Iran in exchange for hostages and illegally transferring the profits to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
January 16: Natives within the Party who oppose his policies of economic redevelopment (Perestroika). It is Gorbachev's hope that through initiatives of openness, debate and participation, that the Soviet people will support Perestroika.
December 8: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Some later claim this was the official end of the Cold War. Gorbachev agrees to START I treaty.
May 29-June 1: Reagan and Gorbachev meet in Moscow. INF Treaty ratified. When asked if he still believes that the Soviet Union is still an evil empire, Reagan replies he was talking about "another time, another era."
November 6: Soviet scientist and well-known human rights activist Andrei Sakharov begins a two-week visit to the United States.
December 7: Gorbachev announces in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly that the Soviet Union will no longer militarily interfere with Eastern Europe.
December 22: South Africa withdraws from South West Africa (Namibia).
November 9: Revolutions of Eastern Europe: Soviet reforms have allowed Eastern Europe to change the Communist governments there. The Berlin Wall is breached when Politburo spokesman, Günter Schabowski, not fully informed of the technicalities or procedures of the newly agreed lifting of travel restrictions, mistakenly announces at a news conference in East Berlin that the borders have been opened.
Anti-Sovietism and anti-Soviet refer to persons and activities actually or allegedly aimed against the Soviet Union or government power within the Soviet Union.Three different flavors of the usage of the term may be distinguished.
Anti-Sovietism in international politics, such as the Western opposition to the Soviet Union during the Cold War by anti-communism.
Anti-Soviet opponents of Bolsheviks shortly after the Russian Revolution and during the Russian Civil War.
As applied to Soviet citizens (allegedly) involved in anti-government activities.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), and the United States with its allies (the Western Bloc) after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989, which ended communism in Eastern Europe as well as in other areas, and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, when nations of the Soviet Union abolished communism and restored their independence. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.
The capitalist West was led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system, as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were generally liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies. Some major Cold War frontlines such as Indochina, Indonesia, and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed Marxist–Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a totalitarian leader with different titles over time, and a small committee called the Politburo. The Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, and many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, and funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. The two worlds were fighting for dominance in poor, low-developed regions known as the Third World.
In time, a neutral bloc arose in these regions with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. Notwithstanding relatively isolated incidents of air-to-air dogfights and shoot-downs, the two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat. However, both were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.
The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948–49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950–1953), the conflict expanded. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which was perhaps the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon also in Europe and the US. The peace movement, and in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and continued to grow through the '70s and '80s with large protest marches, demonstrations, and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955–75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.
By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. On 12 June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, New York to call for an end to the Cold War arms race and nuclear weapons in particular. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia, and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower.
The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (notably the internationally successful James Bond book and film franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between the Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, and the United States in the 2010s (including its Western allies) has been referred to as the Second Cold War.
The Cold War (1947–1953) is the period within the Cold War from the Truman Doctrine in 1947 to the conclusion of the Korean War in 1953. The Cold War emerged in Europe a few years after the successful US–USSR–UK coalition won World War II in Europe, and extended to 1989–91. In 1947, Bernard Baruch, the multimillionaire financier and adviser to presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Harry S. Truman, coined the term “Cold War” to describe the increasingly chilly relations between two World War II Allies: the United States and the Soviet Union.
Some conflicts between the West and the USSR appeared earlier. In 1945–46 the US and UK strongly protested Soviet political takeover efforts in Eastern Europe and Iran, while the hunt for Soviet spies made the tensions more visible. However historians emphasize the decisive break between the US–UK and the USSR came in 1947–48 over such issues as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Blockade, followed by the formation of NATO in 1949.The Cold War took place worldwide, but it had a partially different timing outside Europe.
The Cold War (1953–1962) discusses the period within the Cold War from the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953 to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Following the death of Stalin, new leaders attempted to "de-Stalinize" the Soviet Union causing unrest in the Eastern Bloc and members of the Warsaw Pact. In spite of this there was a calming of international tensions, the evidence of which can be seen in the signing of the Austrian State Treaty reuniting Austria, and the Geneva Accords ending fighting in Indochina. However, this period of good happenings was only partial with an expensive arms race continuing during the period and a less alarming, but very expensive space race occurring between the two superpowers as well. The addition of African countries to the stage of cold war, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo joining the Soviets, caused even more unrest in the west.
The Cold War (1962–1979) refers to the phase within the Cold War that spanned the period between the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis in late October 1962, through the détente period beginning in 1969, to the end of détente in the late 1970s.
The United States maintained its Cold War engagement with the Soviet Union during the period, despite internal preoccupations with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Movement and the opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.
In 1968, Eastern Bloc member Czechoslovakia attempted the reforms of the Prague Spring and was subsequently invaded by the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact members, who reinstated the Soviet model. By 1973, the US had withdrawn from the Vietnam War. While communists gained power in some South East Asian countries, they were divided by the Sino-Soviet Split, with China moving closer to the Western camp, following US President Richard Nixon's visit to China. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Third World was increasingly divided between governments backed by the Soviets (such as Libya, Iraq and Syria), governments backed by NATO (such as Saudi Arabia), and a growing camp of non-aligned nations.
The Soviet and other Eastern Bloc economies continued to stagnate. Worldwide inflation occurred following the 1973 oil crisis.
The Cold War (1979–1985) refers to a late phase of the Cold War marked by a sharp increase in hostility between the Soviet Union and the West. It arose from a strong denunciation of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. With the election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and American President Ronald Reagan in 1980, a corresponding change in Western foreign policy approach toward the Soviet Union was marked by the rejection of détente in favor of the Reagan Doctrine policy of rollback, with the stated goal of dissolving Soviet influence in Soviet Bloc countries. During this time, the threat of nuclear war had reached new heights not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan following the Saur Revolution in that country, ultimately leading to the deaths of around one million civilians. Mujahideen fighters succeeded in forcing a Soviet military withdrawal in 1989. In response, U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced a U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics. In 1984, the Soviet Union responded with its own boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Tensions increased when the U.S. announced they would deploy Pershing II missiles in West Germany, followed by Reagan's announcement of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative and were further exacerbated in 1983 when Reagan branded the Soviet Union an "evil empire".
In April 1983, the United States Navy conducted FleetEx '83-1, the largest fleet exercise held to date in the North Pacific. The conglomeration of approximately forty ships with 23,000 crewmembers and 300 aircraft, was arguably the most powerful naval armada ever assembled. U.S. aircraft and ships attempted to provoke the Soviets into reacting, allowing U.S. Naval Intelligence to study Soviet radar characteristics, aircraft capabilities, and tactical maneuvers. On April 4, at least six U.S. Navy aircraft flew over one of the Kurile Islands, Zeleny Island, the largest of a set of islets called the Habomai Islands. The Soviets were outraged and ordered a retaliatory overflight of the Aleutian Islands. The Soviet Union also issued a formal diplomatic note of protest, which accused the United States of repeated penetrations of Soviet airspace. In the following September, the civilian airliner Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was downed by Soviet fighter jets over nearby Moneron Island.
In November 1983, NATO conducted a military exercise known as "Able Archer 83". The realistic simulation of a nuclear attack by NATO forces caused considerable alarm in the USSR and is regarded by many historians to be the closest the world came to nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.This period of the Cold War would continue through U.S. President Reagan's first term (1981–1985), through the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1982, the brief interim period of Soviet leadership consisting of Yuri Andropov (1982–1984) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984–1985). This phase in the Cold War concluded in 1985 with the ascension of reform-minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who brought a commitment to reduce tensions between the East and the West and bring about major reforms in Soviet society.
The Cold War period of 1985–1991 began with the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was a revolutionary leader for the USSR, as he was the first to promote liberalization of the political landscape (Glasnost) and capitalist elements into the economy (Perestroika); prior to this, the USSR had been strictly prohibiting liberal reform and maintained an inefficient command economy. The USSR, despite facing massive economic difficulties, was involved in a costly arms race with the United States under President Ronald Reagan. Regardless, the USSR began to crumble as liberal reforms proved difficult to handle and capitalist changes to the economy were badly instituted and caused major problems. The Cold War came to an end when the last war of Soviet occupation ended in Afghanistan, the Berlin Wall came down in Germany, and a series of mostly peaceful revolutions swept the Soviet Bloc states of eastern Europe in 1989.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Cold War:
Cold War – period of political and military tension that occurred after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact). Historians have not fully agreed on the dates, but 1947–1991 is common. It was termed as "cold" because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides. Based on the principle of mutually assured destruction, both sides developed nuclear weapons to deter the other side from attacking. So they competed against each other via espionage, propaganda, and by supporting major regional wars, known as proxy wars, in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
The Sputnik crisis was a period of public fear and anxiety in Western nations about the perceived technological gap between the United States and Soviet Union caused by the Soviets' launch of Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite. The crisis was a key event in the Cold War that triggered the creation of NASA and the Space Race between the two superpowers. The satellite was launched on October 4, 1957, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Twilight Struggle: The Cold War, 1945–1989 is a card-driven strategy game for two players, with its theme taken from the Cold War. One player plays the United States (US), and the other plays the Soviet Union (USSR). The game takes its title from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address:
Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle...
Twilight Struggle was the highest-ranked game on BoardGameGeek from December 2010 to January 2016. As of August 2018, the board game occupies a fifth spot. Being released in 2005 it is the oldest board game in the overall top 10 ranking.
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