Cold War Timeline
As we move through the semester, start each session with a review of the items on Cold War timeline.



Video: David Halberstam's The Fifties: "The Fear and the Dream" Part 1
Start at 31:22-46:30

We began with the North (US)-South (Latin America) dimension.

Note: I use Latin America as shorthand for Mexico, Central America, and South America
Those countries remember US interventions (imperialism?)

In this module, we will lay out the East (USSR)-West (US) Cold War struggle.

Then we will spend the rest of the semester on how the US dealt with what was happening in Latin America anyway.

World War One (1914-1917)
Russia initially on the side of France and Britain

Bolshevik Revolution 1917
Soviets pulled out of World War I

Russia>>>USSR>>>now Russia again
Baggage from the past affects relationship even now in 2017

Russian Revolution at 26:07
The Century: America's Time - 1914-1919: Shell Shock

Read this one
War and Revolution in Russia 1914 - 1921

US intervention in Soviet Union (1918-1920
Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War

First Red Scare in the United States (1917-1920)

US Diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union, 1933a

Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939
Threw things out of balance for awhile

German invasion of the Soviet Union, June 1941

Soviets were our ally in World War Two
But tensions existed--and increased
U.S.-Soviet Alliance during World War II, 1941–1945

United Nations (1945)
Both US and USSR with veto power on Security Council

Each country (from Mexico to Central America, South America, and Caribbean) had its internal issues.
What was happening in each country was not always a Cold War issue as that country experienced it

Context is crucial for us as historians.
During each class session we will review the Cold War timeline to see what else was happening.

Cold War was then a much bigger deal in US than the War on Terror is now.
Cold War lasted a long time.
So if we picture the current paranoia and multiply it several times, we can simulate the Cold War feelings.

We are now worried about nuclear threat from tiny North Korea; then it was threat from superpower USSR

Congressional oversight issue:

President as Commander-in-Chief can move troops and essentially start a war
Congress is supposed to declare war, but this rarely happens anymore
After Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Watergate>>War Powers Act
Congress tried to tighten up oversight
But a conflict between Congress and the President remains

Degree of oversight depends on many things, one of which is party affiliations
US Presidents and party control of Congress
The Balance Of Power Between Congress and The Presidency (1901-2017) -

Conservative Coalition in US Congress
Used to be a custom that "Politics stops at water's edge

Three options:
dictator, communists, middle roader.

Sort of like after 9/11: you're either with us or against us
Hard for us to get the perfect middle roader as country leader
Better the dictator than a left-winger
A Latin American president who pushed democracy and social reform could lead to lefties
If members of the govt were avowed Communists, we freaked
See 1948 Czech coup>>United Front could lead to Communists coming intomaacontrol
Revolutions could also lead to lefties
[Though many of FDR's policies had resonated in Latin America]
Better to have a dictator or military control, even with human rights abuses

What we did (or could do) in each country depended on that country's political situation
That changed over time

Cold War from Soviet perspective

Soviets not pushing their agenda during the entire Cold War; ebbs and flows
Castro (at intervals) pushing it a lot)
Che Guevara seemed a real threat to US

Extracting the Eagle's Talon: The Soviet Union in Cold War Latin America
Ph.D. Dissertation online

Wars of National Liberation
Connect to decolonization


Decolonization of Asia and Africa, 1945-1960
All these countries were courted by both US and USSR
Mexico, Central America, and South America already had their independence
Cuba will become a first Soviet victory in our hemisphere


Great map showing decolonization
Reasons for the end of imperialism, decolonization and emergence of new Nation-states and its
impact – Banyan Tree

Peaceful Coexistence

Cold War begins after World War Two

CNN Cold War series

Sources Of The Cold War

Main focus is the rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (USSR).
USSR=Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Here is a listing of which Republics the USSR included:
Russia by far the major part of the USSR.

Hot war==actual shooting
Cold war==hostility but either no actual shooting or war through surrogates

George F. Kennan and Containment

Containment of Soviets became the cornerstone of American foreign policy.

1. Kennan's "Long telegram" 1946
a. American diplomat in Moscow.
b. Soviet fanaticism made even a temporary understanding impossible.
c. His report played into a growing belief among American officials that only toughness would work with the Soviets.

2. Kennan's "Mr. X" article.

a. The article, titled the Sources of Soviet Conduct and based on the "long telegram," was published in the prestigious Foreign Affairs magazine.
b. Author (Kennan) advocated a policy of firm containment of the Soviets.
c. "Confront the Soviets with unalterable counterforce at every point where they show signs of encroaching on the interests of a peaceful and stable world."

Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech (1946)

1. Warned that a Soviet "iron curtain" had cut off Eastern European countries from the West.
2. Called for an Anglo–American partnership to resist the communist menace.

Truman Doctrine (1947)

1. British had no money to continue to help Greece and Turkey.
2. British claimed that Communists threatened both countries.
3. Congress approved $400 million economic aid to Greece & Turkey.
4. Truman doctrine: "U.S. policy to support free peoples who are resisting attempted takeover by (a) armed minorities or (b) outside pressure."

1948 Czechoslovak coup d'etat
How this affects US reaction to any Communist in a Latin American governmentétat

Marshall Plan (1948)

1. War damage and dislocation in Europe invited communist influence:
a. Food was scarce; workers were demoralized; winter of 1947 was the worst in 50 years.
b. Communist voting strength was growing in France and Italy
2. U.S. offered economic aid to all European countries (including Soviets)
3. Soviets declined: fearing aid might defeat their control of Eastern Europe
4. U.S. gave $17 billion in aid over four years.
5. That aid helped rebuild Europe. It was also good for American business.

Berlin blockade and airlift (24 June 1948–12 May 1949)

1. Soviets blocked land access to Berlin.
2. U.S. airlifted food and fuel for 2 million West Berliners.
3. Flights of 1,000 planes a day (every 3 minutes) for ten months.
4. Soviets finally called off blockade.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (4 April 1949)
Established to defend Europe against a Soviet invasion.

September 1949: USSR now has an atomic weapon

Reconstruction of Japan after World War II
To help contain communism in Asia, we eventually built up Japan.
Japan turned into a formidable economic competitor.

People's Republic of China (PRC) (1949)

1. Chinese Civil War (1945-1949)
War between the forces of Mao Tse-Tung's Commuists and our World War II ally, Chang Kai-Shek.
2. Mao Tse-Tung's Communists won. Establishment of the People's Republic of China (1949).
3. Chang Kai-Shek and his supporters were forced to leave mainland China and move to the island of Taiwan (formerly called Formosa).
4. The Communist victory had a major influence on American politics.
Republicans criticized Democrats for the "loss" of China to the Communists.
A defeat for containment.

NSC-68, April 1950
US should confront the USSR everywhere with military power.


Video: David Halberstam's The Fifties: "The Fear and the Dream" Part 2
Start at 00:00-19:00
John Service

McCarthyism (1950-1954)

Named for Republican Senator from Wisconsin Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin)
Video: Red Scare (Sound Smart)


Video: Joseph McCarthy (Sound Smart)

People began pointing accusing fingers at each other.
To harass or persecute (someone) on account of known or suspected communist sympathies.

"Hollywood Ten" (screenwriters and directors) jailed for contempt of Congress.
Video: Hollywood Ten (Sound Smart)

McCarthy era issues key to 1954 Guatemala context

Senator McCarthy censured by the US Senate on 2 December 1954

Joseph Stalin (died 5 March 1953)

Korean War (25 June 1950-27 July 1953)

Video: Start of Korean War (4/10)

1954 Doolittle Commission Report
This is good, especially the line about 1948 Czech coup,_1954

Vietnam (1954-1973)
French defeated at Battle of Dienbienphu (May 1954)
Geneva Conference (April-July 1954) ends the war of French (financed by US) against Viet Minh
French will leave.
US will take over. US will be there until 1973

Domino Theory
Video: The Cold War & the Domino Theory
Initially applied to Vietnam, later to Latin (principally, Central) America

Non-Aligned Movement
Bandung Conference
Bandung Conference (Asian-African Conference), 1955

Suez crisis (Oct-Nov 1956)

Hungarian Revolution (1956)

Crushed by Soviets (Oct-Nov 1956)

Sputnik (1957)
Soviets launched a satellite that scared America and put them ahead (temporarily) in the space race.

U–2 incident (1960)
U–2 spy plane carrying high–powered cameras crashed 1,200 miles inside the Soviet Union.
After denying presence of such a spy plane, President Eisenhower (Ike) accepted the blame.

1960 Presidential Election
Nixon and Kennedy Hold First Ever Presidential Debate

Peace Corps (1961)

Sino-Soviet split (1961)

Berlin Wall (August 1961)
Soviets built a wall to keep people from fleeing East Berlin.

President Kennedy's Speech at the Berlin Wall (June 1963)
President Kennedy Declares “Ich bin ein Berliner”

Cuba and Castro

1. Fidel Castro ousted American–backed dictator Fulgencio Batista (1 Janiary 1959)
2. Castro's Cuba became an ally of the Soviet Union.
3. America freaked. President Eisenhower (Ike) broke diplomatic relations with Cuba.
4. Ike ordered CIA to use Cuban exiles to try to overthrow Castro.

Bay of Pigs invasion (April 1961)

Video: Cuba and the Bay of Pigs (5:34)

1. Kennedy approved the Eisenhower-initiated plan to topple Castro.
2. The 1,500 man invasion force was unsuccessful.
3. No uprising against Castro occurred.
4. Kennedy took all the blame. His poll ratings went up! Kennedy in his first Hundred Days.

Cuban missile crisis (October 1962)

1. Soviet's secretly installed offensive missiles in Cuba.
2. Kennedy (JFK) learned from his mistakes earlier at Bay of Pigs. Laid out a range of options.
3. JFK chose a naval blockade (quarantine) of Cuba.
4. Soviets ships eventually turned back before they got to U.S blockade

Subsequent events in Cold War timeline

Sino-Soviet split (1961)

22 November 1963 US: Kennedy is assassinated

Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976)

January-February 1968: Vietnamese context: Tet offensive

April 1968: Death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

June 1968: Death of Robert F. Kennedy

20 January 1969 President Richard M. Nixon takes office

Relaxation of tensions between the superpowers.étente

"Grand strategy." Nixon and Kissinger.
Henry Kissinger: National security adviser; then Secretary of State

Originally, People's Republic of China (PRC) seen as a tool of Soviet Union
Nixon decided to play them off against each other

Nixon to China (February 1972)

Nixon to Soviet Union (May 1972)

1973 Oil Crisis

Vietnam context: January 1973 US: Paris Accords end the Vietnam War

August 1974 US: President Nixon resigns the Presidency because of Watergate. Ford takes over.

20 January 1977 US: President Jimmy Carter's term begins.
As opposed to Nixon/Kissinger and Reagan later, Carter's emphasis is on human rights.

February 1979 Iranian revolution (Jan 1978-Feb 1979)

November 1979: Beginning of Iranian hostage crisis

December 1979: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

April 1980: failure of Iranian hostage rescue attempt (Operation Eagle Claw)

20 January 1981 US: President Reagan takes office. No more human rights concerns.

US -Soviet Relations, 1981-1991

20 January 1989 US: President George H.W. Bush

November 1989 US: Berlin Wall comes down; end of the Cold War

Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, 1989

The Collapse of the Soviet Union

Iraq: Desert Shield>>Desert Storm (2 August 1990-28 February 1991)

August 1991 USSR: Soviet Union collapses

Nuclear Weapons issues

The Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 1968

Détente and Arms Control, 1969–1979 - Milestones

Strategic Arms Limitations Talks/Treaty (SALT) I and II

Counter-Proliferation During the Carter Administration

Mutually-Assured Destruction (MAD)
How did we forget about mutually assured destruction?