* February 4: The Yalta Conference occurs, deciding the post-war status of Germany. The Allies (the USA, the USSR, Great Britain and France) divide Germany into four occupation zones. The Allied nations agree that free elections are to be held in all countries occupied by Nazi Germany. In addition, the new United Nations are to replace the failed League of Nations. * July 24: US President Harry S. Truman informs Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin that the United States has nuclear weapons. * August 2: The Potsdam Conference ends with the Potsdam Agreement that organizes the division and reconstruction of Europe after World War II. New boundaries of Poland are agreed. After the agreement to divide Germany into four zones [Yalta Conference], the four nations also decide to split Germany's capital, Berlin, into four zones as well. The Allied powers also agree to start legal trials at Nuremberg of the Nazi War criminals. * August 6: US President Truman gives permission for the world's first military use of an atomic weapon against the Japanese city of Hiroshima in an attempt to bring the only remaining theater of war from the Second World War in the Pacific to a swift close. * August 8: The USSR honors its agreement to declare war on Japan within three months of the victory in Europe, and invades Manchuria. In accordance with the Yalta Conference agreements, the Soviet Union also invades Japanese Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. * August 9: US President Truman gives permission for the world's second and last military use of an atomic weapon against the Japanese city of Nagasaki in order to try to secure a swift Japanese unconditional surrender in the end of the Second World War. * September 2: The Japanese surrender unconditionally to the US on board the USS Missouri to representative General Douglas MacArthur. * September 5: Igor Gouzenko, a clerk working in the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, Canada, defects and provides proof to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of a Soviet spy ring operating in Canada and other western countries. The Gouzenko affair helps change perceptions of the Soviet Union from an ally to a foe.
* January: Chinese Civil War resumes between Communist and Nationalist forces. * January 7: The Republic of Austria is reconstituted, with its 1937 borders, but divided into four zones of control: American, British, French, and Soviet. * January 11: Enver Hoxha declares the People's Republic of Albania, with himself as Prime Minister. * February 22: George F. Kennan writes his Long Telegram, describing his interpretation of the objectives and intentions of the Soviet leadership. * March: The Greek Civil War reignites between communists and the conservative Greek government. * March 2: British soldiers withdraw from their zone of occupation in southern Iran. Soviet soldiers remain in their northern sector. * March 5: Winston Churchill warns of the descent of an Iron Curtain across Europe. * April 5: Soviet forces evacuate Iran after a crisis. * July 4: The Philippines gains independence from the United States, and begins fighting communist Huk rebels. * September 6: In a speech known as the Restatement of Policy on Germany in Stuttgart, James F. Byrnes, United States Secretary of State repudiates the Morgenthau Plan and gives Germans hope for the future. He states the US intention to keep troops in Europe indefinitely and expresses US approval of the territorial annexation of 29% of pre-war Germany, but does not condone further claims. * September 8: In a referendum, Bulgaria votes for the establishment of a People's Republic, deposing King Simeon II. Western countries dismiss the vote as fundamentally flawed. * December 19: French landings in Indochina begin the First Indochina War. They are resisted by the Viet Minh communists who want national independence.
* January 1: The American and British zones of control in Germany are united to form the Bizone also known as Bizonia. * March 12: United States President Harry Truman announces the Truman Doctrine. The Doctrine states that the USA will remain committed to "contain" further communist expansion. Truman cites the domino effect as a possibility. * May 22: US extends $400 million of military aid to Greece and Turkey, signalling its intent to contain communism in the Mediterranean. * June 5: Secretary of State George Marshall outlines plans for a comprehensive program of economic assistance for the war-ravaged countries of Western Europe. It would become known throughout the world as the Marshall Plan. * 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 are granted independence by the United Kingdom. * 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.
* February 26: The Communist Party takes control in Czechoslovakia, after President Edvard Beneš accepts the resignation of all non-communist ministers. * April 3: Truman signs the Marshall Plan into effect. By the end of the programs, the United States has given $12.4bln in economic assistance to European countries. * May 10: A parliamentary vote in southern Korea sees the confirmation of Syngman Rhee as President of the Republic of Korea, after a left-wing boycott. * June 18: A communist insurgency in Malaya begins against British and Commonwealth forces. * June 21: In Germany, the Bizone and the French zone launch a common currency, the Deutsche Mark. * June 24: Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin orders the blockade of 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: Yugoslavia splits from the Soviet camp. * July 17: The constitution of the Republic of Korea is effected. * September 9: The Soviet Union declares the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to be the legitimate government of all of Korea, with Kim Il-sung as Prime Minister.
* April 4: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is founded by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in order to resist Communist expansion. * 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. * May 23: In Germany, the Bizone merges with the French zone of control to form the Federal Republic of Germany, with Bonn as its capital. * June 8: The Red Scare reaches its peak, with the naming of numerous American celebrities as members of the Communist Party. * August 29: The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb. The test, known to Americans as Joe 1, succeeds, as the Soviet Union becomes the world's second nuclear power. * September 13: The USSR vetoes the United Nations membership of Ceylon, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, and Portugal. * September 15: Konrad Adenauer becomes the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. * October 1: Mao Zedong declares the foundation of the People's Republic of China - adding a quarter of the world's population to the communist camp. * October 7: The Soviets declare their zone of Germany to be the German Democratic Republic, with its capital at East Berlin. * 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.
* January 6: The United Kingdom recognizes the People's Republic of China. The Republic of China severs diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom. * January 31: The last Kuomintang soldiers surrender on continental China. * February 14: The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China sign a pact of mutual defense. * March 1: Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek moves his capital to Taipei, Taiwan, establishing a stand-off with the People's Republic of China. * April 14: United States State Department Director of Policy Planning Paul Nitze issues NSC-68, a classified brief, arguing for the adoption of containment as the cornerstone of United States foreign policy. It would dictate US policy for the next twenty years. * May 9: Robert Schuman describes his ambition of a united Europe. Known as the Schuman Declaration, it marks the beginning of the creation of the European Community. * June 25: North Korea invades South Korea, sparking the Korean War. * June 27: The United Nations votes to send forces to Korea to aid South Korea. The Soviet Union cannot veto, as it is boycotting the Security Council over the admission of People's Republic of China. Eventually, the number of countries operating under the UN aegis increases to 16: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. * June 28: Seoul, the capital of South Korea, falls to North Korean forces. * July 5: 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 15: United Nations forces land at Incheon. Defeating the North Korean forces, they press inland and re-capture Seoul. * October 7: United Nations forces cross the 38th parallel, into North Korea. * October 8: Forces from the People's Republic of China mobilize along the Yalu River. * October 19: Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, falls to United Nations forces. * October 25: China invades Korea with 300,000 soldiers, catching the United Nations by surprise. However, they withdraw after initial engagements. * November 26: United Nations forces approach the Yalu River. In response, China invades 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. * April 11: US President Harry S. Truman fires Douglas MacArthur from command of US forces in Korea. * April 18: The European Coal and Steel Community is formed by the Treaty of Paris. * 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. * September 20: Greece and Turkey join NATO. * December 12: The International Authority for the Ruhr lifted part of the remaining restrictions on German industrial production and on production capacity.
* April 28: Japan signs the Treaty of San Francisco and the Treaty of Taipei, formally ending its period of occupation and isolation, and becoming a sovereign state. * June: Strategic Air Command begins Reflex Alert deployments of Convair B-36 and B-47 Stratojet long-range nuclear bombers to overseas bases like purpose-built Nouasseur Air Base in French Morocco, placing them within unrefueled striking range of Moscow. * June 14: The United States lays the keel for the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus. * June 30: The Marshall Plan ends, with European industrial output now well above that of 1938. * July 26: Gamal Abdel Nasser heads a coup against King Farouk of Egypt. * October 2: The United Kingdom successfully tests its atomic bomb in Operation Hurricane. The test makes the UK the world's third nuclear power. * November 1: The United States detonates the world's first hydrogen bomb in Operation Ivy.
* January 20: Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes President of the United States. * March 5: Joseph Stalin dies, setting off a power struggle to succeed him. * July 27: A Cease-fire ends fighting on the Korean Peninsula. * August 19: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assists a royalist coup that ousts Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq (Operation Ajax). The coup was organized because of Iranian nationalization of the oil industry and fears of Iran joining the Soviet camp. * September 7: Nikita Khrushchev becomes leader of the Soviet Communist Party. His main rival, Beria, is executed in December. * 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. * May 7: The Viet Minh defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu. France withdraws from Indochina, leaving four independent states: Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam (founded by the communist former Viet Minh) and South Vietnam (anti-communists). The Geneva Accords calls for free elections to unite Vietnam, but none of the major parties wish this to occur. * May: The Huk revolt in the Philippines is defeated. * 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. * July 23: Nasser, an Egyptian nationalist, ousts the pro-British King Farouk and establishes a dictatorship. Soon he becomes an important Soviet ally. * August 11: The Taiwan Strait Crisis begins with the Chinese Communist shelling of Taiwanese islands. The US backs Taiwan, and the crisis resolves itself as both sides decline to take action. * September 8: Foundation of the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) by Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Like NATO, it is founded to resist Communist expansion, this time in the Philippines and Indochina.
* February 24: The Baghdad Pact is founded by Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. It is committed to resisting Communist expansion in the Middle East. * March: Soviet aid to Syria begins. The Syrians will remain allies of the Soviets until the end of the Cold War. * April: The Non-Aligned Movement is pioneered by Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. This movement was designed to be a bulwark against the 'dangerous polarization' of the world at that time and to restore balance of power with smaller nations. It was an international organization of states considering themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. * May 9: West Germany joins NATO and begins rearmament. * May 14: The Warsaw Pact is founded in Eastern Europe and includes East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union. It acts as the Communist military counterpart to NATO. * May 15: Austria is neutralized and allied occupation ends. * July 18: President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States, Prime Minister Anthony Eden of the United Kingdom, Premier Nikolai A. Bulganin of the Soviet Union, and Prime Minister Edgar Faure of France, known as the 'Big Four', attend the Geneva Summit. Also in attendance was Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union.
* February 25 : Nikita Khrushchev delivers the speech "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences" at the closed session of the Twentieth Party Congress of the CPSU. The speech marks the beginning of the De-Stalinization. * June 28: in Poznań, Poland, anti-communist protests lead to violence. * July 26: Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal. * 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.
* January 5: The Eisenhower doctrine commits the US to defending Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan from Communist influence. * January 22: Israeli forces withdraw from the Sinai, which they had occupied the previous year. * A Communist insurgency begins in South Vietnam, sponsored by North Vietnam. * October 1: The Strategic Air Command initiates 24/7 nuclear alert (continuous until termination in 1991) in anticipation of a Soviet ICBM surprise attack capability. * October 4: Sputnik satellite launched.
* 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 23: Second Taiwan Strait Crisis begins when China begins to bomb Quemoy. * August: Thor IRBM deployed to the UK, within striking distance of Moscow.
* January 1: Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro becomes the leader of a new Marxist Cuba. Cuban-inspired guerrilla movements spring up across Latin America. * March 24: New Republic government of Iraq leaves Central Treaty Organization * July 24: During the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow US Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev openly debate the capacities of each Superpower. This conversation is known as the Kitchen Debate. * September: Khrushchev visits U.S. for 13 days. * December: Formation of the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. It is a Communist insurgent movement that vows to overthrow the anti-communist South Vietnamese government. It is supplied extensively by North Vietnam.
* April: Jupiter IRBM deployment to Italy begins, placing nuclear missiles within striking range of Moscow (as with the Thor IRBMs deployed in the UK). * May 1: American pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down in his U-2 spy plane while flying at high altitude over the Soviet Union, resulting in the U-2 Incident, an embarrassment for President Eisenhower. * 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 31: Communist insurgents in Malaya are defeated. * August 9: The Pathet Lao (communist) revolt in Laos begins.
* January 20: John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United States. * February 4: Angolan nationalists, including communists, begin an insurgency against Portuguese rule. * April 15: Bay of Pigs Invasion: A CIA-backed invasion of Cuba by counter-revolutionaries ends in failure. * May 25: John F. Kennedy announces the US intention to put a man on the moon - kickstarting the Apollo program * June 4: Kennedy meets with Khrushchev in Vienna. * June: Jupiter IRBM deployment to Turkey begins, joining the Jupiters deployed to Italy as well as the Thor IRBMs deployed to the UK as nuclear missiles placed within striking distance of Moscow. * August 13: The Berlin Wall is built by the Soviets to stop the flood of people attempting to escape East Germany. * August 17: Alliance for Progress aid to Latin America from the United States begins. * October 31: The Soviet Union detonates the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested, with an explosive yield of some 50 megatons.
* 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, 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 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. The war will influence India, one of the leaders of the non-aligned movement, to indeed align itself with the Soviets in a decade.
* June 20: The United States agrees to set up a hotline with the USSR, so making direct communication possible. * August 5: The Partial Test Ban Treaty is signed by the USA, UK and USSR, prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons anywhere except underground. * November 22: John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas. His vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of the United States.
* April 20 : US President Lyndon Johnson in New York, and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow, announce simultaneously plans to cut back production of materials for making nuclear weapons. * August 4: United States President Lyndon B. Johnson claims that North Vietnamese naval vessels had fired on two American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Although there was a first attack, the second attack is later proved unfounded. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident leads to the open involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
* October 14: Leonid Brezhnev succeeds Khrushchev to become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union * October 16: China tests its first atomic bomb. The test makes China the world's fourth nuclear power.
* March 8: US military build up to defend South Vietnam. North Vietnam has also committed its forces in the war. US begins sustained bombing of North Vietnam. * April 28: US forces invade the Dominican Republic to prevent a similar communist takeover like that occurred in Cuba. * August 15: Second Indo-Pakistani War. * November 14: Battle of Ia Drang, the first major engagement between US Troops and regular Vietnamese forces.
* March 10: France withdraws from NATO command structure. * August 26: South African Border War begins
* April 25: 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries sign the Treaty of Tlatelolco in Mexico City, which sought the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. * May 23: Egypt blocks the Straits of Tiran, then expels UN peacekeepers and moves its army into the Sinai Peninsula in preparation for possible attack on Israel. * May 25: Uprising in Naxalbari, India marking the expansion of Maoism as a violent, anti-US and anti-Soviet, revolutionary movement across a number of developing countries. * June 5: In response to Egypt, Israel invades the Sinai Peninsula, beginning the Six-Day War. * August 8: Bangkok Declaration is established to quell the communist threat in Southeast Asia, otherwise known as
* January 30: Tet Offensive in South Vietnam begins. * March 31: Johnson suspends bombings over North Vietnam and announces he is not running for reelection. * June 8: Tet Offensive ends in Communist psychological victory over the Americans. * July 1: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is opened for signature.
the Domino theory.
* August 20: Prague Spring Reforms in Communist Czechoslovakia cause Warsaw Pact intervention to crush them.
* January 20: Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States. * March 2: Border clashes between the Soviet Union and China * March 17: The US begins bombing Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia. * July 20: The US accomplishes the first manned moon landing, Apollo 11. * July 25: ”Vietnamization” begins with US troop withdrawals from Vietnam and the burden of combat being placed on the South Vietnamese. * September 1: Muammar al-Gaddafi overthrows the Libyan monarchy and expels British and American personnel. Libya aligns itself with the Soviet Union.
* March 5: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified by the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States among others, enters into force. * March 18: Lon Nol takes power in Cambodia. Khmer Rouge Communists begin attacking the new regime, which wants to end foreign presence in Cambodia. * November 18: United States' aid to Cambodia to support the Lon Nol regime begins.
* February 8: South Vietnamese forces enter Laos to briefly cut the Ho Chi Minh trail. * March 25: Third Indo-Pakistani War, Bangladesh becomes independent from Pakistan. * September 3: Four Power Agreement on Berlin is signed by the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, and the United States. * October 25 : The United Nations General Assembly passes Resolution 2758, recognizing the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China. * December 16 : Bangladesh and Indian joint forces defeat Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War. Bangladesh gets recognition from the eastern bloc.
* February 21: Nixon visits China, the first visit by a US President since the establishment of the People's Republic of China. * March 30: North Vietnam invades South Vietnam only to be repulsed by the South with major American air support. * May 26: SALT I agreement signals the beginning of détente between the US and USSR. * September 1: Bobby Fischer defeats Russian Boris Spassky in a chess match at Reykjavík, Iceland, becoming the first official American chess champion (see Match of the Century). * September 2 - 28: Summit Series, an ice hockey tournament between Canada and Soviet Union, is played.
* January 27: The Paris Peace Accords end American involvement in the Vietnam War. Congress cuts off funds for the continued bombing of Indochina. * September 11: Chilean coup d'état — The democratically-elected Marxist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, is deposed and dies during a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet supported by the US. * October 6: Yom Kippur War — Israel is attacked by Egypt and Syria, the war ends with a ceasefire. * October 22: Egypt defects to the American camp by accepting a US cease-fire proposal during the October 1973 war.
* September 12: The pro-Western monarch of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, is ousted by a Marxist military junta known as the Derg. * 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 17: The Maoist Khmer Rouge take power in Cambodia and begin a genocide later referred to as "The Killing Fields". * April 30: North Vietnam invades South Vietnam. South Vietnam surrenders and the two countries are united under a Communist government. * November 29: Pathet Lao takes power in Laos. * 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. The Civil war 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 the policy of détente and as an end to the space race. * August 1: Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe signed by the United States, Canada, the Soviet Union and the countries of Europe
* March 24: Coup d'état in Argentina. A Civil war against Argentine based guerrilla starts. * July 20: US military personnel withdraw from Thailand. * September 9: death of Mao Zedong
* January 1: Charter 77 is signed by Czechoslovak intellectuals, including Václav Havel. * January 20: Jimmy Carter becomes President of the United States. * July 23: The Ogaden War begins with Somalia attacking Ethiopia.
* March 15: The Ogaden War ends with a Somali defeat. * December 25: A Communist regime is installed in Afghanistan
* January 7: Vietnam deposes the Khmer Rouge and installs a pro-Vietnam, pro-Soviet government. * June 18: The SALT II nuclear weapons treaty is signed by Leonid Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter. * February 17: Sino-Vietnamese War, China launches a punitive attack on North Vietnam to punish it for invading Cambodia. * January 16: The Iranian Revolution ousts the pro-Western Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and installs a theocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini. CENTO dissolves as a result. * May 9: War breaks out in El Salvador between Marxist-led insurgents and the US-backed government. * June 2: Pope John Paul II begins his first pastoral visit to his native Poland. * July 3: President Carter signs the first directive for secret aid to opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, Afghanistan. * July 17: Marxist-led Sandinista revolutionaries overthrow the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua. The Contra insurgency begins shortly thereafter. * September: Nur Mohammed Taraki, The Marxist president of Afganistan, is deposed and murdered. The post of president is taken by the Prime minister Hafizullah Amin. * December 24: The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to save the crumbling Communist regime there, resulting in the end of Détente.
* February 22: The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the final group stage of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice. * March 21: The United States and its allies boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics (July 19–August 3) in Moscow. * August 31: In Poland the Gdańsk Agreement is signed after a strike wave starting at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdańsk. The agreement allows greater civil rights, such as the establishment of a trade union independent of communist party control.
* January 20: Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States. Reagan had been elected on a platform opposed to the concessions of Détente. * August 19: Gulf of Sidra Incident: Libyan planes attack US jets in the Gulf of Sidra which Libya has illegally annexed. Two Libyan jets are shot down, no American losses are suffered. * September 3: Poland and the Uprising of Solidarity. * October 27: A Soviet submarine, the U137, runs aground not far from the Swedish naval base at Karlskrona. * November 23: The US Central Intelligence Agency begins to support anti-Sandinista Contras.
* April 2: Argentina invades the Falkland Islands, starting the Falklands War. * May 30: Spain joins NATO. * June 6: Israel invades Lebanon to end raids and clashes with Syrian troops based there. * November 14: Yuri Andropov becomes General Secretary of the Soviet Union.
* September 1: Civilian Korean Air Lines Flight 007 with 269 passengers, including sitting congressman Larry McDonald, shot down by Soviet jet interceptors. * October 25: US forces invade the Caribbean island of Grenada to overthrow the Marxist military government, expel Cuban troops and abort the construction of a Soviet-funded airstrip. * November 2: Exercise Able Archer 83 — Soviet air defenses mistake a test of NATO's nuclear-release procedures as fake cover for a NATO attack; in response, Soviet nuclear forces are put on high alert.
* January: US President Ronald Reagan outlines a foreign policy speech reinforcing his previous thoughts * July 28: Various allies of the Soviet Union boycott 1984 Summer Olympics. * December 16: Margaret Thatcher and the UK government, in a plan to open new channels of dialog with Soviet leadership candidates, meet with Mikhail Gorbachev at Chequers.
* March 11: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union. * August 6: Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 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 Sparrowhawk in an effort to repulse the Libyan invasion of Chad. * April 15: US planes bomb Libya (Operation El Dorado Canyon). * April 26: Chernobyl disaster: A Soviet nuclear power plant in the Ukraine explodes, resulting in the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. * October 11-12: Reykjavík Summit: US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Reykjavík, Iceland, nearly achieving a breakthrough on nuclear arms control. * November 3: Iran-Contra affair: the Reagan administration publicly announces that it has been selling arms to Iran to free hostages and illegally transferring the profits to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
* June: Gorbachev announces Glasnost and Perestroika. Gorbachev's goal in undertaking glasnost is to pressure conservatives within the Party who oppose his policies of economic restructuring - perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev hopes that through different ranges of openness, debate and participation, the Soviet people will support and participate in perestroika. * June 12 - During a visit to Berlin, Germany, US President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. * September 10: The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale (Angola) begins. * December 8 - The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed in Washington, DC by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Some, like Eric Hobsbawm, later claim this was the end de jure of Cold War.; Gorbachev agrees to START I treaty.
* May 15: The Soviets begin withdrawing from Afghanistan. * December 22: South Africa withdraws from South West Africa (Namibia). * February 22: Incident: USS Yorktown (CG-48) and USS Caron (DD-970) are rammed off the Crimean peninsula after entering Soviet territorial waters.
* January 20: George H. W. Bush is inaugurated as the 41st President of the United States. * February 2: Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan. * June 4: Tiananmen Square protests are crushed by the communist Chinese government. * August: Solidarity Movement elects new non-communist government in Poland. * November 9: Revolutions in Eastern Europe: Soviet reforms and their state of bankruptcy have allowed Eastern Europe to rise up against the Communist governments there. The Berlin Wall is torn down. * December 3 : At the end of the Malta Summit, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush declare that a long-lasting peaceful era has begun. Many observers regard this summit as the official beginning of the end of the Cold War. * December 14: Democracy is restored in Chile. * December 16-25: Romanian Revolution. Rioters overthrow the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu, executing him and his wife, Elena. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to violently overthrow its Communist regime or to execute its leaders.
* October 3: Germany is reunified.
* July: Warsaw Pact was formally dissolved. * August 19: Soviet coup attempt of 1991. The August coup, in response to a new union treaty to be signed on August 20. * December 25: US President George H. W. Bush, after receiving a phone call from Boris Yeltsin, delivers a Christmas day speech acknowledging the end of the Cold War * December 25: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the USSR. The hammer and sickle is lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. * December 26: The Council of Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR recognizes the dissolution of the Soviet Union and dissolves itself.