1945 -- Yalta With the defeat of Nazi Germany imminent, the Big Three Allies meet in the Crimean resort town of Yalta from February 4-11. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin agree to jointly govern postwar Germany, while Stalin pledges fair and open elections in Poland. 1946 -- Iron Curtain On March 5, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill declares, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent." 1947 -- Truman Doctrine On March 12, President Truman requests $400 million in aid from Congress to combat communism in Greece and Turkey. The Truman Doctrine pledges to provide American economic and military assistance to any nation threatened by communism. 1947 -- Marshall Plan On June 5, U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall proposes a massive aid program to rebuild Europe from the ravages of World War II. Nearly $13 billion in U.S. aid was sent to Europe from 1948 to 1952. The Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe decline U.S. aid, citing "dollar enslavement." 1948 -- Berlin airlift On June 24, the Soviet Union makes a bid for control of Berlin by blockading all land access to the city. From June 1948 to May 1949, U.S. and British planes airlift 1.5 million tons of supplies to the residents of West Berlin. After 200,000 flights, the Soviet Union lifts the blockade. 1949 -- China In June, Chinese communists declare victory over Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces, which later flee to Taiwan. On October 1, Mao Tse-tung proclaims the People's Republic of China. Two months later, Mao travels to Moscow, where he negotiates the Sino- Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance. 1950 -- Korean War On June 25, North Korean communist forces cross the 38th parallel and invade South Korea. On June 27, Truman orders U.S. forces to assist the South Koreans while the U.N. Security Council condemns the invasion and establishes a 15- nation fighting force. Chinese troops enter the conflict by year's end. 1951 -- Rosenberg Spy Case On March 29, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of selling U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. The Rosenbergs are sent to the electric chair in 1953, despite outrage from liberals who portray them as victims of an anti-communist witch hunt. 1952 -- Hydrogen bomb On November 1, the United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at a test site in the Marshall Islands. Less than a year later, the Soviets announce their first test of a hydrogen bomb. 1953 -- Stalin dies; Korean War ends Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies of a stroke on March 5. On July 27, an armistice is signed ending the Korean War, with the border between North and South roughly the same as it had been in 1950. The willingness of China and North Korea to end the fighting was in part attributed to Stalin's death. 1954 -- Dien Bien Phu After a long siege, Vietnamese communists under Ho Chi Minh defeat French colonial forces at Dien Bien Phu on May 7. In July, the Geneva Accords divide the country at the 17th parallel, creating a North and South Vietnam. The United States assumes the chief responsibility of providing anti-communist aid to South Vietnam. 1955 -- Massive Retaliation On January 12, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles first announces the doctrine of Massive Retaliation. It threatens full- scale nuclear attack on the Soviet Union in response to communist aggression anywhere in the world. 1956 -- Khrushchev's 'secret speech' In a speech before Communist Party members on February 14, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounces the policies of Stalin. Khrushchev rejects the Leninist idea of the inevitability of war and calls for a doctrine of "peaceful coexistence" between capitalist and communist systems. 1957 -- Sputnik On October 4, the Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth. In 1958, the U.S. creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the space race is in full gear. 1959 -- Castro takes power On January 1, leftist forces under Fidel Castro overthrow the government of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. Castro soon nationalizes the sugar industry and signs trade agreements with the Soviet Union. The next year, his government seizes U.S. assets on the island. 1960 -- The U-2 Affair On May 1, an American high-altitude U-2 spy plane is shot down on a mission over the Soviet Union. After the Soviets announce the capture of pilot Francis Gary Powers, the United States recants earlier assertions that the plane was on a weather research mission. New kind of President • Foreign Policy top priority – World situation • Flexible Response • Crisis over Berlin • Southeast Asia – Diem vs. Ho Chi Minh • Cabinet – Best and brightest • New Frontier • Peace Corps 1961 -- Bay of Pigs An U.S.-organized invasion force of 1,400 Cuban exiles is defeated by Castro's government forces on Cuba's south coast at the Bay of Pigs. Launched from Guatemala in ships and planes provided by the United States, the invaders surrender on April 20 after three days of fighting. Kennedy takes full responsibility for the disaster. 1961 -- Berlin Wall The United States rejects proposals by Khrushchev to make Berlin a "free city" with access controlled by East Germany. On August 15, communist authorities begin construction on the Berlin Wall to prevent East Germans from fleeing to West Berlin. 1962 -- Cuban Missile Crisis After the failed Bays of Pigs invasion, the Soviet Union installs nuclear missiles in Cuba capable of reaching most of the continental United States. After U-2 flights confirm their existence, Kennedy orders a naval blockade of Cuba on October 22 until the Soviet Union removes its missiles. On October 28, the Soviets agree to remove the missiles, defusing one of the most dangerous confrontations of the Cold War. 1963 -- Hot line The United States and Soviet Union agree on June 20 to install a hot line allowing the leaders of both countries to directly communicate during a crisis. Kennedy and Khrushchev were often forced to communicate through public broadcasts during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 1964 -- Gulf of Tonkin Resolution North Vietnamese patrol boats fired on the USS Mattox in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2. On August 7, the U.S. Congress approves the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, granting President Johnson authority to send U.S. troops to South Vietnam. 1967 -- Six Day War On June 5, Israel launches an attack that becomes known as the Six Day War, seizing the Sinai and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria. The Soviet Union accuses the United States of encouraging Israeli aggression. 1968 -- Tet Offensive Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese Army troops launch attacks across South Vietnam on January 30, the start of the lunar new year Tet. In Saigon, guerrillas battle Marines at the U.S. Embassy. In March, Johnson orders a halt to the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and offers peace talks. http://www.nam-vet.net/photocangedwar.html 1969 -- Vietnamization On June 8, U.S. President Richard Nixon announces his "Vietnamization" plan, designed to withdraw U.S ground forces from Vietnam and turn control of the war over to South Vietnamese forces. 1969 -- SALT On November 17, the first phase of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks begins in Helsinki, Finland. The finished agreement, signed by Nixon and Brezhnev in Moscow on May 26, 1972, places limits on both submarine-launched and intercontinental nuclear missiles. 1972 -- Nixon visits China Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to visit China, meeting with Mao Tse- tung on February 21. The two countries issue a communique recognizing their "essential differences" while making it clear that "normalization of relations" was in all nations' best interests. The rapprochement changes the balance of power with the Soviets. 1973 -- Vietnam War agreement On January 27, 1973, the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong sign the Paris Peace Treaty, establishing a cease-fire and a 60- day window for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops. The United States is allowed to continue providing aid to South Vietnam. Saigon falls in April 1975. 1975 -- Cambodia The communist Khmer Rouge takes power in Cambodia on April 16. Cambodia's educated and urban population is forced into the countryside as part of a state experiment in agrarian communism. Under the regime of Pol Pot, as many as 3 million Cambodians die from 1975 to 1979. 1979 -- Afghanistan On December 25, 100,000 Soviet troops invade Afghanistan as communist Babrak Karmal seizes control of the government. U.S.-backed Muslim guerrilla fighters wage a costly war against the Soviets for nearly a decade before Soviet troops withdraw in 1988. 1983 -- Star Wars On March 23, Reagan outlines his Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars," a space- based defensive shield that would use lasers and other advanced technology to destroy attacking missiles far above the Earth's surface. Soviets accuse the U.S of violating the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty. 1985 -- Gorbachev comes to power On March 11, Gorbachev comes to power in the Soviet Union, ushering in an era of economic reforms under perestroika and greater political freedoms under glasnost. 1987 -- INF On December 8, Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in Washington. It mandates the removal of more than 2,600 medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe, eliminating the entire class of Soviet SS-20 and U.S. Cruise and Pershing II missiles. 1989 -- Berlin Wall falls Gorbachev renounces the Brezhnev Doctrine, which pledged to use Soviet force to protect its interests in Eastern Europe. On September 10, Hungary opens its border with Austria, allowing East Germans to flee to the West. After massive public demonstrations in East Germany and Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall falls on November 9. 1990 -- German unification At a September 12 meeting in Moscow, the United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and the two Germanys agree to end Allied occupation rights in Germany. On October 3, East and West Germany unite as the Federal Republic of Germany. 1991 -- Soviet Union collapses While vacationing in the Crimea, Gorbachev is ousted in a coup by Communist hard-liners on August 19. The coup soon falters as citizens take to the streets of Moscow and other cities in support of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who denounced the coup. Military units abandon the hard-liners, and Gorbachev is released from house arrest. He officially resigns on December 25 as the Soviet Union is dissolved. 1991 Operation Desert Storm In August of 1990, the country of Iraq under dictator Saddam Hussein invades the small country Kuwait in order to help pay for debts incurred during their war with Iran. In January of ’91, President G.H.W. Bush along with the United Nations attack Iraq and clear them from Kuwait. The United States makes a controversial decision and does not overthrow Hussein’s regime. Instead the U.S. will keep a presence in the middle East and enforce no fly zones over the northern and southern parts of the Iraq No Fly Zones 1991-2008 Terrorism on Americans 1991-2008 World Trade Center Bombing, February 26, 1993: The World Trade Center in New York City was badly damaged when a car bomb planted by Islamic terrorists exploded in an underground garage. The bomb left 6 people dead and 1,000 injured. The men carrying out the attack were followers of Umar Abd al-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric who preached in the New York City area. Bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995: Right-wing extremists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols destroyed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City with a massive truck bomb that killed 166 and injured hundreds more in what was up to then the largest terrorist attack on American soil. U.S. Embassy Bombings in East Africa, August 7, 1998: A bomb exploded at the rear entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 12 U.S. citizens, 32 Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs), and 247 Kenyan citizens. Approximately 5,000 Kenyans, 6 U.S. citizens, and 13 FSNs were injured. The U.S. Embassy building sustained extensive structural damage. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 7 FSNs and 3 Tanzanian citizens, and injuring 1 U.S. citizen and 76 Tanzanians. The explosion caused major structural damage to the U.S. Embassy facility. The U.S. Government held Usama Bin Laden responsible. Kenya Tanzania Attack on U.S.S. Cole, October 12, 2000: In Aden, Yemen, a small dingy carrying explosives rammed the destroyer U.S.S. Cole, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 others. Supporters of Usama Bin Laden were suspected. Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Homeland, September 11, 2001: Two hijacked airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Soon thereafter, the Pentagon was struck by a third hijacked plane. A fourth hijacked plane, suspected to be bound for a high-profile target in Washington, crashed into a field in southern Pennsylvania. The attacks killed 3,025 U.S. citizens and other nationals. President Bush and Cabinet officials indicated that Usama Bin Laden was the prime suspect and that they considered the United States in a state of war with international terrorism. In the aftermath of the attacks, the United States formed the Global Coalition Against Terrorism.