The Cold War, in the 1940’s, was just beginning to take shape. The United States, though allied with the Soviet Union during the war, was a very wary and distrusting partner, and rightfully so.
Shortly following the Yalta Conference, where Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met in person for the first time to discuss the dissection of Germany, President Truman took over after Roosevelt’s death. He introduced the Truman Doctrine, setting the tone for United States foreign policy for decades. It embodied a hardline stance and solemn pledge by the United States to back all “free peoples” of any nation in the fight against the spread of communism, beginning with Greece and Turkey.
The 1950’s saw the emergence of President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev as the new world leaders in the forefront of the Cold War.
The Rosenbergs were tried, convicted and executed of espionage. The United States acquired striking capability on Moscow with the B-36 Corvair and B-47 Stratojet nuclear bombers. We also launched the USS Nautilus nuclear submarine, which gave the United States striking capability from almost anywhere on earth. The United States was in the midst of a serious arms buildup, and attempting to squash the spread of communism in multiple locations. The race for nuclear superiority with the Soviet Union was on, and America was on full alert from a nuclear attack.
Tensions dramatically increased in the 1960’s with the downing of a US Spy plane, and captivity of it’s pilot, Gary Powers by the Kruschev and the Soviet Union. President Kennedy committed his blunder with failed, sanctioned CIA mission at the Bay of Pigs, then redeemed himself with the Cuban Missile crisis. The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty gets ratified and the Gulf of Tonkin incident triggers the start of official US involvement in the Vietnam war. The Soviet Union puts humans into space before the United States, but we are triumphant in landing the first man on the moon.
The opening of 1970’s saw an increase of the scope of the Vietnam war with the inclusion of Cambodia by President Nixon before it ended a few years into the decade. The SALT I Nuclear Treaty gets signed, and President Nixon visits China after years of strained relations with the U.S. The Soviet Union and the United States come to a détente, or easing of hostilities, and then the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, whom the United states supported with weapons and funds.
In the 1980’s there were a lot of interesting events that had happened. One of those events was when the Polish Shipyard workers started their strike. They had appointed Lech Walesa to lead them. With his leadership, Lech Walesa eventually became the first non-communist President for Poland.
Another interesting topic was two men known as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Both of these men were strong leaders and played a good role in this era. President Reagan had proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative which was an infallible space shield that could hold itself up even in a massive nuclear attack. As for Mikhail Gorbachev, he became the leader of the Soviet Union and made some good changes. Both Reagan and Gorbachev finally came to an agreement, and both signed the INF Treaty in order to eliminate the INF systems.
One of the greatest event that did happen in history was when the Berlin Wall finally fell. The East and West Germany people were finally able to cross the country’s borders without causing problems. There were families that did not see each other due to this wall. When this event happened, more than 2 million people came out that weekend to celebrate the festivities and chip away at the wall. What a glorious day to remember!
In the 1990’s, this era was based a lot on wars that had happened. We had the beginning of the Gulf War which was when Kuwait was captured by the Iraqis. Saddam Hussein played an important role in this.
There was also the reunification of both East and West Germany. This was an event that will not be forgotten especially after being separated for 40 years. Chancellor Helmut Kohl was a major factor in making this happen.
The Gulf war finally came to an end in this era and the United Nations were able to enforce Iraq into accepting all 12 resolutions.
The Warsaw pact also ended due to many countries that were breaking away. With all of this happening, the economic status was not stable and therefore convinced the Soviet Union to dissolve this completely. Lastly was when the Soviet Union finally collapsed and separated into 15 countries. It was a glorious day for us all, because the enemy was finally brought down and this dreadful cold war came to an end!