Cold War Timeline: Origins of the Cold War


The wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union began to unravel even before the end of World War II. When the war ended, the Red Army occupied much of Eastern Europe. The evident weakness of Western Europe raised the specter of communism spreading even further.

Although the Marshall Plan helped restore Western Europe, other events of the late 1940s kept tension high: the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia and Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948, the fall of China and the Soviet A-bomb in 1949. Soviet support for the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950 confirmed the threat in Western eyes.

The establishment in 1949 of the Western alliance, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and the 1955 Warsaw Pact between the Soviet Union and its satellites solidified the two opposing blocs that shaped the Cold War.



American Society & Culture in the Cold WarSubmarines of the Cold WarThe War in Korea

"...from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent of Europe." Winston Churchill, Britain's Prime Minister during World War II, speakin gin Fulton, Missouri, 5 March 1946.

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