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Cold War Timeline

2: 1950s, 60s and 70s



• April 7: NSC-68 finalised in US: advocates a more active, military, policy of containment and causes a large increase in defence spending.
• June 25: Korean War begins.
• October 24: Pleven Plan approved by France: rearmed West German soldiers to be part of a European Defence Community (EDC).

• April 18: European Coal and Steel Community Treaty signed (The Schuman Plan).

• March 10: Stalin proposes a united, but neutral, Germany; rejected by the West.
• May 27: European Defence Community (EDC) treaty signed by Western nations.

• March 5: Stalin dies.
• June 16-18: Unrest in the GDR, suppressed by Soviet troops.
• July: Korean War ends.

• August 31: France rejects the EDC.

• May 5: FRG becomes a sovereign state; joins NATO.
• May 14: Eastern Communist nations sign the Warsaw Pact, a military alliance.
• May 15: State Treaty between forces occupying Austria: they withdraw and make it a neutral state.
• September 20: GDR recognised as a sovereign state by USSR. FRG announces the Hallstein Doctrine in response.

• February 25: Khrushchev begins De-Stalinization by attacking Stalin in a speech at 20th Party Congress.
• June: Unrest in Poland.
• October 23 – November 4: Hungarian Uprising crushed.

• March 25: Treaty of Rome signed, creating the European Economic Community with the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

• November 10: Start of Second Berlin crisis: Khrushchev calls for a peace treaty with the two German states to settle borders and for Western nations to leave Berlin.
• November 27: The Berlin Ultimatum issued by Khrushchev: Russia gives West six months to solve Berlin situation and withdraw their troops or it will hand East Berlin over to East Germany.

• January: Communist government under Fidel Castro set up in Cuba.


• May 1: USSR shoots down US U-2 spy plane over Russian territory.
• May 16-17: Paris Summit closes after Russia pulls out over U-2 affair.

• August 12/13: Berlin Wall built as east-west borders closed in Berlin and GDR.

• October – November: Cuban Missile Crisis brings world to brink of nuclear war.

• August 5: Test Ban treaty between UK, USSR and US limits nuclear testing. France and China reject it and develop their own weapons.

• October 15: Khrushchev removed from power.

• February 15: US begins bombing of Vietnam; by 1966 400,000 US troops are in the country.

• August 21-27: Crushing of Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.
• July 1: Non-Proliferation Treaty signed by UK, USSR and US: agree not to assist non-signatories in gaining nuclear weapons.
• November: Brezhnev Doctrine Outlined.

• September 28: Brandt becomes Chancellor of FRG, continues policy of Ostpolitik developed from his position as Foreign Minister.


• Start of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between US and USSR.
• August 12: USSR-FRG Moscow Treaty: both recognise each others territories and agree to only peaceful methods of border change.
• December 7: Warsaw Treaty between FRG and Poland: both recognise each others territories, agree to only peaceful methods of border change and increased trade.

• September 3: Four Power Treaty on Berlin between US, UK, France and USSR over access from West Berlin to FRG and relation of West Berlin to FRG.

• May 1: SALT I treaty signed (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks).
• December 21: Basic Treaty between FRG and GDR: FRG gives up Hallstein Doctrine, recognises GDR as sovereign state, both to have seats at UN.

• June: Prague Treaty between FRG and Czechoslovakia.

• July: SALT II negotiations begin.

• August 1: Helsinki Agreement/Accord/’Final Act’ signed between US, Canada and 33 European States including Russia: states the ‘inviolability’ of frontiers, gives principles for state peaceful interaction, co-operation in economics and science as well as humanitarian issues.

• Soviet SS-20 medium range missiles stationed in Eastern Europe.

• June: SALT II treaty signed; never ratified by the US Senate.
• December 27: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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