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Timeline of events in the Cold War: Wikis


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  • 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.
  • April 12: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt suffers a stroke and dies while on vacation in Warm Springs, GA.
  • April 23: US President Harry S. Truman gives a tongue-lashing to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov indicating that he was determined to take a "tougher" stance with the Soviets than his predecessor had.
  • 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 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 closure
  • 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 1: The American and British zones of control in Germany are united to form the Bizone also known as Bizonia.
  • January 19: Rigged elections in Poland resulted in Poland's official transformation to undemocratic communist state. Soviet-backed Polish communists take power.
  • February 27: President truman asks U.S. Congress for 400 million dollars in aid for Greece and Turkey, to help them stave off communist takeovers.
  • 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.
  • April 16: Bernard Baruch, in a speech given during the unveiling of his portrait in the South Carolina House of Representatives, coins the term "Cold War" to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • 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.
  • December 30: In Romania, King Michael I of Romania is forced to abdicate by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, the monarchy is abolished and the Popular Republic of Romania is instituted instead. The Communist Party will rule the country till December 1989.


  • February 26: The Communist Party takes control in Czechoslovakia, after President Edvard Beneš accepts the resignation of all non-communist ministers.
  • March 10: Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk is reported having committed suicide.
  • 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: The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter's position on the Greek civil war.
  • June 28 to May 11, 1949: The Berlin Airlift defeated Russia's attempt to starve West Berlin.
  • 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.
  • November 20: The American consul and his staff in Mukden, China, are made virtual hostages by communist forces in China. The crisis did not end until a year later, by which time U.S. relations with the new communist government in China had been seriously damaged.


  • 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 5: The United Kingdom recognizes the People's Republic of China. The Republic of China severs diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom.
  • January 19: China officially diplomatically recognizes North Vietnam.
  • January 21: The last Kuomintang soldiers surrender on continental China.
  • February 16: The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China sign a pact of mutual defense.
  • March 11: Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek moves his capital to Taipei, Taiwan, establishing a stand-off with the People's Republic of China.
  • April 17: 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 11Robert 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 22 North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the Korean War.
  • June 22 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 22 Seoul, the capital of South Korea, falls to North Korean forces.
  • July 2 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 2 United Nations forces cross the 38th parallel, into North Korea.
  • October 5 Forces from the People's Republic of China mobilize along the Yalu River.
  • October 22Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, falls to United Nations forces.
  • October 22China invades Korea with 300,000 soldiers, catching the United Nations by surprise. However, they withdraw after initial engagements.
  • November 15United Nations forces approach the Yalu River. In response, China invades Korea again, but with a 5,000 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.
  • March 29: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II.
  • 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.
  • October 10: President Harry S. Truman signs the Mutual Security Act, announcing to the world, and its communist powers in particular, that the U.S. was prepared to provide military aid to "free peoples."
  • November 14: President Harry Truman asks Congress for U.S. military and economic aid for the communist nation of Yugoslavia.
  • December 12: The International Authority for the Ruhr lifted part of the remaining restrictions on German industrial production and on production capacity.
  • December 13: U.S. Foreign Service Officer John S. Service is fired from the State Department aftr the CSC's Loyalty Board concludes that there is reasonable doubt concerning his loyalty.





  • 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 2: Senator Joseph McCarthy charges that communists have infiltrated the CIA and the atomic weapons industry.
  • 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 8: Col. Carlos Castillo Armas is elected president of the junta that overthrew the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.
  • 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 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.
  • May 2: Senator Joseph McCarthy succumbs to illness exacerbated by alcoholism and dies.
  • 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.
  • October 10: In the conclusion to an extremely embarrassing situation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower offers his apologies to Ghanian Finance Minister, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, who had been refused service at a restaurant in Dover, Delaware.
  • November 3: Sputnik 2 was launched, with the 1st living being on board, Laika.
  • November 7: The final report from a special committee called by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to review the nation's defense readiness indicates that the United States is falling far behind the Soviets in missile capabilities, and urges a vigorous campaign to build fallout shelters to protect American citizens.
  • November 15: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile "shooting match" to prove his assertion.


  • 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 Cuba although refrains from declaring the country Communist. Cuban-inspired guerrilla movements spring up across Latin America.
  • March 24: New Republic government of Iraq leaves Central Treaty Organization
  • May 24: Former U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles dies from cancer.
  • 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.




  • January 3: Dwight D. Eisenhower closes the U.S. embassy in Havana and severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • 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 following the breakdown in talks to decide the future of 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.
  • Sept 1: Russia resumed testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.
  • December 2: Fidel Castro openly describes himself as a Marxist-Leninist.


  • February 10: American pilot Francis Gary Powers is exchanged for senior KGB spy Colonel Rudolf Abel.
  • July 20: Neutralization of Laos is established by international agreement, but North Vietnam refuses to withdraw its personnel. [2]
  • 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.
  • June 21: France announces that it is withdrawing its navy from the North Atlantic fleet of NATO.
  • 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 2: South Vietnamese Prime Minister Diem is assassinated in coup, suspected CIA involvement
  • November 22: John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. There is much speculation over whether communist countries, or even the CIA, were involved in his assassination, but none of it is ever proven. John's vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of the United States



  • 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.
  • September 23: The Second Indian-Pakistani War ends in a cease-fire.
  • September 30: Six Indonesian generals were murdered as part of the 30 September Movement.
  • November 14: Battle of Ia Drang, the first major engagement between US Troops and regular Vietnamese forces.


  • Feb. 3: An Unmanned Russian Spacecraft made a soft landing on the moon.
  • March 10: France withdraws from NATO command structure.
  • August 26: South African Border War begins
  • May 1: An Unmanned Russian Spacecraft crashed on the surface of Venus, in man's 1st physical contact with another planet.
  • May 8: Communist China exploded a 3rd Nuclear device
  • June 2: An Unmanned United States spacecraft landed on Moon



  • 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.
  • August 20: Prague Spring Reforms in Communist Czechoslovakia cause Warsaw Pact intervention to crush them.
  • December 23: The captain and crew of the USS Pueblo are released by North Korea.


  • 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.
  • October 24: Salvador Allende becomes president of Chile after being confirmed by the Chilean congress.
  • November 18: United States' aid to Cambodia to support the Lon Nol regime begins.




  • 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 WarIsrael 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.
  • November 11 - The Soviet Union announces that, because of its opposition to the recent overthrow of the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende, it would not play a World Cup Soccer match against the Chilean team if the match were held in Santiago.





  • January 1: Charter 77 is signed by Czechoslovak intellectuals, including Václav Havel.
  • January 20: Jimmy Carter becomes President of the United States.
  • June 6: U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance assures skeptics that the Carter administration will hold the Soviet Union accountable for its recent crackdowns on human rights activists.
  • July 23: The Ogaden War begins with Somalia attacking Ethiopia.










  • 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.



  • 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.
  • November 18: After nearly a year of hearings into the Iran-Contra scandal, the joint Congressional investigating committee issues its final report. It concludes that the scandal, involving a complicated plan whereby some of the funds from secret weapons sales to Iran were used to finance the Contra war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, was one in which the administration of Ronald Reagan exhibited "secrecy, deception, and disdain for the law."
  • 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 11: Kim Philby dies in Moscow.
  • 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.
  • November 6: Soviet scientist and well-known human rights activist Andrei Sakharov begins a two-week visit to the United States.


  • 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 in Poland elects first non-communist government in Eastern Bloc.
  • October 18: The Hungarian constitution is amended to allow a multiparty political system and free elections. The nearly 20-year rule of communist strongman Erich Honecker comes to an end in East Germany.
  • 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.
  • December 29: Vaclav Havel becomes President of the now free Czechoslovakia.



  • January 31: The first McDonald's in Moscow, Russia opens.
  • October 3: Germany is reunified.



  • January 1: The Soviet Union officially ceased to exist.
  • February 1: At the Camp David Meeting the US President George H. W. Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin declared the formal end of the Cold War.



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