Winston Churchill

.       Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940-45, again from 1951-55

.       Led Britain through period of lonely resistance to Hitler's expansion before U.S. and U.S.S.R. entered war in 1941

.       Frequently met with U.S. President Roosevelt and Soviet Premier Stalin to plan Allied war strategy

.       After 1945, favored strong stand against Soviets; delivered famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Missouri, 1946


Franklin D. Roosevelt

.       Democratic President of the U.S. first elected in 1932 during Great Depression; reelected in 1936, 1940, and 1944

.       Served as President for all but 4 months of World War II

.       Met with Stalin at conferences at Yalta and Tehran; believed wartime alliance could be extended into future but failed to establish workable framework for peaceful cooperation between U.S.S.R. and U.S.

.       Died of a stroke in April 1945; succeeded by his vice president, Harry S. Truman


Harry S. Truman

.       Democratic Vice President under President Franklin D. Roosevelt

.       Became President after Roosevelt's death in April 1945, during last months of World War II

.       Met with Stalin at Potsdam, soon led U.S. into anti-Soviet Cold War posture

.       Led U.S. through most of unsuccessful Korean War


Josef Stalin

.       Soviet dictator from 1922 until death in 1953

.       Uneasy ally of U.S. and Britain during World War II; oversaw successful war effort that nonetheless cost more than 20 million Soviet lives

.       In negotiations over postwar order, demanded Soviet domination of Eastern Europe in order to guarantee Soviets would not be invaded again by Germany

.       Became fearsome enemy of U.S. in early years of Cold War


Nikita Khrushchev

.       Soviet leader following Stalin's death, 1953

.       Initially more open to dialogue with West and within Soviet sphere

.       Denounced Stalin's crimes in secret speech to Soviet leadership, 1956

.       Adopted a harder line against West after 1960; led Soviet Union during Cuban Missile Crisis


George Kennan

.       American diplomat, author of "Long Telegram" that proposed U.S. policy of containment of U.S.S.R., 1946

.       Kennan's thinking shaped American policy through early years of Cold War

Dwight D. Eisenhower

.       Republican elected President of the U.S. in 1952 and again in 1956

.       Served as Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe during WWII

.       Took office promising to end stalemate of unpopular Korean War

.       Authorized overthrow of left-leaning governments in Guatemala and Iran




1945 Yalta Conference

.       Final meeting of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill

.       Attempted to negotiate plans for post-WWII order

.       Stalin signed statement promising to uphold democratic principles, but Roosevelt and Churchill tacitly accepted Soviet domination of Eastern Europe

.       Confusion over true meaning of Yalta agreements led to later charges of betrayal


1945 Potsdam Conference

.       Follow-up to Yalta Conference featured further negotiations among Stalin, Truman (who replaced dead FDR), and Churchill (until he was replaced by Clement Attlee after losing British election halfway through conference)

.       Allies agreed to establish separate zones of military administration of Germany

.       Tone of conference was more contentious than Yalta as Cold War tensions already began to surface


1945 Atomic Bombings in Japan

.       "Little Boy" bomb dropped on Hiroshima, 6 August; "Fat Man" bomb dropped on Nagasaki, 9 August

.       First and only nuclear attacks in world history

.       American policymakers may have intended bomb to intimidate Soviets as well as defeat Japanese


1946 Long Telegram

.       Diplomat George Kennan proposed policy of firm containment of U.S.S.R.

.       Truman enshrined containment as official policy in 1947 Truman Doctrine


1948 Berlin Airlift

.       U.S.S.R. blockaded city of Berlin, located in Soviet zone of occupation in eastern Germany

.       Americans organized yearlong airlift to provide city with food and supplies

.       Soviets abandoned blockade in defeat in 1949

.       First major confrontation of Cold War


1949 NATO Organized

.       Western powers formed formal military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to coordinate defense against Soviet bloc

.       Soviets soon responded by forming Warsaw Pact


1949 Soviet Bomb

.       Soviets shocked world by announcing successful test of atomic weapon

.       Ended American nuclear monopoly much sooner than U.S. intelligence anticipated

.       Raised (unfounded) fears that Soviets would soon overtake Americans in arms race


1949 Fall of China

.       Mao Zedong's Communists defeated Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists to end long Chinese Civil War

.       Nationalists fled to Taiwan

.       Many Americans blamed Truman Administration for "loss of China"


1950 Korean War

.       Communist North Koreans invaded anticommunist South Korea, nearly captured entire country

.       With UN blessing, Americans intervened on behalf of South Korea

.       Americans drove North Koreans all the way to border with China, prompting surprise intervention by Chinese troops, which then drove Americans back toward south

.       War ended in stalemate, with both sides dug in near original 1950 border

.       Unsuccessful war made Truman one of least popular presidents ever; history has been kinder in its judgment


1957 Sputnik

.       Soviets launched Sputnik, first man-made satellite to orbit Earth

.       Shocked Americans, spurring huge increase in government spending on science and defense

.       Began the Space Age


1956 Hungarian Revolution

.       Students demanded changes in Communist government, backed reformist government of Imre Nagy

.       Rebellion crushed by invasion of Soviet Red Army; Nagy executed in 1958

.       U.S. did not intervene


1960 U2 Shot Down

.       American U2 spy plane shot down in Soviet airspace

.       Relations between U.S. and U.S.S.R., which had been thawing, grew colder once again




Manhattan Project

.       Top-secret government research program run by J. Robert Oppenheimer during WWII

.       Developed the world's first atomic bombs




.       North Atlantic Treaty Organization

.       Military alliance of U.S. and Western European formed to unite defense against U.S.S.R.


Warsaw Pact

.       Communist counterpart to NATO

.       Comprised of Soviet Union and Soviet satellite nations of Eastern Europe


Central Intelligence Agency

.       Organized in 1947 to oversee all foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations for United States

.       During Eisenhower administration, staged anticommunist coups in Iran and Guatemala





.       American policy built upon assumption that U.S.S.R. was by nature an expansionist but cautious power, and thus U.S. should meet every attempt to expand Soviet influence with appropriate "counterforce"

.       Proposed by diplomat George F. Kennan, adopted as policy in Truman Doctrine


Eisenhower Doctrine

.       U.S. formally extended policy of containment to cover Middle East

.       Announced by Eisenhower (obviously)



.       Practice of pushing conflict to brink of disaster in order to force opponent to relent

.       Practiced by Cold War leaders in Washington and Moscow in Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Airlift


Domino Theory

.       American foreign policy theory that suggested that the fall of one nation to Communism would encourage spread of Communism to neighboring countries

.       Encouraged hard line against Communist expansion, anywhere and everywhere

.       Made it difficult for U.S. to back down from doomed military commitment in Vietnam




Berlin, Germany

.       Capital of Germany until 1945

.       Divided into four separate zones of occupation after WWII

.       American, British, and French zones a virtual island, surrounded by Soviet-controlled zone of eastern Germany

.       Soviets attempted to blockade the city in 1948; thwarted by American airlift of supplies



.       Site of CIA-sponsored coup against democratically elected but left-leaning government of Mohammed Mosaddegh, 1953

.       Coup gave rise to strong anti-American sentiment in Iran


Potsdam, Germany

.       Site of last Allied conference of World War II

.       Potsdam Conference failed to create framework for peaceful coexistence of U.S.S.R. and Western powers in postwar period

.       First confrontation between Stalin and Truman

.       Japanese attack on American naval base in Hawaii forced U.S. to enter World War II

.       Demands of war economy finally did what New Deal could not do, lifting U.S. out of Great Depression