FDR, Churchill, and Stalin (the "Big Three") meet to discuss plans for post-war Europe. Stalin later violates agreements made at the conference, really irritating the Western powers. Truman specifically mentions violations at Yalta in his speech.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies of a stroke, leaving Vice President Harry S Truman to succeed him as President.
Germany surrenders, Victory in Europe (V-E) is celebrated.
The U.S. bombs the Japanese city of Hiroshima, marking the first time nuclear weapons are used for warfare. This date is also sometimes seen as the beginning of the Cold War.
After a second atomic bomb is dropped on the city of Nagasaki (August 9), Japan surrenders to the allies, marking the end of World War II throughout the rest of the world.
The United Nations is established as a global, diplomatic peacekeeping force. Many believe it should be the UN's responsibility, not the United States,' to keep the Soviets in check. Truman gives the UN a shout-out in his speech.
U.S. Diplomat in Moscow George Kennan sends a really long telegram—like longer than your friend triple texting you about a fight with their SO—to Truman warning of aggressive expansionist movements in Russia. In response to these movements, he recommends the U.S. pursue a policy of "containment" to stop Soviet expansion and the spread of communism. This is a major game-changer, setting the tone for Cold War foreign policy.
A civil war between opposing communist and government forces breaks out in Greece. The threat of losing such an important country in the Middle East leaves Truman and his advisors less than thrilled.
Clark Clifford and George Elsey submit their report outlining "Soviet-disregard" for postwar agreements like those made at Yalta as well as the "Soviet threat" to world peace. Clifford and Elsey will do a lot of copying and pasting of their report to write the TD. (Pro tip: Always save your work.)
British ambassador, Lord Inverchapel (say that five times fast), delivers a message to the State Department announcing that Great Britain can no longer provide economic and military support to Greece and Turkey.
Truman knows he needs to come up with something—and fast—before it's too late.
Clark Clifford, George Elsey, and Dean Acheson write a draft of the speech Truman plans to give before Congress the following week. Truman will request some changes and approve the final draft in the next few days.
Truman goes before a joint session of Congress, a few minutes after one o'clock to give his historic speech. It lasts about eighteen minutes, which is good, because it was short enough for everyone there to follow along.
Congress (the Senate in April, the House in May) grants Truman's request to send aid to Greece and Turkey.
George Marshall gives a commencement speech at Harvard outlining his (Marshall) Plan to help finance Europe's recovery.
Truman sticks it to everyone (including his wife, and the press) when he's surprisingly elected president in 1948. His strong stance on foreign policy was a major campaign issue.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is created, and the U.S. enters its first, permanent alliance with another country. Another example of containment, TD principles, and Cold War foreign policy.
Truman makes the difficult decision to enter the Korean conflict. The decision is greatly influenced by the principles and commitments outlined in his doctrine.
America's entry into Vietnam also has significant ties to the Truman Doctrine and Cold War policy of containment.