ideological conflict and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991. The term symbolized efforts by the Soviet Union to block itself and its dependent and central European allies off from open contact with the west and non-communist areas. On the East side of the Iron Curtain were the countries that were connected to or influenced by the former Soviet Union. On either side of the Iron Curtain, states developed their own international economic and military alliances.
1947-1991; a sustained state of political and military tension between powers in the Western Bloc, dominated by the United States with NATO among its allies, and powers in the Eastern Bloc, dominated by the Soviet Union along with the Warsaw Pact. Two major powers—each possessing nuclear weapons and thereby threatened with mutual assured destruction—never met in direct military combat. Instead, in their struggle for global influence they engaged in ongoing psychological warfare and in regular indirect confrontations through proxy wars. Cycles of relative calm would be followed by high tension, which could have led to world war.
a competition between two or more parties to have the best armed forces. A nuclear arms race developed during the Cold War, an intense period between the Soviet Union and the United States. On both sides, perceived advantages of the adversary led to large spending on armaments and the stockpiling of vast nuclear arsenals.
George F. Kennan
an international relations policy set forth by Harry Truman in a speech, which stated that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent them from falling into the Soviet sphere.Historians often consider it as the start of the Cold War, and the start of the containment policy to stop Soviet expansion.
one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. Germany and Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Allied control. In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people in West Berlin. By the spring of 1949, the effort was clearly succeeding and the airlift was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. The blockade was lifted in May 1949 and resulted in the creation of two separate German states.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization; an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.
National Security Act of 1947
58-page top secret policy paper issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. It was one of the most significant statements of American policy in the Cold War. NSC-68 largely shaped U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War for the next 20 years, and involved a decision to make Containment against Communist expansion a high priority. The strategy outlined in NSC-68 arguably achieved ultimate victory with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
President Truman intervened and dispatched the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Straits to prevent hostilities between Taiwan and mainland China. In the Treaty of San Francisco and the Treaty of Taipei, Japan formally renounced all right, claim and title to Taiwan and Penghu, and renounced all treaties signed with China before 1942.
the line was chosen by U.S. military planners at the Potsdam Conference (July 1945) near the end of World War II as an army boundary, north of which the U.S.S.R. was to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in Korea and south of which the Americans were to accept the Japanese surrender. The line was intended as a temporary division of the country, but the onset of the Cold War led to the establishment of a separate U.S.-oriented regime in South Korea under Syngman Rhee and a communist regime in North Korea under Kim Il-sung.
MacArthur and his troops flanked the North Koreans by making an amphibious landing at Inchon, near Seoul. The surprise Inchon landing allowed U.S. forces to enter the peninsula quickly, without having to break through the enormous forces surrounding Pusan. Caught entirely off guard, the North Korean forces panicked and fled north, well past the 38th parallel.
Demilitarized zone (DMZ)
Nikita S. Khrushchev
democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 when his government was overthrown in a coup d'etat orchestrated by the British MI6 and the American CIA. He nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, thus putting an end to outright looting of the country's main natural resource by the British. This led to confrontation with the British colonial power and duplicitous American government. Together, they plotted to remove Mossadegh by any means possible.
Guatemalan military officer and politician who served as Defense Minister of Guatemala from 1944 to 1951, and as President of Guatemala from 1951 to 1954. He was ousted in a coup d'etat engineered by the United States government and CIA and was replaced by a military junta headed by Colonel Carlos Castillo.
form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation state in the territory defined as the Land of Israel. Soviet Anti-Zionism was a doctrine promulgated in the Soviet Union during the course of the Cold War. It was officially sponsored by the Department of propaganda of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and by the KGB. It alleged that Zionism was a form of racism and sometimes argued that Zionists were similar to Nazis. The Soviet Union was officially opposed to racism of any kind, and therefore Zionologists stated that they were not anti-Semitic or racist themselves.
a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans. Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business or farm, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend college, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation.
a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948. It originated as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party, determined to protect what they portrayed as the southern way of life beset by an oppressive federal government. It opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention. Strom Thurmond was nominated as president of the party.
an ambitious set of proposals put forward by Harry S. Truman to the United States Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address. The term, however, has also been used to describe the domestic reform agenda of the Truman Administration. As Neustadt concludes, the most important proposals were aid to education, universal health insurance, Fair Employment Practices Commission and repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. They were all debated at length, then voted down.
a list or register of entities who, for one reason or another, are being denied a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition. During the Cold War Red Scare, the entertainment industry practiced widespread blacklisting of alleged Communists, former communists and communist sympathizers, though formal and official blacklists did not exist. Screen writers and film actors and directors were especially affected, but so too were workers in the fields of television and radio.
House Un-American Activities Committee; an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. It was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties.
Great Fear / Second Red Scare
Wheeling, WV speech
"soft on communism"
the first artificial Earth satellite launched by the Soviet Union. The surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis, began the Space Age and triggered the Space Race, a part of the larger Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments.
National Defense Education Act
Interstate Highway Act of 1956
Civil Rights Movement
a struggle by African Americans in the mid-1950s to late 1960s to achieve Civil Rights equal to those of whites, including equal opportunity in employment, housing, and education, as well as the right to vote, the right of equal access to public facilities, and the right to be free of racial discrimination.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the civil rights movement.
an American jurist and politician. He is known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public-school-sponsored prayer, and requiring "one-man-one vote" rules of apportionment. He made the Court a power center on a more even base with Congress and the presidency.
a document written in opposition to racial integration of public places. The manifesto was signed by 99 politicians (97 Democrats). The Congressmen drafted the document to counter the landmark Supreme Court 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education, which determined that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional.
White Citizens' Councils
Little Rock Central High School
Rosa Parks / Montgomery Bus Boycott
an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement". Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
U2 Incident/ Francis Gary Powers
a United States one-man U-2 spy plane was reportedly shot down at high altitude over the airspace of the Soviet Union. The United States government at first denied the plane's purpose and mission, but then was forced to admit its role as a covert surveillance aircraft when the Soviet government produced its intact remains and surviving pilot, Francis Gary Powers, as well as photos of military bases in Russia taken by the pilot.
Military- industrial complex
a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the military industrial base that supports them. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961,though the term is applicable to any country with a similarly developed infrastructure.