"Iron Curtain" Speech
March, 1946: Winston Churchill gave a speech in Westminster College about the "iron curtain" that divided the Soviet Union and its satellite states with the democratic western nations.
March, 1947: This was the US foreign policy regarding the prevention or "containment" of the spread of communism.
June 3, 1947: As a part of the containment policy, this plan helped many Western European nations rebuild and strengthen their economies so that their local communist parties would lose influence.
June 23, 1947: This act restricted the power and activities of unions. It outlawed many activities such as picketing and the "closed shop".
1948-1949: Germany was divided and the Soviets occupied the East. US airplanes dropped supplies to Berlin as the USSR formed a blockade.
1948: President Truman legalized the organization of mixed-race military units. Black and white soldiers could now serve together on the same tasks.
April, 1949: The NATO treaty formed an alliance between all democratic nations to prevent any wars between them. This was the first peacetime alliance.
Communists Control China
October, 1949: Mao Zedong's communists took control of the Chinese government and established the People's Republic of China.
Joseph McCarthy, "McCarthyism"
February, 1950: McCarthy led a strong crusade against any government official suspected of supporting communism and socialism.
June, 1950: The communist-controlled North Korea invaded South Korea, which was supported by the UN and United States. China then aided North Korea and pushed the southern forces back to the 48th parallel, which remained the border.
Amendment XXII Limits President to Two Terms
1951: After FDR was elected into four terms, this amendment was passed to limit the total number of terms that can be served by a single person. This was to avoid having the same president indefinitely.
Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court Strikes Down "Separate but Equal"
May, 1954: These Supreme Court decision was vital for the success of the Civil Rights Movement, as it declared segregation in schools and all public spaces unconstitutional.
August, 1954: France attempted to recolonize Vietnam after WWII but were opposed by the Vietminh. The First Indochina War ended with the fall of Dien Bien Phu, and France left Vietnam, which was divided into the north and south through the Geneva Conference.
May, 1955: In response to the establishment of NATO, the Soviet Union and its satellite nations form their own communist alliance.
Montgomery Bus Boycott
December, 1955: After Rosa Parks was imprisoned for her resistance to bus segregation, African Americans in Montgomery boycotted the use of any public buses to demonstrate their resistance to segregation. The boycott greatly affected the bus business.
January, 1957: Primarily to fight off communism, this doctrine announced to Middle Eastern countries that they could ask for economic or military aid from the US if threatened with armed aggression.
Civil Rights Act
September, 1957: This was the first federal civil rights legislation passed and it primarily improved voting rights for blacks. The goal of the law was to ensure that all Americans could freely exercise their right to vote.
October, 1957: The USSR successfully launched the first satellite into space. This shocks all of America because they are no longer the most technologically advanced nation.
First US Satellite
January, 1958: The US responded to Sputnik by advancing their space program and launching their first satellite, Explorer I.
July, 1958: The US creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the space agency that headed research on the first manned space programs.
1961: As a part of the civil rights movement, many interracial students in CORE staged bus rides where colored people would refuse to segragate, hoping that the policy would be changed.
Bay of Pigs
April, 1961: In an attempt to stop Fidel Castro's communist government in Cuba, the CIA trained guerrilla soldiers out of anti-Castro exiles to spark an uprising. It failed.
Cuban Missile Crisis
October 1961: Tensions for nuclear warfare between the US and USSR reached its highest point when the USSR put nuclear missiles in Cuba, in response to the US' missiles in Turkey. The US planned to take out the missile sites, but the situation was resolved when the USSR agreed to take out the missiles if the US didn't invade.
Civil Rights March on Washington
August, 1963: 200,000 civil rights demonstrators marched on the mall on Washington DC, supported by JFK. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech at this rally.
November 22, 1963: While in Dallas, Texas for political appearances, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Conspiracies arose in the later decades.
War on Poverty
January 8, 1964: Lyndon B. Johnson launched the "War on Poverty" which created Medicare and Medicaid and promoted "community action".
January 23, 1964: This amendment prohibited poll taxes for any elections.
May, 1964: President Johnson launched his "Great Society" reform program which involved building coalitions to end poverty and racial injustice.
Gulf of Tonkin
August 2, 1964: After a US destroyer was attacked at the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnam, a resolution was passed giving the president any funds he needed to stop the Vietnam war.
Malcolm X Assassinated
February, 1965: Malcolm X, a civil rights activist who advocated defense against racial injustice, was assassinated presumably by rivals within the Nation of Islam.
Operation Rolling Thunder in Vietnam
March, 1965: This operation was a series of bombardment campaigns in North Vietnam to boost the Saigon regime in the south and defeat the communist regime in the north.
National Organization for Women Formed
1966: NOW was formed by Betty Friedan and other feminists to promote the new feminist movement that began in the 60s. The organization worked to fight for educational opportunities and economic equality. They also defied traditional domestic values.
1967: On a Sunday morning, one of the deadliest and most destructive race riots broke out in 12th Street, Detroit. When the police could not handle the situation, the governor of Michigan ordered the National Guard into Detroit.
MLK and Robert Kennedy Assassinated
April 4; June 6, 1968: The nation was in a year of trauma as two prominent political figures were assassinated. Martin Luther King Jr was shot on his motel room balcony in Memphis by James Earl Ray, and riots broke out the following days. Robert Kennedy was shot at a Los Angeles hotel by a Palestinian who dislike Kennedy's pro-Israeli remarks.
January, 1969: President Nixon and Henry Kissinger sought a solution to the Vietnam stalemate through "Vietnamization" or the training and equipping of the South Vietnamese military. This would allow the locals to take on combat roles and reduce dependence the US.
Nixon Proposes New Federalism
1969: Nixon believed that government should be limited and power should return to state and local governments, which were the opinions of the "silent majority". Nixon worked to dismantle the Great Society and many previous government programs.
First Man on the Moon
July 20, 1969: NASA's Apollo program successfully sent Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon.
Massacre at Kent State
May, 1970: Shootings took place at Kent State University, killing many unarmed students protesting the Vietnam. The Ohio National Guard was responsible.
December, 1970: Following the growing environmentalist movement, the Environmental Protection Agency was established by Nixon to enforce the anti-pollution laws.
Nixon Opens Talks with China
February, 1972: 20 years after the fall of the Chinese nationalist government, Nixon visits China and restores diplomatic relations. China was also admitted into the UN.
SALT Talks Begins
May, 1972: American and Soviet Union diplomats met in Finland to discuss setting limits on their nuclear weapons arsenal. It was called the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty.
June, 1972: A scandal involving a break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate hotel negatively impacted Nixon's administration, as he was suspected to be involved in a cover-up. This leads to his impeachment.
Roe v Wade
January 22, 1973: This Supreme Court case legalized abortion, citing "right to privacy". Many states could still set their own restrictions on abortion.
US Forces Withdraw from Vietnam
January 27, 1973: After the "Christmas bombings", President Nixon withdrew all US troops from Vietnam in a continued stalemate. The Paris Accords officially ended the war between Vietnam and the US.
Nixon Resigns, Ford's Pardon
1974: With impending impeachment, Nixon resigned from office and Gerald Ford becomes acting President. He later pardons Nixon for any of his crimes committed in office.
March, 1975: The ceasefire set by the Paris Accords was quickly broken when the North Vietnamese launched a full-scale offensive on the south. Ford refused to help and the southern forces fall at Saigon. Vietnam becomes communist.
Panama Canal Treaties Ratified
1977: Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos agreed over two treaties which officially gave Panama control over the Panama Canal, which was previously under control of the US.
Camp David Accords
1978: The Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister negotiated conditions for peace in Camp David with help from President Carter. The Accords officially made peace between the nations and was one of Carter's greatest achievements.
US Recognizes China
January 1, 1979: When the Chinese leader was hoping to open up the nation to the outside world, Washington and Beijing announced their resumption of formal diplomatic relations. The US also formally recognized China
SALT II Completed
June 18, 1979: President Carter traveled to Vienna to finish the SALT II draft. This agreement limited long range missiles, bombers, and nuclear warheads for the US and USSR but was met with opposition.
American Embassy in Iran Occupied
November, 1979: During the Iranian revolution, a group of armed militants invaded the American embassy in Teheran and took the diplomats and military personnel hostage. They demanded the shah of Iran, who was in the US, to be returned in exchange for the hostages' freedom.
USSR Invades Afghanistan
December 25, 1979: The Soviet Union invaded the mountainous Islamic country, Afghanistan, where Marxism was already a great influence. The war lasted over 9 years before the USSR withdrew.
US Boycotts Olympics & Withdraws from SALT II
1980: As the USSR's actions in Afghanistan threatened world peace, the US angrily imposed economic sanctions on Russia, boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and withdrew from SALT II.
Reagan Elected President
November 4, 1980: Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President and he promised tax cuts and restoration of American "strength" and "pride". The hostages in Iran were soon released, and Reagan worked to deregulate the economy, while the fiscal crisis emerged.