A New Kind of War
Was it perhaps inevitable that a Cold War emerged in the years immediately following Word War II?
Much of the history of the years immediately following the Second World War can be explained by a new kind of war. And so, following the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam, as well as the end of WWII, the United States and the Soviet Union squared off as ideology and nuclear weapons defined the moment, a moment known as the Cold War. Although there have been moments when tensions between East and West have been near breaking point -- Hungary (1956), the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) or Czechoslovakia (1968) -- the Cold War never really turned hot.
- George Kennan, The Long Telegram (1946)
While serving as the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Kennan sent an 8,000 word cable to Washington recommending a foreign policy of containment.
- Winston S. Churchill, Excerpts from the "Iron Curtain Speech," March 5, 1946
Churchill's speech at Fulton, Missouri described the division between the Western powers and the Soviet Union.
- George Marshall, Speech Delivered at Harvard University on June 5, 1947
Secretary of State George Marshall initiated his postwar European aid plan during a speech delivered at commencement exercises at Harvard.
- The North Atlantic Treaty, 1949
With headquarters in Brussels, NATO was created as a mutual defense pact among its member states.
- Khrushchev's Secret Speech, 1956
Khrushchev's speech to a closed session of the Twentieth Party Congress was intended to debunk the infallibility of Stalin and initiate a return to the Leninist model.
- Andropov Report on Imre Nagy and the Hungarian Situation, November 1, 1956
Andropov reports that Hungary has threatened its withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact.
- Sputnik, Discussion at the 339th Meeting of the National Security Council, Thursday, October 10, 1957
Launched by the Soviets on October 4, 1957, Sputnik elevated fears that the United States could suffer a devastation attack by Russian satellites armed with nuclear devices.