Breaking The Ice

A History of the Cold War in 10 easy factoids. Do pay attention, 007...

1947
The term ‘Cold War’ is coined to describe the frosty relations between the USSR and USA. It’s no coincidence that the same year sees the founding of the CIA.

1953
Joseph Stalin dies and is succeeded as Soviet leader by Nikita Khrushchev.

1955
The Soviet Union signs the Warsaw Pact tying together the ‘Eastern Bloc’ communist countries. Heaven help any of them – like Hungary a year later – who try to leave.

1961
Early on the 13 August, a Sunday morning, East German troops seal the border between East and West Berlin. Then they start building a wall...

1962
America and Russia square up in the Cuban missile crisis. The Russians eventually step back from their plan to install missile bases on the strategic Caribbean island.

1979
The Soviet Union sends troops into Afghanistan. It’s more than nine brutal years before they pull out...

1983
US president Ronald Reagan describes the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire”. The same year he announces the highly impractical Strategic Defense Initiative (or ‘Star Wars’) plan to shield the US from potential nukes.

 

1985
Mikhael Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union. He inherits an economy on the point of collapse and announces reforms in the name of Perestroika (“restructuring”) and Glasnost (“openness”). He also diverts tons of cash away from military spending...

1989
Gorbachev and George Bush (Snr) declare the Cold War officially over at a summit in Malta. By the end of the following year, the Soviet Union has dissolved into 15 separate states.

1989
The Berlin Wall finally falls on 9 November, as hordes of East Berliners demand entry into the west. The Cold War really is over. The James Bond franchise eventually replies with GoldenEye.