You can find this storyboard in our teacher guide for The Cold War: 1945-1962.

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Timeline - Major Events of the Initial Cold War

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Storyboard Description

Cold War Timeline - Have students use a timeline to outline and define events stemming from the end of World War II to the immediate actions and conferences that take place. Students will be able to explain and analyze what events happened to lead to the beginning of the Cold War, as well as how initial hostilities between the Soviet Union and U.S. developed. Teachers may pre-select events, conferences, or actions for students to utilize, however, recommended timeline ideas include the Yalta Conference, bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Potsdam Conference, the Truman Doctrine, Berlin Airlift, and the Warsaw Pact. This will allow students to see initial attempts at Soviet and American negotiations, as well as how the Cold War begins to heat up.

Storyboard Text

  • YALTA CONFERENCE
  • TIMELINE: MAJOR EVENTS OF THE INITIAL COLD WAR
  • BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI
  • On the cusp of World War II coming to an end, the "Big Three", Joseph Stalin, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, met in Yalta to discuss post-war Europe. All agreed on peace, yet were divided on what to do with countries like Poland. It was also decided to split Germany up between the three countries.
  • In a show of military power, and what some would argue as a necessary measure, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. This effectively drew Japan's surrender and the end to WWII. However, the Cold War was already in the works between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.
  • POTSDAM CONFERENCE
  • In another meeting between the "Big Three", with newly appointed U.S. president Harry Truman, further negotiations took place. Again, conflict arose over controlled areas between the Allies and Soviet Union. Truman, although inexperienced in foreign affairs, remained strong on his anti-communist influence position.
  • TRUMAN DOCTRINE ISSUED
  • BERLIN AIRLIFT
  • In a 1947 address to Congress, President Truman released his Truman Doctrine, or foreign policy in regards to Soviet imperialism. In it, Truman pledged aid, financially and militarily, to any country of free people opposed to communist influence. Initially, the doctrine was aimed at supporting free elections in Greece and Turkey.
  • NATO
  • NATO FORMED
  • WARSAW PACT
  • As tensions continued to rise, East Berlin, controlled by the Soviet Union, was soon cut off from supply lines as a response to a merger of British, American, and French control over West Berlin. In response, Allied forces conducted air drops of food, coal, medicine, and other necessary supplies to aid the peoples of East Berlin.
  • KOREAN WAR BEGINS
  • With the Berlin Crisis, among others, revolving around the growing divide between the Soviet Union and free states, Allied powers soon formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO alliance. In essence, this alliance of free states declared an attack against one, was an attack against all.
  • With the end of the Chinese Civil War, and a victorious communist party, the U.S. and U.N. aimed to protect their control in Korea, once controlled by Japan. After Japan's defeat, the country became divided as communist North Korea and democratic South Korea. The war would be the first of the "hot" wars throughout the Cold War.

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