Cold War Timeline
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A CONCISE TIME-LINE OF THE COLD WAR 1945-1992



1940's:* 1945: Feb 4-11 -- Yalta Conference -- Genesis of Cold War
  • 1945: March -- 3AD captures Cologne; crosses Rhine
  • 1945: March/April -- 3AD battles in Central Germany
  • 1945: May 8 -- Germany surrenders to Allies
  • 1945: Jul 16 - Aug 2 -- Potsdam Conference
  • 1945: Aug 6 -- U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima
  • 1945: Aug 8 -- USSR enters war against Japan
  • 1945: Aug 14 -- Japan surrenders -- End of World War II
  • 1945 Nov 9 -- 3AD deactivated in Germany
  • 1946: March -- Winston Churchill delivers "Iron Curtain" speech
  • 1947: June -- Marshall Plan is announced
  • 1947: July -- 3AD reactivated as training unit, Ft. Knox, KY
  • 1948: Feb -- Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia
  • 1948: June 24 -- Berlin Blockade by USSR begins
  • 1949: July -- NATO ratified as a military organization
  • 1949: May 12 -- Berlin Blockade ends
  • 1949: Sept -- Communists take control of China
  • 1949: Sept -- USSR explodes its first atomic bomb
1950's:* 1950: June -- Korean War begins
  • 1951: Jan 12 -- Fed. Civil Defense Administration established
  • 1953: June 19 -- Rosenberg spy executions
  • 1953: July -- Korean War ends
  • 1954: March -- KGB established
  • 1954: -- CIA helps overthrow unfriendly regimes in Iran
  • 1954: July -- Vietnam split at 17th parallel after French defeated
  • 1955: March -- 3AD reverts to combat division, Ft. Knox, KY
  • 1955: May -- Warsaw Pact formed
  • 1956: May -- 3AD redeployed to West Germany
  • 1956: Oct - Nov -- Rebellion put down in Communist Hungary
  • 1957: July 1 -- Start of 3AD reorganization under new Army-wide
    system called CARS (Combat Arms Regimental System).
  • 1957: Oct 1 -- Continued reorganization of 3AD with the
    implementation of ROCAD (Reorganization of Current
    Armored Division).
  • 1957: Oct 4 -- USSR launches Sputnik into Earth orbit
  • 1957: Oct -- 3AD first receives tactical nuclear weapons
  • 1958: Nov -- Khrushchev demands U.S. troops leave Berlin
  • 1959: Jan -- Fidel Castro takes over Cuba
  • 1959: -- 3AD begins conversion from M-1 to M-14 rifle
1960's:* 1960: May 1 -- U.S. U2 spy plane shot down over Russia
  • 1960: Oct -- Creighton Abrams made 3AD Commander
  • 1960: Nov -- John F. Kennedy elected President
  • 1961: -- 3AD begins conversion to M-60 Battle Tank
  • 1961: April -- Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuba
  • 1961: April 12 -- USSR astronaut Gagarin first to orbit Earth
  • 1961: Aug 13 -- Berlin border closed
  • 1961: Aug 17 -- Construction of Berlin Wall begins
  • 1962: -- U.S. involvement in Vietnam increases
  • 1962: June -- US Army Europe troop strength peaks
    at 277,342 for the Cold War era (1946-1991).
  • 1962: Oct -- Cuban Missile Crisis (nuclear war narrowly averted)
  • 1963: June 25 -- Kennedy visits 3AD troops in Germany
  • 1963: July -- Nuclear Test Ban Treaty ratified
  • 1963: Sept -- 3AD is completely revamped in organization
    under ROAD concept (Reorganization Objective Army Divisions)
  • 1963: Oct-Nov -- 3AD participates in Operation BIG LIFT,
    forerunner of REFORGER exercises; 2AD air-lifted from Ft. Hood, TX
  • 1964: Aug -- Gulf of Tonkin incident -- Start of Vietnam War
  • 1964: Oct 16 -- China detonates its first atomic bomb
  • 1968: Jan -- North Korea captures USS Pueblo
  • 1968: Aug -- Soviet troops crush Czechoslovakian revolt
  • 1969: Jan -- 3AD in USAREUR's first REFORGER field exercise
  • 1969: July 20 -- U.S. lands first man on moon
1970's:* 1970: April -- President Richard Nixon extends Vietnam War to Cambodia
  • 1970: July -- 3AD begins belated conversion to M-16 rifle
  • 1972: July -- SALT I nuclear treaty signed
  • 1973: Jan -- Ceasefire in Vietnam between North Vietnam & U.S.
  • 1973: March -- Last sizable U.S. military units depart South Vietnam
  • 1973: Oct -- Egypt & Syria attack Israel; Egypt requests Soviet aid
  • 1973: -- End of the U.S. military draft
  • 1974: -- 3AD begins conversion to all-volunteer force
  • 1974: -- First female soldiers join 3AD (then still WAC's)
  • 1974: Aug -- President Nixon resigns
  • 1975: April 30 -- Saigon falls to North; the end of South Vietnam
  • 1975: July 27 -- President Gerald Ford visits 3AD
  • 1979: July -- SALT II nuclear treaty signed
  • 1979: Nov -- Shah of Iran overthrown; Iranian Hostage Crisis
1980's* 1980: Nov -- Ronald Reagan elected President
  • 1983: -- Reagan reveals Strategic Defense Initiative, "Star Wars"
  • 1985 -- 3AD begins conversion to M1 Abrams Battle Tank
  • 1985: -- Mikhail Gorbachev ascends to power in USSR
  • 1986: -- Gorbachev ends economic aid to Soviet satellites
  • 1986: Oct -- Reagan and Gorbachev resolve to remove all intermediate nuclear missiles from Europe
  • 1987: June 19 -- 3AD wins the Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) with a remarkable performance by 1st platoon, Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 8th Cavalry (formerly 3-33 Armor). It was the first such "world series" victory by a U.S. Army unit in 24 years of this international tank gunnery competition.
  • 1987: Oct -- Reagan and Gorbachev agree to remove all medium and short-range nuclear missiles from Europe by signing treaty
  • 1988: Jan -- 3AD receives its first Bradley Fighting Vehicles
  • 1988: Jan -- 3AD in last full-scale REFORGER exercise
  • 1989: Jan -- Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan
  • 1989: June -- China puts down protests for democracy
  • 1989: June -- Poland becomes independent
  • 1989: Sept -- Hungary becomes independent
  • 1989: Nov -- Berlin Wall falls
  • 1989: Dec -- Communist governments fall in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Rumania
1990's* 1990: Jan -- 3AD in scaled-down REFORGER exercise
  • 1990: March -- Lithuania becomes independent
  • 1990: May 29 -- Boris Yeltsin elected to presidency of Russia
  • 1990: Aug 2 -- Iraq invades Kuwait; threatens Saudi Arabia
  • 1990: Oct 3 -- West Germany and East Germany unite
  • 1990: Dec -- 3AD redeployed to Saudi Arabia
  • 1991: Feb -- 3AD in Operation Desert Storm
  • 1991: March - July -- 3AD redeployed back to Germany
  • 1991: April -- Warsaw Pact ends
  • 1991: June 8 -- 3AD battalion-size contingent marches in Desert Storm Victory Parade in Washington, D.C.
  • 1991: Aug -- USSR Dissolved -- Cold War Ends
  • 1992: Jan 17 -- 3AD deactivated in Germany
  • 1992: Oct 17 -- Formal 3AD deactivation at Ft. Knox, ceremony & speeches, including WWII veterans and former Division commanders.