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Military.com Remembers the Cold War
Timeline  1945 | 1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990

July 16 - Manhattan Project Succeeds with Trinity blast, Alamagordo, N.M.
August 6 - Little Boy explodes over Hiroshima
August 9 - Fat Man Explodes over Nagasaki
December - Atomic Diplomacy ends with Secretary of State James Byrnes antagonizing the Soviet Union to change Bulgarian Elections.
Top Movie: Going My Way
Biggest Sports Story: Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in the World Series


January - U.N. establishes the Atomic Energy Commission
June 14 - Baruch presents the Acheson-Lilienthal plan to internationalize the atom
July - Protests in Times Square, N.Y., against nuclear testing.
July - Operation Crossroads begins at Bikini Atoll
December 31 - AEC takes over nuclear weapons program from the Army.
Top Movie: The Best Years of Our Lives

A tinted view of Trinity on July 16, 1945.


June - Soviets propose to U.N. that all civil nuclear activities be placed under international control. (U.S. vetoed)
October 14 - Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in the Bell X-1
Top Movie: Gentleman's Agreement


April, May - U.S. atomic tests, Eniwetok Atoll
April 4 - NATO established
June 22 - Berlin Airlift begins
Truman Doctrine dominates Foreign Policy
Soviets manage coup in Czechoslovakia
Top Movie: Hamlet


August 29 - Soviet Union detonates its first atomic bomb in Ustyurt desert.
September 30 - Berlin airlift ends.
Top Movie: All the King's Men


January 27 - Fuchs confesses that he gave atomic secrets to the Soviets.
U.S. above-ground tests start in Nevada.
June 25 - The Korean War begins as North Korea rolls past the 38th parallel
Top Movie: All About Eve


Fusion demonstrated
Top Movie: An American in Paris


October 3 - U.K. explodes its first A-bomb, Monte Bello Islands, Australia.
October 31 - U.S. detonates "Mike" on Einiwetok Atoll with 10-medatons of power.
Top Movie: The Greatest Show on Earth

The Rosenbergs embrace after their arraignment in 1951.


Eisenhower speaks of "Atoms for Peace"
June - Ethel and Julius Rosenburg are executed for espionage
August - Soviets explode "Joe 4," a fusion-fission mixed bomb
Top Movie: From Here to Eternity


South-East Asia Treaty Organization established
January 21 - First nuclear-powered submarine, U.S.S. Nautilus, launched.

March 1 - "Bravo" yields 15-Megatons in a deliverable H-bomb.
April 12 to May 6 - Public hearings deny Oppenheimer access to nuclear secrets.
Top Movie: On the Waterfront


Baghdad Pact (later Central Treaty Organization) established
Suez War
November 22 - Soviet Union test an H-bomb with a several megaton yield
Top Movie: Marty


Polish uprising
Hungarian uprising
Top Movie: Around the World in Eighty Days


May 15 - U.K. joins the superbomb club
October 4 - Sputnik launched
Our Friend the Atom airs on TV
Top Movie: The Bridge on the River Kwai


January 31 - Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite in orbit, lifts off at Cape Canaveral using a modified ABMA-JPL Jupiter-C rocket. It carries a scientific experiment of James A. Van Allen, and discovers the Earth's radiation belt.
October 1 - N.A.S.A. is founded, taking over existing National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics.
November, 1958 to September, 1961 - U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R. observe an informal moratorium on nuclear tests.
Top Movie: Gigi


Cuban revolution
Top Movie: Ben-Hur


Force de Frappe is realized when France explodes its first A-bomb in the Sahara
Top Movie: The Apartment


February 1 - U.S. launches Minuteman I missile.
April 12 - Vostok 1 is launched by the U.S.S.R., carring Cosmonaut Yuri A. Gargarin, the first man in space. He orbits the Earth once.
April 17 - Bay of Pigs
May 5 - Mercury Freedom 7 carries Alan B. Shepard,Jr., the first U.S. Astronaut into space, in a suborbital flight.
August 13 - Construction begins on the Berlin Wall. It stretches for 26 miles (42 kilometers) effectively dividing the city in half and stems the flow of refugees into the sectors occupied by the Western powers.
September 1 - U.S.S.R. resumes nuclear tests.

Astronaut John Glenn shortly before his history-making flight aboard Friendship 7.

September 15 - U.S. resumes nuclear tests. 
October 31 - U.S.S.R. explodes the largest nuclear bomb, with a yield of a 58 megatons.
Roger Maris hits 61 Homers
Top Movie: West Side Story


February 20 - Mercury Friendship 7 lifts off with John H. Glenn, Jr., the first American in orbit, and orbits the Earth three times.
October - Cuban Missile Crisis
Top Movie: Lawrence of Arabia


Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty is ratified
June 16 - Vostok 6 carries Soviet Cosmonaut Valentia Tereshkova, the first woman in space and orbits the Earth 48 times.
June 20 - U.S./U.S.S.R. sign 'hot line' agreement.
August 5 - Limited Test Ban Treaty signed.
Top Movie: Tom Jones


February 9 - The Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show
October 16 - China explodes its first A-Bomb at Lop Nor in northwestern China
Top Movie: My Fair lady


March 23 - First manned flight of the Gemini program, Gemini 3 carrying Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young. Made three orbits around the earth.
Top Movie: The Sound of Music


January 17 - U.S. B-52 bomber crashes near Palomares, Spain with 4 unarmed H-bombs.
February 3 - Soviet Luna 9 is the first spacecraft to soft-land on the moon.
September 24 - First French H-bomb tested at Tuamoto Islands.
Top Movie: A Man for All Seasons


January 27 - Outer Space Treaty bans nuclear weapons being placed in orbit.
February 14 - Treaty of Tlatelolco signed.
June 17 - China explodes its first H-Bomb
Top Movie: In the Heat of the Night

Neil Armstrong steps away from the lunar module on Apollo 11 July 20, 1969. (NASA photo)


France explodes an H-Bomb
July 1 - Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for additional signatures.
Top Movie: Oliver!


July 20 - Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. make the first manned soft landing on the Moon, and the first moonwalk, using Apollo 11.
November-December - Preliminary SALT talks in Helsinki.
Top Movie: Midnight Cowboy


March 5 - NPT enters into force; 100 nations ratify it by 1980.
Top Movie: Patton


March 30 - U.S. deploys Poseidon SLBM.
Top Movie: The French Connection


May 26 - SALT I Treaty signed by Nixon and Brezhnev in Moscow.
November - SALT II negotiations begin.
Top Movie: The Godfather


May 14 - India explodes a plutonium bomb near the border with Pakistan
November 24 - U.S./U.S.S.R. agree to limit the number of strategic launchers (2400) and MIRV launchers (1320).
Top Movie: The Godfather, Part II


July - American Apollo (18) and Soviet Soyuz 19 dock, the first international spacecraft rendezvous.
Top Movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


March 28 - Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania suffers a partial core meltdown. Minimal radioactive material is released. 
June 18 - SALT II Treaty is signed in Vienna by Brezhnev and Carter.
December 26 - U.S.S.R. invades Afghanistan; SALT II Treaty removed from consideration by the Senate.
Top Movie: Kramer vs. Kramer


The Iran Hostage Crisis occurs
Top Movie: Ordinary People


April 12 - The first manned mission of the Space Transportation System (STS-1) or Space Shuttle, Columbia, is launched.
Top Movie: Chariots of Fire


June 29 - Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) begin in Geneva
Top Movie: Gandhi


March 23 - Reagan announces SDI (or commonly known as "Star Wars") program.
Top Movie: Terms of Endearment


The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty - Multilateral agreement among the nations of the South Pacific. 
August -The Soviet Union announces a nuclear testing moratorium
Top Movie: Out of Africa


April - Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor meltdown and fire occur in the Soviet Union. Massive amounts of radioactive material are released.
November 28 - The 131st U.S. B-52 bomber with ALCMs is deployed, exceeding the 130 limit, thus negating the SALT II Treaty.
December - First 10 MXs become operational.
Top Movie: Platoon


December 8 - Reagan and Gorbachev sign the INF Treaty.
Top Movie: The Last Emperor


November - The Berlin wall begins to crumble
Top Movie: Driving Miss Daisy


The START treaty is signed, signifying further reductions in nuclear arms. Iraq invades Kuwait and begins the Gulf War.
Communism falls across Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union is replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.).
Top Movie: Silence of the Lambs

President Reagan addresses a crowd at Brandenburg in 1987. (National Archive photo)


March 24 - At the Sosnovy Bor station near St. Petersburg, Russia, radioactive iodine escaped into the atmosphere.
The START treaty is ratified by the Senate.
Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus agree in principle to the START treaty
USAF reorganizes standing down the Strategic Air Command
Top Movie: Unforgiven


Several attempts to smuggle nuclear material from C.I.S. are stopped.
Secret nuclear testing on humans is revealed by both the U.S. and C.I.S.
SDI program is scaled back. Emphasis towards a SCUD-like missile defense. 
North Korea is suspected to be building nuclear weapons, they threaten to withdraw from the IAEA. Global pressure resolves the crisis.
Top Movie: Forrest Gump


May 11 - 178 nations renew the Non-proliferation Treaty. 
May 15 - China conducts an underground nuclear test. 
August - The U.S. announces a total ban on all U.S. nuclear weapon testing. 
August 17 - China conducts another underground nuclear test. 
September 5 - Under worldwide protest, France resumes nuclear testing on the Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific. 
October 1 - France conducts a second test, on Fangataufa Atoll.
October 27 - France sets off a 60kt blast.
November - Japan's Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor leaked two to three tons of sodium from the reactor's secondary cooling system.
November 21 - France stages a fourth test at Mururoa Atoll. It has a yield of less than 40kt.
December 27 - France conducts a fifth test at Muroroa Atoll. It has a yield of less than 30kt.
Top Movie: Braveheart


March 25 - The United States, France, and United Kingdom sign The Treaty of Raratonga, which created a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. China and C.I.S had already signed the treaty.
April 11 - The Treaty of Pelindaba creates a Nuclear Free Zone throughout Africa. Multilateral agreement signed by 49 of the 53 members of the Organization of African Unity. 
June 8 - China conducts a nuclear test at the Lop Nor test site. 
September 11 - United Nations approves the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans nuclear test explosions but not laboratory testing. India rejects the treaty as flawed; Pakistan says it will not sign unless India does first. 
November 26 -The last of the nuclear warheads stationed in Belarus were finally removed to Russia. This completes the planned denuclearization of the smaller successor states to the Soviet Union, leaving Russia as the sole inheritor of the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal.
Top Movie: The English Patient


July 2 - U.S. begins a round of underground nuclear related tests at the Nevada Test Site. 
September 18 - U.S. conducts a second underground explosive test on plutonium. 
December 22 - U.S. implodes the last Minuteman II missile silo.
Top Movie: Titanic


October 13 - US Senate fails to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
October 15 - First of 150 Minuteman III Missile silos destroyed destruction of all the silos is estimated to take two years.
Top Movie: American Beauty

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