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Foreign Policy Dates


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Venezuelan Crisis (vs. Britain)
1902-1903 – In December and January 1902-1903, “in an attempt to force payments on debts owed their nationals, Britain and Germany seized Venezuelan gunboats, bombarded some of its forts, and blockaded five ports,” according to Dallek. A public outcry against European intervention in Latin America convinced Teddy Roosevelt that he should try to prevent further interventions, leading eventually to the Roosevelt Corollary, announced in December 1904.
Platt Amendment
1901 – Amendment to the Cuban Constitution based on a clause in a bill drafted by Senator Orville H. Platt. It said the United States could intervene in Cuban affairs to keep order or maintain independence and could buy or lease sites for naval and coaling stations (the main one was Guantánamo Bay). The amendment also barred Cuba from making a treaty that gave another nation power over its affairs, going into debt, or stopping the United States from imposing a sanitation program on the island.
Panama “taken”
1903 – After Columbia balked at the terms of the Hay-Herrán Treaty, which would have allowed the United States to take control of a Canal Zone across the Isthmus of Panama to construct a canal, Roosevelt found another way. He sent signals to Panamanian insurrectionists that the U.S. would support a revolt against Columbian rule of the province. When the insurrection came in November 1903, U.S. warships blocked Columbian troops from reinforcing a weak force on the Isthmus and Roosevelt hastily recognized the new country. The U.S. signed a more favorable treaty with the new Panama, giving the U.S. rights to a ten-mile wide Canal Zone “in perpetuity.”
Panama Canal Construction Begins
1904 – Construction lasted until 1914 and thousands died of disease and injury.
Roosevelt Corollary
December 1904 – Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in which the U.S. declared its right to exercise an international police power when Western Hemisphere countries, by not keeping their debts or other affairs in order, invited foreign aggression.
Treaty of Portsmouth
1905 – Treaty negotiated by Roosevelt in Portsmouth, New Hampshire between Russia and Japan, ending the Russo-Japanese War. Key was that it preserved the “Open Door” to China, a U.S. policy to allow free trade with that country.
Bryan resigns
June 9, 1915 – Believing the strong language in Wilson’s note to Germany after the sinking of the British ship Lusitania would lead the U.S. into an unnecessary war; Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned his post.
Haiti occupied
1915 – Despite rhetoric opposing the interventionism of previous administrations, Wilson decided to try to restore order when revolutionary upheaval and bloodshed swept Haiti in the summer of 1915.
Dominican Republic occupied
1916 – the collapse of the government in the Dominican Republic similarly precipitated a U.S. intervention to restore order.
Pershing invades Mexico
1916 - A U.S. expeditionary force under Gen. John Pershing invaded Mexico in pursuit of Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa, who had raided the border town of Columbus, New Mexico.
1915 – British liner sunk off the Irish coast by a German submarine on May 7, 1915. 1,198 people lost their lives, 128 of whom were U.S. citizens. A warning to Americans against taking passage on British vessels, signed by the Imperial German Embassy, appeared in morning papers on the day the vessel was scheduled to sail from New York, but too late to accomplish its purpose. The vessel was unarmed, though the Germans made a point of the fact that it carried munitions for the Allies.
Belleau Wood
A forested area of northern France. In June 1918, it was the site of a hard-fought and bloody American victory over the Germans. This battle was signicant in that it stopped a German advance toward Paris
“He Kept Us Out of War"
1916 – Wilson used this slogan in his 1916 campaign for the presidency. On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the war.
1918 – A village of northern France south of Amiens. It was the site of the first major U.S. offensive in World War I on May 28 1918.
Wilson Suffers Stroke
Oct. 3, 1919 -- Wilson suffered a catastrophic, disabling stroke while campaigning for passage of the Versailles Treaty. The campaign was cut short and Wilson was never the same. This doomed any chance of passage of the treaty as Wilson, in this disabled state, withdrew from negotiations with Senate Republicans and refused to entertain any amendments to the treaty.
Senate Rejects Versailles Treaty
1919 -- Republican Majority Leader and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Henry Cabot Lodge led opposition to the aspect of Wilson’s League of Nations proposal that would commit the United States to the defense of other members of the League, but Lodge did not oppose the League outright. With Wilson's refusal to compromise, the Senate overwhelmingly rejected the Treaty by wide margins in two votes on November 19.
Washington Naval Disarmament Conference
November 1921-February 1922 – U.S., China, Japan and the powers of Europe attended. Three treaties resulted. The Five-Powers Treaty, adopted by France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States, established a ratio for the size of each navy, placed a ten-year ban on the building of warships, put restrictions on submarine warfare, and outlawed poisonous gas. The other treaties dealt with issues in the Pacific, including the Open Door Policy and China’s territorial integrity.
Young Plan
1930 – program for settlement of German reparations debts after World War I. Under the previous Dawes plan (1924), it became apparent that Germany could not meet the huge annual payments, especially over an indefinite period of time. The Young Plan – which set the total reparations at $26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 581/2 years –was thus adopted by the Allied Powers in 1930,
Pact of Paris (Kellog-Briand Treaty)
June 1927 – Pact condemning “recourse to war for the solution of international controversies.” Aristide Briand foreign minister of France, proposed to the U.S. government a treaty outlawing war between the two countries. Frank B. Kellogg, the U.S. Secretary of State, returned a proposal for a general pact against war, and after prolonged negotiations the Pact of Paris was signed by 15 nations.
Stimson Doctrine
January 1932 – a U.S. policy enunciated in a note to Japan and China from U.S. Secretary of State Henry Stimson following Japan’s unilateral seizure of Manchuria in Northeast China. The note said the United States did not recognize territorial changes effected by force.
“Rape” of Nanking
1937-1938 – describes Japanese treatment of the citizens of Nanking, China, during the Japanese occupation of China. A 1997 book by Iris Chang of the same name extensively documents Japanese conduct, which included the slaughter of more than 300,000 people and the rape of thousands of women and girls.
Quarantine Speech
1937 – A response to Japanese actions in Manchuria and Italian actions in Abyssinia, in the face of which the League of Nations was impotent. In this speech in Chicago, FDR called for an international "quarantine of the aggressor nations" through economic pressure. This was an attempted alternative to American neutrality and isolationism, though it intensified America's isolationist mood.
“Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
1940 – Franklin Roosevelt campaign promise of 1940, though he had already begun some preparations for war.
Merchants of Death
book of the 1930s which attributed U.S. entry into World War I to the influence of northeastern business interests who wanted to sell Britain arms.
America First
Founded in 1939 after Germany’s invasion of Poland, America First was an isolationist group that opposed U.S. involvement in World War II. Many prominent Americans were members, including aviator Charles Lindbergh. At its peak, America First had 800,000 members. The organization disbanded shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
First peacetime draft
1940 – The Selective Training and Service Act required men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five to register at local draft boards across the country on October 16, 1940. Over sixteen million men registered. Two weeks later, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt watched as Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson plucked the first number in the draft from a bowl. The number was one hundred fifty-eight; 6,175 men across the nation held that honor and were required to report for duty.
Lend Lease
1941 – arrangement for the transfer of war supplies, including food, machinery, and services, to nations whose defense was considered vital to the defense of the United States in World War II. The Lend-Lease Act, passed (1941) by the U.S. Congress, gave the President power to sell, transfer, lend, or lease such war materials. Originally intended for China and Britain, though the USSR was added later.
The World War II Battle of Midway was fought on June 5, 1942. The U.S. Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, marking a turning point in the war in the Pacific theatre.
American and British invasion of German-occupied France during WWII on June 6, 1944. This marked the beginning of the victory of the Allies in Europe. Germany surrendered less than a year later.
The Bulge
1944 – The last major offensive by the German army in World War II. In late 1944, the invasion of Belgium by the Allies was temporarily stopped by a German counterattack in which the Germans broke through the Allied defenses, seizing territory that caused a large “bulge” in their lines. The Allies, led by General George Patton, drove the German forces back with heavy casualties on both sides.
Iwo Jima
1945 – The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought between the United States and Japan during February and March of 1945. As a result of the battle, the United States gained control of the island of Iwo Jima and the airfield there. The battle is famous for the raising of the US flag by U.S. Marines.
Feb. 1945 – Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met face-to-face at Yalta in the U.S.S.R. to plan for the end of World War II. It was at this conference that Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to the Soviet occupation of much of Eastern Europe. Although the agreements provided for eventual free elections in the countries of Eastern Europe, the Soviets did not comply with that portion of the agreement.
Jul.-Aug. 1945 -- A city of northeast Germany on the Havel River near Berlin. The city was the site of the Potsdam Conference, at which American, British, and Soviet leaders drew up preliminary plans for the postwar administration of Germany and assigned various captured territories to Poland.
Iron Curtain Speech
March 5, 1946 speech by Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Fulton, MO, in which he called attention to the burgeoning Cold War. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an ‘iron curtain’ has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe…”
The Long Telegram
1946 - a cable sent by George Kennan while serving at the U.S. embassy to the Soviet Union in Moscow, in which he outlined the policy of containment that the US would adopt for most of the Cold War. Later, Kennan would anonymously publish a version of the telegram as the X Article in the journal Foreign Affairs.
Rio Pact
1947 – the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty was signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1947 by the United States and 19 Latin American countries. The Rio Pact, which served as a model for NATO, provides for collective defense against aggression from outside the region. Clearly aimed at the Soviet Union, the Rio Pact became the cornerstone of hemispheric security during the Cold War; 23 countries eventually became members.
Czech Coup
Feb. 1948 – A Soviet supported coup in which the government of Czechoslavkia, the last independent government in Eastern Europe, was replaced by a communist regime that was a puppet of the Soviet Union.
Truman Doctrine
1947. To contain communism, Truman, in an address to Congress, said the U.S. would support "free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.⬝ Congress appropriate $400 million in economic assistance for Greece and Turkey.
Marshall Plan
Also known as the European Recovery Program, this plan of Western assistance was hatched at the Paris Economic Conference in July 1947. U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall had urged the development of a plan to foster economic recovery in Germany and other European countries in the wake of the war. In April 1948, President Truman signed the act establishing the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) to administer the program.
Berlin Blockade
1948-1949 – Instituted by the Soviet Union in the hope that the Allies would be forced to abandon West Berlin. The Berlin Airlift, a massive effort to supply the 2 million West Berliners with food and fuel for heating began in June, 1948, and lasted until Sept., 1949, although the Russians lifted the blockade in May of that year. During the around-the-clock airlift some 277,000 flights were made delivering an average of 8,000 tons of supplies daily.
Soviet Union explodes A bomb
1949 – On August 29, the Soviet Union became the second country to test an atomic bomb, ending the U.S. monopoly on the weapon.
Korean War Begins
N. Korea launched attack on South Korea across the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950. First test of the 1947 Truman Doctrine. Because of Soviet boycott of U.N. Security Council (due to U.S. refusal to recognize PRC), U.N. approved a defensive force. U.S.-led U.N. force entered the war in July.
NSC 68
1950 – A classified document written by Paul Nitze and issued by the Truman National Security Council on April 14, 1950. Inspired by Kennan’s Long Telegram, the report outlined a strategy of communist containment. NSC-68 would shape government actions in the Cold War for the next 20 years and has subsequently been labeled the "blueprint" for the Cold War.
Massive Retaliation
1954 – U.S. nuclear strategy under Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said in a speech on January 12, 1954, to the Council on Foreign Relations: 'Local defense must be reinforced by the further deterrent of massive retaliatory power.'
German Joins NATO
1955 – Germany joined as West Germany in 1955 and German reunification in 1990 extended the membership to the new Federal Republic of Germany.
schlieffen Plan
Plan of attack used by the German armies at the outbreak of World War I. It was named after its developer, Count Alfred von Schlieffen (1833–1913), former chief of the German general staff. To meet the possibility of Germany's facing a war against France in the west and Russia in the east, Schlieffen proposed that, instead of aiming the first strike against Russia, Germany should aim a rapid, decisive blow with a large force at France's flank through Belgium, then sweep around and crush the French armies against a smaller German force in the south. The plan used at the beginning of World War I had been modified by Helmuth von Moltke, who reduced the size of the attacking army and was blamed for Germany's failure to win a quick victory.
The Balfour Declaration
1917 - made in a letter dated November 2 1917, from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation, a private Zionist organization, on the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the World War I. The letter stated the position, agreed at a British Cabinet meeting on October 31 1917, that the British government supported Zionist plans for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine, with the condition that nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of existing communities there. The document is kept at the British Library. Later declaration (26) of the same name established British commonwealth.
Russian Provisional Government
Mar 1917 - The Russian Provisional Government was formed in Petrograd after the deterioration of the Russian Empire and the tsar's abdication.

When the authority of the Tsar's government began disintegrating in the February Revolution of 1917, two rival institutions, the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet, competed for power. When Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 15 and his brother, Grand Duke Michael refused the throne the next day. According to the will of the Grand Duke, the provisional government should rule until the Constituent Assembly determines the form of government in Russia. Provisional government should provide elections to the Assembly. Its power was effectively limited by the Petrograd Soviet's growing authority. The Soviet controlled the army, factories and railways and had the support of the workers, so this was a period of dual authority, although at first the Soviet had given support to the Provisional Government.
Great Purge
Late 30's - The name given to campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin during the late 1930s. It involved the purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, both occurring within a period characterized by omnipresent police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", show trials, imprisonment, and killings. In the West the term "the Great Terror" was popularized after the title of Robert Conquest's The Great Terror. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago is also devoted to this period of Soviet history.
Spanish Civil War
1936–39: Military revolt against the government of Spain. After the 1936 elections produced a Popular Front government supported mainly by left-wing parties, a military uprising began in garrison towns throughout Spain, led by the rebel Nationalists and supported by conservative elements in the clergy, military, and landowners as well as the fascist Falange. The ruling Republican government, led by the socialist premiers Francisco Largo Caballero and Juan Negrín (1894–1956) and the liberal president Manuel Azaña y Díaz, was supported by workers and many in the educated middle class as well as militant anarchists and communists. Government forces put down the uprising in most regions except parts of northwestern and southwestern Spain, where the Nationalists held control and named Francisco Franco head of state.
Traety of Rapallo
1920 - treaty between Italy and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes), issued to solve the dispute over some territories in current Slovenia and Croatia. It was signed on 12 November 1920 in Rapallo near Genoa in Italy. Tension between the kingdoms of Italy and Yugoslavia arose at the end of World War I, when the Empire of Austria-Hungary dissolved and Italy wanted to implement the borders agreed upon in the London Pact.
1922 - Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed at Rapallo, Italy. Negotiated by Germany's Walther Rathenau and the Soviet Union's Georgy V. Chicherin, it reestablished normal relations between the two nations. The nations agreed to cancel all financial claims against each other, and the treaty strengthened their economic and military ties. As the first agreement concluded by Germany as an independent agent since World War I, it angered the Western Allies.
Mein Kampf
1925 - An autobiography written by Adolf Hitler. In it, Hitler outlines his plan for the revival of Germany from the losses of World War I and blames Germany's problems on capitalists (see capitalism), communists, and Jews.
Locarno, Pact of
1925 - Multilateral treaty signed in Locarno, Switz., intended to guarantee peace in western Europe. Its signatories were Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Germany's borders with France and Belgium as set by the Treaty of Versailles were decreed inviolable, but its eastern borders were not. Britain promised to defend Belgium and France. Other provisions included mutual defense pacts between France and Poland and between France and Czechoslovakia. The treaty led to the Allied troops' departure from the Rhineland by 1930, five years ahead of schedule. See also Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Smoot Hawley Tariff
1930 - U.S. legislation that raised import duties by as much as 50%, adding considerable strain to the worldwide economic climate of the Great Depression. Despite a petition from 1,000 economists urging Pres. Herbert Hoover to veto the act, it was passed as a protective measure for domestic industries. It contributed to the early loss of confidence on Wall Street and signaled U.S. isolationism. Other countries retaliated with similarly high protective tariffs, and overseas banks began to collapse. In 1934 Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Trade Agreements Act, which reduced such tariffs.
Hitler becomes chancellor
1933 - he suspended the constitution, forcibly suppressed all political opposition and brought the Nazis to power. He enforced policies with a brutal secret police (the Gestapo) and formed concentration camps for the organized murder of Jews, Gypsies and political opponents. Hitler's aggressive foreign policy precipitated World War II in 1939. Although he had remarkable early success in the war, by 1942 the tide had turned. Hitler apparently committed suicide in an air-raid shelter in Berlin in 1945, after the Allied forces had invaded Germany.
Night of the long Knives
1934 - Purge of Nazi leaders by Adolf Hitler. Fearing that the paramilitary SA had become too powerful, Hitler ordered his elite SS guards to murder the organization's leaders, including Ernst Röhm. Also killed that night were hundreds of other perceived opponents of Hitler, including Kurt von Schleicher and Gregor Strasser.
Remilitarization of rhineland
1936 - German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler made up his mind to reoccupy the Rhineland. On 12 February he informed his War Minister, General Werner von Blomberg, of his intentions and asked the head of the Army, General Werner von Fritsch, how long it would take to transport a few infantry battalions and a artillery battery into the Rhineland. Fritsch answered that it would take three days organisation but he was in favour of negotiation as he believed that the German Army was in no state for armed combat with the French Army.[2] General Ludwig Beck warned Hitler that the German Army would be unable to successfully defend Germany against a possible retaliatory French attack.[3] Hitler reassured Fritsch that he would ensure that the German forces would leave at once if the French intervened militarily to halt their advance.
London Naval Treaty
1930 - Two conferences in London sought to continue and extend naval armaments pacts initially agreed upon at the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–1922. At this conference, the United States, Great Britain, Japan, France, and Italy agreed on ratios for battleship and aircraft carrier tonnage in a successful effort to halt what might have been an expensive arms race; the resulting treaty also allowed the British to let the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902 terminate. Britain thus avoided being caught in a possible future Japanese-American conflict as an ally of each power.
1932 - Puppet state created in 1932 by Japan out of the three historic provinces of Manchuria (northeastern China). After the Russo-Japanese War (1895), Japan gained control of the Russian-built South Manchurian Railway, and its army established a presence in the region; expansion there was seen as necessary for Japan's status as an emerging world power. In 1931 the Japanese army created an excuse to attack Chinese troops there, and in 1932 Manchukuo was proclaimed an “independent” state. The last Qing emperor was brought out of retirement and made Manchukuo's ruler, but the state was actually rigidly controlled by the Japanese, who used it as their base for expansion into Asia. An underground guerrilla movement composed of Manchurian soldiers, armed civilians, and Chinese communists opposed the occupying Japanese, many of whom had come over to settle in the new colony. After Japan's defeat in 1945 the settlers were repatriated.
Japanese occupation of Manchuria
1931 - Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931–32, when Chinese military resistance, sapped by civil war, was weak. The seizure of Manchuria was, in effect, an unofficial declaration of war on China. Manchuria was a base for Japanese aggression in N China and a buffer region for Japanese-controlled Korea. In 1932, under the aegis of Japan, Manchuria with Rehe prov. was constituted Manchukuo, a nominally independent state. During World War II the Japanese developed the Dalian, Anshan, Fushun, Shenyang, and Harbin areas into a huge industrial complex of metallurgical, coal, petroleum, and chemical industries. Soviet forces, which occupied Manchuria from July, 1945, to May, 1946, dismantled and removed over half of the Manchurian industrial plant.
Neutrality act
1937 - a law that unsuccessfully attempted to keep the United States out of international conflicts, including civil wars. Major provisions included:

a prohibition of exporting arms to belligerent nations
a ban on loans to belligerents, except short-term credits
American citizens were prohibited from travelling on belligerent vessels
American ships trading with belligerents were required to remain unarmed
American ships were forbidden from carrying arms to belligerents (see Cash and Carry)
belligerent governments and rebels were forbidden from soliciting funds from American citizens
In addition, the President had the optional authority to:

require all exports to belligerents be on a Cash and Carry basis
ban the export of selected goods and raw material to belligerents
block American ports from use by belligerent warships
exclude belligerent submarines and armed merchant vessels from American waters.
Munich Agreement
1938 - Settlement reached by Germany, France, Britain, and Italy permitting German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. Adolf Hitler's threats to occupy the German-populated part of Czechoslovakia stemmed from his avowed broader goal of reuniting Europe's German-populated areas. Though Czechoslovakia had defense treaties with France and the Soviet Union, both countries agreed that areas in the Sudetenland with majority German populations should be returned. Hitler demanded that all Czechoslovaks in those areas depart; when Czechoslovakia refused, Britain's Neville Chamberlain negotiated an agreement permitting Germany to occupy the areas but promising that all future differences would be resolved through consultation. The agreement, which became synonymous with appeasement, was abrogated when Hitler annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia the next year.
Annexation of Baltic States
1940 - The direct Soviet aggression against the Baltic countries occurred on 14-17 June 1940 when the world’s attention was focused on the military actions in Western Europe where Paris fell to the Germans on 14 June. Accusing Estonia of forming a conspiracy together with Latvia and Lithuania against the Soviet Union, the latter presented an ultimatum, demanding new concessions which included allowing more troops to enter the three countries. In the conditions of international isolation, the governments surrendered without offering any military resistance, and within a few days, the countries were invaded and occupied by several hundred thousand soldiers of the Red Army. A few days later days, led by Stalin’s close associates, the local communist supporters and those brought in from Russia, formally forced the Baltic governments to resign and proclaimed new "people's governments" in the three occupied countries.
Katyn forest massacre
1940 - Mass killing of Polish military officers by the Soviet Union in World War II. After the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (1939) and Germany's defeat of Poland, Soviet forces occupied eastern Poland and interned thousands of Polish military personnel. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union (1941), the Polish government-in-exile agreed to cooperate with the Soviets against Germany, and the Polish general forming the new army asked to have the Polish prisoners placed under his command, but the Soviet government informed him in December 1941 that most of those prisoners had escaped to Manchuria and could not be located.
Soviet-Finnish War
1939–40 - War waged by the Soviet Union against Finland at the start of World War II, following the signing of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. When Finland refused to grant the Soviets a naval base and other concessions, Soviet troops attacked on several fronts in November 1939. The heavily outnumbered Finns under Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim put up a skillful defense until February 1940, when heavy Russian bombardments breached the Finns' southern defenses. A peace treaty in March 1940 ceded western Karelia to Russia and allowed construction of a Soviet naval base on the Hanko peninsula.
Four Freedoms
January 1941: FDR freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear of physical aggression. He called for the last freedom to be achieved through a “worldwide reduction in armaments.” In August 1941 he and Winston Churchill included the four freedoms in the Atlantic Charter.
Battle of Britain
June 1940–April 1941: Series of intense raids directed against Britain by the German air force in World War II. The air attacks, intended to prepare the way for a German invasion, were directed against British ports and RAF bases. In September 1940 the attacks turned to London and other cities in a “blitz” of bombings for 57 consecutive nights, which was followed by intermittent raids until April 1941. The RAF was outnumbered but succeeded in blocking the German air force through superior tactics, advanced air defenses, and the penetration of German secret codes.
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
1940 - It is remembered today in the West largely as a front for the Japanese control of Axis-occupied countries during World War II, in which puppet governments manipulated local populations and economies for the benefit of wartime Japan. It was an Imperial Japanese Army concept which originated with General Hachiro Arita, who at the time was minister of foreign affairs and an army ideologist. "Greater East Asia" (大東亜, Dai-tō-a) was a Japanese term (banned during the post-war occupation) referring to East Asia, Southeast Asia and surrounding areas.
1942–43: Unsuccessful German assault on the Soviet city in World War II. German forces invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and had advanced to the suburbs of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) by the summer of 1942. Met by a determined Red Army defense commanded by Vasily Chuikov, they reached the city's centre after fierce street fighting. In November the Soviets counterattacked and encircled the German army led by Friedrich Paulus, who surrendered in February 1943 with 91,000 troops. The Axis forces (Germans, Romanians, Italians, and Hungarians) suffered 800,000 deaths; in excess of 1,000,000 Soviet soldiers died. The battle marked the farthest extent of the German advance into the Soviet Union.
Manhattan Project
1942–45: U.S. government research project that produced the first atomic bomb. In 1939 U.S. scientists urged Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish a program to study the potential military use of fission, and $6,000 was appropriated. By 1942 the project was code-named Manhattan, after the site of Columbia University, where much of the early research was done. Research also was carried out at the University of California and the University of Chicago. In 1943 a laboratory to construct the bomb was established at Los Alamos, N.M., and staffed by scientists headed by J. Robert Oppenheimer. Production also was carried out at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Hanford, Wash. The first bomb was exploded in a test at Alamogordo air base in southern New Mexico. By its end the project had cost some $2 billion and had involved 125,000 people.
Teheran Conference
1943 - From 28 November to 1 December 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Marshal Joseph Stalin met at Teheran, the capital of Iran, to coordinate Western military plans with those of the Soviet Union. Most important of all, the "big three" drew up the essential victory strategy in Europe, one based on a cross-channel invasion called Operation Overlord and scheduled for May 1944. The plan included a partition of Germany, but left all details to a three-power European Advisory Commission. It granted Stalin's request that Poland's new western border should be at the Oder River and that the eastern one follow the lines drafted by British diplomat Lord Curzon in 1919. The conference tacitly concurred in Stalin's conquests of 1939 and 1940, these being Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and a slice of Finland. Stalin reiterated his promise, made in October 1943 at Moscow, to enter the war against Japan upon the defeat of Germany, but he expected compensation in the form of tsarist territories taken by Japan in 1905. On 1 December 1943, the three powers issued a declaration that welcomed potential allies into "a world family of democratic nations" and signed a separate protocol recognizing the "independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity" of Iran.
Dumbarton Oaks Conference
October 1944 - at an estate in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. Four powers participated: the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China. Because of Soviet neutrality in the Asian conflict, China only attended beginning 29 September, the day the Russians departed. The conference had the task of preparing a charter for a "general international organization," as stipulated in the Moscow Declaration of 30 October 1943. The conference chose the name of the wartime alliance, the United Nations (UN), for the new body. In imitation of the League of Nations, the new UN would possess a Security Council, a General Assembly, a Secretariat, and an International Court of Justice. To avoid, however, the pitfalls of the League of Nations, the conferees concluded that unanimous votes should not be mandatory to reach decisions in the Security Councilor the General Assembly; all signatories must agree in advance to act on the Security Council's findings; contingents of the armed forces of member states must be at Security Council disposal; and that the creation of an Economic and Social Council was necessary.
Nuremberg Trials
1945-46: International Military Tribunal tried high Nazi officials for actions committed during World War II that contravened the accepted laws of war. Among the practices condemned were plotting and waging aggressive war, using slave labor, looting occupied countries, and abusing and murdering civilians (especially the Jews) and prisoners of war. The Allies' decision to try major Axis officials for war crimes had been announced in October 1943, when the American, British, and Russian foreign ministers met in Moscow. Planning for the trials began soon after V-J Day, and the tribunal opened in Nuremberg, Germany, on November 20, 1945, before a board of distinguished judges from the Allied countries. Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Josef Goebbels had committed suicide by that time, but Hermann Goering, Joachim Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Julius Streicher, Hjalmar Schacht, Martin Bormann (in absentia), and sixteen others were tried one by one for individually specified crimes.
Bretton Woods Agreement
1944 agreement made in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, which helped to establish a fixed exchange rate in terms of gold for major currencies. The International Monetary Fund was also established at this time.
1947 - Agency of international communism founded under Soviet auspices in 1947. Its original members were the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, France, and Italy, but Yugoslavia was expelled in 1948. The Cominform's activities consisted mainly of publishing propaganda to encourage international communist solidarity. It was dissolved by Soviet initiative in 1956 as part of a Soviet program of reconciliation with Yugoslavia.
Two Camps Doctrine (Zhdanov Doctrine)
1946 - was a Soviet cultural doctrine developed by the Central Committee secretary Andrei Zhdanov in 1946. It proposed that the world was divided into two camps: the imperialistic, headed by the United States and "democratic", headed by the Soviet Union. Zhdanovism soon became a Soviet cultural policy, meaning the injunction on all Soviet artists, writers and intelligentsia in general to conform to the party line and has been continued until the "thaw" under Khrushchev. Zhdanovism also penetrated and took thorough control of what was left of Albanian literature in the 1950's.
Foundation of Israel
1948 - The state of Israel is the culmination of nearly a century of activity in Zionism. Following World War I, Great Britain received (1922) Palestine as a mandate from the League of Nations. The struggle by Jews for a Jewish state in Palestine had begun in the late 19th cent. and had become quite active by the 1930s and 40s. The militant opposition of the Arabs to such a state and the inability of the British to solve the problem eventually led to the establishment (1947) of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, which devised a plan to divide Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a small internationally administered zone including Jerusalem. The General Assembly adopted the recommendations on Nov. 29, 1947. The Jews accepted the plan; the Arabs rejected it. As the British began to withdraw early in 1948, Arabs and Jews prepared for war.
1949 - Council for Mutual Economic Assistance: Organization founded in 1949 to facilitate and coordinate the economic development of Soviet-bloc countries. Its original members were the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania; other members joined later, including Albania (1949) and the German Democratic Republic (1950). Its accomplishments included the organization of Eastern Europe's railroad grid, the creation of the International Bank for Economic Cooperation, and the construction of the “Friendship” oil pipeline. After the political upheavals in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, it largely lost its purpose and power. In 1991 it was renamed the Organization for International Economic Cooperation.
Warsaw Pact
1955 - Military alliance of the Soviet Union, Albania (until 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania, formed in 1955 in response to West Germany's entry into NATO. Its terms included a unified military command and the stationing of Soviet troops in the other member states. Warsaw Pact troops were called into action to suppress uprisings in Poland (1956), Hungary (1956), and Czechoslovakia (1968). The alliance was dissolved in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, and Soviet troops departed. Several Warsaw Pact members later joined NATO.
1948 - International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. A 1948 collective-defense alliance between Britain, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg was recognized as inadequate to deter Soviet aggression, and in 1949 the U.S. and Canada agreed to join their European allies in an enlarged alliance. A centralized administrative structure was set up, and three major commands were established, focused on Europe, the Atlantic, and the English Channel (disbanded in 1994). The admission of West Germany in 1955 led to the Soviet Union's creation of the opposing Warsaw Treaty Organization, or Warsaw Pact. France withdrew from military participation in 1966.
Point Four
1949 - a foreign aid program to assist the poor in so-called underdeveloped countries. In his second inaugural address in 1949, President Harry S. Truman called for this "bold new program" as part of an overall effort to promote peace and freedom. Inviting other nations to participate, he called for the program to be a "worldwide effort" for the achievement of "peace, plenty, and freedom" through technical assistance, private foreign investment, and greater production. In the first phase of the Cold War, and in the wake of the TRUMAN DOCTRINE, the MARSHALL PLAN, and the creation of the NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION, Point Four was designed as an offer to the emerging nations to decide against communism—to become neutral or non-aligned.
Death of Stalin
1953 - He continued his repressive political measures to control internal dissent; increasingly paranoid, he was preparing to mount another purge after the so-called Doctors' Plot when he died. Noted for bringing the Soviet Union into world prominence, at terrible cost to his own people, he left a legacy of repression and fear as well as industrial and military power. In 1956 Stalin and his personality cult were denounced by Nikita Khrushchev.
1955–77: comprising Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Britain, and the U.S. It was founded as part of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty in order to protect the region from communism. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were not considered for membership, and other countries in the region preferred membership in the nonaligned movement. SEATO had no standing forces, but its members engaged in combined military exercises. Pakistan withdrew in 1968, and France suspended financial support in 1975. The organization was disbanded officially in 1977.
Alliance for Progress
1961 - International development program. Initiated by the U.S. and joined by 22 Latin American countries in 1961, it aimed to strengthen democratic government and promote social and economic reforms in Latin America. The program, which provided loans and aid from the U.S. and the international financial community, built some schools and hospitals, but by the early 1970s it was widely viewed as a failure. Significant land reform was not achieved, population growth outstripped gains in health and welfare, and the U.S. willingness to support military dictators to prevent communism from gaining a foothold sowed distrust and undermined the reforms the Alliance was intended to promote.
Austrian State Treaty
1955 - 1955 in Vienna at the Schloss Belvedere among the Allied occupying powers: France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Austrian government and officially came into force on July 27, 1955.
Andrei Gromyko
Soviet foreign minister (1957–85) and president (1985–88) of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Though never strongly identified with any political faction, he served dependably as a skilled emissary and spokesman. He was ambassador to the U.S. (1943–46), Soviet representative to the UN Security Council (1946–48), and ambassador to Britain (1952–53). In 1957 he began his long tenure as foreign minister and became renowned for his negotiating skills. In 1985 he was promoted to the presidency, with great prestige but little power, after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power.
1955 - Central Treaty Organization: Mutual-security organization, originally composed of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Britain. It was formed in 1955, at the urging of the U.S. and Britain, to counter the threat of Soviet expansion into the Middle East. CENTO was never very effective. Iraq withdrew after its anti-Soviet monarchy was overthrown in 1959. In that same year the U.S. became an associate member, and CENTO's headquarters were moved to Ankara, Tur. After the fall of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979, Iran withdrew and CENTO was dissolved.
Eisenhower Doctrine
1957 - U.S. foreign policy pronouncement by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1957). The Eisenhower Doctrine promised military and economic aid to anticommunist governments, at a time when communist countries were providing arms to Egypt and offering strong support to Arab states. Part of the Cold War policy developed by John Foster Dulles to contain expansion of the Soviet sphere of influence, the doctrine continued pledges made under the Truman Doctrine.
EEC - European Economic Community
1957 - Economic entity, also known as the Common Market, originally formed in 1957 to work toward the regulation of European international trade. The EEC is made up of 15 member nations composed of over 300 million people, including Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Its agreements call for the elimination of tariffs and other trade restrictions among members and the establishment of uniform tariffs for nonmembers. The EEC also encourages common standards for food additives, labeling, and packaging. The combined gross national product of the EEC is nearly equal to that of the United States. Direct marketers operating in the EEC countries must adhere to stricter privacy laws than in the United States. See also euro dollar.
U-2 Incident
1960 - Confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. On May 1, 1960, the Soviet Union shot down a U.S. U-2 reconnaissance plane and called the flight an “aggressive act.” The U.S. denied Soviet claims that the pilot, F. Gary Powers, had stated that his mission was to collect Soviet intelligence data. Nikita Khrushchev declared that the Soviet Union would not take part in a scheduled summit conference with the U.S., Britain, and France unless the U.S. immediately stopped flights over Soviet territory, apologized, and punished those responsible. Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower agreed only to the first stipulation, and the conference was adjourned. Powers was tried in the Soviet Union and sentenced to 10 years in prison; in 1962 he was exchanged for the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
Qemony & Matsu
Two islands remained a Chinese Nationalist outpost after the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949. The People's Republic of China began bombarding the island again in 1958, but the deployment of the U.S. 7th Fleet prevented an escalation of the hostilities. After 1990 Taiwan reduced the military forces stationed on Matsu, civilian rule was restored in 1993, and restrictions on travel to the island were ended in 1994. Limited direct travel to and trade with the mainland has been permitted since Jan., 2001.
Kwame Nkrumah
Nationalist leader and president of Ghana (1960–66). Nkrumah worked as a teacher before going to the U.S. to study literature and socialism (1935–45). In 1949 he formed the Convention People's Party, which advocated nonviolent protests, strikes, and noncooperation with the British authorities. Elected prime minister of the Gold Coast (1952–60) and then president of independent Ghana, Nkrumah advanced a policy of Africanization and built new roads, schools, and health facilities. After 1960 he devoted much of his time to the Pan-African movement, at the expense of Ghana's economy. Following an attempted coup in 1962, he increased authoritarian controls, withdrew from public life, increased contacts with communist countries, and wrote works on political philosophy. With the country facing economic ruin, he was deposed in 1966 while visiting Beijing.
Suez Crisis
1956 - International crisis that arose when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal after Western countries withdrew promised financial aid to build the Aswan High Dam. The French and British, who had controlling interests in the company that owned the canal, sent troops to occupy the canal zone. Their ally Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula. International opposition quickly forced the French and British out, and Israel withdrew in 1957. The incident led to the resignation of Britain's prime minister, Anthony Eden, and was widely perceived as heralding the end of Britain as a major international power. Nasser's prestige, by contrast, soared within the developing world. See also Arab-Israeli Wars.
Great Leap Forward
1958 - Failed industrialization campaign undertaken by the Chinese communists between 1958 and early 1960. Mao Zedong hoped to develop labour-intensive methods of industrialization that would emphasize manpower rather than the gradual purchase of heavy machinery, thereby putting to use China's dense population and obviating the need to accumulate capital. Rather than building large new factories, he proposed developing backyard steel furnaces in every village. Rural people were organized into communes where agricultural and political decisions emphasized ideological purity rather than expertise. The program was implemented so hastily and zealously that many errors occurred; these were exacerbated by a series of natural disasters and the withdrawal of Soviet technical personnel. China's agriculture was severely disrupted, causing widespread famine in 1958–62. By early 1960 the government had begun to repeal the Great Leap Forward; private plots were returned to peasants, and expertise began to be emphasized again.
Cultural Revolution
1966–76: Upheaval launched by Mao Zedong to renew the spirit of revolution in China. Mao feared urban social stratification in a society as traditionally elitist as China and also believed that programs instituted to correct for the failed Great Leap Forward showed that his colleagues lacked commitment to the revolution. He organized China's urban youths into groups called the Red Guards, shut down China's schools, and encouraged the Red Guards to attack all traditional values and “bourgeois things.” They soon splintered into zealous rival groups, and in 1968 Mao sent millions of them to the rural hinterland, bringing some order to the cities. Within the government, a coalition of Mao's associates fought with more moderate elements, many of whom were purged, were verbally attacked, were physically abused, and subsequently died; leaders Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao both died under mysterious circumstances. From 1973 to Mao's death in 1976, politics shifted between the hard-line Gang of Four and the moderates headed by Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. After Mao's death the Cultural Revolution was brought to a close. By that time, nearly three million party members and countless wrongfully purged citizens awaited reinstatement. The Cultural Revolution subsequently was repudiated in China. See also Jiang Qing.
"Let one hundred flowers bloom"
Chairman Mao Zedong's "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend". This slogan was used during the period of approximately six weeks in the summer of 1957 when the Chinese intelligentsia were invited to criticize the political system then obtaining in Communist China.

It is sometimes suggested that the initiative was a deliberate attempt to flush out dissidents by encouraging them to show themselves as critical of the regime. Whether or not it was a deliberate trap isn't clear but it is the case that many of those who put forward views that were unwelcome to Mao were executed.
Red Guards
1966-76: were a mass movement of civilians, mostly students and other young people, who were mobilized by Mao Zedong and his allies to defeat their enemies within the struggle for power officially called the Cultural Revolution, between 1966 and 1976.

Initially under the control of the Cultural Revolution Group within the Communist Party leadership, led by Mao's principal allies, Vice-Chairman Lin Biao and Mao's wife Jiang Qing, the Red Guards soon got out of control and divided into many factions, some of which fought against each other, bringing the country to the brink of civil war by 1969.
June 1967 War (six days war)
A war fought in 1967 by Israel on one side and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan on the other. Israel, victorious, took over the Golan Heights, the Jordanian portion of Jerusalem, the Jordanian West Bank of the Jordan River, and a large piece of territory in northeastern Egypt, including the Sinai Peninsula, which contains Mount Sinai. Israel still occupies all of these territories except the Sinai Peninsula, which it gave back to Egypt in 1982. Israel maintains that its security would be enormously endangered if it withdrew from the other places.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
1967 - adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967 in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter. [1] The resolution was framed by Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and British ambassador Lord Caradon.

It calls for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" (see semantic dispute) and the "[t]ermination of all claims or states of belligerency".

It also calls for the recognition of all established states by belligerent parties (Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan) of each other and calls for the establishment of peace and secure and recognized boundaries for all parties.
Independence of India
1947 - The British Labour government of Prime Minister Attlee in 1946 offered self-government to India, but it warned that if no agreement was reached between the Congress and the Muslim League, Great Britain, on withdrawing in June, 1948, would have to determine the apportionment of power between the two groups. Reluctantly the Congress agreed to the creation of Pakistan, and in Aug., 1947, British India was divided into the dominions of India and Pakistan. The princely states were nominally free to determine their own status, but realistically they were unable to stand alone. Partly by persuasion and partly by coercion, they joined one or the other of the new dominions. Hyderabad, in S central India, with a Muslim ruler and Hindu population, held out to the last and was finally incorporated (1948) into the Indian union by force. The future of Kashmir was not resolved.
Founding of Pakistan
1947 - British as part of India and became a separate Muslim state in 1947. The country originally included the Bengalese territory of East Pakistan, which achieved its separate independence in 1971 as Bangladesh. Pakistan became a republic in 1956. Islamabad is the capital and Karachi the largest city.
Prague Spring
1968 - Brief period of liberalization in Czechoslovakia under Alexander Dubcek. In April 1968 he instituted agricultural and industrial reforms, a revised constitution to guarantee civil rights, autonomy for Slovakia, and democratization of the government and the Communist Party. By June, many Czechs were calling for more rapid progress toward real democracy. Although Dubcek believed he could control the situation, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries, alarmed by the threat of a social-democratic Czechoslovakia, invaded the country in August, deposed Dubcek, and gradually restored control by reinstalling hard-line communists as leaders.
Tet Offensive
1968 - The offensive began spectacularly during celebrations of the Lunar New Year and lasted about two months however sporadic operations associated with the offensive continued into 1969. The Tet offensive was a tactical defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army, but it is widely seen as the turning point of the war that led to the eventual withdrawal of American forces.
Communist takeover of Ethiopia
1977 - Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam became head of the PMAC, which soon diverted from its announced socialist course. A popular movement, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party, began a campaign of urban guerrilla activity that was contained by government-organized urban militias in 1977. Under the Mengistu regime, thousands of political opponents were purged, property was confiscated, and defense spending was greatly increased.
Communist takeover of Mozambique
1975 - In reaction to the independence agreement, a group of white rebels attempted to seize control of the Mozambique government but were quickly subdued by Portuguese and Frelimo troops. As black rule of Mozambique became a reality (with Machel as president) and as increased racial violence erupted, there was an exodus of Europeans from Mozambique. As the Portuguese left, they took their valuable skills and machinery, which had an adverse effect on the economy. Frelimo established a single-party Marxist state, nationalized all industry, and abolished private land ownership. Frelimo also instituted health and education reforms.
Communist takeover of Angola
1976 - Portugal granted Angola independence in 1975 and the MPLA assumed control of the government in Luanda; Agostinho Neto became president. The FNLA and UNITA, however, proclaimed a coaliton government in Nova Lisboa (now Huambo), but by early 1976 the MPLA had gained control of the whole country. Most of the European population fled the political and economic upheaval that followed independence, taking their investments and technical expertise with them. When Neto died in 1979, José Eduardo dos Santos succeeded him as president. In the 1970s and 80s the MPLA government received large amounts of aid from Cuba and the Soviet Union, while the United States supported first the FNLA and then UNITA
Communist takeover of Nicaragua
1981 - Nicaragua was taken over by the Sandinista party after a popular revolt. The Sandinistas were then opposed by armed insurgents, the U.S.-backed Contras, from 1981. The Sandinista government nationalized several sectors of the economy but lost national elections in 1990. The new government reprivatized many public enterprises. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega returned to power after winning the presidential election of 2006.
Communist takeover of Grenada
1979 - a successful, bloodless coup established the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) under Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. This government's Marxist leanings and favorable stance toward Cuba and the Soviet Union strained relations with the United States and other nations in the region. In Oct., 1983, after Bishop and his associates were assassinated by more hard-line radicals within his own movement, the United States, with token forces from other Caribbean nations, invaded and occupied Grenada. A general election held in Dec., 1984, reestablished democratic government, with Herbert Blaize as prime minister.
1968 - International agreement intended to prevent the spread of nuclear technology. It was signed by the U.S., Britain, the Soviet Union, and 59 other countries in 1968. The three major signatories agreed not to assist states lacking nuclear weapons to obtain or produce them; the nonnuclear signatories agreed not to attempt to obtain nuclear weapons in exchange for assistance in developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes. France and China, both nuclear powers, declined to ratify the treaty until 1992, and some nuclear powers, including Israel and Pakistan, have never signed it. In 1995, when the treaty was due to expire, it was extended indefinitely by a consensus vote of 174 countries at the United Nations.

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