Chronology: Russia/USSR and the World in the 20th Century

By Marcel Stoessel



Russia wins Great Northern War.

Against Swedes and their Ukrainian Allies. Start of the implementation of the Tsarist policy ‘security in terms of space’ (later Poland, Ukraine, Transcaucasus)

à Russia becomes a Baltic power.


American Declaration of Independence.

Continental Congress. July 4th, 1776, announced the separation of 13 North American British colonies from Great Britain. The Declaration was quoted with enthusiasm by the Marquis de Mirabeau during the French Revolution.


American Constitution into force.

George Washington (F) takes oath of office as 1st President of the United States.

1793 – 1815

France at War with Europe.

Both sides violate maritime rights of neutral powers.


Declaration of US neutrality regarding war in Europe.


Napoleon enacts “Continental System”.

British Isles in blockade. Prohibition of all trade with GB.


GB reacts to Continental System.

All trade with France and its allies prohibited, also for neutrals. Enforcement of these prohibitions against American ships was one of the reasons for the War of 1812. Very disturbing to the USA was the practise of impressments, where sailors on US ships and ports were captured and used on British ships.


Congress of Vienna.

European conference called to re-establish the territorial divisions of Europe at the end of the Napoleonic Wars after the downfall of Napoleon. Created a durable peace system based on legitimacy of monarchies.


Holy Alliance Au, Pr, R.

Loose organization of European sovereigns who agreed to advance the principles of the Christian faith. Eventually all European rulers signed the treaty, except GB and Turkey. Symbol of absolutist policies. Conservative club against revolutions à also against the revolution in Latin America?


“Quadruple Alliance” Au, Pr, R, GB.

Goal: Maintainance of status quo.


France joins European concert.


Monroe Doctrine formulated.

Statement of US policy by President Monroe on the activities and rights of European powers in the western hemisphere. It eventually became one of the foundations of US policy in Latin America. Its increasing use and popularity elevated the declaration to a principle, specifically termed the Monroe Doctrine after the mid-1840s.

1) Non-colonization: European powers could no longer colonize the American continents and that they should not interfere with the newly independent Spanish American republics (& warning to Russia). 2) The United States would not interfere in existing European colonies or in Europe itself. However, colonies in the Western hemisphere could not be transferred from one European power to another; only to the United States. 3) Rejection of the European political system of Monarchy. Republics are recognized by the US

Great Britain also opposed, after 1821, Russia’s ambitions to extend their influence beyond Alaska.


Treaty of Nanjing.

Britain forced China to open five ports. MFN for others.


Treaty of Kanagawa.

2nd mission of Perry. Two relatively unimportant ports opened. Step towards US Empire in the Pacific.


One of Lenin’s brothers executed.

Plotted to assassinate Tsar Alexander III. Traumatic event that partly spurs Lenin into revolutionary activities.

1894 – 1895

Sino-Japanese War.

China looses control over Korea and Manchuria. US began to see China as a New Africa, where foreign powers will scramble for territory.


Lenin arrested.

Had written and published revolutionary works. After a period of incarceration, he goes to exile in Switzerland.


Russian-Chinese Alliance.

Establishment of Chinese Eastern Railway through Northern Manchuria (linking Siberia and Vladivostok).


Russian Social Democratic Party founded.

Congress of Minsk


Russia acquires Liadong Peninsula.

Ice-free naval base at Port Arthur. Ownership of South Manchuria Railway.


Boxer Rebellion.

Chinese nationalist uprising against foreigners, the representatives of alien powers, and Chinese Christians with the ultimate objective of the expulsion of all foreigners. Foreign legions in Beijing laid under siege. An expedition consisting of British, French, Japanese, Russian, German, American troops relieves the besieged quarter and occupies Beijing in August. A peace treaty is signed in September, 1901 (large indemnity, commercial concessions, and the right to station foreign troops to guard the legations).

Despite efforts by the United States to stop further territorial encroachment, Russia extends its sphere of influence in Manchuria during the revolt, a policy that culminated in the Russo-Japanese war.


Anglo-Japanese Alliance.


Split into two wings of Russian Social Democratic Party.

Bolsheviks, led by Lenin.
Mensheviks, led by Martov.

Formal and definitive scission 1912 in Prague.


Break of diplomatic relations with Japan.

1904 – 1905

Russo-Japanese War.

Cause of war: Russian expansion in eastern Asia (search for warm-water ports; naval strength) counter to Japanese plans for gaining a foothold on the Asian mainland. In 1898 Russia leases Port Arthur from China, with the intention of making it a great Asiatic port and the headquarters of Russian naval power in the Pacific. Russia has poured troops into Manchuria during the Boxer Uprising, but, faced with the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902, promises to leave Chinese territory. The promise is not kept, however, and in June 1903 Japan propose an agreement with Russia recognizing Japan's interests in Korea and Russia's in Manchuria, and insuring the integrity of China and Korea. Russia refuses.

To the surprise of many, Japan win the war à 1st war of non-whites against whites won by non-whites. Signal: Japan = major power in the Pacific. US still perceives Russia as the biggest threat, but is aware that it faces another newcomer.

à Treaty of Portsmouth: Loss of Port Arthur
à Poor showing in the war partly inspires domestic troubles of 1904 – 1905.


Internal troubles threaten to spread throughout Russia.

Discontent with Romanov dynasty and Nicolas II.

1905 – 1907

Disorder, violence.


1st Russian Revolution.

Striking workers want to present a petition with demands for some civil rights and the promulgation of an Assembly to Nicolas II. Soldiers open fire.

Later dialogue fails because Tsar doesn’t give in to some of the more radical demands. Assassination of 100 leading officials; general strike; mutiny of Potemkin in June. Nicolas II concedes a duma.

Is forced to sign the October Manifesto on October 17th: A bit of Civil Rights à division of revolutionary movement.


Russian-Japanese Convention.

Russia renounces on Korea; while Japan recognizes Russia’s special interests in Manchuria and Outer Mongolia.


Electoral law for Duma changed.

In a way to exclude revolutionaries from voting.


Anglo-Russian entente over Central Asia.

Russian influence over Northern Persia; GB not opposed to open Detroits for warships.
British influence in Afghanistan and Southern Persia.
Recognition of Chinese suzerainty in Tibet.


Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary.


Annexation of Korea by Japan.


First Republic of China.

1912 – 1913

1st Balkan War

Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece against Ottoman Empire; Serbia moves into Macedonia.


Second Balkan War.

1914/07 – 1918

World War I.

In the Sarajevo crisis of June 1914, Russia announces a general mobilization of its armies. Germany supports Austria and declares war on Russia and France.

Marxists in duma arrested in November 1914 because they deem the defeat of Russia in the interests of the Revolution.

War = disaster for Russia. End of 1915, 1 mio Russians dead, 1 mio prisoners. Reasons: economic and technological backwardness; mismanagement of the war; unrealistic geopolitical ambitions; internal opposition from liberals, strikes, demonstrations à revolution.

Bolsheviks: Imperialist’s war; hope in German revolution.


Progressive bloc in duma formed.

Call upon Nicholas II to appoint a government which enjoys the confidence of the people. The Tsar refuses. Strikes, demonstrations.


Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stages of Capitalism

Society does not necessarily need to go through all states of history (feudalism – capitalism – communism), but can reach faster a high stage through the revolutionary action of a dedicated elite. Russia can be the core of world revolution. Revolution in one place necessarily means revolution in other places.


February revolution.

Authority of monarchy collapses in the face of popular demonstrations and the withdrawal of support for the regime.

Provisional Government: Liberals, professional and officer class.
Soviet of Petrograd: Working classes and non-officer class. Both become radicalised, the Bolsheviks under the influence of Lenin.

Provisional government doesn’t represent workers or peasants; and its policy to give priority to the war and postpone radical social reforms aggravates soldiers. Lenin against provisional government.


Lenin returns to Russia

Stalin and Molotov have already returned from exile in Siberia.


April thesis of Lenin.

Soviets under revolutionary leadership = key organs in securing power for the proletariat. Slogan: “Peace, Land and Bread”.

Summer of 1917: Bolsheviks radicalise more; gain more support in the factories and big towns.


Trotsky becomes a firm supporter of Lenin.

Has been a Menshevik before. Becomes Commissar of Foreign Affairs after revolution.


First post-revolution offensive in war ends in disaster. Korniliv coup.

Kerensky war minister. Desertations. Street violence in “Petrograd” in July. Slogan: “All power to the Soviets”.

Crackdown by General Kornilov to restore order. Bolshevik party banned; Lenin exile in Finland.

à Revolution simmers below the surface


‘Red Terror’ officially inaugurated.

Widespread killing of opponents. 8 Million victims of civil war and Red Terror.


Decree on Peace.

Abolishes all secret diplomacy, announces that all annexations are void, declares an armistice, and calls for all workers to support the peace after the war.


2nd Russian Revolution.

October 25: Bolsheviks seize the Winter Palace.
October 26: Government of People’s Commissars established, with the explicit goal of the creation of a Communist society.


Cheka established.

Secret service to deal with internal ‘enemies’: looting, black-market activities, opposition coming from Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. The ‘Red Terror’ of the Cheka is extensively used in the civil war.


Threat of successful Bolshevik revolution.

Communist parties sporadically in power in Western Europe à threat to Wilson’s 14 points.


Socialist Revolutionary majority in Constituent Assembly.

SR will start an insurrection; civil war from summer 1918 until 1921. Lenin outlaws SR and Mensheviks.


‘Red Army’ created.

First voluntary, then conscription. End of civil war: 5 million men under arms. Officers are paired with so-called political commissars to ensure they remain loyal.


Treaty of Brest-Litorvsk: Separate peace with Germany.

Loss of 1/3 of population, 32% of cultivable land, 27% of the railways, 54% of industry, 89% of coal mines.

Lenin: Compromise with Germans, if need be on their terms, needed in order for revolution to survive in Russia (advance of German troops into Russia, dissatisfaction and desertion of soldiers). Intention of Lenin to repudiate treaty at the earliest opportunity.

As a consequence of Brest-Litorvsk, the Socialist Revolutionaries leave the government coalition. Stalin also criticises the treaty.


Bolsheviks renamed Communist Party.


Lenin tries to restore trade relations with US.

A great part of total FDI into the USSR will soon come from USSR, despite the US refusal of political recognition.


Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) created.

1918/11 – 1920

Russian Civil War.

Bolshevik government against its adversaries, most notably the counterrevolutionary forces known as the Whites (and the non-Bolshevik left). Although the Whites are decisively defeated in late 1920, the Bolsheviks face internal rebellion into 1921 and foreign intervention by American (Far East), British (Murmansk), French (Odessa).

The Bolsheviks’ ultimate victory in the Russian Civil War – with the eradication of all opposition – leads to the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in December 1922 and a centralization of administration. But society has become more polarized, the economy destroyed and the industrial production in some areas smashed.


Smashed German socialist revolution.


Comintern (Third Communist International) established.

Association of national communist parties under the control of the Soviet Union. Purpose: promotion of world revolution. (Does not happen: Hungary, Germany, Poland, Czechia, Romania, Italy)

In 1920, Lenin establishes the Twenty-One Points for membership: Parties must model their structure on disciplined lines in conformity with the Soviet pattern and expel moderate socialists and pacifists.

In 1928 the sixth congress adopts a policy of "extreme leftism" set forth by Stalin: once again, moderate socialists and social democrats are branded as the chief enemies of the working class. The dangers of the rising fascist movement are ignored.

At the seventh and last congress in 1935, a new policy shift: in order to gain the favour of potential allies against Germany, revolutionary ardour is dampened, and the defeat of fascism is declared the primary goal. Now communists are to join with moderate socialist and liberal groups in "popular fronts" against fascism. By now the Comintern is being used as a tool of Soviet foreign policy. The program of popular fronts ends with the signing of Stalin's pact with Hitler in 1939.

Formal dissolution of Comintern in 1943.

1919/03 – 08

Regime of Bela Kun in Hungary.

Soviet aid doesn’t arrive. Collectivisation of agricultural land angers peasants.


Treaty with Estonia.


Lenin: Bolsheviks must launch offensive war.

Lenin foresees a revolution in England…


Conference of ‘the peoples of the East’.

Politburo now judges Asia to be the region that offered the best hope for Socialist expansion.


GB recognizes USSR.


Treaty of Riga.

An armed struggle between the Bolsheviks and Poland has resulted from Russian attempts to carry the revolution westward and from Pilsudski's federalist policy. The Great Powers fail to pursue either an all-out intervention against the Bolsheviks or a policy of peace. An Allied proposal for a temporary border at the Curzon Line is unacceptable for both sides. Except for an alliance with the Ukrainian leader Petlyura (capture of Kiev in May), Poland fights in isolation. An offensive by the Red Army drives the Poles back to the outskirts of Warsaw, but the country was saved from catastrophe by Pilsudski's counterattack. In the Peace of Riga, the Bolsheviks abandon their plans to communize Poland, but the Poles have to abandon their federalist concepts. The new border cuts across mixed Ukrainian and Belarusian territories.


Anglo-Soviet trade agreement

First step towards recognition of USSR.

1921/03 – 04

Genoa conference. Treaty of Rapallo.

GB demands recognition of all Tsarist debts, compensation of property owners. No mention of possible recognition. Russians demand compensation for Allied intervention during civil war.

Treaty of Rapallo: D & USSR mutually repudiate debts and claims; longer-term economic assistance. Secret protocol: military cooperation. Treaty ends isolation of Germany and the Soviet Union.

1921/03 – 1928


Concessions to attract foreign capital. Restoration of a measure of free market policy.


Lenin: ‘Equilibrium’ between capitalist world and Russia.

Speaks of ‘cohabitation’. Begins to envisage a long period of peace between east and west.


Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) founded.


Failed Putsch in Hamburg.

Staged by German Communists, demanded for by Comintern.


Lenin’s second stroke.

Paralysed. Real power with the Politburo (Trotsky, Stalin (General Secretary), Zinoviev, Kamenev)


Lenin dies.

Power struggle within Communist elite.


Lenin dies. Stalin successor.

Struggle for power between Trotsky (aiding the European peoples “in the struggle against their oppressors”) and Stalin (“building Socialism in one country”). Stalin succeeds in discrediting Trotsky as an “adventurer”:


GB recognizes USSR.


Italy recognizes USSR.


Stalin confesses his faults.

Lenin had tried to prevent him from becoming the Soviet leader, since he had accrued too much personal and political power.


Treaty with China on Outer Mongolia.

Virtual Soviet protectorate after Soviet intervention, allegedly on the request of local Communists.


France recognizes USSR.


Stalin: ‘Socialism in one Country’.

Argument: Russia can achieve socialism without the help of the Western revolutionary movement through the construction of a strong state at home. But Stalin doesn’t abandon revolution. Double foreign policy: The ‘two camps’ thesis (war inevitable); ‘capitalist encirclement’ (search for security).


Japan recognizes the USSR.

Also agreed to evacuate Northern Sakhalin


Treaty of Berlin.

Germany pledges neutrality in any conflict between the USSR and a third power, including the League of Nations.


Zinovyev, Radek and Trotsky expelled from Politburo.


Anglo-Soviet relations broken off.

Allegedly Soviet encouragement of British worker’s strikes.


KMT threaten Chinese Communists.


Soviet ambassador to Poland murdered.

Stalin believes the USSR to be in ‘maximum danger’.

1928 – 29

Small battles for South Manchurian Railways.


Trotsky banished to Alma-Ata.

Expelled from politburo in 1927. Murdered in  exile in 1940.


1st Five-Year Plan.

Rapid industrialization and collectivisation of agriculture. Millions of peasants expropriated, die of famine, or go to Siberian exile.


“Litvinov Protocol”.

“Eastern Locarno” – GB not ready to integrate in collective security.


Trotsky expelled from Soviet Union.

Finds new home in Mexico.


Great Famine.

Consequence of the 1st 5-year-plan.


Berlin treaty of neutrality prolonged.

Another five years.


Mukden incident.

Japanese invasion of Manchuria and creation of a puppet state. USSR offers Tokyo non-aggression treaty, but also looks for new Allies (USA, China) and strengthens Far Eastern Army.


Stimson: Non-recognition of Manchurian government.

Litvinov encouraged, seeks non-aggression pact with US and multilateral agreements to include Japan and China.


Litvinov proposes total and immediate disarmament.

At Geneva LoN disarmament conference.


Soviet-Chinese Non-Aggression Treaty.

USSR tries to pressure Chiang Kai-Sheck into opposition against Japan.


USA and USSR resume diplomatic relations.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) 32nd President of the United States.

“Good Neighbour Policy”: Trade without military force. Other means to impose: right-wing military dictators as guarantee against nationalisation: Nicaragua: Anastasio Somoza (1937 - 1956). DR: Rafael Trujilo (1930 – 1961). Cuba: Fulgenico Batista (1933 – 1959). Haiti: François Duvalier (1957 – 1971).


USA recognise USSR.

Gives up resistance on repayment of Tsarist debts. Activities of Communist party in the US had to be restricted. FDR still not inclined to help USSR against Japan because of isolationism and antipathy to Stalinist regime. After 1936 better relationship.

1933 – 1939

“New Deal” of FDR.

Domestic program to reduce unemployment and restore prosperity: reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labour, and housing, vastly increasing the scope of the federal government's activities.


Adolf Hitler assumes power in Germany.

Versailles = unjust Diktat. Economy needs intervention.


German document with perceived demand for ‘living space’ in the East.

Firm protest by USSR to Germany; resignation of German minister.


Military leaders declare commitment to Rapallo treaty.


Germany leaves League of Nations.


Litvinov: Revisionist vs. status quo powers.

Hitler, Mein Kampf: „Enslave the Soviet people“.


USSR seeks multilateral assistance between pact USSR, France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovacia, the Baltic states, and Finland.

France demands inclusion of Germany.


United Front in France.


Stalin changes view on League of Nations.

May be useful to retard or hinder outbreak of military action.


Reorganization of security apparatus.

Functions of security police united with those of regular police under the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs.


USSR admitted to League of Nations.

Despite “or because of” withdrawal of Germany and Japan.


Kirov assassinated.

Leningrad party chief; very popular. Possible concurrent for Stalin.


Eden-Stalin meeting.

Relations at low level.


Mutual assistance pacts with France and Czechoslovakia.

GB backs down.

1935/07 – 08

Comintern turns against facism.

Through the organization of so-called ‘popular fronts’ along national lines.


Civil War in Spain.

D & It: Support for Franco.
USSR: support for Republicans; tactic of “united front”.
(Both sides violate agreement of 1936 not to intervene)

1936 – 1938

Purges of Stalin.

Reinforces anti-Soviet sentiments in the West.

1936: Military elite, including Marshal Tukhachevsky.

1937 – 38: Great purge; almost entire political establishment.


Molotov: self-sufficiency in security affairs.

In opposition to collective security approach of Litvinov.


German units enter Rhineland

France and Britain don’t react. Polish and Czech soil increasingly vulnerable. USSR speaks out against Germany at the League of Nations.


First show trials against ‘enemies of the people’


Anti-Komintern Pact.


Ambassador Davis reaches out to Litvinov.

Possibilities of cooperation explored. But still no promise of a definite pact against aggression in the Far East.


Hitler: Protect Germans in neighbouring states.

Most notably in Austria and Czechoslovakia.


Anschluss of Austria

1938/07 – 08

Clashes of Japanese and Soviet troops.

Japanese seized some border territory.


F & GB pressure Czech government to give in to Hitler.

At the same time of Nuremberg Rally where Hitler pledges unconditional support for the German Sudetenland. GB doesn’t want to act with the USSR for ideological reasons and due to despise of Stalinism.


Stalin accuses France and GB of betrayal.

They had given Germany parts of Czechoslovakia in payment for Hitler to go to war with the USSR.


GB’s guarantee of Poland extended.

Promise that GB & F would act if Polish interests were threatened.


Soviet foreign minister Litvinov dismissed.

Signal to opening of negotiations with Germany.

1939/08 – 09

Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact.

Promise of neutrality if war Hitler – West. Secret protocol divides Poland, gives Baltic states and Finland to USSR.


Germany attacks Poland; World War II begins.

Molotov turns down urgent Polish request for supply of war materials.

Ribbentrop presses Moscow à invasion of Poland (app. until Curzon line); enough territory to create the new Ukrainian and Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republics.

World War II will be primarily carried out on Soviet Soil, and the Red Army bears the brunt of battle. 25-30 mio. deaths, 25 mio. homeless, Stalin remains popular.


USSR invades Finland

Reason: protection of northern approaches to USSR. Heavy losses. Puppet government. Peace Treaty (March 1940): 1/10 of territory ceded, base in the South of Finland. USSR expelled from League of Nations.


Non-aggression and neutrality pact with Japan.


Katyn Massacre.

Mass execution of 20’000-25’000 Polish military officers by the Red Army. The discovery of the massacre precipitated the severance of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish government-in-exile in London.


German troops take Paris.

Stalin is conscious that either an invasion of England or the USSR is ahead.


Baltic states annexed.


Tripartite Pact Berlin, Rome, Tokyo.


Vichy regime allows Japan to station troops in Indochina.


Trotsky murdered in Mexico.


Hitler signs order for ‘Operation Barbarossa’.


‘Operation Barbarossa’ begins.

Stalin has turned down immediate warning signals. Very heavy Soviet losses and huge German advances. Negotiations for Great Alliance begin.


Siege of Leningrad; collapse of Kiev.


German forces at the gates of Moscow.


Soviet counter-offensive


Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Roosevelt offers joint war council; Stalin refuses.


Soviet-British treaty.


Stalingrad: Stalin’s Order No. 227.

Troops not allowed to retreat one step without an order from a superior commander.


Last Germans in Stalingrad give up.


Comintern dissolved.

Goodwill gesture towards West.


Moscow Conference.

Confidence in military victory over Germany. Guarantee of a Second Front. Stalin wants influence in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); Churchill wants some allocation of responsibility in a liberated Europe; Roosevelt promotes post-war international organization. Stalin and Molotov agree on de-nazification and joint occupation of Germany. Poland not seriously discussed.


Italy becomes co-belligerent.

Contrary to Soviet proposals, Western Allies dominate the Allied Control Commission. Principle of ‘Who occupies, rules’.


Teheran Conference.

USSR-USA agree on second front in France rather than the Mediterranean (GB).

FDR concretises proposal for international organisation; Stalin agrees to renounce his idea of regional organizations. FDR’s four policemen: USA, USSR, GB, China.

Germany: USSR joint occupation; wants very weak Germany (¹ GB, USA).

Poland: USSR wants a new Poland between Oder river and Curzon line & Königsberg. Churchill agrees to present ideas to Polish government in exile.


Siege of Leningrad ended.


Stalin starts cooperation with EAC.

Accepts tripartite zonal occupation for Germany and Berlin. Fear of separate peace of West with Germany; advantages for atomic program of USSR.


Stalin receives confirmation of second front in Europe

Quickly moves to consolidate position in Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary.


Romania becomes Communist.


USSR declares war on Bulgaria.

Had made a declaration of neutrality.


Invasion of Hungary by USSR

Horthy has to accept an Assembly under the auspices of the Red Army.


Churchill – Stalin percentage agreement.

‘Amount’ of influence of USSR and West. Stalin insists on: Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland. Military occupation finally decides.


Yalta conference.

Declaration on a Liberated Europe: Democratic elections in CEE.

Soviet guarantee for entry in war against Japan.

Poland: Small modification of Lublin government, elections.

Germany: No definitive decision on reparations; but division of Germany, participation of France in occupation; Austria: No 2nd German state; no solution adopted.


Soviet gain rights to mine uranium in Czechoslovakia.


US bombard Auer nuclear plant north of Berlin.

Also to prevent USSR from gaining crucial technologies.


USSR refuses to let American POW in Poland go home.


Stalin learns of secret negotiations between USA and D in Berne.

Suspicion of Western duplicity.


Letter of Stalin to Roosevelt.

Suspicion about German troop movements; transfer of forces to the East, little resistance in the West.


Plan for Berlin operation approved.

Necessary to take Berlin before the Western Allies.


Agreement on Elbe-Mulde line as common border.


Special mission visits Germany’s atomic program.


Germany surrenders; end of World War II in Europe.

Prague liberated by Soviet forces.


End of lend-lease to USSR.

Prompted by domestic politics.


Stalin-Hopkins talks in Moscow.

Hopkins is a close adviser to Roosevelt. Main purpose: entry of USSR in Pacific war. Passive American acquaintance of CEE situation. Stalin fears Western intervention, plays on US-British differences at the same time. Agreement on Allied Control Commission.


Potsdam Conference.

Truman (Soviet suspicion), Churchill/Atlee, Stalin.

Insistence on ‘spheres of responsibility’.

Reparations: USSR suggests internationalisation of Ruhr and at least $ 10 bio. reparations; West suggest reparations according to occupation zones.

Stalin agrees that Western forces can enter Vienna; obtains that pro-Soviet Renner government is extended to the whole of Austria.


Nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Unconditional Japanese surrender. World War II. ends. US technological superiority underlined. US relative power increased. USSR excluded from Pacific post-war settlement. Stalin orders acceleration of Soviet nuclear program.


London Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Prepare peace treaties with Germany and Allies. US refuses to accept the peace treaties with Romania & Bulgaria à USSR refuses to accept the peace treaty with Italy. Molotov insists on link between Europe and Japanese settlement (influence).


Ho Chi Minh declares independence of Vietnam.

After a general uprising by HCM’s Vietminh, which has captured Hanoi. Independence contested by French. War begins in 1946.


Soviet withdrawal from Czechoslovakia completed.

Based on an agreement for simultaneous American and Soviet withdrawal.


Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Moscow.

USSR Compromise on Bulgaria and Romania (peace agreement possible); consultative role for USSR in Allied control commission for Japan.


Soviets refuse to pull out of Iran.

Violation of Anglo-Iranian-Soviet Tripartite Agreement of 1942. Interest in gaining oil concessions. Soviet military movements towards Teheran. Diplomatic pressure on USSR and appeal to UN Security coundil.


Winston Churchill speaks of an ‘Iron Curtain’ in Europe.

Call for Anglo-American alliance to counter it. Stalin reacts angrily, accusing the speech as an act trying to incite war.


US State department warns of collapse of Greek government.

Civil war between EAM (Greek Communist Party) and government had re-started. Yugoslav support for Communists.


Agreement with Iran for Soviet troop withdrawal.


US suspends reparations from American zone.

Until all four powers have agreed to treat Germany as an economic entity.


Protests over growing American influence in Reykjavik and Rome.

Moscow begins to advocate neutralist regimes in Italy and Germany.


Litvinonv sees bad outlook for West-East cooperation.

In an interview with CBS, the deputy foreign minister gave two reasons: the traditional revived strife for security in terms of territory; and the ideological conception in Moscow that conflict between Communist and capitalist worlds is inevitable.


Fusion of Western occupied zones of Germany begins.


Byrnes: Unification of West Germany with or without Soviet cooperation.

Economic, social, and political recovery of Germany as a goal of Western powers. USSR starts to fear the economic danger for Eastern Germany, and starts to recognize that American troops could be the basis of an anti-Soviet alliance.


French coalition government falls.

Fear that Communists take power.


‘Truman Doctrine’ of ‘containment’ announced.

Financial aid to Greece and Turkey. Help withstand Western Europe the threat of Communism.


European Recovery Plan announced.

Economic, industrial and technical aid financed by the Americans, designated to help democratic governments rehabilitate their economies. GB & F welcome proposal, invite USSR for discussions about implementation. First, USSR sends encouraging signals, but then (July) refuses to take part in the creation of an anti-Soviet political and economic bloc.

GB & F invite 22 countries for a conference. At first, CEE encouraged to participate. Czech delegation pressured into not attending conference.


Cominform founded.

Founding members: Communist parties of USSR, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, France, Italy, and Yugoslavia. Reaction to Marshall plan. ‘Two camps’ thesis regains strength.


‘Two-camp” doctrine of Zhdanov.

Replaces communist ‘united front’ with a call to world revolution.


Communist coup in Prague.

Indications pointed to the loss of power of the Czech communists in upcoming elections. Stalin does not want Czechoslovakia to turn westwards.


Proposal for Soviet-Finnish treaty.

Concerns that USSR may stage a coup similar to that in Prague.


Sokolovsky walks out of Allied Control Council.

From April, new restrictions imposed on Allied personnel travelling into Berlin by rail and road.


Foundation of Federal Republic of Germany announced.

US, GB & F resolve outstanding questions. Occupation troops would remain.


Stationing of Atomic bombs in GB announced.


Brussels Treaty Powers announce sweeping defence plan for Western Europe.


Soviet Blockade of Berlin begins.

Western Allies have informed about a new currency reform in the Western zones of Germany. Soviets order obstructions in Berlin. Closing of road and rail links as well as waterways. Massive American airlift begins.


Warsaw statement on Germany.

Proposals for Germany: final demilitarisation; control over heavy industries for a definite period; withdrawal of all foreign forces (peace treaty).


Expulsion of Yugoslavia from Cominform.

Tito’s refusal to subordinate himself to Stalin. Also Tito’s efforts to build a bloc of Communist states in southeastern Europe that would not be totally dependent on the USSR.


USSR proposes meeting of the Council of Foreign ministers.

Discuss any unresolved matters regarding Germany and/or Berlin.


Comecon founded.

Facilitate and coordinate the economic development of Eastern European countries belonging to the Soviet bloc. Original members: USSR, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland. Official and direct counterpart to Marshall plan.

Albania joined in February but seized taking an active part in 1961.


Stalin softens position on Western currency reform.

Not sine qua non condition for lifting the blockade.


Pravda speaks of ‘peaceful co-existence’.

Part of a Soviet strategy to divide the capitalist block (peace movements; Cominform; Communist parties). Brief ‘peace offensive’ of communist parties in the West.


Soviet troops pull out of their Korean occupation sector.

US troops follow a few months later. Both have installed friendly regimes.


First explosion of a Soviet Atomic Bomb.

Malenkov: global balance now tilting in favour of socialism.


Sino-Soviet Treaty.


Truman announces NSC 68.

Tripling in US defence budget to defend against the threat of Soviet expansionism.


Senator Connally: Korea not in US defence perimeter.


North Korea invades South Korea.

No provocation from the South; long-standing North Korean plan approved by Stalin. Arms, equipment and military advisers from the USSR.

UN Security Council, in the absence of the USSR, condemns the invasion, calls for withdrawal; sends a UN force. US troops under UN auspices arrive 5 days after the attack has begun. Military situation changes within a few months. North Korean regime collapses.


Soviets and Chinese agree on Chinese intervention in Korea.

Promise of Stalin to aid Chinese troops with air power and personnel.


US troops cross 38th parallel.

Stalin anxious about US-USSR confrontation; Mao determined to fight.


Chinese entry into Korean War.


Soviet telegram to USA: casual acceptance of NATO possible.

Proposal: limit size and position of NATO forces on the European continent. Demilitarisation of CEE often proposed.


Resolution by Volkskammer with a view of German reunification.

Asking the Federal Bundestag to press the four Powers to conclude a peace treaty with Germany. New unified Germany would be unified, democratised and demilitarised.


Malik calls for mutual withdrawal from the 38th parallel.

Ceasefire negotiations bring no end to fighting.


Western allies announce intention to end state of war with FRG.


Communist Party renamed Communist Party of the Soviet Union.


Soviet Union proposes peace treaty with a demilitarised Germany.

Like in earlier proposals, insistence on withdrawal of US troops. Germany to be banned from joining a military alliance or coalition. Western Allies dismiss proposal, links unification of Germany with UN-supervised elections, unacceptable to Moscow.


Death of Stalin.


Malenko: Possibility of lasting coexistance.


Uprising in the GDR crushed by Soviet tanks.


Anti-Beria coalition ousts Beria.

Khrushtchev, Malenkov, Molotov.


Soviet notes proposing neutralized, demilitarised, democratic Germany.

Proposal for a Four Power Conference on the future of Germany. Largely ignored in the West.


Cancellation of repatriation payments and post-war debt for GDR.


Explosion of the first Soviet hydrogen bomb.


Beira shot.


Geneva accords on Indochina.

Vietnam temporarily divided along 17th parallel; Vietminh occupy North, French South. Elections in all of VN.


Western European Union created.

After rejection of European Defence Community. Including FRG. USSR threatens to create its own defence alliance.


Algerian war of liberation begins.

Ideological support, but reluctance to provide assistance.


USSR ends state of war with Germany.

Intensification of links with GDR. De facto acceptance of division of Germany.


Warsaw Treaty Organization created.

USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, GDR. Formalised military relations and justified continued stationing of troops.


Peace Treaty with Austria.

Soviet troop withdrawal.


Moderate Khrushchev at Great Power conference in Geneva.

Eisenhower, Eden, etc. Great-Power collaboration over ending the war Indochina and the establishment of an International Control Commission, chaired by the British and the Soviet Union. Soviets propose transfer of control of nuclear production to a UN organisation. Eisenhower’s counter-proposal (“open-skies” regime) rejected by Soviets.


Ostentatious display of Soviet bomber force in Moscow.

Fake. Sets off intensive debate in the US about whether or not a ‘bomber gap’ existed.


20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

Major policy speech by Khrushchev:

1) Peaceful coexistance with the West possible
2) Strengthen relationship with Yugoslavia and so-called fraternal Allies in the TW (support of struggles of national liberation within the territory of a State)
3) De-stalinisation: Critique of lack of military preparation in 1941; unrealistic assessment in the Korean War; crimes of Stalin after 1934.

Chinese protest against de-stalinization.


Abolition of Cominform


Imre Nagy replaces Mathias Rakosi in Hungary.

Approval of USSR, but fear that Nagy’s reforms may go too far.


Nasser announces nationalisation of Suez Canal Company.

Major shareholders: British and French governments. Money would now be used to finance the Aswan Dam project. GB, F & USA try to convert Nasser.


Khrushchev in Poland.

Tries to avert election of Gomulka (purged by Stalin) as new chief of the Polish communist party. Gomulka promises after election to keep Poland within the Warsaw Treaty.


Red Army in Budapest.

Khrushchev orders re-deployment of Soviet troops to Budapest. Hungarians resist the command of the Red Army.

Nagy grants a parliament.


Suez War.

Israeli forces, backed by the British and the French, launch air attacks against Egypt. GB & F issue ultimatum calling for the removal of both Egyptian and Israeli troops from the Suez canal. Egypt refuses. GB & F troops move in to ensure free navigation through the canal. USA sternly condemns Anglo-French-Israeli alliance.


Hungary withdraws from Warsaw Pact.

Rejection of Communism and Soviet control. Fear of wholesale crisis throughout CEE. All-out intervention by USSR, Poland, GDR, … 5’000 deaths.


Soviet note to GB, F, and USA regarding Suez.

Proposal: Joint use of Soviet-American naval forces to stop the aggression on Egypt. Refused by USA.


Sputnik and first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) by USSR.

Khrushchev bluffs about strategic rocket force. Debate about ‘missile gap’ in the US.


Attempted political coup against Khrushchev.

Khrushchev refuses to resign as demanded by Presidium. Later, he manages to oust his most serious rival, Malenkov.


Mao introduces ‘Great Leap Forward’.

Vast economic reform program partly designed to reduce economic dependence upon Moscow.


Bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu.

Show how independent Chinese Communists can be (no prior consultation).


First shipment of Soviet aid to Algerian rebels.

Still reluctance, after 1959 in order not to alienate de Gaulle (‘dissident’ in Western Alliance)


Khrushchev proposes cut-down of army by 1/3.

Soviet strategic rocket force allegedly backbone of armed forces. 250’000 officers forced into premature retirement. Living standard of ordinary people doesn’t increase significantly.


U-2 incident. Paris summit breaks down.

US spy plane shot down over Soviet territory. American cover up story, then acknowledgement.

Khrushchev demands apology at Paris summit in May 1960. When Eisenhower refuses, Khrushchev walks out.


Khrushchev promises to defend Cuba with Soviet arms.


USSR withdraws all its advisors from PRC.

Tearing up of over 300 contracts. After heavy public criticism of “Khrushchevism”.


Harsh criticism by Khrushchev of UN operation in Congo.

Demands resignation of UN Secretary General Hammarskjöld.


Romania withdraws from the Warsaw Pact.


Failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

CIA-trained exile Cubans. Part of Kennedy’s sustained efforts to eliminate Castro. Operation Mongoose: Massive CIA operation to topple Castro. Spring and summer of 1962: Series of military manoeuvres in the Carribean.


Albania evicts Soviet presence.


US Deputy Secretary of Defence publicly exposes strategy of bluff of USSR.

USSR vastly inferior to the US in nuclear arms. Damage to prestige of Khrushchev internationally and internally.


Soviet-Chinese border clashes begin.

Negotiations in 1964; Soviet military build-up in 1965.


US learns that USSR has begun missile shipments to Cuba.

Not known if nuclear.


Cuban Missile Crisis.

Soviets install nuclear missiles

14 October: U-2 flight detects missile sites.

16 October: JFK establishes “ex-com” crisis management committee
18 October: Gromyko lies to JFK, saying they were ‘defensive armaments’.

22 October: TV address of JFK:
1) Nuclear attack from Cuba = nuclear attack from USSR
2) Naval blockade
3) Demands immediate and unconditional withdrawal
4) Meeting of UN Security Council

24 October: Soviet ships in transit to Cuba abruptly change course
26 October: Letter of Khrushchev to JFK; missiles = defensive; if US promise not to invade Cuba, no further Soviet shipments
27 October: 2nd letter of Khrushchev to JFK; proposal of a ‘swap’ between removal of missiles in Cuba and those in Turkey / Cuban shooting down of a U-2 plane over Cuba
28 October: 2nd letter ignored; terms of the 1st accepted; Khrushchev gives in, agrees to removal of missiles. JFK agrees that the US would never invade Cuba; secret promise about removal of missiles in Turkey.


Chinese lay claims on large Soviet territory.

South-Eastern Siberia; half a million square miles of Soviet Central Asia. Obtained by Tsarist Russia in 19th century (‘unequal treaties’).


Nikita Khrushchev deposed by ‘palace coup’. Brezhnev and Kosygin as replacement.

Officially for health reasons. In reality because of two reasons: 1) Programme of destalinisation and domestic adjustment; 2) Foreign policy (Cuba).

Brezhnev: 1st Party Secretary (‘General Secretary’ from 1966); Kosygin: Prime Minister.


Chinese Atomic Bomb.

2,5 years later hydrogen bomb. Triangular relations become more complicated, especially between USSR and PRC.


Permanent Mission of Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Moscow.

Brezhnev wants to enhance level of cooperation. Material assistance to National Liberation Front (NLF) steadily increased.


Kosygin visits North Vietnam.

Public warnings to US about their actions in the South.


Viet Cong attack on Pleiku air base.

Soviet signal further assistance to South. US bombs South of DRV.


Bombing of NV temporarily halted.

To be resumed in 1968.


USSR recognizes National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam as the sole representative of the people in SV.


Mutual defence pact with Mongolia reaffirmed.

Soviet troops deployed.


PRC refuses to attend 23rd Party Congress in Moscow.


Beginning of ‘Cultural Revolution’ in PRC.

Soviet forces on border increased.


Romania establishes diplomatic relations with FRG.

West embraces Romanian policy.


Nasser requests withdrawal of UN observer force in Sinai.


Six Days War.

Embarrassment (Soviet equipment in Egypt). Severe diplomatic relations with Israel. Deployment of Soviet combat forces committed to the defence of Egypt.


Johnson proposes ‘San Antonio formula’.

Offers to stop bombing NV if this might lead to a ‘productive discussions’. Rejected by NV. Soviets denounce the decision.


Novotny replaced by Alexander Dubcek as First Secretary in Czechoslovakia.

Party divided between conservative and progressive fractions. Liberal Dubcek gathers support in power-struggle.

1968/01 – 08

Six meetings between Brezhnev and Dubcek.

Soviet pressure regarding reforms.


Action Programme introduced in CSSR.

Division of political powers. Contacts with FRG; talk about a West German loan.


Technical preparations for invasion of CSSR.


Peace talks over Vietnam begin.


Warsaw Pact ‘manoeuvres’ bring Soviet troops into CSSR.


Reformers gain overwhelming majority in Czech Party Congress.

‘Socialism with a human face’


Warsaw letter.

USSR, GDR, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria (Romania and CSSR don’t attend): Accusations against the Czech Communist party.


USSR proposes to start strategic arms limitation talks.


Invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact member states.

USSR, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria send some 400’000 troops, take control of key targets. No resistance. Arrest of Party leadership. Dubcek taken to Moscow. Brezhnev and Politburo explain reasons for intervention. Czech leadership has to promise to expel dissidents and maintain conservatives, stricter laws on the media. Withdrawal of non-Soviet troops in exchange.


Brezhnev doctrine spelled out.

Also called ‘doctrine of limited sovereignty’. Interest of socialist commonwealth > individual interests of constituent states.


Dubcek ‘agrees’ to maintain Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia.


Soviet mufti at Islamic conference in Rawalpindi.

Not much influence.


USSR achieves strategic equivalence.


Official quadripartite negotiations over Vietnam begin in Paris.

To be completed in 1973. Soviets push NV away from military confrontation. US pushes USSR to make more pressure.


Jan Palach sets fire on himself in protest of Soviet occupation.

Upsurge in nationalist fervour. Attack on Aeroflot offices, etc.


Grechko threatens intervention of Warsaw Pact.

Fear that CSSR may withdraw from the WP like Romania in 1961. Threat successful because conservatives have gained ground and Dubcek is exhausted.

1969/03 – 09

Sino-Soviet border war.

Moscow also threatens with nuclear war. Negotiations resume in September. Huge campaign throughout China to prepare for war.


‘Nixon doctrine’ formulated.

Nation directly threatened by other than nuclear aggression must assume the primary responsibility of providing manpower for its defence. Consequence of Vietnam quagmire.


US-Chinese trade partly re-opened.

Seventh Fleet stops patrolling the Straits of Taiwan.


USSR provides air-defence system to Egypt.

Large number of technicians and pilots.


Soviets raise possibility of US-Soviet Alliance against China.

At Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Not taken up by US. Shows what détente means for USSR.


FRG-Soviet Treaty.

Mutual renunciation of force. Détente as goal.


Soviet naval facility at Cienfregos discovered by US.

US: violation of Kennedy-Khrushchev agreement. Value of Soviet missile-carrying submarines; certain strategic advantages; repeal of 1962 restrictions. Soviets back down.


Armed conflict between Syria and Jordan.

Syria = Soviet ally. Back down.


Gomulka forced to resign.

Political action by workers in Poland.


FRG-Polish Treaty.

Oder-Neisse border confirmed.


Final Quadripartite Protocol on Berlin.

West Berlin not part of the FRG.


Nixon endorsement for a European Security Conference.


Civil war in Eritrea.


Strategic Army Limitation Treaty (SALT 1) signed in Moscow.

Number of offensive missiles and anti-ballistic missile systems limited. Negotiations from a position of relative strength.


FRG-GDR Treaty.

Mutual recognition.


MFN tied to Soviet emigration policy.

‘Linkage’ of human rights and trade concerns.


Andropov made full voting member of Politburo.

KGV was to be strengthened.


Agreement on the prevention of nuclear war.

Soviet fears of Japan and China.


Haile Selassie overthrown in Ethiopia.

New Marxist government.


Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Cooperation with Somalia.


Overthrow of Caetano in Portugal.

Signal for the end of the colonial empire.


Civil war in Angola.

UNITA. Zambia. / FNLA: Some Chinese support since 1973. Zaire.
MPLA: USSR, Cuba, Yugoslavia


USSR grants aid to MPLA.

For fight against Chinese-supported FNLA. Castro has already granted some aid. In autumn, Soviet aid escalates (intervention of SA).


Final Act of the CSCE.

All NATO and Warsaw Pact states (except Albania) recognize territorial status quo in Europe and recognized basic human rights.


Death of Mao and Zhou En-Lai.

Rise of Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping. Little improvement in Sino-Soviet relations.


Sadat terminates Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

Egypt turns towards the US.


Military aid agreement for Ethiopia.

197707 – 08

Ogaden crisis.

Somalia attacks Ethiopia. Moscow refuses to back Somalia à expulsion of Soviets. USSR grants aid to Ethiopia, which also uses it to crush the Eritrean rebellion.


International Information Department established.

To make Soviet propaganda more effective.


Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Cooperation with Vietnam.

Including a mutual security guarantee in case one state would be attacked.


Camp David Accords.


Carter calls for an Ogaden conference.

Favours withdrawal of Somali, Soviet and Cuban troops.


Somalis expelled out of Ogaden.

Ethiopians backed by Soviets and Cubans.


Anti-Daoud Communist coup in Afghanistan.


SALT II signed in Vienna.


Vietnam invades Cambodia.


Treaty of Friendship with Afghanistan.

Soviet military and political advisers.


Punitive expedition of PRC against Vietnam in Tonkin.

USSR: Further suspicion against PRC (normalization of Sino-US relations shortly before). But no retaliation.


USSR recognizes Khomeini.

Expectation that over time, Communism could gain ground in Iran.


Egypt-Israli Peace Treaty


USSR offers to negotiate about further SS-20 in Europe.

Condition: NATO must cancel its plans to station medium-ranged nuclear missiles.


Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Pro-intervention: Ustinov. New pro-Soviet government installed. Resistance fierce and almost exclusively local. American reaction: ban on grain sales; not submit SALT II for ratification; boycott of Olympics in Moscow; Carter doctrine.


NATO decides to place Pershings and Cruise Missiles in Europe.

Reaction to Soviet SS-20 buildup in 70’s. USSR withdraws offer to negotiate.


Sakharov sent into exile in Gorky.


Brezhnev: Afghanistan not cause of tension.

Tries to revive détente. Soviet commentators claim that the USA has been shifting away from détente since 1977.


PRC: No negotiations with USSR.

Protest against invasion of Afghanistan.


Assassination attempt on Pope John Paul, II.

Allegation that Soviet leadership was involved because of the Catholic Church’s support for the independent ‘Solidarity’ trade union in Poland.


Central Committee: Peaceful coexistence should continue.


Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) talks begin.

Reagan: ‘zero option’. USSR: 300 systems for each bloc, F & GB counted.


Military coup of General Jaruzelski in Poland.

Marshall law.


Brezhnev announces willingness to negotiate border issues with PRC.

But would not make concessions on Afghanistan. Considers PRC for the first time as ‘socialist’.


Brezhnev dies. Yuri Andropov succeeds him.

Vain expectations that some reform of the economy and of the international environment was possible.


Reagan proposes Strategic Defence Initiative


Andropov: Soviet response to SDI as necessary.

Accuses Reagan Administration of wanting to dominate the world.


Korean Airliner shot down by USSR.

269 people killed. Went into Soviet airspace. Claim of spy plane. USA bans Aeroflot flights to the US.


US begin installing Pershings.

Soviets abandon INF and START talks.


Andropov dies. Konstantin Chernenko new Secretary General.

Old Brechnevite.


Chernenko dies. Michail Gorbatchev new Secretary General.

Makes Eduard Shevardnadse Soviet Foreign Minister in succession of Andrei Gromyko.

Later, Anatoly Dobrynin becomes Head of the International Department in succession of Boris Ponomarev.


Fist superpower summit with Gorbatchev.

Gorbatchev acknowledges global interdependence as a reality.


Chernobyl nuclear reactor explodes in the Ukraine.

Worst nuclear disaster. Helps to push notion of ‘nuclear war’ towards ‘nuclear catastrophe’.


Vladivostok speech of Gorbatchev.

USSR not simply a European state, but also an Asian and Asian-Pacific state.


Reykjavik summit.

Gorbatchev proposes the elimination of all nuclear weapons, but insists on US abandonment of SDI.


USA & USSR co-sponser UN resolution on Iran-Iraq


Gorbatchev announces new military doctrine of ‘reasonable sufficiency’.

Away from offensive military doctrine.


Gorbatchev: USSR opposed to any division of Europe.

Starts to talk about ‘Common European House’.


INF Treaty signed at Washington Summit.

Removal of all Soviet SS-20 missiles and NATO Cruise and Pershing missiles from European Soil. Gorbatchev accepts on-site verification, concedes that SDI will not be linked to the subject; and that British and French forces are not included.


Decision to end military involvement in Afghanistan.


Comecon signs first agreement with EC.


Gorbatchev announces a 500’000 unilateral troop cut.

240’000 of them in Europe. Follows new doctrine of ‘reasonable sufficiency’. Opposition of Soviet military establishment; resignation of many senior officers, including Marshal Akhromeev, Chief of General Staff. Gorbatchef further reiterates his belief that each country has its “freedom of choice”.


Shevardnadse announces change of doctrines.

Struggle of systems no longer decisive.


End of Soviet military aid to Sandinistas.


Cuban troops start to leave Angola.


Estonia adopts discriminatory minorities law.

Russians have to learn the local language within four years if they want to remain citizens.


USSR withdraws last troops from Afghanistan.

War = costly & impossible to win. Aid to Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua and others greatly reduced.


Removal of 200’000 troops out of Mongolia and Central Asia.


Soviet troop withdrawals from Czechoslovakia begin.


Soviet crackdown in Tblisi, Georgia.


Soviet troop withdrawals from Hungary begin.


Visit of Gorbatchev to Beijing.

First Soviet leader to visit PRC.


Large miner’s strike in Siberia and Donbass.


Tienamen Massacre.


Poland falls.

First non-communist government in Eastern Europe since 1948 elected.


Disagreement in Central Committee over National Question.

Liberals: Not far enough to satisfy Baltic demands for independence. Hardliners: Too soft on Republics.


Hungary opens border with Austria.

Tens of thousands of East Germans flee.


50th Anniversary of GDR celebrated in the presence of Gorbatchev.

Soon afterwards, hardliner Erich Honecker replaced by Egon Krenz.


Berlin Wall falls.


Georgia declares sovereignty.


Communist governments fall in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.

Massive street protests in Czechoslovakia.
Ceaucescu executed in Romania.


Summit Bush – Gorbatchev in Malta.


Vaclav Havel President of Czechoslovakia.


Soviet crackdown in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Anti-Armenian riots.


“Two plus Four” formula adopted.

For reunification of Germany.


Lithuania declares independence.

Gorbatchev brands move illegal.


Namibia becomes independent.


Gorbatchev introduces law on secession.

Attempts to slow down movement for disintegration.


“Two Plus Four” foreign minister meeting.

Shevardnadse stressed the dangers of unification; ‘greater Europe’ security mechanism as an alternative.


Latvia declares independence.

Gorbatchev declares move illegal.


Ukraine and Belorussia declare sovereignty.


Gorbatchev agrees that a reunited Germany will be member of NATO.


Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.


Turkmenistan, Armenia and Tajikistan declare sovereignty.


Bush – Gorbatchev summit in Helsinki to discuss Middle East.


Kazhakstan and Kirgisia declare sovereignty.


CFE signed.


Eduard Shevardnadze resigns.

Warns of a pending dictatorship within Soviet elite.


Soviet crackdown in Lithuania and Latvia.

At least 15 dead. Gorbatchev out of control?


Referendum on new Union treaty.


Lithuania votes for independence.


Estonia and Latvia vote for independence.


Boris Yeltsin first elected President of Russia.

First truly representative elections since 1917.


Warsaw Pact declared “nonexistent”.

Deployed Soviet troops gradually withdrawn.


START I. signed.


August coup.

State Emergency Committee. Gorbatchev under house arrest. Yeltsin takes lead of opposition, calls for a general strike (Gorbatchev fatally undermined as President of the USSR).


Belorussia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan declare independence.

Belorussia only “political and economic” independence.


Georgia severs all links to the USSR; Tajikistan and Armenia declare independence.


Independence of Baltics confirmed.


Germany reunited.


Middle East Peace Conference in Madrin.

Bush and Gorbatchev meet.


Yeltsin abolishes Russian Communist Party.


Chechnya declares independence from Russia.


Kazkakstan declares independence.


Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) signed.

Belorussia, Ukraine, Russia.


Ukraine votes for independence.


US Nunn-Lugar Act.


Gorbatchev resigns; USSR seizes to exist.


Ukraine claims Black Sea Fleet.


Creation of Russian Army announced.

Failure of joint CIS military command.


Lisbon Protocol.

Three new nuclear powers join NPT and ratify START 1.


Defence alliance Russia – Armenia, Kazhakstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

“Peace keeping” in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Azerbeijan, Moldova…


START II. signed.

Ratified in 2000.


“Near abroad” doctrine.

Russian ‘Monroe doctrine’.


Yeltsin’s troops storm parliament.

Fighting after dissolution of old Supreme Soviet.


New military doctrine stresses ‘near abroad’ and nuclear weapons.

Replaces ‘Gorbatchev doctrine’ of political supremacy over military and renounces no-first-use-pledge regarding nuclear weapons.


First multi-party elections in Russia.


Elections & new constitution.

Anti-Yeltsin and anti-Gaidar majority. Considerable support for nationalists; more power for Yeltsin as President.


Cease-fire in Karabakh.

Russian mediation. Since then: low-intensity conflict.


“Partnership for Peace” program presented.


Treaty of friendship with Georgie.

Entry into CIS; 3 Russian bases.


Black Sea Fleet divided.


Treaty of Friendship with Bielorussia.


Russia signs “Partnership for Peace” treaty.


Sino-Soviet “partnership”.


1st Russian-Chechen war begins.


Ukraine ratifies NPT.


Admission to Council of Europe delayed.

Reason: Chechnya.


Anti-reformers win majority in Duma.


Russia joins Council of Europe.


Kozyrev replaced by Primakov.

Russia = Great Power. Multipolarity: China, India, Japan, Middle East, USA, Western Europe.


Russian-Japanese military cooperation agreement.


Yeltsin offers Baltic States bilateral treaty.

In return for not joining NATO. Offer rejected.


Russia-NATO Founding Act.

Intended to deepen and widen the scope of NATO-Russia relations.


Yeltsin – Kutchma summit.

Russia can station part of its fleet at Sevastopol. Most of Ukrainian debt repudiated. Against NATO expansion.
Ukraine refuses to ratify.


Yeltsin visits Japan.

Breakthrough in the Kuril islands question. Joint responsibility. Eventual transfer to Japan. But then Yeltsin backs down from commitment.


Climax of economic crisis.

Rouble collapses.


Chinese-Russian treaty on border demarcation and political relations.


US and UK sustained airstrikes against Iraq.


2nd Russian-Chechen war begins.


Russia withdraws from ‘Partnership for Peace’.

Protest against NATO bombing of Serbia.


Russian KFOR troops in Pristina.


Putin Prime Minister.


Council of Europe suspends Russian membership.


Russian military base in Armenia formalized.


Ratification of START II.


Putin elected President of Russia.

Yeltsin retires.