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Both the Soviet Union and the United States became locked in a nuclear arms race, each vying to develop more powerful weapons and a better way to carry the weapons to the opposing nation. Even space became a battleground as the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into space. The first armed stance against the progress of Communism occurred on the Korean peninsula, a three year struggle that resulted in countless deaths.


1950 February 9 -- Senator Joseph McCarthy begins his anti-communist crusade, accusing the State Department of harboring 205 “known Communists.”  His claims ultimately are discredited when he pursues charges of Communist infiltration of the U. S. Army.  The Senate would censure him in 1954.
 
  June 24 -- The Korean War begins when North Korean forces advance into South Korea.  Within three days, the United Nations Security Council passes a resolution authorizing military assistance to South Korea, and President Truman announces he is sending troops to the Asian peninsula.
   
1951 January 12 -- President Truman establishes the Federal Civil Defense Administration.  A generation of Americans would grow up alongside the ubiquitous red “CD” inside a white triangle within a circular blue field, the logo of the United States Civil Defense.
   
1952 November 1 -- The United States detonates its first fusion bomb on Enewetak Atoll, in the Pacific Ocean, almost three years after President Truman ordered its development and nine months before the Soviets test their own hydrogen device. Following the two tests, political leaders and scientists on each side begin to realize that weapons of such destructive power made total war purposeless.
   
1953 February 18 -- Operation Teapot begins at the Nevada Test Site and continues for three months,where 14 nuclear explosions test blast and fallout effects on troops and buildings.
 

June 19 -- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at the New York state-run Sing Sing prison after having been convicted in 1951 of spying for the Soviet Union.

  July 27 -- The Korean War is ended when a truce agreement is signed.  The country remains divided at the 38th Parallel between the Communist North and the Republic of South Korea.
  August 19 -- Prompted in part by the CIA, Iran overthrows an unpopular leader and restores to power Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. This move, combined with similar activity in Guatemala ten months later, signals a move by the government ofthe United States to actively intervene in foreign governments.
  December 8 -- President Eisenhower delivers his“Atoms for Peace” speech before the United Nations General Assembly, pledging the United States to help the world direct nuclear energy toward peaceful ends.
 

 

       
1955

May 14 -- Responding to the Free World’s defensive alliance, NATO, the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria form the Warsaw Pact.

   
1956

February 14 -- At the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev condemns the “cult of personality” surrounding Stalin, denouncing the purges that took the lives of millions of Russians and the stifling effect of Stalin’s totalitarian policies.  Khrushchev’s criticisms would embolden nationalists in other Warsaw countries, such as Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

 

November 5 -- After Egypt seized the Suez Canal two months earlier, British and French forces retake the canal, a move that angers President Eisenhower, who also rebuffs a threat by the Soviet Union to intervene on the side of Egypt.  The President calls instead for UN peacekeepers to intercede, a move that earns the U.S. great popularity in the Middle East.

   
1957 October 4 -- Riding atop an R-7 rocket, Sputnik, the world’s first man-made satellite, is launched into orbit by the Soviet Union.  America fears that soviet technology is superior and that America trails in the arms and space races.
   
1958

January 31 -- The United States launches its first satellite, Explorer I, using a Jupiter-C ballistic missile.

   
1959

March 17 -- In response to Fidel Castro’s overthrow of President Fulgencio Batista’s Cuban government, the Eisenhower administration approves plans for a future invasion of the Caribbean island nation.

 

April 9 -- NASA introduces seven astronauts as part of Project Mercury, America’s first manned space program.

 

July 24 -- Vice President Richard Nixon opens the American national exposition in Moscow and debates Premier Nikita Khrushchev while standing before an exhibit of an American kitchen.

 

September 15 -- Premier Khrushchev begins a two-week visit in the United States where he visits farms, grocery stores, and Disneyland.  Yet, Khrushchev insists that the Russian people enjoy superior consumer goods.