Timeline of Key Points During the Cold War

FREEZE 1979 - 1985

1979: Afghanistan invasion -- This ended détente and introduced an era of a new Cold War. Congress refused to ratify SALT II. Why? USSR feared Islam after the revolution in Iran in November. A civil war erupted in Afghanistan between pro-Soviet leaders and radical Muslims. The invasion followed the Brezhnev Doctrine of 1968. Impact - resulted in high tensions between the USA and USSR, the US boycotted the Soviet Olympic games and halted trade.


1980: Solidarity in Poland -- Why did unrest develop? The people were not allowed to practice religion and many had bad relations with USSR. The living conditions were poor and freedom almost non-existent. There were also shortages of food and energy due to a large debt Poland gained after WWII. Lech Walesa aimed to create a trade union free from Communist Party influence called Solidarity -- He was very influential. The government met and held negotiations and agreed to allow some rights. By 1981 conditions had not improved and strikes continued. On December 2 1981 the PM declared Martial Law imprisoning Solidarity leaders. They did prevent a Soviet invasion but at a high cost, Effect - Solidarity weakened communist control of Poland.

1981: Reagan elected President. He changed US policy from containment and aimed to defeat the USSR. His aim was to simply increasing defence spending so the USSR couldn’t keep up. He increased military spending, introduced more weapons into Europe and announced the 'Star Wars' programme which aimed to place satellites in space which could intercept incoming warheads.

President Reagan


1982: -- START talks. The USSR was scared of the 'Star Wars' programme and even considered an all out nuclear war before Star Wars could be introduced. This was the tensest year since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

1984: -- USSR boycott of USA Olympic games.