One of the most widely taught novels in the United States, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951) opens with the sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield’s disillusioned departure from what may be the last in a series of...
George Kennan, a US diplomat serving in Moscow, sent his “Long Telegram” to Washington. In it, Kennan proposed a policy of containment for handling diplomatic matters with the Soviet Union. Kennan’s ideas about containment and the Soviet Union shaped US foreign policy throughout the Cold War.
Built as a divider between East and West Berlin by the Communist East German government in 1961, the Berlin Wall was torn down. The destruction of the wall signifyed the fall of the “iron curtain” and symbolized the end of the Cold War.
President Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met at a summit in Malta. Though no major agreements were signed, Gorbachev promised to “never start a hot war against the USA” and Bush looked toward “enduring co-operation.”
Fidel Castro (1926– ) led the Communist revolution in Cuba that overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. In 1960, Castro made a trade agreement with the Soviet Union, which heightened Cold War tension. Eventually the United States severed economic and diplomatic ties with the island nation. Castro remained Cuba’s leader until 2008, when he turned over power to his brother Raúl Castro.
Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) emerged as a leader of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. In 1956, Khrushchev denounced Stalin and began working to improve the Soviet image in the international community. In the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev agreed to President John F. Kennedy’s demand to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba. The agreement was considered a humiliating defeat by Khrushchev’s fellow Soviets. His domestic programs also largely failed, and he was peacefully deposed in 1964.