President Gerald Ford met with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Vladivostok, Siberia, to discuss a long-term strategic arms limitation agreement; a previous agreement set in 1972 was only temporary and set to expire in 1977.
President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, which would have limited the number of strategic nuclear missiles in each country. Congress never approved the treaty.
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.
At a summit in Washington, DC, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, agreeing to the destruction of all US and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles and providing for on-site weapons inspections.
Alger Hiss (1904–1996), a US State Department official, was accused by Time magazine editor and ex-Communist Whitaker Chambers of being a spy for the Soviets in 1948. Hiss denied the allegations but in 1950 was found guilty of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison.
Julius Rosenberg, an engineer, was arrested on charges of espionage in 1950. Rosenberg’s wife, Ethel, was also arrested. Accused of sharing intelligence with the Soviets, the Rosenbergs were found guilty and executed in 1953. Evidence later showed that it is likely Julius was guilty but Ethel probably was not.
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.