Tag Archives: Cold War

Election of Helmut Kohl, 1983

On March 6th, 1983, new West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) party would be elected. He would be re-elected in 1987, and again as the first Chancellor of a united Germany following the end of the Cold War. Kohl strove to improve East German financial conditions during the 1990s and to establish a strong German position in the European Union. He would stay in power for 16 years, the longest reign of any Chancellor since Otto von Bismarck, until the 1998 election of Gerhard Schröder of the SDP (Social Democratic party); Schröder in turn would remain Chancellor until the 2005 election of Angela Merkel.

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Churchill and the ‘Iron Curtain’

On March 5th, 1946, former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill would address an audience at Westminster College, Missouri, accompanied by President Harry S. Truman. The speech was a landmark moment in the early stages of the Cold War. Churchill lauded the relationship between the UK and USA, and warned against Soviet expansionism, speaking of the descent of an ‘iron curtain’ over Europe.

17th June, 1953

On this day in 1953, Soviet troops crushed an uprising by workers in East Berlin. As of June 16th, construction workers had been demonstrating for fair pay and working hours, and would be joined by thousands more dissidents over the next 24 hours. A crowd of some 50,000 striking workers made their way through the streets of East Berlin toward various parliamentary buildings. Soviet commanders, declaring martial law, oversaw military action against the crowd as the Red Army shot perhaps 100 civilians, killing many. Numerous East German citizens would subsequently migrate West. By the time of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, approximately 20% of the population of the DDR had emigrated.