Intelligence Events Timeline

The CIA Legacy Timeline is the leading national archive of declassified intelligence artifacts, culture, and history.

120 Intelligence Events
1941, December 7

Japanese attack Pearl Harbor

1942, June 4

Battle of Midway victory due to US Navy's ability to break key Japanese naval code

1944, June 6

D-Day; Allies invade France, landing at Normandy

1945, July 16

First atomic bomb detonates at the Trinity site (NM); Soviet spies working in program keep Stalin informed

1945, September 2

World War II ends

1945, October 24

United Nations formed

1946, March 5

UK Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill delivers "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, MO

1947, March 12

President Truman announces the Truman Doctrine to aid nations threatened by Communism

1948, April 3

President Truman signs the Marshall Plan to help rebuild Western Europe

1948, June 1

USSR blockades Berlin; resulting crises deepen worsening Cold War

1949, September 23

US announces that the Soviets have exploded an atomic bomb

1949, October 1

The People's Republic of China is proclaimed in Beijing

1950, June 25

North Korea invades South Korea

1951, April 5

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sentenced to death for spying for Soviet Union

1953, March 5

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies

1953, July 27

Armistice ends Korean war

1953, August 12

USSR secretly explodes its first hydrogen bomb

1956, October 1

Crises and conflicts in both Hungary and the Suez

1957, October 4

Soviet Union successfully launches Sputnik I satellite

1959, January 1

Fidel Castro assumes power in Cuba

1961, May 5

Alan Shepard becomes first American to travel in outer space

1961, August 13

Soviet-led East Germany begins Berlin Wall construction

1963, May 16

Soviets execute Col. Oleg Penkovsky, a CIA asset and high-ranking member of Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU)

1963, November 1

South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem regime toppled

1963, November 22

President Kennedy assassinated,

1964, August 7

Congress approves Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, deepening US commitment in Vietnam

1967, June 1

Arab-Israeli war (known as Six-Day War) ends in quick Israeli victory

1968, January 30

Tet Offensive shocks American commanders in Vietnam; shifts US public opinion against war

1968, August 20

Soviets invade Czechoslovakia to suppress reformist government

1969, November 17

US-USSR Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) begin

1970, April 30

US and South Vietnam troops invade Cambodia to cut Communist supply routes

1971, June 13

The New York Times publishes the "Pentagon Papers" - classified historical documents on US involvement in Vietnam

1972, February 21

President Nixon visits China

1972, May 26

US and USSR sign Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, followed by signing of SALT I agreement in August

1972, June 17

Watergate break-in; five of the men arrested have past CIA ties

1973, January 27

US signs Paris Peace Accords intended to end Vietnam War

1973, October 6

Arab coalition attacks Israel at the start of Yom Kippur war

1975, April 30

US Personnel evacuate Saigon as South Vietnam falls to the Communists

1979, November 4

Iran seizes US Embassy in Tehran, holding dozens of US hostages until January 1981

1979, December 25

Soviets invade Afghanistan

1981, December 13

Poland's Communist government declares martial law and suppresses Solidarity Movement

1983, April 18

Terrorists bomb US Embassy in Beirut; many Americans killed

1983, October 25

US invades Grenada to rescue stranded US citizens and to topple its Marxist regime

1986, April 26

Russian nuclear reactor in Chernobyl explodes

1988, December 21

Libyan-sponsored terrorists blow up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland

1989, April 5

Poland's government restores Solidarity Movement's legal status; vows to permit free elections

1989, June 3

Chinese troops crush protest demonstration in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China

1989, November 9

German citizens from both East and West Berlin tear down Berlin Wall

1989, December 20

US invades Panama to arrest strongman president General Manuel Noriega on narcotics trafficking charges

1990, August 2

Iraq invades Kuwait

1990, October 3

West and East Germany unify as a single republic in NATO

1991, January 17

US-led coalition begins Operation Desert Storm to enforce UN resolutions and to drive Iraq out of Kuwait

1991, December 21

USSR splits into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

1993, February 26

Islamic terrorists bomb New York World Trade Center; Ramsi Yousef responsible

1993, December 21

President Boris Yeltsin abolishes KGB

1994, September 19

US Operation Uphold Democracy lands troops in Haiti

1995, November 21

Bosnia Peace Accord signed; US sends 20,000 troops to UN International Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia

1998, January 8

Ramsi Yousef sentenced to life in prison for 1993 New York World Trade Center bombing

1998, August 7

Al-Qa'ida bombs US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; more than 225 people killed

1999, March 24

NATO begins air bombing campaign to force Serbia out of Kosovo

1999, June 7

Usama bin Laden added to FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list

1999, December 14

NATO and Yugoslavia sign accord for withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo

2000, October 12

Al-Qa'ida attacks USS Cole in Aden, Yemen; 17 sailors killed

2001, September 11

Al-Qa'ida terrorists crash airplanes into World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, PA, killing almost 3,000 people

2001, November 17

Taliban removed from power in Afghanistan

2003, March 11

Pakistan captures Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, reported mastermind of 9/11 attacks

2003, March 19

Operation Iraqi Freedom launched

2003, April 9

Saddam Hussein's regime collapses in Iraq

2003, December 13

U.S. Special Forces capture Saddam Hussein near Tikrit, Iraq

2004, October 1

Afghanistan holds first national election

2005, January 1

Iraq holds first national election

2005, July 7

Al Qa'ida affiliated terrorists conducted bombing attacks in London's subway and bus systems, killing 52 and injuring approximately 700

2006, December 30

Saddam Hussein executed at Iraqi army base in Baghdad

2008, November 26

Attacks at 10 sites in Mumbai, India kill almost 200 people

2009, December 25

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempts to destroy flight over Detroit with PETN explosives hidden in his clothes

2010, January 12

7.0 magnitude earthquake causes alleged death toll of 300,000 and destroys majority of schools and businesses in Haiti

2010, March 26

Mysterious explosion splits and sinks South Korean Navy ship Cheonan, killing 46 of the 104 sailors on board

2010, April 20

Gulf of Mexico Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit DEEPWATER HORIZON explosion kills 11 and results in catastrophic oil spill

2010, August 5-October 13

A large cave-in at a Chilean copper-gold mine trapped 33 men 2,300 feet underground, 3 miles from the mine entrance. They survived for a record 69 days.

2011, January 8

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in Arizona during her first "Congress on Your Corner" gathering of the year. The gunman injured 14 and killed six.

2011, January 25-February 11

The Egyptian revolution and uprising - mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance.

2011, March 11

The Tōhoku earthquake was a magnitude-9.0 undersea earthquake off the coast of Japan.

2011, December 17

Kim Jong Un becomes the new leader of North Korea following the death of Kim Jong Un

2012, June 4

Al Qa'ida's number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi, is killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan

2012, August 6

The American rover Curiosity (pictured) landed on Mars, as part of the Mars Science Laboratory

2013, April 15

Boston Marathon bombing kills 3, injures 250

2014, March 21

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs legislation to complete the annexation of Crimea

2015, July 20

The United States restores bilateral relations with Cuba

2016, June 24

The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union by a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent

2016, October 15

US Strategic Command detects a failed North Korean ballistic missile launch

2016, November 25

Fidel Castro dies

2017, September 3

North Korea conducts underground nuclear test at Punggye Nuclear Test Site, estimated yield 140 KT