Winston Churchill speech “Sinews of Peace” – 5 March 1946 – Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, USA

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom refers to the division between Eastern and Western Europe, using the expression “iron curtain” for the first time.

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights – 10 December 1948

The most important document in the history of Human Rights, the Declaration was proclaimed in Paris on December 10, 1948, through United Nations General Assembly Resolution 217A. The declaration establishes fundamental human rights that must be universally protected. It has been translated into more than 500 languages. Read the Declaration here

Human Rights Day – 10 December 1948

The 10th of December was declared by the UN, “Human Rights Day” to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! The Declaration proclaims the rights everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political opinion, or status.

Foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – 4 April 1949 – Washington, USA

North Atlantic Treaty Organization or “Atlantic Pact” consist in a mutual defense alliance, formed in response to Soviet aggression in Europe. The initial members included Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and United States.

NATO was born out of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, in which it was stated that “An armed attack against one or more member countries will be considered an aggression against all.”

Creation of Federal Republic of Germany – 23 May 1949

Officially constituted as the Federal Republic of Germany, on 23 May 1949 it was created through the proclamation by the President of the Parliamentary Council, Dr. Konrad Adenauer, of “the basic law”.

“Today…a new chapter in the varied history of our people commences: Today, after the signing and declaration of the Basic Law, the Federal Republic of Germany will enter history.”

Konrad Adenauer, 1952
Creation of the German Democratic Republic – 7 October 1949

In response to the creation of the new Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic was proclaimed by Herr Wilhelm Pieck, co-chairman of the Socialist Unity party, after the members of the Soviet zone People’s Council had reconstituted themselves the “Volkskammer”, or Lower House of Parliament. Its first Prime Minister was Otto Grotewohl

Otto Grotewohl, 1964

European Convention of Human Rights – 4 November 1950

Adopted by the Council of Europe on 4 November 1950, the Convention entered into force in 1953. To allow control of effective respect for human rights, the Convention established the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Read the Convention here

Formation of the Warsaw Pact – 14 May 1955 – Warsaw, Poland

In direct response to the formation of NATO, the Soviet Union created a formal military alliance, the Warsaw Pact. Members included East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria

“On the event of armed attack in Europe on one or more of the Parties (…) each of the Parties to the Treaty shall immediately (…) come to the assistance of the state or states attacked”

Creation of the Assembly of Captive European Nations – 20 September 1954

Founded on 20 September 1954, the association consisted of former government and cultural leaders from Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Its objectives were to provide for the liberation of the communist dictatorship by peaceful means, to educate public opinion about the real situation behind the Iron Curtain and to mobilize the cooperation and assistance of governmental and non-governmental institutions.

National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) – 22 April 1957

Created in April 1957, the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) emerged of a meeting of pacifists and anti-nuclear activists in the battle for disarmament.

Clarence Picket
Source: Archive/AFSC
All-African People’s Conference – 1961

The All-African Peoples’ Conference was conceived to include social groups, including ethnic communities and anti-colonial political parties and African organizations such as Labor Unions and other significant associations. Its objectives were independence for the african colonies, strengthening of the independent states and resistance to neocolonialism.

See: “All African People’s Conferences”. International Organization. 16 (2): 429. 1962.

Creation of the European Court of Human Rights – 21 January 1959

Based in Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights is an international court established by the European Convention on Human Rights. The court controls situations of violation of human, civil and political rights.

Foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement – 1961

The leaders of the so-called Third World defined a neutral position, choosing not to associate themselves with any of the major blocs, Soviet or American. The Movement focuses on national struggles for independence, the fight against poverty, economic development and opposition to colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism.

Non Aligned Movement First Summit
Belgrade, Serbia, 1961
Source: Wikipedia
Amnesty International is founded – 21 July 1961

Founded in London in 1961, the organization’s aim is to prevent human rights abuses and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

Read “The forgotten prisoners” the article written by Peter Benenson founder of Amnesty International. The article, published on “The Observer” on the 28th of May 1968 was a foundational moment for the organization and an impulse for the international human rights movement

Walter Ulbricht ordered the East Berlin police and security forces to start building a wall, which would divide the city of Berlin in two parts and prevent contact between the people on the eastern side and those who lived on the western side.

Construction of the Berlin Wall, 1961
Source: Hellebardius
The European Social Charter – 18 October 1961

The European Social Charter guarantees fundamental social and economic rights, such as health, education, labor rights, full employment, reduced working hours, equal pay for equal, social work, rights of migrant workers and people with disabilities. It became effective on 26 February 1965.

Read the Charter here

Organization of African Unity – 25 May 1963

An intergovernmental organization established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 32 signatory governments.

Principal aims of the Organization of African Union were to encourage political and economic integration among member states and to eradicate colonialism and neo-colonialism from the African continent.  It was disbanded on 9 July 2002 and replaced by the African Union.

Learn more here

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965 – 21 December 1965

The convention condemns all organizations that intend to encourage discrimination, based on racial superiority, arguing that these practices should be criminalized. Its signatory states must adopt effective measures against racial discrimination, emphasizing the importance of education for citizenship, based on respect for diversity, tolerance and human dignity.

Learn more here

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights – 16 December 1966

The multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. Its members must work for the granting of economic, social and cultural rights, including labor rights and the right to health, in addition to the right to education and an adequate standard of living.  It entered into force on 3 January 1976. Learn more here

1968 – International Human Rights Year

During the 20th session, from 17 to 18 March 1964, the United Nations Human Rights Commission considered the decision of the 18th session of the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim the International Year of Human Rights to draw attention to the state of human rights worldwide.

The Prague Spring – 5 January 1968

The Prague spring was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in Czechoslovakia. It started on 5 January 1968, when reformer Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.

Dubček sought to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia, to decentralize the economy and to promote democratization.

Prague, Czech Republic – August 21
Initiative Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR – 19 May 1969

Founded in 1969s, it functioned for over six years as a public platform for Soviet dissidents concerned with violations of human rights in the Soviet Union.

Photo layout

Upper row: Naum Meiman, Sofiya Kallistratova, Petro Grigorenko, Zinaida Grigorenko, Tatyana Velikanova’s mother, priest Father Sergei Zheludkov and Andrei Sakharov

Lower row: Genrikh Altunyan and Alexander Podrabinek

Learn more here

Soviet dissidents, 1977
Source: Wikipedia
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – 5 March 1970

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is an agreement signed in 1968, to limit the nuclear armament of five countries, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China, which were obliged not to transfer arms to the so-called “non-nuclear countries”, nor assist them in obtaining them. China and France only ratified the treaty in 1992. The treaty entered into force on 5 March 1970.

Learn more here

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1970
Source: Britannica
Treaty of Moscow – 12 August 1970

The Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed in Moscow on 12 August 1970, launched German policies-à-vis Eastern Europe (Ostpolitik), paving the way for the normalization of diplomatic relations and confirming the peaceful territorial status quo between the Soviet Union and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Learn more here

Treaty of Moscow, 1970
Source: National Assembly of Western Armenia
Treaty of Warsaw – 7 December 1970

Treaty between West Germany and the People’s Republic of Poland, signed by Chancellor Willy Brandt and Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz on 7 December 1970. It was ratified by West Germany on 17 May 1972.

Poland was concerned that a German government might seek to reclaim some of the former eastern territories. In the treaty, both sides committed themselves to nonviolence and accepted the existing border, imposed on Germany by the Allied powers at the 1945 Potsdam Conference.

Learn more here

Treaty of Warsaw, 1970
Source: Willy Brandt

Committee on Human Rights in the USSR – 4th November 1970

Founded in 1970 by dissidents Valery Chalidze, Andrei Sakharov and Andrei Tverdokhlebov, The Human Rights Committee of the USSR was opposed to Soviet nuclear testing plans and advocated ensuring respect for human rights. Learn more here

Andrei Sakharov, 1989

Four Power Agreement on Berlin – 3 th September 1971

The Four Power Agreement on Berlin was agreed on 3 September 1971 by the four wartime Allied powers, represented foreign ministers, Alec Douglas-Home of the United Kingdom, Andrei Gromyko of the Soviet Union, Maurice Schumann of France, and William P. Rogers of the United States. This agreement helped to significantly reduce tensions between the East and West over the issue of Berlin. The agreement into force on 3 June 1972.

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Four Power Agreement on Berlin, 1971
Source: CVCE

Richard Nixon visits China – 21st February 1972

Lasting seven days, 21 to 28 February 1972, the American President, Richard Nixon visited three Chinese cities, this visit was an important strategic and diplomatic opening that marked the culmination of harmonious relations between the United States and Mainland China after 25 years of lack of communication or diplomatic relations between the two countries. Learn more here

Richard Nixon visits the Soviet Union -22 May 1972

The Moscow Summit, between 22 and 30 May 1972, was a meeting between President Richard Nixon of the United States, and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union. It featured the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), and the U.S.–Soviet Incidents at Sea Agreement. The Moscow Summit is considered one of the marks of the détente. Learn more here

The Basic Treaty – 21 December 1972

The Basic Treaty established the basis for the relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. It recognized both as sovereign states for the first time. In favor of Ostpolitik of Chancellor Willy Brandt, the treaty was signed on 21 December 1972 in East Berlin. It was ratified the following year by West Germany. It came into effect in June 1973. Learn more here

The Basic Treaty, 1972
Source: CVCE
Committee of Concerned Scientists – September 1972

Independent international organization devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom.

During the 1970s and 1980s the organization provided help to dissident scientists and scholars from the Soviet Union and Societ bloc countries.

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Paris Peace Accords – 27 January 1973

The Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27 1973, by the governments of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the United States and the Provisional Revolutionary Government. The agreement established peace by ending the Vietnam War (which had lasted since 1955) and ended the direct intervention of the United States Armed Forces in the country.

Paris Peace Accords, 1973
Source: Wikipedia Commons
Beginning of Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – 3 July 1973 – Helsinki, Finland

Foreign Ministers of 33 European countries opened the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This conference aimed to discuss issues of security, politics, economics and mutual defense.

Foreign Ministers at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki, 1973
Source: OSCE / Bundesarchiv

Signature of the Helsinki Final Act – 1 August 1975 – Helsinki, Finland

The Helsinki Agreements were a significant step in reducing tensions in the Cold War. Among its main points are the inviolability of national borders; respect for territorial integrity; human rights and the defense of cooperation between States.

Reaffirming their objective of promoting better relations among themselves and ensuring conditions in which their people can live in true and lasting peace free from any threat to or attempt against their security.”


Creation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)- 1 August 1975 – Helsinki, Finland

Based in Vienna, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is one of the largest security organizations in the world, with a total of 57 members. The main pillars of the organization are to promote peace, democracy and human rights.

Creation of the United Nations Human Rights Committee – March 1976

The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its state members. States are required to submit regular reports to the Committee on how rights are being implemented.

Creation of the Moscow Helsinki Group – 12 May 1976

The Moscow Helsinki Group was created to monitor Soviet compliance with the Helsinki Accords and to report to the West on Soviet human rights abuses.

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Creation of the Workers’ Defense Committee – September 1976

Polish group created to help prisoners and their families after the June 1976 protests and government repression. Founded by Antoni Macierewicz.

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Antoni Macierewicz
Source: Arno Mikkor, 2017

Ukrainian Helsinki Group – 9 November 1976

Founded on November 9, 1976 to promote the implementation of the Helsinki Accords on Human Rights and to monitor human rights in Ukraine. The group was active until 1981 when all members were in jail.

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Lithuanian Helsinki Group – 27 November 1976

The Lithuanian Helsinki Group was created to supervise the implementation of the Helsinki Accords and was the first human rights organization in Lithuania. The group exposed religious repression, discrimination against minorities, persecution of human rights activists in the Soviet Union. Its Members were pursued by the Soviet authorities.

Christian Committee for the Defense of Believers’ Rights in the USSR – December 1976

Founded in 1977 by Orthodox priest Father GJeb Yakunin, Deacon Varsonofi and layman Viktor Kapitanchuk,  it was created to defend religious freedom in the Soviet Union. Soviet authorities brutally repressed and pursued christians because they advocate the control, the suppression and the elimination of religious belives and they encouraged the spread of Marxist-Leninist atheism in the Soviet Union.

See:  Shcheglov, V. (1983). “The Christian committee for the defence of believers’ rights in the USSR”, Religion in Communist Lands, 11(3), 332–334

Charter 77 – 6 January 1977

Signed on 6 January 1977 by 241 personalities from Czechoslovakia’s cultural life, Charter 77, whose first spokesman was Václav Havel, was a statement calling on Czechoslovakian communist leaders to respect not only their own laws but also to guarantee the human rights principles established in the Helsinki agreements. Learn more here

Charter 77 Memorial in Prague
Armenian Helsinki Group – 1 April 1977

The Helsinki Armenian Group was the first human rights organization in Armenia. It was founded by Edward Harutiunyan, Robert Nazaryan and Samuel Osyan with the aim of ensuring respect for the Helsinki Agreements. Learn more here

Interchurch Peace Council – June 1977

Group consisting of activists, politicians and some members of national security questioned the arms race and protested the United States’ plans to produce neutron bombs.

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Social Self-Defense Committee KOR (KSSKOR) – September 1977

The Polish civil society group has exerted a strong influence in Poland in defending human and civil rights, fighting political, religious and ideological persecution

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – 4 October 1977 – Belgrade

Between 4 October, 1977 and 9 March, 1978, delegates from 35 nations met in Belgrade with the aim of implementing and respecting the Helsinki agreements, stressing that the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms must be universally respected in all the countries.

Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted – 27 April 1978

Founded on 27 April 1978, by Charter 77 signatories, the organization’s aim was to reveal cases of people who were criminally prosecuted or held in prison because of their beliefs or victims of police and judicial abuse.

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Creation of the Helsinki Watch / Huma Rights Watch – 1978

Established by Robert L. Bernstein in 1978, Helsinki Watch / Human Rights Watch was a non-governmental organization designed to monitor the Soviet Union’s compliance with the 1975 Helsinki Accords. It expanded its scope during the 1980’s to include Asia and Africa.

Based in New York, Human Rights Watch is, today, an international non-governmental organization that advocates and conducts research on human rights, focusing on issues such as sex discrimination, torture, political corruption and violations of international humanitarian law.

Learn more here and here

NATO Double-Track Decision – 12 December 1979

NATO offers the Warsaw Pact a mutual limitation of medium-range ballistic missiles and intermediate-range ballistic missiles combined with the threat that in case of disagreement NATO would deploy more middle-range nuclear weapons in Western Europe. Learn more here

NATO Double-Track Decision, 1979
Source: NSArchive

Creation of Solidarnosc / Solidarity – 22 September 1980

Solidarność was founded when 36 regional unions came together. The workers demanded a salary increase and the readmission of dismissed colleagues. Solidarność organized several strikes that called mainly for economic reforms and free elections. The union was declared illegal and its leaders were arrested.

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Mural commemorating Radio Solidarność at Grójecka Street in Warsaw Author: Mateusz Opasiński

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – 11 November 1980 – Madrid

From 11 November 1980 to 9 September 1983, in Madrid, participants would define new objectives: the right to establish unions, the right to freedom of expression, religious freedom and gender equality.

Creation of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy – 1982 – New York

The Campaign for Peace and Democracy was a New York-based organization that promoted a non-militaristic foreign policy for the United States, while also seeking to collaborate with social justice movements.

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights – 1982

Founded in 1982, the Helsinki International Federation for Human Rights was an autonomous group of non-governmental organizations working to protect human rights worldwide.

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Washington’s Strategic Defense Initiative – 23 March 1982

The Strategic Defense Initiative is the American military program proposed by President Ronald Reagan, to build a defensive system of space weapons capable of preventing a nuclear attack against the United States.

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National Endowment for Democracy – 18 November 1983

Founded in 1983, The National Endowment for Democracy is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.

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Initiative for Peace and Human Rights – January 1986

Founded on 24 January 1986, Initiative for Peace and Human Rights was against any kind of authoritarian structure, violence and exclusion of minorities.

Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe – 17 January 1984–19 September 1986

Meeting in Stockholm, the participating States of the Conference adopt a series of  Security-Building Measures including the notification and observation of certain military activities.

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – 4 November 1986 – Vienna

In Vienna, between 4 November 1986 and 19 January 1989, the participating states of the CSCE discussed the holding of a Conference on the Human Dimension and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

Glasnost and Perestroika – June 1987

Mikhail Gorbachev announced his intention to follow a policy of openness, transparency and freedom of expression, called “glasnost” and a policy of restructuring the government and the economy, called “perestroika”. Learn more here

Mikhail Gorbachev
Source: RIA Novosti archive, 1987
Ronald Reagan speech in Berlin – 12 June 1987 – Berlin, Germany

On 12 June 1987, during the celebration of Berlin’s 750th anniversary, in a speech given in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, proposed to the President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to overthrow the wall that separated Germany, since August 1961.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Erich Honecker visits Bonn – 7 September 1987 – Germany

In September 1987, Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, meets Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of Germany, in Bonn.

Honecker and Helmut Kohl at the Federal Chancellery in Bonn
Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty – 8 December 1987 – Washington DC, USA

Signed on December 8, 1987, between the President of the United States Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Secretary General, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, it is a treaty on the elimination of short and medium-range missiles.

Photo Credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
First non-communist government since 1948 elected in Poland – 24 August 1989

The Solidarity Union was legalized and authorized to participate in the elections, winning the April 1989 elections. The victory of Solidarity paved the way for a succession of peaceful revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe and led to the election of Lech Wałęsa as president.

Hungary adopts a new constitution – 18 October 1989

In 1989 changes to the constitution were approved in Hungary. The country was now defined as a civil democratic and constitutional republic that respected the values of democracy and democratic. The constitution gave the legislature the power to control the executive, provided for a multi-party system, and established a constitutional court. All references to communist values in the new constitution were excluded. Learn more here

On November 9, the wall that separated the Federal Republic of Germany from the German Democratic Republic was finally destroyed. Thousands of people immediately went to the Wall and could cross.

Meeting between Mikhail Gorbachov and George H W Bush – 2 / 3 December 1989

George H W Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev met at Malta in the so-called shipboard summit. The summit opened the way for the successful conclusion of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in 1990 and the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks in 1991. Learn more here

Nicolae Ceausescu Regime Collapses in Romania – 17 December 1989

On 21 December, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu held a rally in the main square in Bucharest for 80,000 people. The rebellion spread throughout the country, reaching Bucharest, with the armed forces fraternizing with the protesters. On 22 December, Ceauşescu flees the capital by helicopter with his wife but ends up captured by the armed forces. Both were tried by a military court and ended up sentenced to death for several crimes. After the fall of Nicolae Ceauşescu, Ion Iliescu wins the presidential election in 1990. Learn more here

Vaclav Havel Becomes First Democratic President of Czechoslovakia – 29 December 1989

Started on 17 November 1989 the Velvet Revolution witnessed the fall of the Czechoslovak communist government. With the collapse of the other communist governments and the increase in street protests, the Czechoslovak Party announced on November 28 the end of the one-party state. Václav Havel, a well-known writer who was at the forefront of the revolution, became president of Czechoslovakia on 29 December 1989. Learn more here

Lithuania declares independence – 11 March 1990

Occupied by the Soviet Union since June 1940, Lithuania proclaimed its independence on 11 March 1990, signed by all members of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, led by Sąjūdis, whose leader was Vytautas Landsbergis. Learn more here

Latvia Declares Independence – 4 May 1990

Occupied by the Soviet Union and losing its independence in 1940, in 1988 the Popular Front of Latvia emerged in opposition to the dominant government, winning the 1990 elections. On 4 May 1990, Latvia’s declaration of independence was proclaimed. Learn more here

Russian Republic Declares Sovereignty – 12 June 1990

The Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian was adopted on 12 June 1990, proclaimed the intention to establish a democratic constitutional state within a liberalized Soviet Union. The declaration also states the following equal legal opportunities for all citizens, political parties and public organizations, the principle of separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers and the rights of the autonomous republics and territories of Russia. The declaration was signed by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian, Boris Yeltsin. The 12 June has been celebrated as Russia Day, since 1992. Learn more here

Source: Wikipedia
declares independence – 23 August 1990

On 23 August 1990, Supreme Council adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Armenia proclaiming the establishment of the Republic of Armenia. By referendum on 21 September 1991, Armenia voted to proclaim independence from the Soviet Union. Levon Ter-Petrosyan was elected the first president of Armenia in November 1991. Learn more here

George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Helsinki – 9 September 1990

The meeting between the President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and Soviet Secretary General, Mikhail Gorbachev, took place on 9 September 1990. The main themes of the meeting were Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the prospect of German unification, and the perennial challenges of arms control. Learn more here

Bush-Gorbachev Helsinki, 1990
“Two Plus Four” – 12 September 1990

The final peace treaty negotiated between the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, and the Four Powers that occupied Germany at the end of World War II in Europe – France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. The treaty paved the way for the German reunification, which took place on 3 October 1990. Learn more here

Germany is reunified – 3 October 1990

Divided since 1945, Germany is reunited on 3 October 1989, following a reunification treaty signed in 31 August,1990.

Source: Wikimedia Commons / German Federal Archive
Signature of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces – 19th November 1990 – Paris, France

The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe established limits on military equipment in Europe and mandated the destruction of excess weaponry. The treaty proposed equal limits for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact.

Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, 1990
Source: OSCE
Charter of Paris for a New Europe – 21th November 1990 – Paris, France

In the Charter of Paris for a New Europe established the participating States decided that political consultations at the level of Heads of State would be held every two years, and that Ministerial-level councils would meet at least once a year. A Secretariat, a Conflict Prevention Center and an Office for Free Elections have been created.

Charter of Paris for a New Europe, 1990
Source: OSCE

Estonia independence referendum – 3 March 1991

An independence referendum was held in Estonia on 3 March 1991 approved by 78.4% of voters. The independence is officially restored on 20 August 1991. Learn more here

Latvia independence referendum – 3 March 1991

An independence referendum was held in Latvia on the 3rd of March 1991, similar to the one held in the Republic of Estonia. Independence was approved by 74.9% of the voters. The independence of Latvia was finally restored on 21 August 1991.

Georgia declares independence – 9 April 1991

Georgia’s declaration of independence was a 9 April 1991. On 26 May 1991 Georgia’s first presidential election was won by Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Learn more here

Ukraine declares independence – 24 August 1991

Since 1922, Ukraine was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Independence was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on 24 August 1991. Learn more here

Moldova declares independence – 27 August 1991

Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union on 27 August 1991 and was a co-founder of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States. The Independence of Moldova was officially recognized on 2 March 1992, when it gained membership of the United Nations. Learn more here

Uzbekistan declares independence – 31 August 1991

Uzbekistan declared independence on 31 August 1991. 1 September was proclaimed the National Independence Day. Learn more here

CSCE Conference on the Human Dimension – 3 October 1991 – Moscow, Russia

The 38 states participating in the Conference gathered in Moscow address the full range of human rights and humanitarian concerns associated with the Helsinki agreements.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union – 25 December 1991

Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as President of the Soviet Union.

Recognition of the independence of the former Soviet republics and creation of the Community of Independent States.

Mikhail Gorbachev
Source: RIA Novosti archive, 1987

Second Helsinki Summit – 9 and 10 July 1992 – Helsinki, Finland

At this meeting the institution of the High Commissioner for National Minorities was officially defined, a declaration on the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Baltic States was issued and the participating States confirmed the suspension of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the CSCE.

Source: OSCE