cold war

Events In History


The Cold War

  • The Cold War

    Although the origins of the so-called Cold War can be traced back to the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, this intense ideological struggle between the Western powers and the Soviet Union really began after the Second World War.

    Read the full article

  • Page 2 – Overview

    New Zealand’s participation in the Cold War was shaped by its decision to support the Western powers in their confrontation with the Soviet Union after the Second World War.

  • Page 3 – Choosing sides

    New Zealand backed Britain and the United States against the Soviet Union as the Cold War began in the late 1940s. Like the other Western Allies, New Zealand’s relationship

  • Page 4 – Treaties and alliances

    During the 1940s and 1950s New Zealand signed a series of collective treaties with Britain and the United States aimed at countering the threats of Japanese military resurgence

  • Page 5 – South-East Asia

    During the 1950s the focus of New Zealand’s defence strategy shifted from the Middle East to Asia.

  • Page 6 – Protest and dissent

    The end of the Vietnam War shifted the focus of the Cold War away from Asia and New Zealand's need for ‘forward defence’ diminished. These changes, together with the anti-

  • Page 7 – Last decade

    Soviet-American tensions revived in the late 1970s as ‘détente’ (co-operation) gave way to a renewed arms race.

  • Page 8 – War at home

    Apart from a period during the 1950s, New Zealanders remained relatively tolerant of communism.

  • Page 9 – Further information

    Website links and books relating to New Zealand and the Cold War

Korean War

  • Korean War

    New Zealand was involved militarily in Korea from 1950 to 1957, first as part of the United Nations 'police action' to repel North Korea's invasion of its southern neighbour, and then in a garrison role after the armistice in July 1953.

    Read the full article

  • Page 2 – Background

    That two Korean states existed in 1950 was an outcome of arrangements for the surrender of Japan in August 1945 which had resulted in the entry of both Soviet and American

  • Page 3 – The 'first' and 'second' Korean Wars

    New Zealand was one of the first states to answer the Security Council's call for combat assistance (16 would eventually do so). The government offered two frigates on 29 June

  • Page 4 – Kayforce joins the conflict

    In January 1951 a further New Zealand contingent joined the UN Command – Kayforce. On 26 July 1950, in response to another plea from the UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie,

  • Page 5 – The Commonwealth Division

    In October 1951, now deployed on the Imjin River as part of 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, the New Zealand gunners took part in Operation Commando, an advance of 5

  • Page 6 – End of the conflict

    At the end of 1951, a stalemate emerged as both sides improved their defensive positions. The front took on the character of a hilly Western Front. Much bitter fighting took

  • Page 7 – Impact of the war

    About 4700 men served in Kayforce and a further 1300 on the frigates during the seven years of New Zealand’s involvement in Korea. Forty-five men lost their lives in this

  • Page 8 – Korean War Roll of Honour

    Roll of Honour of New Zealanders killed during the Korean War, 1953-57

  • Page 9 – The Bob Jagger photographs

    Collection of previously unpublished images of the Korean War by Kiwi gunner Bob Jagger

  • Page 10 – Kiwi stories

    Listen to some of the stories of New Zealanders involved in the Korean War, 1950-1957.

Vietnam War

  • Vietnam War

    The Vietnam War was New Zealand's longest and most controversial overseas military experience. Although this country's troop commitment and casualties were modest, the conflict aroused widespread protest and condemnation. And for those who fought in Vietnam, it was a tough homecoming.

    Read the full article

  • Page 1 - The Vietnam WarThe Vietnam War was New Zealand's longest and most controversial overseas military experience. Although this country's troop commitment and casualties were modest, the conflict

The 1951 waterfront dispute

  • The 1951 waterfront dispute

    The 1951 waterfront dispute was the biggest industrial confrontation in New Zealand’s history. Although it was not as violent as the Great Strike of 1913, it lasted longer – 151 days, from February to July – and involved more workers.

    Read the full article

  • Page 2 – Countdown to confrontation

    New Zealanders generally accepted the hardships and restrictions of the war years as necessary in the fight against fascism. After the war, though, many began to demand a

Nuclear-free New Zealand

  • Nuclear-free New Zealand

    The sinking of the Greenpeace protest ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in July 1985 shocked the nation. The incident galvanised an anti-nuclear movement that had emerged in opposition to both French nuclear tests at Mururoa and American warship visits to New Zealand. 

    Read the full article

  • Page 3 – Ship visits

    The visit of the nuclear-powered frigate USS Texas in 1983 sparked protest in New Zealand.


  • Sutch, William Ball

    Even before his arrest, trial and acquittal on spy charges in the 1970s most New Zealanders had heard of Bill Sutch. He was a prominent citizen – known for his work as an economist, writer, public servant and diplomat.