Brothers Insurgency (1944-1953)-Beginning during World War
Two, as Soviet forces re-occupied the Baltic States of Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania, local guerrillas (called The Forest
Brothers) conduct a war of resistance against the Soviets. NOTE:
at the start of World War Two in Europe, the Soviets illegally
invaded and occupied the then-independent Baltic States as part of
the secret treaty between Hitler and Stalin that divided Eastern
Europe between them in 1939. By 1953, the last of the Baltic
resistance movements had been defeated by the Soviets.
French Indochina War
(1946-1954)-This was France’s version of the Vietnam War.
At the end of World War Two, European colonial powers re-occupied
their Asian territories as the Japanese surrendered. In Vietnam
(part of French Indochina), a home-grown anti-Japanese resistance
group called the Viet Minh, sought independence from all foreign
control, and battled the French colonial forces after the defeat
of Japan. The Viet Minh sought and received aid from Communist
China and allied themselves with the Soviet/Chinese bloc in the
Cold War. Because of the Marxist nature of the Viet Minh
resistance and the aid provided by the Communist powers, the
United States reluctantly supported the French. Following the
defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the
French negotiated the independence of Vietnam (divided between the
Viet Minh-ruled Communist North, and the pro-Western South),
Cambodia, and Laos. Local Cambodian and Laotian Communist
guerrilla groups had also fought the French, in alliance with the
Viet Minh. Within a few short years of independence and the
North-South divide, the second Vietnam War would begin that would
involve the Americans.
(1946-1954)-Following the Japanese defeat in World War Two,
Filipino Communists, known as the Hukbalahap or Huks, who had
started, like the Viet Minh and the Malayan Communists, as an
anti-Japanese force, began an insurgency that attempted to
overthrow the Philippines government. The U.S. provided aid and
training, but did not supply any troops to help put down this
Communist rebellion. Communist forces again began another
rebellion in the northern Philippines that continues to this
Anti-Communist Resistance (1947-1962)-The Soviets occupied
Romania during the last years of World War Two, setting up a
Communist government in Romania. In 1947, anti-Communist rebels
began an insurgency against the Romanian government. Despite being
the longest-lasting anti-communist insurgency in Eastern Europe,
the last rebels were defeated in 1962.
(1948-1960)-A Communist insurgency in British-ruled Malaya.
The ethnic Chinese minority in Malaya provided most of the
fighters for the Communist rebels. This guerrilla army had its
beginning as an anti-Japanese resistance during World War Two. The
British were aided in the war by other Commonwealth nations,
including Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia, and Fiji. Malaya
became independent in 1957, but the Commonwealth forces continued
fighting the rebels until 1960, when the Malayan government
declared the Emergency over. The few remaining rebels retreated to
Thailand, and the rebel leader, Chin Peng, fled to China. One
major factor in the end of the insurgency was independence of
Malaya, which took away the rebel’s excuse that they were
fighting to get rid of the British. From exile in China, Chin Peng
renewed the Communist insurgency in Malaysia from 1968 to
Wars (1948-Present)-After Burma (now known as Myanmar) gained
independence from Britain following World War Two, the Burmese
Communist Party, along with multiple ethnic groups, mostly in the
north of the country, rose in rebellion. The Communists sought to
create a marxist state, while the ethnic groups, including the
Karen and the Shan, among others sought independence for their
ethnic regions or at least autonomy from the central government.
In the years since 1948, the various rebellions increased and
decreased in violence and intensity, but the fighting continues to
this day, making the Burmese Civil Wars the longest-running civil
war in the world.
Again, similar to wars
in Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaya, several of these Burmese
insurgent groups had also fought against the Japanese occupation
of World War Two.
War/La Violencia (1948-1958)-A civil war between
Colombia’s Conservative Party and Liberal Party that lasted
for ten years and claimed over 200,000 lives. While the two sides
fought each other (the government was controlled by a Conservative
dictatorship), both sides also fought against Communist Party
rebels. The war ended with a peace deal that created a bipartisan
National Front that lasted for decades. Some of the Liberal Party
factions later joined with the Communist groups to form the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which would begin a
long insurgency in the 1960s.
Conservative/Liberal conflict was a common source of civil
conflict throughout Latin America from when these nations
gained independence from Spain up through the middle of the
(1948-Present)-Including the Palestinian Fedayeen Insurgency
(1951-1956) and the Suez War (1956), and a second phase of the
Palestinian Fedayeen Insurgency (1957-1964). The Israeli military
conducted multiple raids into Gaza and the West Bank in
retaliation for Palestinian raids.
Campaign Against Nationalist and Bandit Forces
(1949-1953)-Effectively mop-up operations by Mao’s
People’s Republic of China against leftover Kuomintang
Nationalist and local warlord forces following the Communist
victory in the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
APRA Coup Attempt in
Indonesia (January-February, 1950)-Attempted coup against the
Anti-Communist Movement (1949-1953)-U.S. and British
intelligence services provided covert aid and intervention to
place anti-Communist Albanian insurgents inside Communist-ruled
Albania to try to begin an uprising.
Insurgency (1950-1958)-Chinese Muslim forces in northwest
China and Xinjian province that were allied with the Nationalist
(Kuomintang) government in Taiwan fought the Chinese Communist
government of Mao. Both the Nationalist in Taiwan and the American
CIA supplied and supported the Chinese Muslim forces. This
conflict was a continuation of the Nationalist/Communist Chinese
Civil War which ended in Communist victory in 1949.
(May, 1950)-anti-government uprising against the Indonesian
government on the island of Makassar.
(May, 1950)-Anti-Communist peasant rebellion in Bosnia,
Yugoslavia. Peasants resisted collectivization of land by the
Yugoslav Communist government.
(1950-1953)-The Korean War was the first major military
conflict of the Cold War between the Western powers and the
Communist nations in the years following World War Two. The war
lasted three years, cost millions of lives, devastated both North
and South Korea, and actually continues to this day as the
military conflict concluded with a truce, not an actual peace
treaty. The Korean War involved all of the major powers of the
1950s: The United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and
Russia (the Soviet Union), as well as the relatively new United
Nations. The war in Korea was just one of several major conflicts
pitting the Western powers against Communist forces, but this was
the only one at the time that carried the potential for escalating
into a Third World War. Such a world war could easily have become
a nuclear conflict as both the U.S. and Soviet Union possessed
The war began in June,
1950, with the invasion of South Korea (an American ally), by the
Communist-ruled North Korea (a Soviet and Communist Chinese ally).
The United States and other Western nations, under the authority
of the United Nations, intervened to save South Korea. As UN
forces neared the North Korean/Chinese border in November, 1950,
China (with Soviet aid), intervened with hundreds of thousands of
soldiers, forcing American and UN forces to retreat back to South
Korea. The war continued as a virtual stalemate until a truce in
July, 1953. The
Korean War cost millions of lives.
US Marines at Inchon,
Invasion of Ambon
(September-November, 1950) Indonesian military invasion of the
Moluccan island of Ambon, where a separatist government had set
itself up. The Moluccans are largely Christian, and were reluctant
to join with the largely Muslim and Javanese-dominated government
of the new Republic of Indonesia. The Moluccans were defeated, but
later conflicts in the Molucca Islands occurred, due primarily the
Muslim-Christian religious conflict.
Insurgency (1951-1956)-Palestinian fighters, called the
Fedayeen (from an Arabic word meaning ‘those who sacrifice
themselves,’ launched raids into Israel from the surrounding
Arab nations, specifically, Egypt (primarily from
Egyptian-controlled Gaza), Jordan (primarily from
Jordanian-controlled West Bank), and from Lebanon, and
occassionally from Syria. Most Fedayeen were supported, armed, and
trained by Egypt. Israel launched several military reprisals
against Egypt and Jordan in attacks on Fedayeen bases. These
attacks were part of the justification for Israel’s
participation in the 1956 Suez War. The Fedayeen would continue
attacks on Israel following the 1956 war.
Rebellion (June 29-30, 1951)-Failed coup attempt by officers
of the Royal Thai Navy against the government of Prime Minister
Plaek Pibulsonggram. The rebellion is named for the American naval
vessel the Manhattan, that was being handed over to the Thai Navy.
Naval forces kidnapped the Thai Prime Minister during the handover
ceremony onboard the Manhattan.
Anglo-Egyptian War of
1951-1952 (1951-1952)--Egyptian guerrillas, aided by the
government of Egypt, carried out a campaign against British forces
stationed at the Suez Canal and against other British and Western
symbols and targets. On January 25, 1952, British troops
retaliated against Egypt by attacking an Egyptian police station,
killing 50 and wounding 100. The conflict ended with a change in
the Egyptian government and the eventual withdrawal of British
troops. This conflict led to Britain's involvement in the 1956
Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956.
Tunisian War of
Independence (1952-1955)-Tunisian resistance against French
rule culminates in independence in 1956.
Mau Mau Uprising
(1952-1960)-Uprising by Kenyan rebels led by Jomo Kenyatta
against British rule in Kenya. The British eventually agreed to
Kenyan independence, and Kenyatta became the first leader of an
(July, 1952)-Also referred to as the Egyptian Revolution of
1952, this coup by the Free Officers Movement, a group of
army officers led by Mohammed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser,
overthrew the regime of King Farouk. This change of government led
to Egypt turning from the West, and aligning with the Soviets and
more radical Arab nationalist movements in the Middle
1952 Cuban Coup
(March, 1952)-The Cuban Army, led by Fulgencio Batista, overthrew
the government prior to the 1952 election. Batista had been a
candidate in the election, but polling placed him far behind the
other candidates. Batista. A little over a year later, Fidel
Castro would launch his revolution with an attack on the Moncada
Army barracks. Castro successfully overthrew the U.S.-supported
Batista regime in 1959.
Uprising (1953)--East Germans revolt against Soviet control.
The uprising was crushed by the Soviets. Part of the Cold
(1953)-Army General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla led a bloodless coup,
and became military dictator. He was overthrown in
Revolt (1953-1954)-Rebellion by Syria’s Druze minority.
The oppression by the government of military dictator Adib
Shishakli, led to his overthrow in 1954.
(1953)-This coup was organized by the United States and Great
Britain to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
The U.S. and UK believed that Mosseddegh was a Communist and
Soviet sympathizer, who would turn Iran from being a Western ally
into alignment with the Soviets in the Cold War. The coup, which
led to several hundred deaths, brought the Shah of Iran back to
power. This coup had a major historical impact on the world today,
as much of Iran’s current hostility toward the U.S. and the
West originates with their support of the Shah’s often brutal
dictatorship. The Shah was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution of
the late 1970s, bringin the current Islamic Republic into
(1953-1959)-Guerrilla campaign by Fidel Castro against the
dictatorship of Fulgencia Batista. The revolution began in July,
1953, with an attack on the Moncada army barracks. Castro’s
forces seized Havana on New Year’s Day, 1959, and he soon
allied himself with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
(1954-1962)-Algerian rebels waged a long, but successful war of
independence against colonial ruler France. This was a major war
that led to a French political crisis resulting in the return to
power of French war hero Charles DeGaulle. This war resulted in at
least 150,000 Algerian military deaths, 25,000 French military
deaths, 6,000 French civilian deaths, and 250,000 Algerian
civilian deaths. After the war, the one million French colonists
(Pied Noirs) in Algeria fled to France, along with tens of
thousands of Algerians who had supported the French.
Syrian Coup (Feb.
1954)-Partly as a result of his oppression of the powerful Druze
minority, a coalition of Syrian communists, the Syrian Ba’ath
Party, and Syrian Druze Army officers, forced dictator Shishakli
to flee the country.
Coup (1954)-Violent military coup that killed 25 people,
led to the rise of dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who would rule
Paraguay until 1989.
Coup (June, 1954)-The United States supported Guatemalan
rebel forces that overthrew the elected government of President
Jacobo Árbenz. The American CIA armed, funded, and trained
a force of 480 men led by Carlos Castillo Armas, which invaded
Guatemala and overthrew Arbenz’s government. The U.S.
government (the Administration of President Eisenhower), believed
that Arbenz’s government was too leftist and believed it to
be pro-Communist. This coup began a right-wing dictatorship that
ruled for decades. In 1960, in response to the rollback of many of
the reforms begun by Arbenz and his political allies, leftist
guerrillas began a campaign against the right-wing government that
resulted in a 36-year long civil war.
First Taiwan Strait
Crisis (1954-1955)-A continuation of the Chinese Civil War
that saw the Nationalist Kuomintang Party retreat to the island of
Taiwan. The Communist People’s Republic of China bombarded
Nationalist-held islands in the Taiwan Strait, prompting
intervention by the United States, which promised to defend
Taiwan, and even with the use of atomic weapons. This crisis was
followed by a similar episode several years later.
Israeli Raid on
Gaza (Feb. 28, 1955)—Israeli forces conducted a raid on
Egyptian-held Gaza, in response to repeated guerrilla attacks and
the seizure of an Israeli ship by Egypt. This raid resulted in the
deaths of 51 Egyptian soldiers and 8 Israeli troops. This raid was
the largest of its kind against Arab forces since the end of the
First Arab-Israeli War in 1949.--See Arab-Israeli
Suppression (April, 1955)--The South Vietnam government of Ngo
Dinh Diem used military action to eliminate the paramilitary power
of the Binh Xuyen criminal organization.
Hoa Hao Suppression
(June, 1955)--The South Vietnam government of Ngo Dinh Diem
used military action to eliminate the paramilitary power of the
Hoa Hao religious sect in the countryside around
Suppression (October, 1955)--The South Vietnam government of
Ngo Dinh Diem used military action to eliminate the paramilitary
power of the Cao Dai religious sect.
First Sudanese Civil
War (1955-1972)-Long-running civil war in newly independent
Sudan in which the mostly Christian south sought independence from
the Muslim-dominated central government. A second civil war would
begin in the 1980s, resulting in the eventual independence of
(1955-1959)-Greek rebels in Cyprus (a Meditteranean island with
Greek and Turkish inhabitants), battled to remove British troops
and unite the island with Greece. The war ended in 1959 with
Cyprus as a united nation separate from either Greece or
Note: With the signing of the Bonn–Paris
Conventions between West Germany and the three Western Allied
powers, in May 1952 (which took effect in 1955), the Allied
occupation of The Federal Republic of Germany (AKA West Germany),
ended. Shortly after these Conventions took effect, West Germany
joined the NATO alliance on May 9, 1955. Five days later, on May
14, 1955, the Communist nations of Eastern Europe joined together
to form the Warsaw Pact, a military alliance designed as a counter
to NATO. Warsaw Pact membership included the Soviet Union, Poland,
East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and
Albania (which left in 1968). Whereas NATO was a true alliance of
poltical equals, the Warsaw Pact was effectively run by, and for,
the Soviet Union.
Note: In 1955, Austria, under Allied occupation since
the end of World War Two, achieved full independence with the
Austrian State Treaty, which went into effect in July, 1955. In
October, 1955, the last Allied occupation troops left, and the
Austrian government declared neutrality in the Cold
Polish Uprising in
Poznan (June, 1956)-Anti-Communist workers strike and protess
in Poznan turned violent as protesters attacked symbols of
Communist rule. The Sovet-controlled Polish Army was called in to
suppress the uprising. Several hundred Polish protesters were
killed. The Soviets allowed some reforms in Poland by October of
1956, hoping to ease some of the tension.
Revolution (October-November, 1956)-Many Hungarians hoped for
political reforms similar to those recently allowed in Poland, and
also hoped for neutral status similar to neighboring Austria.
Anti-Communist and anti-Soviet uprising by Hungarians who wanted
to end Soviet control of Hungary. The Hungarians were crushed by
the Soviet military, resulting in thousands of deaths and tens of
thousands of Hungarians fleeing to the West. Part of the Cold
(1956)-The President of Egypt, Gamel Nasser, nationalized the Suez
Canal and threatened war with Israel. In response, Britain and
France, who had large financial stakes in the canal, as well as
history as colonial rulers of Egypt and other Middle Eastern and
African nations, launched an invasion of the Suez Canal Zone in
concert with an Israeli invasion of Egyptian Gaza and the Sinai
Peninsula. American diplomatic opposition to this attack on Egypt
helped cause the British, French, and Israelis to
British troops of the
3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, after capturing El Gamil
airfield in Egypt, 1956.
War/American-Vietnamese War (1956-1975)--The Communist North
Vietnamese and the southern Viet Cong engaged in a long war to
overthrow the pro-American government of South Vietnam. The U.S.
and other allied nations sent troops to aid the Saigon regime. The
war ended in 1975, with North Vietnam defeating and absorbing
South Vietnam. This war is also connected to the wars in Laos and
Peasant Uprising (November, 1956)--A peasant uprising in the
largely Catholic province of Nghe An in opposition to the
Communist government's policy of forcing the rural population into
collective farms. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) put down the
revolt, either killing or capturing over 6,000.
Permesta Rebellion in
Indonesia (1957–1961)-Separatist rebellion in
(1957-1958)-Following Morroccan independence from France, the
Moroccan king created the Moroccan Army of Liberation to seize the
Spanish-ruled coastal city of Ifni. The military conflict centered
around Ifni and also into what was then known as Spanish Sahara.
French forces fought alongside the Spanish in the Spanish Sahara
region. In a peace treaty, Morocco gained some land from Spain,
but not Ifni nor the Sahara region. Morocco eventually was ceded
Ifni in 1969, and occupied the Spanish (Western) Sahara in
Muscat and Oman
Intervention (1957-1959)--British troops aid the government of
Muscat and Oman (now known simply as Oman), against rebels.
British troops withdrew after a successful campaign.
Insurgency (1957-1958)-Ethnic Baluchi rebels in the
southeastern part of Pakistan (called Baluchistan) rebelled. The
government put down the revolt, but other rebellions would break
out over the years.
French Crisis of
1958 (May, 1958)-French military forces attempted a coup in
Algeria in order to prevent Algerian independence. This led to the
end of the Fourth Republic and the start of the Fifth, and
current, French Republic under President Charles
Iraqi Coup (July,
1958)-Iraqi Army officers overthrew the pro-Western King of Iraq
and installed a military dictatorship. The new leadership allied
themselves with other Arab nationalist regimes in Egypt and Syria,
and began an alliance with the Soviet Union.
Lebanon Crisis and
American Intervention (1958)-Lebanon was involved in a brief
civil war between the pro-Western Christian faction and the Arab
Nationalist Muslim faction. In part due to the recent Iraqi coup,
the United States sent the U.S. Marines to Beirut to aid the
U.S. Army soldiers
patrol a suburb of
Beirut, Lebanon, in
(1958)--Britain airlifted troops to Jordan in response to a
request for aid from the Jordanian king. King Hussein felt
threatened by the recent union of Syria and Egypt, as well as the
violent revolution in Iraq in which the Iraq king, a member of
Hussein's family, was brutally murdered. After the situation
calmed down, British troops left Jordan. This British action was
in concert with the American intervention in Lebanon.
(1958)-After President Mirza declared martial law, General Ayub
Khan, the head of the Pakistani military, overthrew
Coup (July, 1958)-Failed attempt to overthrow the
dictatorship of President François Duvalier.
Second Taiwan Strait
Crisis (1958)-Between the Nationalist government of Taiwan and
the Communist People’s Republic of China. The United States
Rebellion (1959-1965)-A six-year conflict in the Escambray
Mountains of Cuba with several insurgent groups fighting against
Fidel Castro's government. The rebellion was also called the War
Against the Bandits or the Struggle Against the Bandits (terms
used by Castro's government). The insurgency began soon after
Castro took power, and was initially led and begun by former
officers of former President Bautista's army. The American CIA
provided support for these, and other, anti-Castro
(1959)-Tibetan nationalists attempted to overthrow Communist
Chinese rule. The Chinese military crushed the Tibetans, forcing
the Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, to flee to
(March 7-11, 1959)--Pro-Qassim communist militia, called the
People's Resistance Force, violently suppressed an anti-Qassim
Sunni Army faction made up mostly of junior officers in northern
Iraq. This was part of the aftermath of the July 14 Iraqi coup,
and pitted pro-Qassim/pro-communist Iraqi and Kurdish forces
against Arab Nationalists within the Iraqi military who wanted
Iraq to join with Syria and other Arab states to form a united
Arab republic. This revolt was an attempted coup against Qassim
and it failed, resulting in some 500 deaths.
Laotian Civil War
(1959-1975)--Fighting between the pro-Western government and the
communist Pathet Lao forces began in May of 1959. Soon thereafter,
North Vietnam sent large numbers of troops into Laos to aid the
Pathet Lao against the U.S.-backed Royal Laotian government. The
Pathet Lao seized power in 1975. This conflict is considered part
of the larger Second Indochina War.
Rebellion (June 7-14, 1959)-East Timor rebels rose up against
Portuguese rule in the Portuguese island colony of East Timor. The
revolt failed, resulting in several hundred casualties. Also known
as the Viqueque Rebellion.
(July, 1959)--Pro-Qassim and pro-communist Kurds and People's
Resistance Force (a pro-communist militia) killed ethnic Turkomen
in Kirkuk. This was part of the aftermath of the 1958 Iraqi