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Marvel Movie Timeline: A Complete History Of The MCU

Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter in Captain America the First Avenger

The War Between the SSR and Hydra

The SSR's super-soldier program proved successful, but Erskine was assassinated by Hydra after creating just one super-soldier: Steve Rogers, a skinny kid from Brooklyn who Erskine recruited for his strength of character. Although the so-called "Captain America" was initially used as a propaganda tool, in October 1943 Rogers launched an unauthorized mission behind enemy lines to rescue POWs. He proved successful and was recruited by the SSR as a field operative against Hydra. Rogers would serve across the entire European continent, leading an attack on the SSR's Leviathan submarine, neutralizing a Hydra base in the Danish Straits, and capturing a Hydra spy in London.

Meanwhile, Hydra operatives continued to research paranormal phenomenon. In 1945, Werner Reinhardt conducted a dig in Portugal, discovering an ancient Kree Obelisk. He returned to his base in Austria, where he conducted human trials. The same year saw the 5th U.S. Infantry Division encounter the phenomenon known as “Zero Matter,” likely another Hydra experiment.

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Finally, the SSR successfully captured senior Hydra scientist Arnim Zola, although at a cost; Rogers's friend Bucky Barnes was believed killed. Using Zola's intelligence, the SSR launched a crippling campaign against Hydra. Desperate, the Red Skull used Tesseract technology to empower his Valkyrie bomber, and piloted it in a bombing run on the United States. Captain America stole aboard, and the two super-soldiers battled. The Red Skull was (apparently) consumed by the power of the Tesseract, while Rogers crashed the Valkyrie into the Greenland Ice Cap. Both Steve Rogers and the Red Skull were believed dead; in reality, Rogers was left in suspended animation, while the Red Skull was transported to the distant world of Vormir.

All that was left for the SSR was the mopping up, and the last Hydra base to be taken out was Reinhardt’s Austrian headquarters. The Kree Obelisk became the SSR’s first “0-8-4” (object of unknown origin).

Sources: Captain America: The First Avenger; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, 'Shadows'; Captain America & Thor: Avengers!, Captain America: First Vengeance, Marvel's The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative

S.H.I.E.L.D. and the "Beautiful Parasite"

The SSR had badly underestimated their opponents, though, believing Hydra merely to be a rogue Nazi science division. In reality, Hydra was a vast and ancient organization, and Hydra agents could still be found in other countries. Barnes’s battered body had been found by Hydra agents and ferried into the USSR. There, Hydra would begin the long and arduous program of transforming him into the Winter Soldier.

When the Second World War finally came to an end in September 1945, Allied governments began to consider what to do with Nazi scientists. In the United States, powerful political and military forces pushed for “Operation Paperclip,” allowing the best German scientists to be given a fresh start in the U.S.. This allowed many of Hydra’s best minds, including Arnim Zola, a chance to infiltrate the United States government and intelligence services. Hydra had learned that humanity would resist any attempt to take their freedoms, so humanity would need to surrender its freedom willingly. This reformed Hydra sought power and influence in order to control the direction of history.

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In 1946, SSR agent Peggy Carter proved herself when she exposed Stalin’s most secretive spy agency, Leviathan. The next year, she traveled to the SSR’s new Los Angeles office and brought an end to some unwise experiments with Zero Matter. This involved a mysterious conspiracy known as the Council of Nine, who may have been loosely connected to Hydra. Bolstered by these and other successes, Carter became a particularly important figure in the SSR. In 1949, she oversaw construction of the SSR’s secret headquarters, the Playground, and was placed in charge of the base. Shortly after, the SSR was formally renamed S.H.I.E.L.D., with Carter as the organisation's first Director.

Sources: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Agent Carter season 1 & 2; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4, 'Meet the New Boss', Marvel Studios: The First 10 Years

Page 5: Plans for Domination

Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
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