to 1961 – Increasing Racial and Global Tensions
Automobile production resumes post
The Cold War begins
between US and the Soviet Union due to tensions built in WWII.
Employment Act lays responsibility of
inflation and unemployment on the federal government.
Truman Doctrine declares the US will
provide assistance to all democratic nations under threat from authoritarian
Soviets cut off Western Allies’ access
to Berlin in the first major international crisis of the Cold War, the Berlin
NATO is formed as a mutual defence
agreement between France, the UK, and the US
Communist North Korea attacks South
Korea, starting the Korean War. The US provides aid to South Korea.
Senator McCarthy gains power, begins
communist witch hunts.
The 22nd Amendment sets
term limits for the President.
The Korean Armistice Agreement ends
the Korean War.
Civil Rights Movement begins.
African American Emmett Till is
murdered for making advances on a white woman, is a catalyst for the Civil
African American Rosa Parks sits on
white only seating on the bus and is arrested, is a catalyst for the Civil
Eisenhower Doctrine allows for
threatened countries to request US aid.
Civil Rights Act of 1957, voting
rights bill aiming to show support for racial equality.
The Space Race begins
with Russia`s launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite.
NASA is formed.
Alaska and Hawaii become states.
Greensboro sit-ins, nonviolent
protests against racial segregation.
John F. Kennedy becomes president of
the United States.
African Americans are protected from
segregation on public transportation by Boynton v. Virginia.
US breaks diplomatic relations with
Peace Corps established to teach
American culture to foreigners.
Vietnam War starts amid
US concerns of spreading communism.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion brings Fidel
to power in Cuba.
to 1980 – Conclusions
Soviets respond to US missile
deployment in Italy and France by deploying their own in Cuba in the Cuban Missile
Crisis. This is the closest the Cold War came to escalating to nuclear war.
Second Wave Feminism sparked by The
Feminine Mystique novel.
Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at
peaceful protests against racial discrimination in the Birmingham campaign.
Equal Pay Act aims to abolish wage gap
between the sexes.
Martin Luther King delivers
anti-racism speech “I Have a Dream”.
16th Street Baptist Church
is bombed by the KKK, killing 4 African American children.
President John F.
Kennedy is assassinated.
Civil Rights Act outlaws
discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and country of origin.
African-American human and black
rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam,
a group Malcolm had left following disagreements with another notable member.
Selma to Montgomery marches held
March against Vietnam War.
Black people and police clash bloodily
in Detroit race riot.
Miranda v. Arizona establishes the
reading of one’s “Miranda Rights” when arrested.
Operation Cedar Falls, largest ground
op in Vietnam takes place.
Loving V Virginia overrules the
prohibition of interracial marriage.
Martin Luther King is assassinated,
Presidential candidate Robert F.
Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy, is assassinated.
American land on the moon for the first
time with Apollo 11.
President Nixon declares the “War on
The Pentagon Papers reveal secret
enlargement of US actions in the Vietnam War.
Nixon visits China, ends 25yrs of
isolation between both countries.
Paris Peace Accords end US involvement
in the Vietnam War.
Nixon resigns amid Watergate, scandal
that reveals illegal activities by his administration. He is pardoned.
Harvey Milk, 1st openly gay
elected official in Calif. is assassinated.
The lenient of Harvey Milk’s killer
result in the White Night riot.
The Cold War – 1964’s Dr. Strangelove
The time of the Cold War was,
lightly put, quite tense. The world’s two largest nuclear superpowers were at
each other’s throats, and the thought of conflict between the two was a
terrifying proposition. The Cold War and fear go hand-in-hand. The most
terrifying possibility present in the Cold War was the concept of mutual
assured destruction (or MAD). MAD is based around deterrence, the idea that one
would avoid attacking another for fear of devastating retaliation. In the Cold
War this meant that one party’s use of nuclear weapons would be countered with
nuclear weaponry as well. If the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack on the
US they could only expect the same in return. The death, destruction, and pain
caused by both nuclear attacks would be unthinkable. Even today, the fear of
mutual assured destruction is present.
Originally intended to be a
thriller, Dr. Strangelove or: How I
Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released only a few years
after the Cuban Missile Crisis, arguably the closest the world has ever come to
nuclear war. Americans were terrified and MAD was a very possible scenario. Yet
director Stanley Kubrick found this idea hilarious. He found well writing that,
especially in respect to MAD, he had to keep removing things from the script
“which were either absurd or paradoxical”. MAD in particular he found to be a
laughable concept. In the event of MAD not a single person wins. If one attacks
first they are sure to be destroyed just the same, yet there is nothing to
actually gain to retaliate if struck first. The deterrence of the nuclear
missile would have failed, and continuing retaliations would follow. Quickly
the film became a black comedy, satirizing the many narrow beliefs of the Cold
War Era. Though the film may not portray the attitudes most present at the
time, it most certainly pokes fun at them. Clearly this resonated with the
American public as well, as the film saw both critical and commercial success.
The Space Race – 2016’s
The Cold War was a battle over
differing ways of life. Boiled down to its simplest, the Space Race was
competition between the two Cold War adversaries and their own respective ways
of life. If either party achieved spaceflight dominance they would appear to
have the superior science, economics, education, and most importantly,
ideology. The race to put a man on the moon was an international battle between
capitalism and communism.
This level of achievement is only
possible with help of the world’s most capable minds. Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures attempts to shed light on
some of America’s more overlooked contributors to their Space Race victory.
Based on true events, the film follows three female African-American mathematicians
working for NASA during the Space Race. The film sets out to showcase these
women’s achievements and highlight the challenges they faced as a result of
their sex and ethnicity. Though a noble goal, the film is not as faithful to
true events as it perhaps would like to be. Though no doubt a sorry fact of
everyday life for African-Americans during that time, the racial discrimination
present in the film is easily scrutinized. The film depicts a 1961 NASA that is
segregated, where the female African-American leads are forced to use separate
bathrooms and dining areas. This is inaccurate, as NASA had abolished
segregated facilities by 1958, having racially and sexually diverse groups.
Dorothy Vaughan in particular, one of the film’s main characters, became the
first black supervisor at the NACA (NASA before it was NASA) in 1958 as well.
Katherine Johnson, another one of the film’s lead characters, even stated the
following in an interview with WHRO-TV: “I didn’t feel the segregation at NASA…
I knew it was there, but I didn’t feel
it”. This is of course not to downplay the presence of racism in NASA or this
time period, but to show the progress towards racially equality that was being
made. In taking one too many artistic liberties, Hidden Figures portrays the events it is based off incorrectly, and
may not be as accurate to the feelings of the time as it could have.
Red Scare – 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Cold War and America’s heightened fear of communism gave way for “McCarthyism”.
Named after American Senator Joseph McCarthy the term is used to describe the
practice of making false accusations of treason without evidence. In particular
it refers to Joseph McCarthy’s many accusations towards members of the US
government (and others) claiming them to be under communist influence. Playing
on Americans’ fears of losing their way of life, McCarthy managed to convince
and scare many. Though McCarthy’s accusations were unfounded a vast majority of
the time, many of the accursed were ousted from their positions or blacklisted.
this day, many the 1956 sci-fi horror film Invasion
of the Body Snatchers to be a not-so-subtle metaphor for communist
takeover. The film depicts extra-terrestrial pods that masquerade amongst human
beings as one of their own by taking over their bodies. A political allegory
can easily be interpreted, the alien pods being communists and their ideals,
and their human host bodies the American people becoming brainwashed by the
enemy’s ideology and living amongst them. From a political lens, the film could
either provide a warning against communist infiltration, or a critique against
the McCarthyist mindset. Though perhaps not fully intended by the film’s
creators, both these interpretations are widely known and discussed.
JFK Assassination – Television
assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy, politically, was of
course a very significant event. World leaders expressed sorrow and shock,
flags were held at half-mast world-wide, and memorials were common. The Kennedy
assassination also brought upon an arguably more lasting change, that of which
in American television broadcasts. Kennedy was the first US President to fully
welcome television during his life, but his death was ultimately far more impactful.
His assassination marked the first time that TV news had ran continuous
coverage of a national tragedy as it happened. For the first time the American
people were informed as events occurred. By the evening the day of, 70% of the
country were glued to their television screen. America also saw the process of
gathering the news for the first time, as the story continued to develop
without editing or finalization. Many Americans were not impressed. According
to CBS journalist Bob Schieffer:
was the first time people had ever seen the news being gathered. They
discovered that it wasn’t all that dignified. There was pushing and shoving and
shouting. A lot of people did not like what they saw.”
assassination transformed American television, as well as America’s perception