1946 to 1961 – Increasing Racial and Global Tensions 1946 – – 1947 Automobile production resumes post WWII. 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 forces. 1948 Soviets cut off Western Allies’ access to Berlin in the first major international crisis of the Cold War, the Berlin Blockade. 1949 NATO is formed as a mutual defence agreement between France, the UK, and the US 1950 Communist North Korea attacks South Korea, starting the Korean War. The US provides aid to South Korea. – 1951 Senator McCarthy gains power, begins communist witch hunts. The 22nd Amendment sets term limits for the President.
1953 The Korean Armistice Agreement ends the Korean War. 1955 – – 1957 – – 1958 1959 1960 – – 1961 – – – Civil Rights Movement begins. African American Emmett Till is murdered for making advances on a white woman, is a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. African American Rosa Parks sits on white only seating on the bus and is arrested, is a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. 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 communist Cuba.
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.
1961 to 1980 – Conclusions 1961 1963 – – – 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. 1964 Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and country of origin. 1965 – – – 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 against discrimination.
March against Vietnam War. Black people and police clash bloodily in Detroit race riot. 1966 Miranda v. Arizona establishes the reading of one’s “Miranda Rights” when arrested. 1967 – 1968 – 1969 1971 – 1972 1973 1974 1978 1979 Operation Cedar Falls, largest ground op in Vietnam takes place.
Loving V Virginia overrules the prohibition of interracial marriage. Martin Luther King is assassinated, riots ensue. 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 Drugs”. 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 ateach other’s throats, and the thought of conflict between the two was aterrifying proposition. The Cold War and fear go hand-in-hand. The mostterrifying possibility present in the Cold War was the concept of mutualassured destruction (or MAD).
MAD is based around deterrence, the idea that onewould avoid attacking another for fear of devastating retaliation. In the ColdWar this meant that one party’s use of nuclear weapons would be countered withnuclear weaponry as well. If the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack on theUS they could only expect the same in return. The death, destruction, and paincaused by both nuclear attacks would be unthinkable. Even today, the fear ofmutual assured destruction is present. Originally intended to be athriller, Dr. Strangelove or: How ILearned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released only a few yearsafter the Cuban Missile Crisis, arguably the closest the world has ever come tonuclear war.
Americans were terrified and MAD was a very possible scenario. Yetdirector 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 alaughable concept. In the event of MAD not a single person wins. If one attacksfirst they are sure to be destroyed just the same, yet there is nothing toactually gain to retaliate if struck first.
The deterrence of the nuclearmissile would have failed, and continuing retaliations would follow. Quicklythe film became a black comedy, satirizing the many narrow beliefs of the ColdWar Era. Though the film may not portray the attitudes most present at thetime, it most certainly pokes fun at them. Clearly this resonated with theAmerican public as well, as the film saw both critical and commercial success.
The Space Race – 2016’sHidden Figures The Cold War was a battle overdiffering ways of life. Boiled down to its simplest, the Space Race wascompetition between the two Cold War adversaries and their own respective waysof life. If either party achieved spaceflight dominance they would appear tohave the superior science, economics, education, and most importantly,ideology. The race to put a man on the moon was an international battle betweencapitalism and communism. This level of achievement is onlypossible with help of the world’s most capable minds. Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures attempts to shed light onsome of America’s more overlooked contributors to their Space Race victory.
Based on true events, the film follows three female African-American mathematiciansworking for NASA during the Space Race. The film sets out to showcase thesewomen’s achievements and highlight the challenges they faced as a result oftheir sex and ethnicity. Though a noble goal, the film is not as faithful totrue events as it perhaps would like to be. Though no doubt a sorry fact ofeveryday life for African-Americans during that time, the racial discriminationpresent in the film is easily scrutinized. The film depicts a 1961 NASA that issegregated, where the female African-American leads are forced to use separatebathrooms and dining areas.
This is inaccurate, as NASA had abolishedsegregated facilities by 1958, having racially and sexually diverse groups.Dorothy Vaughan in particular, one of the film’s main characters, became thefirst 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 thefollowing in an interview with WHRO-TV: “I didn’t feel the segregation at NASA…I knew it was there, but I didn’t feelit”. This is of course not to downplay the presence of racism in NASA or thistime period, but to show the progress towards racially equality that was beingmade. In taking one too many artistic liberties, Hidden Figures portrays the events it is based off incorrectly, andmay not be as accurate to the feelings of the time as it could have.Red Scare – 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers TheCold War and America’s heightened fear of communism gave way for “McCarthyism”.Named after American Senator Joseph McCarthy the term is used to describe thepractice of making false accusations of treason without evidence. In particularit refers to Joseph McCarthy’s many accusations towards members of the USgovernment (and others) claiming them to be under communist influence.
Playingon Americans’ fears of losing their way of life, McCarthy managed to convinceand scare many. Though McCarthy’s accusations were unfounded a vast majority ofthe time, many of the accursed were ousted from their positions or blacklisted. Tothis day, many the 1956 sci-fi horror film Invasionof the Body Snatchers to be a not-so-subtle metaphor for communisttakeover. The film depicts extra-terrestrial pods that masquerade amongst humanbeings as one of their own by taking over their bodies. A political allegorycan easily be interpreted, the alien pods being communists and their ideals,and their human host bodies the American people becoming brainwashed by theenemy’s ideology and living amongst them.
From a political lens, the film couldeither provide a warning against communist infiltration, or a critique againstthe McCarthyist mindset. Though perhaps not fully intended by the film’screators, both these interpretations are widely known and discussed. JFK Assassination – Television Theassassination of United States President John F. Kennedy, politically, was ofcourse a very significant event.
World leaders expressed sorrow and shock,flags were held at half-mast world-wide, and memorials were common. The Kennedyassassination also brought upon an arguably more lasting change, that of whichin American television broadcasts. Kennedy was the first US President to fullywelcome television during his life, but his death was ultimately far more impactful.
His assassination marked the first time that TV news had ran continuouscoverage of a national tragedy as it happened. For the first time the Americanpeople were informed as events occurred. By the evening the day of, 70% of thecountry were glued to their television screen. America also saw the process ofgathering the news for the first time, as the story continued to developwithout editing or finalization. Many Americans were not impressed.
Accordingto CBS journalist Bob Schieffer: “Thiswas the first time people had ever seen the news being gathered. Theydiscovered that it wasn’t all that dignified. There was pushing and shoving andshouting. A lot of people did not like what they saw.
” Kennedy’sassassination transformed American television, as well as America’s perceptionof it.