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Most Significant Events 1

By sasha29 Oct 24, 2010 2494 Words
Most Significant Events
Danielle Wilson
Axia College of University of Phoenix
September 20, 2009

Selecting an event from certain decades is not as easy as it may seem. Some of the decades had more than one event going on but only one had a significant impact on that decade. So the events mentioned will be those who have had a powerful impact culturally, economically and on government policies but those who had an influence here in the United States. The following decades are being put into the light and those are the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and the 90s. 1950’s – The Cold War

The Cold War and its ideology which crystallized after WWII had changed the wartime alliances that had existed during the Second World War. The American policies and practices influenced international relations from the late 1940’s into the mid 1950’s. This event shows the struggle for power between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War even though they were are allies during the Second World War. I think the Cold War is different then the other wars that have preceded it but may have a little similarity to the other wars. Power is always a factor when a country goes into war against someone else. It’s like they have to prove to the other that they are bigger and can not be defeated. Another factor may be the size of one’s military, countries like to flex there muscles so to speak because their army may be bigger then there neighbors. Before the suspicions deepened about the Soviet Union, there were our Allies during World War II. A gulf had basically formed between the two nations because both nations were considered power houses. This war was the fight over territory because nobody was to gain too much power for themselves. It was also over the aggressive behavior that the Soviet Union’s leader Stalin was showing towards the Eastern European Nations. Here is the root of the Cold War and how policies and alliances were to be established to end war. So it is safe to say that the people involved in this war the most was the Soviet Union and the United States. Goals for these two countries were to take over territory so that the other could not get it for them. “The roots of the cold war lay both in Stalin’s aggressive posture toward Eastern Europe and in the mutual suspicions of the Americans and the Soviets toward each other’s newfound power. President Truman evolved a policy of containment designed to hedge in the U.S.S.R., but even so, the cold war turned hot in Korea. Taking a look at home an anti-Communist crusade against suspected subversives subsided only after its reckless leader, Senator Joseph McCarthy, was censured” (Davidson, J. (ED)). 2006). The groups that were mostly infected by this war would be the Soviet Union and the United States. Both countries contributed to this war and had an important impact on the war which includes the fall of the Soviet Union and a new organization that was formed. Peoples perception of the event was probably the same as it always is during a war and that would be is it worth even fighting? Besides the Truman doctrine being written the NATO alliance was formed. This organization was made to be a mutual defense pact between the United States, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. This improved our relations on an international level because it was peacetime that we were trying to establish. The goals that were set during the Cold War I believe were met but also other goals were met as well like the forming of NATO, the Truman doctrine and the improved relations that we had with most of Europe. President Eisenhower was able to gain a large political consensus with his improving popularity rating with the American people and high approval rating. “Eisenhower was also able to use the communist threat during the Cold War to gain a political consensus about the government's role in fighting communism” ( WikiAnswers, 2009). “Eisenhower was adamant on keeping the status quo in Washington and did not change many things in the post-WWII America because the economy was so good” (WikiAnswers, 2009). He did not want the economy to suffer so he did not want to change a many aspects in fear that the economy would go down the tubes. The Cold War lasted well into other decades and actually was not over until the 1980s. The United States seemed to carry on even though we were in this war for so long. The Cold war ideology only changed one of our alliances after the Second World War. The communist nation the Soviet Union would prove that peace would be harder then everyone imagined. New Alliances were made and defenses were mutual which brought the nations together to fight if war should ever arise again. But even after all of this the United States came out on top at the end of it all. 1960’s – The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement had a major impact on the United States people and was very significant to this time period. It was all about equal rights and desegregating schools so that blacks could go to the same schools as whites. The Civil Rights Movement had a many faces but one that came out to help this movement run its course so that the main goal could be accomplished was Martin Luther King Jr. There is no other event that can even compare to this event and there will probably be nothing else as important. The only way that anything can be more influential is if we have discrimination against a race or a group of people again. There is just no way that I see that happening in the future because we all live in peace right now together and no one will want to destroy that. Minorities struggled to get equal rights by means of ending segregation. The Civil Rights Movement really took off in 1955 when a seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the front of the bus to a white man. Even though work was being done in the courts in the early 1950's segregation was still taking place in schools and other public venues.      Martin Luther King Jr. was the person that was responsible for bringing the Civil Rights Movement to the attention of the American people. There were boycotts, sit - ins, marches and speeches that paved the way to end segregation and give equal rights to all. This was also done without the use of violence. I believe that with this movement the people involved accomplished everything that it was set to do. Segregation ended and blacks had equal rights but with this accomplishment came a price and it was one of the saddest days in our history. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated before this accomplishment could be made and he would have been proud to see that it came about finally. As time goes on events unfold and so with each new decade new problems emerge and old ones are still being watched so that those old problems do not end up coming back. The people that live here in the United States learn through history the significance of these events and how important it is to make sure that the same mistakes do not repeat in the future. 1970’s – The Vietnam War

In the 1970’s the United States became involved in the Vietnam War which many people did not agree with our involvement and things at home became tense. As it is said in history it caused a major disruption in the daily activities of not only college students but with the rest of the population who did not agree with everything the students were saying. The Vietnam War is what caused the student unrest to really take off and get the media attention that it did back in that time. At first protesting was about civil rights, rights for women and other important issues that were taking place before the start of the Vietnam War. When the war started lots of people opposed and they voiced there opinions about our involvement through protesting because that is how they chose to get there opinions heard. Political and social outcomes were intertwined with the financial burdens that were brought on by our involvement in the Vietnam War. The major connection between student unrest and the Vietnam War involves the military draft. During the time of the war, every male student was required to register for the selective service on his eighteenth birthday which is still a requirement to this day for males when they reach that age. They would be eligible for the draft for the following two years but as casualty rates increased over in Vietnam, the males in the United States had a higher chance of being drafted into the military and then sent over to fight in the war. Young men could temporary postpone there chances of being selected by the draft and that was attending college. Young men who attended college were not exempt from the draft, but were given the chance to complete there education before being selected by the draft. But as these young men grew closer to graduation, they soon realized that they soon would be drafted and that they would have to go to Vietnam and fight. Therefore, they had two other options that they could look at if they really wanted to avoid going over to Vietnam. They could flee to Canada which would help them dodge the draft altogether or they could just protest to the government and hope that they can convince Congress to just end the draft. There were many political and social outcomes during the Vietnam War. The financial burdens intertwined with those outcomes more so then what anyone realizes. These burdens made the American people hate the war more then they already did because President Johnson was keeping the war financed. How was he keeping this war financed? He was raising taxes on the American people and his great society programs that he started were being reduced financially in order to keep the war funded. People didn’t even understand why we were intervening in the first place and thought that the United States should have minded there own business and left the situation alone. “Therefore, the Democratic Party lost many of their political seats in the next elections, as Republicans – who wanted to stop fighting – took office” (Pike, 2009). Had the draft not have been made the student unrest might have not happened or even if the war had not happened. We can also see that the way the government handled the situation with the war it made people rethink of how they viewed the government. If anything good came out of this war I would hope that it would be that the government has learned that war costs a lot of money and that we do not need to be in unnecessary wars. 1980’s – The Conservative Revolution

President Ronald Reagan was considered the most conservative when elections for the office were held. He basically spoke the same language as the conservatives so his politics blended well with what there politics were all about. President Reagan also cut big government spending which meant he didn’t raise taxes and actually cut them so that the government would return to the size it was during the 1950’s. With these tax cuts and the cut to big government the economy was so stimulated that tax revenues would eventually go up. This plan did put a larger deficit then what we already had. A recession took place in 1982 but the following year things started to change. Reagan passed his Economic Recovery Act his first year in office and only made things better for the country and for the conservatives. He listened to what they had to say and decided on the best plan of action but the real point is that he stimulated the economy which was going down hill because the government was spending to much money. Trying to return the government back to the way it was back in the 1950’s was a big challenge for President Reagan. Cutting there ability to spend more money was a smart play and he did do the country a lot of good not raising taxes. He did listen to what people had to say before making any decisions which is always good for a president because they need to make sure that the decision is good for the country. 1990’s – Persian Gulf War/Dessert Storm

The Persian Gulf War or Dessert Storm was much like the Cold War of the 1950’s. There were not two superpowers fighting for power but two countries fighting for oil. When Kuwait got invaded by Saddam Hussein it was a major blind side for the Bush administration. We once were close friends with this country and now they were going against that friendship and invading there neighbor. This threatened our own oil future in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as we had prospects in both countries and could not afford to lose that oil. We deployed troops to Saudi Arabia in hopes that Saddam Hussein would pull out of the country. When he did not pull out our allies and we began bombing Iraq bases and Baghdad and operation Dessert Storm had begun. Winning this war came with uncertainties like who would succeed Hussein once he was defeated? Plus Saddam was rumored to have atomic and biological weapons in his possession. That made things very uncomfortable and the United Nations needed to step in and investigate. Conclusion

During the decades the government has not changed and has remained the same through the years. It is my perception of government power during the time of any war or hardship that the government is corrupt. Since then the government in my opinion is still corrupted and you can’t trust anybody that is elected into office. They all say one thing during the campaigns but do a complete 180 when they are eventually elected into office. It would be a nice change if the government could go back and see how the government was when it was first founded and rid itself of the corruption that has plagued this country.

Davidson, J. (Ed.). (2006). Nation of nations: A concise narrative of the American republic (4th ed., Vol. 2).New York: McGraw-Hill.
Pike, John (2009). Vietnam War. Retrieved August 25, 2009, from

WikiAnswers, 2009. What is Politics of Consensus? Retrieved July 31, 2009 from

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