Most Significant Events in History

Topics: Cold War, Richard Nixon, United States Pages: 5 (2058 words) Published: November 26, 2008
The decades of the 50’s, 60’s 70’s 80’s and 90’s had many significant events that shaped America into the nation that it is today. The events of these decades shaped the United States into the nation that it is today consist of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, Reaganomics, and the end of the Cold War. 1950’s – Cold War

After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the two new superpowers and as archrivals. The United States wanted to keep the Soviet Union from spreading communism by force so the United States came up with a plan of containment, which was to block the Soviet Union wherever possible to contain the spread of communism therefore beginning the Cold War. (Davidson et al., 2005) The end of World War II was also the beginning of prosperity for the middle and upper class citizens in the United States. Additionally, it was also a time of nuclear threats and scare tactics because of the Cold War. World War II had ended and the economy was flourishing with new products such as fancy cars and television sets. People within the United States felt safe after the war was won and started spending money, having babies and buying new homes in suburban areas away from the big cities. However, a Senator from Wisconsin by the name of Joe McCarthy “entered the public spotlight by claiming that communist had “infested” the State Department, dramatically waiving a sheet of paper which purportedly contained the traitors’ names.” (Schultz, 1999) Joe McCarthy shattered the tranquility of a nation with his statements even though he did not have any proof and the names on the list were people who had already left the State Department. The notion of high-ranking officials within the government having communist ties sent a tide of persecution and witch hunts throughout the United States because people were afraid that the communist were trying to take over by getting communist sympathizers in the United States government. (Davidson et al., 2005) 1960’s – Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was not only a war abroad but also a war at home since many people within the United States believed that we should not be evolved in this war, especially since it was a civil war in Vietnam. One of the main reasons for the unrest at home was due to the draft of young men who did not want to fight for a war that they did not believe in. Many young men age 18 and over were drafted but some of the young men who could afford a higher education were able to go to college and avoid the draft but once they graduated they would be in danger of being drafted so many of the college students were protesting to end the war that they did not believe in or want to go and fight in. (The Sixties, n.d.) As the war crept along the college students protested more and even burnt their draft cards to show their disapproval of the war. The war at home took a bad turn on May 4, 1970 when a group of college students at Kent State started protesting. The governor ordered 750 members of the National Guard to stop the demonstrators. The National Guard troops ordered the protestors to break up and when some of the protestors refused and started throwing rocks the troops fired into the crowed killing four students and injuring nine other students. (Davidson et al., 2005) According to Wells, (1999), “The American movement against the Vietnam War was the most successful antiwar movement in U.S. history.”(12) The anti-war movement helped accelerate the American troop withdrawals and seemed to cause the weakening of the soldier’s spirits and order among the soldiers in Vietnam since towards the end the soldiers were resisting their leaders in the fields. The Vietnam War was suppose to be a war that the United States won but instead the Vietnam War ended up being a war that people protested, lost their faith in the government and in the end did not win but pulled out of. 1970’s – The Watergate Scandal

The Watergate Scandal of the 70’s was a...
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