Post WWII Major Events
The latter half of the twentieth century is full of many remarkable events, some of which have made changes in history, and will stand out for generations to come. Throughout the most of the last half of the century, the United States was fighting a Cold War with the Soviet Union. Americans, afraid that communists were everywhere, even within their own government, conducted what were in essence, witch hunts for communists. American astronauts were the first to ever walk on the moon. An American President, for fear of impeachment, resigned. Another President's integrity was called into question for illegal arms deals. America also freed a country from the hands of a tyrant. This paper will touch on one major event from the 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's; which in the author's opinion are some of the most significant social, political, and economic events of those decades. The Fifties in America
In 1945 at the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union became the only remaining Superpowers. The United States and the Soviet Union differed with respect to their plans for postwar Europe. The Soviets were intent on expanding communism and communist rule beyond their borders and the Americans took on a policy of containment, containment of the Soviets and the spread of communism. During the postwar years Americans became uneasy about the spread of communism and communist groups within the United States, they became more aware of these organizations and sought to defeat them by way of exposure and intimidation. The FBI was the primary governmental agency charged with exposing these organizations and its members. They probed into the backgrounds of suspected communists throughout the United States exposing them. In February 1950 a little known senator from Wisconsin, Senator Joseph McCarthy either for personal or political reasons, made public accusations claiming that there were over two hundred "card carrying" communists within the United States Government. Politically McCarthyism as it became known heightened the political tensions of the times. Most Americans avoided political activities altogether, fearing that it could get them into trouble. College teachers avoided any teachings that might be construed as controversial. Americans were afraid to challenge or protest any political decisions for fear of being labeled communists. The hardest hit political group was the American left. During the McCarthy era this group all but disappeared, and American politics took a hard turn to the right. McCarthyism all but did away with much needed social reforms. The planned revival of Roosevelt's "New Deal" agenda was pushed to the way side. Americans became politically numb. McCarthyism not only affected American politics, but it affected American culture. The American movie and TV industries were afraid to take on any social or political issue that might be construed as controversial. Famous actors were brought before congressional hearings, investigated, and stripped of their dignity. Many lost their jobs, and more than 100 went to jail for being labeled communists. Although, eventually many of these accusations were proven to be false, his crusade affected the lives and political aspirations of thousands of Americans. Some believe that he single-handedly affected the course of American politics and culture. In 1954 after accusing some high ranking members of the military of being communists, the U.S. Senate voted to condemn him and his political career was over. In 1957 Senator McCarthy died, but the fallout from his crusade lived on. The Sixties a new Generation
During the sixties, Americans were consumed with the Cold War and the idea that they could at any moment have a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. These were trying times for the American public; there was nothing but doom and gloom as far as most Americans could see in the...
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History.com (2007). History Channel Exhibits: The Fifties. McCarthyism: The Enemy at Home.
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