SS310-23: Exploring the 1960s: An Interdisciplinary Approach
It was a dawning of a new age, an age of great dreams. Exiting the 1950s was new to everyone the 60s were approaching fast and for some not fast enough. Historically the stage was set the nation was coming out of a recession exiting the 1957-58 years and the presidential race had begun. Stood forth America was a young gentleman named John Kennedy who talked about change and that he was himself. He was young, charismatic, ready to lead and completely opposite his vice president, Richard Nixon. John Kennedy has even said privately “[Richard Nixon] has no taste”. (D. Faber), 1994.
During this time politically where the world was at a scare with the growing communist of surrounding countries change was exactly what we needed. Cuba was knocking on our back door and Russia in line to follow. This was a weary time for many Americans “Though World War II had come to an end with the defeat of Germany in 1945, the threat of a Cold War was already pressing upon the nation”. (S Curwick), 2002. The Cold War was something that Americans had fear of and wanted to stop it before it had ever started, 63% of Americans wanted to engage fighting against communists. Another threat during the cold war era was the ever so quickly approaching Vietnam War. It wasn’t very long after the beginning of the decade they started drafting service men and women to fight for our country. It was a scary thing for a lot of people just kids barely out of high school taken to fight, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. Over 50,000 people enlisted for the war and over 11,000 killed in action were under the age 22 years old.
It had gotten so bad during the beginning of the cold war most Americans took precautionary methods for themselves and their families. Some of the steps taken were very thorough. Some people had stockpiled food into their basements and cellars storing non expiring food, vitamins, and water. Other people had went to great lengths as far as building bomb shelters in their backyard. The 1960s had a rough start from the beginning including their exit of the 1950s. starting off a decade with a war isn’t a good sign of things to come, but what happens if the war ended at just the cold war and we had never went to Vietnam?
(D. Faber) 1994. The age of great dreams America in the 1960’s David Faber (S Curwick) http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/cpproject/curwick.shtml http://www.vhfcn.org/stats.htm