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The Atomic Age

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FC: THE | ATOMIC AGE | A Scrapbook by Britta Janssen U.S. Studies 2012

1: COLD WAR & U.S. FOREIGN POLICY | The Iron Curtain was not so much an actual barrier as a metaphysical divide between Western and Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The term was first introduced by GB Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech, and later went on to describe the distrust and tension between the communist-controlled states of eastern Europe and the western powers of The United Nations and NATO. | The United Nations was formed in 1945 in San Francisco. 50 countries met and agreed on a charter previously created by China, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The UN replaced the League of Nations, and was originally formed to fight against the Axis Powers of WWII. The formation of the UN was to promote peace among the nations.

2: The Berlin Airlift occurred when the Soviet Union cut off all access from the British, American, and French controlled West Germany to their respective areas within Berlin. The Soviets believed this would create such a crisis and food shortage that the three forces would have to leave, but instead, the three nations sent supplies and rations via daily planes, and maintained this difficult task for over a year. | NATO, short for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was formed in 1949 and was made up of European and North American countries. The main goal of NATO was the stop the spread of communism across Asia and Europe. The countries included were Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States.

3: McCarthyism was a term used to describe the Red Scare, a series of investigations and trials that took place in the United States during the mid 1950’s. Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy started the movement. McCarthy accused American of being communists and communist-sympathizers, which began a rampant and uncontrollable siege of unfounded investigations during the Cold War era. | The Domino Theory was the concern that communism would spread through Southeast Asia from China and Korea. The countries at risk included Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and India. It was the concept that the United States frequently used to justify their involvement in countries around the world, including the Korean War and Vietnam War.

4: In 1955 the Warsaw Pact was formed. It was seen as a response to the western pact, NATO, and the admittance of West Germany into that organization. It was made up of the USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland and Romania. The Warsaw Pact was formed to create a defense against the onslaughts of the Western world. | Détente is a French word meaning release from tension that was most famously used to describe the ease of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union beginning in 1971, roughly halfway through the cold war period. During this time, President Nixon visited China and the Soviet Union, the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) took place, and trade recommenced between the US and SU.

5: The War Powers Act came into being in 1941, a result from the Attack on Pearl Harbor. It was seen as a preparation for war by the country, and gave the Federal government increased power. FDR was given the power to reorganize the executive branch and government agencies to help execute the war in a competent manner. The Second War Powers Act followed shortly afterwards, furthering the federal reach and aiding the internment of Japanese Americans. | The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 and served as a barrier between East Germany (under the control of the USSR) and West Germany (Part of NATO). The purpose of the wall was to separate East Germany from the West, and maintain their socialist state, but it was more commonly seen as wall preventing East Germans from escaping to the west. Originally created using barbed wire and concrete, the Berlin Wall stood until 1989.

6: During the Cold War, The Soviet Union was also very active in Space. In 1957 they launched Sputnik 1 into space, and made history. Sputnik was the first satellite to be sent into space, and marked the unofficial beginning of the Space Race, a major factor in the Cold War. | The Space Race

7: As the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified, a new frontier came into question—space. In 1958 the United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, the first agency dedicated solely to the exploration of space. NASA became a crucial factor in the Cold War and the competition between the two countries. Gemini was the second space project following the initial Mercury program, and took place between 1965 and ’66. The main goal of the ten space missions conducted during this period was to study space voyage techniques that would later allow NASA to land men on the moon, the purpose of the Apollo missions.

8: The Apollo missions were a direct example of the United States trying to surpass the Soviet Union in the Space Race. On July 20th, 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by being the first men to touch down on the moon. This marked a monumental advance by the United States in their competition with the Soviet Union. Shortly afterwards, in 1970, an explosion aboard the spacecraft Apollo 13 created a dangerous situation for the astronauts aboard, and brought doubts to space exploration in general. Niel Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the two astronauts to travel to the moon on the Apollo 11 Space Shuttle. They landed on the moon on July 20th, 1969, and Niel Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. His famous quote, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", showed the immense significance of the moment and a major event in the Cold War.

9: THE KOREAN WAR | The 38th Parallel was the imaginary line in the middle of Korea which served as the divider between the Northern Soviet-controlled Region and the Southern American-controlled region. During the war, the United States attempted to take control of the northern region of Korea, but was ultimately pushed back to their prior position below the line. The line still divides the two states. | Zhou Enlai was a talented and instrumental diplomate during the Cold War Era. In I949 he was elected the Premier of the People’s Republic of China and served under Mao Zedong until his death in 1976. He acted as China’s foreign minister and was an important advocate of peace after the statemate of the Korean War.

10: The Yalu River is the body of water between Northern Korea and China. It played a significant role in the aggression during the Korean War. When UN troops began approaching the river in the pursuit of the North Korean forces, the Chinese sent out troops and subsequently pushed the Allied forces back to their original position. | After his leadership in the Second World War in the South Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur was chosen to lead the Korean War. Though his military tactics were not altogether unwise, MacArthur was relieved of his position when he disagreed with President Truman about whether or not to bomb Chinese communists towards the end of the war. Though he was not successful in the Korean War, the general was well known for his leadership during WWII.

11: Seoul, the capital of South Korea, was occupied by the North Korean forces in 1950 during the Korean War. The city was nearly destroyed, but on March 14, 1951, it was recaptured by the United Nations forces and returned to Southern hands. Since it’s turbulent times during the war, the city has become a bustling metropolis and international power.

12: The Cuban Missile Crisis | In 1959 Cuba overthrew their dictator, Fulgencio Batista. The revolution was led by Fidel Castro, who established the first communist state in the western hemisphere. The United States, which had supported Batista despite his dictatorship, was suddenly unwelcome in Cuba and their companies were forced the leave. Castro improved literacy and the quality of life for many Cubans, but limited freedom and speech and established close ties with the Soviet Union.

13: Tensions increased in 1960 when an American spy plane was shot down over Soviet territory and it’s pilot captured. Francis Gary Powers, who flew the U-2 plane was sentenced to 10 years in Soviet Prison for charges of espionage, but was released early as part of a spy swap between the United States and the Soviet Union. | During the Cold War, the Fallout Shelter became a common place idea. The concept was that if nuclear war erupted between the United States and the Soviet Union, one could seek refuge in a fallout shelter, and be protected from radioactivity and fallout from a nuclear explosion. The shelters were usually underground, and were filled with supplies and provisions.

14: In 1961, The CIA sent 1400 Cuban exiles back to Cuba in a fated mission to retake the country from Fidel Castro. The troops were made up of Cubans who had fled the country when Castro had taken power, and were trained in the United States. However the mission, named the Bay of Pigs to denote the location of the invasion, was unsuccessful, and the outnumbered rebels were captured. When the United States discovered that the Republic of Cuba was building nuclear missile sites in 1962, they were immediately alarmed that there were weapons so close the US soil. The Cold War became much more imminent. President Kennedy decided to set up a blockade in an attempt to prevent cargo and supplies from leaving or entering Cuba.

15: The Viet Cong was the guerilla fighting force that, with the help of the Northern Vietnam Army, challenged the South Vietnam and American forces during the Vietnam War. They were composed of numerous groups opposed the President Diem, but later became a sect of the National Liberation Front. Their goal was to overthrow the South Vietnamese government and unify Vietnam. | In 1964, the government gave increased congressional approval for the continuation and broadening of the Vietnam War. The resolution was met with overwhelming support and gave President Johnson large amounts of power. It was called the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and marked an expanded role for the American forces in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. | THE VIETNAM WAR

16: The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was similar to the 38th parallel line of Korea. It marked the division between North and South Vietnam and ran along the 17th parallel line, as well as the Ben Hai river. It was a significant battleground during the Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War. | The Battle of DienBeinPhu took place between March and May 1954 between the French forces and the Viet Minh communist-nationalist revolutionaries. The French ultimately lost the confrontation, and with it, their possessions in in Indochina. After this, Vietnam was divided into North and South, creating the conflict that became the Vietnam War.

17: The Tet offensive, which began on January 31, 1968, was a series of attacks and invasions by the Viet Cong and the Northern Vietnamese Army on South Vietnamese cities and towns. Though the United States was able to hold back the offense fairly well, the footage broadcasted to the American people shocked them and diminished support for the war.

18: Vietnam Protests | Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was a student-led activism movement during the 1960’s and 70’s and was a key aspect of the New Left movement. They were very active in protesting the Vietnam War and the draft. The organization was nationwide and was present on many campuses and at many protests.

19: On May 4th, 1970, students at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, were protesting the American invasion of Cambodia. The Ohio National Guard shot into the crowd, killing four students and wounding nine others. It became known as the Kent State massacre, and resulted in a mass student strike across the United States, as well as further outrage towards the war in Vietnam. | A conscientious objector is someone who refuses to enter military service based upon morals, religion, or freedom of thought. Conscientious objectors were given other forms of service, such as work in hospitals, relief services, and religious work. However the alternative motive is draft dodging, which was a common practice in the Vietnam War era.

20: The New Left was the name adopted by the the liberal, political, and occasionally radical movements that occurred in the 1960's. These were primarily performed by university students. At the center of the New Left movement was the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They were the main group protesting the Vietnam war and calling for democracy, civil rights, and college reforms. | At the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois, held on August 26th-29th, violent protests broke out. Anti-Vietnam war protesters clashed with police on the street and in parks. The law enforcers threw tear gas into the crowds and beat them to make them disperse, but the riots lasted for five days. The most well-known clash was known as the “Battle of Michigan Avenue”.

21: CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT | The Freedom Riders were a group of 13 African-American and white civil rights activists who departed on May 4th, 1961 for the journey of a lifetime. They rode in a bus throughout the South to protest against segregation. The group was organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and departed from Washington D.C. The riders were met with hostility and violence, but their actions helped raise awareness to the injustices still prevailing in the United States.

22: The NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was one of the first and most involved civil rights organizations in the United States during the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960's. Formed in 1909, it played a key role in fighting the legal battles that restricted blacks in the United States. Significant cases included the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education, which led to desegregation of schools. They also helped organize the March on Washington and were instrumental in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

23: The March on Washington occurred on August 28th, 1963. 200,000 people met in Washington, D.C, and attended a political rally to demand jobs and general freedom. The March was organized by many religious and civil rights groups, including the NAACP. At the rally, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which has become a symbol and a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. | Martin Luther King Jr was perhaps the most significant leader in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950's and 60's. He was a Baptist minister and activist leader and promoted the practice of peaceful protest. He helped bring about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 by was assassinated in 1968. | The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had a major effect on blacks in America. It was first proposed in 1963 by President Kennedy, and was signed in by President Johnson. The Act called for equality and gave federal law enforcement agencies the power to prevent racial discrimination in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities.

24: Hippie Era | Woodstock was a music and art festival that took place in Bethel, New York from August 15th to 18th, 1969. 32 artists performed in front of 500,000 spectators. The performers included Arlo Guthrie, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Who, and Jimi Hendrix. It was considered one of the most influential musical occurrences that has shaped folk and rock music, as well as the nature of concerts since.

25: In the 1960's, the drug known as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) became a popular substance. It was one of the many popular psychedelic drugs that induced “trips”, hallucinations, and altered thinking. Drugs in 1960's played a large role in the counterculture movement. LSD was illegal, and it occasionally caused schizophrenia, severe depression, and impaired common sense and judgment, leading to suicides. | The Beatles, a British boy band with members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, was formed in 1960. They became perhaps the most well-known band of all time when “Beatlemania” took over the United States in the 60's. Their music would come to encompass the 1960's and the sociocultural revolutions that occurred within it.

26: Pop art was a new art movement that first came about in the late 1950's. It incorporated popular culture images like advertisements, current events, and celebrities as well as some traditional aspects of fine art. Famous Pop Artists included Andy Warhol (who's picture is shown here). Pop Art challenged abstract expressionism and expanded on it. | The Feminist Movement of the 1960's was another example of the many cultural revolutions taking place during this turbulent time. Beginning in the 1960's and lasting up until this day, it is one of the greatly disputed issues in our country. This second-wave feminist movement called to question the issues of sexuality, family, and the workplace, as well as reproductive rights (including birth control), and official legal inequalities.

27: American Leaders | Franklin D Roosevelt was president between 1932 and 1945. He was elected during the Great Depression, and his ‘New Deal’ led the country in its fight for recovery. FDR also was president during WWII and was instrumental in the peace treaties that followed the end of the war. He died in office in 1945. | Harry Truman was United States President from 1945 to 53, and took over after the death of Roosevelt. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, helped rebuild Europe after WWII, campaigned against communism, and involved the United States in the conflict in Korea.

28: Dwight D Eisenhower served as United States President from 1953 to 61. He ran as a Republican after a lengthy history of military victory in Europe during WWII. He dealt with Cold War tensions between the US and Soviet Union during his presidency, and ended the Korean War. | John F Kennedy was one of America’s most beloved presidents. He was elected in 1960, and worked hard in the effort against communism in Vietnam and dealt with the Cuban missile crisis. He was also active in supporting the civil rights movement. He was assassinated in 1963, and was mourned by the nation.

29: Lyndon B Johnson served as president from 1963 (after Kennedy’s assassination) to 1969. Although he instituted many good programs for Americans, including Medicare and Head Start, he failed to lead the US out of the Vietnam War, when failure was eminent. | Richard Nixon assumed the presidency in 1968 after losing the race the Kennedy in 1960, and served until 1974, when he resigned from office. Though he had some achievements while in office, including fortifying ties with China and the Soviet Union, as well as withdrawing troops from Vietnam. In 1974 Nixon stepped down instead of facing impeachment due to illegal activities in the Watergate scandal.

30: Gerald Ford was president of the United States from 1974 (after Nixon's resignation) to 1976. Ford was the first unelected US President in history. A Republican congressman from Michigan, he had worked closely with Nixon as his vice president, and his only accomplishment was to restore public confidence in the government after the Watergate era | Jimmy Carter served from 1976 to 1980. In his time in office, he struggled with easing problems that included an energy crisis, high inflation and unemployment. He did reopen US ties with China, and made progress in the peace negotiations in the Middle East, but a hostage crisis with Iran terminated his support and he lost the election to Reagan in 1980.

31: Ronald Reagan served from 1981 to 1989 as United States President. He entered politics after a career in acting. During his presidency, he cut taxes, increased defense spending, and negotiated nuclear weapon reduction with the Soviet Union. He is credited with easing the tensions of the Cold War. | George Herbert Walker Bush served as American president from 1989 to 1993. He launched military acts against Panama and Iraq, but lost the election to Bill Clinton in 1992.. Bush Sr. was the last president to serve during the Cold War era and marked the end to that turbulent time.

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  • Title: The Atomic Age
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