World War II Through the 1970’s
In this paper I will go into details explains two major historical turning points that occurred during the period of World War II through the 1970’s, and the effect it had on today’s society, economy, politics and culture. In this paper I will also give two reasons why in the late 30’s Americans wanted to remain out of the European conflict.
In this paper I will talk about the role women played to helped win World War II, will describes two civil rights breakthroughs, explain two ways the Vietnam War brought political awareness to a new generation of young Americans and I will talk about two programs that president Lyndon Johnson Great Society Agenda had put into effect and that are still into effect today.
A turning point was in 1962, the world experienced a threat so real, so dangerous, and so deadly; that any believed Armageddon was approaching. The Cuban Missile Crisis was undoubtedly the closest the world has come to nuclear war in its entire existence.
The presence of Soviet nuclear warheads on Cuban soil, less than 100 miles from the coast of Florida shocked the world. The discovery of the missiles was completely unexpected; the public’s reaction was not. Thousands of people stockpiled food, students were trained to survive nuclear holocaust and civilians built bomb shelters in their back yards. It was the most shocking event of the 20th Century. The second turning point was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 27, 1963 where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his I Have A dream speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial.
Two Historical Points There are many major historical points during this period of time such as Pearl Harbor, Integrating in Baseball, the murder of Emmett Till, Brown v. Board of Education, Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movement, Chicano Movement, the assassination of President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Robert Kennedy, Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. In my opinion all of these events had effect on today’s society. One of the historical points is bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 4, 1941. A Japanese bomber attacked the United States pacific fleet.
This attacked killed 2,403 Americans at the same time Japan also attacked American positions in the Philippines, Guam, and Midway Islands as well as Hong Kong and Malaysia. President Roosevelt declared that December 7th would become a date which will live in infamy. On December 8, 1941 declared war and on December 11th Adolf Hitler declared war on United States making it a world war. ( Schultz, 2012 p,413) The Watergate Scandal is known for its complex web of serious political scandals that occurred during 1972 and 1974. At the time the president was Richard M.
Nixon, this scandal would change his Life and his legacy and the lives of many people involved as well as the Americans view of political leaders. During Nixon successful reelection bid in 1972, five men were arrested breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D. C. One of the men worked directly for Nixon’s Committee (CREEP). (Shultz,2012 p. 474) Many things were found out during the long investigation including the unveiling that President Nixon was taping all the conversations in the White House.
Also Nixon’s vice president Agnew was also admitted to tax evasion. There was also many other things that came to light during the Watergate Scandal leading Americans to have major distrust within the entire leaders of our country. Today political leaders and everyone for that matter grasp the idea that no one is above the law. I believe the biggest outcome of the Watergate Scandal would be the realization that the “freedom of press” defined in the First Amendment can be held up and used to print and report on if the information is true. Stay out of European Affairs
The disinclination of Americans to become too closely involved with European affairs was also reflected in the Administration’s refuge policies. As the Nazis steeped up their persecution of Jews and other minorities, a steady trickle of German Jews sought refuge in countries around the world. ( America’s Decades 1930’s p. 343) The people of the United States had many reason as to why the wished to stay neutral in what became World War II. First from my understanding Americans were still trying to recover from World War I and also the Great Depression.
America suffered from so many devastating blows financially during the Great Depression. They felt as if we should concentrate on recovering here at home first rather than going overseas and incurring more financial problems. The second reason I think Americans wanted to remain out of the European Conflict is because of a man named Adolf Hitler. Although Adolf Hitler did many horrible unforgiving things during his time Americans took a liking to him at first. This was simply because Hitler pulled Germany out a horrible economic depression in record breaking time.
Americans thought that if Hitler had enough power and wisdom to help Germany so swiftly then why should be fight such a strong and very smart power. Women Role in WWII Women played a very significant role during the World War II to help the United States achieve a win. During the World War II many women found themselves left at home trying to do whatever they could to make ends meet. Hundreds of thousands of women went to work in factories taking the place of many male jobs. During the war around 350,000 women enlisted into various branches of the armed forces working mainly as nurses and secretaries.
A great achievement women made during the war was becoming Air Force service pilots. This gave males the opportunity to leave the service aspect of the military to join in actual combat. Women made up a major part of the Red Cross lending hand to wounded soldiers to help heal and get them back to combat status. Civil Rights Breakthrough Between the end of World War II and the passing of the passing of Civil Rights Act in 1964 many Africa Americans devoted their lives to fighting devoted their lives to fighting social injustices. Like much of United States society in 1940’s professional baseball was segregation.
The Major League was for white players only. When it came to African America baseball player they were restricted to the Negro League with received little press. Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him on April 15, 1947. As the first African American to Major League Baseball Robinson had to endure racial taunts, threat, and death letter by fans of the game. He also had to death with it from other players and his teammates, some players shunned him or kicked him with spike shoes as he ran bases. (America’s 1940 p. 122) Robinson played at top level he batted .
97 in his rookie year, won National League Rookie of the Year and led the Dodgers to 1947 World Series. Just elven weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball Larry Doby deducted with the Cleveland Indians. Robinson was the first African American inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 . In 1951 suit was filed against the Topeka Board of Education at a state level with the help of the NAACP. Unfortunately the case was lost, but got taken on by the Supreme Court. After a long battle inBrown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansa decided by the Supreme Court in 1954, is considered the case that began to dismantle legal segregation.
It brought together five discrimination suits being filed across the country against locally segregated school system where blacks’ schools were found to be inadequate. The case argued by Charles Hamilton Houston, James Nabritt, Thurgood Marshall ( who became the first African American Supreme Court Justice) who had applied for to University of Maryland Law School and was refused because of his race. ( Legacy Treasures of Black History p. 171) The murder of Emmett Louis Till was an African American boy who was murdered in Mississippi he was only fourteen.
It was reported that he was flirting with a white woman named Carolyn Bryant. Several nights later Bryant’s husband and half-brother took Till from his great uncle house and brought him to a barn where they beat him and gouged out one of his eyes then they shoted him in the head. They dispose his body in the Tallahatchie River weighting it down with a 70 pound cotton gin. Till body was found three days later he body was returned to Chicago, Illinois to his mother where she insisted on a public funeral with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the murder of her son.
Ten of thousands attended the funeral or viewed his casket and images of his mutilated body was publish in Jet magazine and newspapers. Emmett Till murder is noted as a pivotal event motivating the Civil Rights moment. That December of 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama Rosa Park refused to give her seat up and was arrested that spark a boycott of the public bus system in Montgomery, Alabama that last thirteen months. Vietnam War While Vietnam started in 1955 the United States did not enter until roughly 1961.
America wanted to remain out of this war but ultimately succumb to the realization that we intervene if we did not want communism to spread any farther than it already had. As of today the Vietnam War is known for its dramatic bloodshed with the losses of so many lives and also for that to date is the only war United States lost due to withdrawing from the war. Today we can see the effects of the war economically because all of the health problems we see in the veterans of the war. We help to pay for the medical bills of proud men that served our country during that time.
Our veterans today still suffer greatly from port traumatic stress disorder and drug dependencies. The war was also very costly not in just that thousands of lives were lost but also financially. The Vietnam War brought political awareness to a new generation of young Americans in many ways. The war weakened public faith in government, and in the honesty of its leaders. A high degree of suspicion and distrust toward authority of all kind was felt by most Americans. Also Americans discredited the military for a long time to come. Americans would come to never have respect for or trust public institutions again like they had before the war.
President Johnson’s Great Society President Lyndon Johnson did many great things for our country, including what is called his “Great Society” agenda. While the Great Society agenda had many aspects of it, I think one of the dynamics that still stands today and is very important to us is the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964. The EOA was created to do many things but a few are commonly still heard about. For example the EOA created a program called Head Start. Head Start is provides many things including education, parent involvement, health, nutrition, and family support services to low income families.
The EOA also created the Job Corps which is still in operation today. Job Corps is a free training and education program that helps low income young people aged 16 to 21 earn a high school diploma, learn a career, and find and keep a career. Another program that was created in 1965 under Johnsons Great Society was Medicare. Medicare is in full force still in today’s time. Medicare is a national insurance program, regulated by the U. S. federal government; it guarantees access to health insurance for Americans for younger people with disabilities and for those ages 65. (Shultz 2012 p. 458)