Abridged PEPs - 1920s through Present

The Roaring 20s


Disarmament: Washington Naval Conference 1921-1922

What:              President Harding invited major powers (except Russia) to Washington for a disarmament conference.   The agenda was expanded to include the situation in the Far East and led to various agreements, including the 1) Four Power, 2) Five Power and 3) Nine Power agreements.   

Sig:                  A series of agreements were reached with the intent to avoid confrontation and war in the Pacific.  The U.S. was “isolationist” (no foreign entanglements that could lead to war) and these agreements should be analyzed in the context of “isolationism.”  Tokyo terminated the Five Power Agreement in 1934 (the naval disarmament treaty) and in its invasion of China broke the Nine Power Agreement (Open Door), all contributing to the growing confrontation between the U.S. and Japan that led to WWII.

Source:            AP750

            1) Four Power Agreement 1922What:              The U.S., Britain, France, and Japan agreed to respect the territorial integrity of their possessions in the far east. Sig:                  In retrospect, this was a meaningless agreement to be respectful and to talk to each other if one of the signatories violates the agreement.  From an isolationist perspective, however, it was a positive step to maintain peace in the Pacific.Source:            AP750            2) Five Power Agreement 1922What:              The U.S., Britain, Japan, France, and Italy, agreed to limit the construction of capital (large) ships to a ratio of 5:5:3:1.75:1.75, respectively. Further, the U.S. Britain, and Japan agreed to not further fortify their insular possessions in the Pacific.  This was intended to relieve potential tensions that might arise from an arms buildup, but it left the Philippines virtually defenseless in case of a Japanese attack, which came on 12-7-41.  (The Philippines fell to the Japanese on May 6, 1942, just five months after Pearl Harbor.)Sig:                  Immediately, an arms race was averted.  This is all a part of the U.S. isolationist effort to avoid situations that might lead to war.   (The bankruptcy of the process is obvious—with 20/20 hindsight.)  Source:    AP750

            3) Nine Power Agreement 1922

What:              This agreement was part of the Washington Naval Conference.  The Big Four (U.S., Britain, France, Japan), plus Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and China supported the Open Door Policy whereby the signatories pledged mutual respect for Chinese territorial integrity and independence.

Sig:                  Japan violated the agreement after its invasion of China in 1931.  The U.S. insistence on the Open Door in China became a continuing source of controversy for the U.S. and Japan and should be viewed as part of the background to the coming of WWII.

Source:            AP750

Harding and Coolidge pro-business policies 1921-1929

Who:               Harding, Coolidge, Mellon

What:              Both Harding ("Less government in business and more business in government.”) and Coolidge ("The business of America is business.") had pro-business policies.  Under Harding, antitrust laws were ignored or feebly enforced, letting corporations and big industrialists thrive.  Both Harding and Coolidge often increased tariffs, rather than decreasing them, which is seen in the McCumber Tariff of 1922.   Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon (served 1921-32, which means that three presidents “served under him”) promoted large tax reductions.  Under his lead, Congress repealed excess-profits tax, as well as abolishing the gift tax, and reducing excise taxes, the surtax, the income tax, and estate taxes.

Sig:                  The actions of both presidents show their pro-business policies.  Mellon’s actions concerning taxes shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class.  Relate all this to the pro-business mood of the country in the 1920s. 

Source:            AP744-745, 747-48, 751

   Harlem Renaissance 1920s

Where:             The black community in Harlem, a community within New York City

What:              The Harlem Renaissance (rebirth) was the blossoming of racial pride and culture in Harlem.  This includes expression through art, music, dance, literature, history, politics, and business.  One of the great poets was Langston Hughes, who contributed greatly to the movement.  Marcus Garvey contributed to the renaissance, founding the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the Black Star Line Steamship Company.    

Sig:                  This movement furthered the cultural identity of the African Americans, as well as contributing to American culture as a whole.  Out of this renaissance, contributions to various forms of art and black self-awareness and pride were achieved.

Source:            AP741-42

Religious fundamentalists versus modernists:  the Scopes Trial 1925

Who:               John T. Scopes, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow.

Where:             Dayton, Tennessee.

What:              Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was charged with teaching evolution in his classroom, which contradicted a state law that made it illegal to teach any theory that disagreed with the Biblical account of creation. In a highly publicized event, he was defended by nationally acclaimed attorney Clarence Darrow.  (The prosecution called on William Jennings Bryan, a famous Fundamentalist, as an expert witness.)  Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the supreme court of Tennessee released him from the fine due to a technicality.

Sig:                  This event signals the clash between modern scientific ideas and fundamental Christian beliefs. The Fundamentalists may have won the case, but Darrow’s cross examination made Bryan look like a fool. This ridicule of their cause caused many Christians to later reconcile their established beliefs with modern science.  (Later, the Supreme Court struck down anti-evolution statutes.)

Source:            AP730-732

 Ku Klux Klan 1920s

Who:               Anglo Saxons, “native” Americans, Protestants, lower-middle-class fundamentalists.

Where:             Midwest and the “Bible Belt” South.

What:              This society of ultraconservative extremists, first founded as an anti-Black group during the Reconstruction period, witnessed a rebirth in the early 1920s.  By the mid 1920s, it boasted of 5 million dues-paying members. The KKK was anti-foreign, anti-Jewish, anti-Black, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, anti-pacifist, and

anti-evolutionist. Its members, the “Knights of the Invisible Empire” used the bloodied lash and the blazing cross as weapons of fear.  With 5,000,000 members, the Klan could intimidate both blacks and politicians.  The movement dwindled in popularity towards the end of the decade due to legal and financial issues.

Sig:                  The KKK is the best example of anti-black and nativist sentiment in U.S. History.

Source:            AP722-723

Margaret Sanger and Birth Control 1920s onward

What:              Sanger promoted birth control openly.  She criticized censorship of her message by civil and religious authorities. In 1921 New York police broke up the inaugural meeting of the American Birth Control League, whose founder, Margaret Sanger, saw contraception as the scientific alternative to poverty, crime and urban squalor.

Sig:                  Her promotion of birth control aided in the further erosion of traditionalism in the cultural revolution that took place during the Roaring 20s.  Again, traditionalists fought her, arguing, for example, that the soaring divorce rate was a reflection of her kind of activities.

Source:            AP 738,  http://hoover.archives.gov/exhibits/Hooverstory/gallery03/gallery03.html

“Lost Generation” 1920s

Who:               Authors: Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises), Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby), Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land), Gertrude Stein, eecummings

Where:             US and Europe

What:              The generation of young people coming of age in the US during and shortly after WWI was considered “lost” because the war had shaken their traditional beliefs.  Disillusioned by the overwhelming death and destruction caused by the war, this generation rejected the notions of morality and propriety of their elders and as expatriates went to Europe. The sex and alcohol of the ‘20s literature was rooted in disillusionment with the world as a result of the horrors of World War I.  (By the time of the 1950s and 1960s, the post-World War II generation of writers grew up with this disillusionment, along with the Depression and World War II.  They engaged in sex, alcohol, drugs, not out of disillusionment but out of curiosity.)    The Lost Generation of the ‘20s and the “Beat” generation of the’50s both rejected the normative standards of contemporary society, but the “Beat” generation of the ‘50s did so with a casualness that was absent in the ‘20s because the “Beat” generation simply accepted the world for what it was, while the “Lost” generation once believed in and supported societal standards of behavior and then became disillusioned.

Sig:                  The literature demonstrates the overwhelming effect of the war and how it contributed to the further degradation of traditionalism in America.

Source:            AP 742-43

Isolationism in the 1920s and ‘30sWhat:              Isolationism drove U.S. foreign policy in the ‘20s and ‘30s.   Not wanting to repeat the mistakes that got the U.S. into World War I, Congress, presidents, and the public supported laws and policies that would keep the U.S. out of foreign entanglements (so they thought, erroneously).   With this in view, various PEPS can be developed to support an isolationist foreign policy: the failure of the U.S. to join the League of Nations; the Washington Naval Disarmament Conference of 1921-22 and the various treaties arising therefrom; the Dawes Plan for reparations; the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact; the Stimson Doctrine; and the Neutrality legislation of 1935-1937.

 Sig:                 Many of America’s isolationist actions actually provoked WWII by convincing the dictators in Europe and the Japanese militarists that America would not fight them if they tried to take over Europe or the Far East.  By not helping nations under attack, the U.S. only bolstered Japanese and German confidence.

 Source:           AP 803-05

WWI Reparation Problems 1920s and 1930s

Who:               Charles Dawes, Germany, England, and France

What:              The French and British demanded that the Germans make enormous reparations payments as compensation for war-inflicted damages, but Germany suffered from hyperinflation and could not pay either Britain or France. America refused, however, to lower Britain’s and France’s debts to the U.S., so in order to be paid American Charles Dawes produced the Dawes Plan of 1924. The Dawes Plan stated that American investors would lend money to Germany so that Germany could make reparations to Britain so that Britain could repay their allied war debt to America. This financial merry-go-round only resulted in higher debt for Germany and a boost for American creditors who made profit on the high interest loans.

Sig:                  In the end America never did get its money, but it harvested a bumper crop of ill will in Europe. Also, Americans did not like the enormous debt caused by the war and this contributed powerfully to the isolationist policy of America leading up to WWII. 

Source:            AP 756-57

Farm problems in 1920sWhat:              Due to the advanced technology of machines, farmers faced an over-abundance of crop production.  Further, after WWI European farmers were having a greater impact on worldwide production.  This abundance decreased prices on crops and increased the chance of depression for farmers.  The McNary-Haugen Bill (1927-28) was an effort to boost agricultural prices by having the government buy surplus crops at pre-WWI prices, but Coolidge vetoed the bill twice.Sig:                  The worldwide surplus of crops after WWI caused a decrease in price.   The sudden price drop caused many farmers to lose money and their farms.   The final solution, the AAA of the New Deal, would have to wait for FDR.Source:            AP754Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co Who:               Henry FordWhere:             Detroit, Michigan “Motorcar Capital of America”What:              Creator of the Ford car (Model T).  This car was mass marketed and well within price reach at $260, thus providing a car for all classes of society.  Ford mastered the techniques of assembly-line production and made a durable, inexpensive car for America.  He opened a huge industry that created hundred of thousands of jobs.   With improved transportation, including roads, farmers could get their produce more quickly to market, and people in general could travel almost anywhere and live far from city centers.  Sig:                The automobile was, arguably, the single most important contribution to American civilization in the 20th century, and Henry Ford is to be given credit for bringing it to the common person. Source:            AP733-736Immigration Restrictions in the 1920’s What:              In response to nativist fears of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, with their different customs, languages, and political traditions, Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 (3% of a nation’s people who were in the U.S. in 1910 would be allowed into the U.S. every year; the Immigration Act of 1924 lowered the percent to 2% with the base year being 1890, before most of the immigrants from eastern and southern Europe arrived in the U.S.).  The 1924 Act also prohibited entirely the immigration of Japanese. Sig:                  The U.S., responding to nativist fears, sacrificed its tradition of freedom and opportunity for immigrants.                 Source:            AP729-730Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact   1928 Who:               Frank B. Kellogg (Coolidge’s secretary of state) and Aristide Briand (France’s foreign minister)Where:             France, America, and ultimately 60 other nationsWhat:              The U.S. and France signed this treaty which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy.  The treaty had no enforcement or sanctions against those who broke the pact and it did not prevent war between countries.  Sig:                  This pact was ineffective and useless as seen in Germany’s invasion (Germany signed the document) of Poland.  The pact was a hope that diplomacy would prove strong enough to keep countries from waging war against each other.  The pact also fueled American isolationism in that the treaty produced a false sense of security.Source:            AP750Great Depression and the New DealCauses of Depression

What:              The Great Depression was an economic crisis that lasted from 1929 to the late 1930’s. The reasons for the Depression were:

            1)         Overproduction of farm and factory goods and not enough demand.  This caused factories to cut back production and layoff workers.  As total salaries declined there was less money to spend on goods, and the cycle spiraled downward.      

            2)         Overexpansion of credit purchases stimulated production, resulting in large inventories of goods.   

            3)         Speculation in the stock market, where stock buyers would buy on “margin” (which meant they could pay a small part of the actual price, wait for the stock to increase in value, sell at the higher price, and pocket a tidy profit with little actually invested).  Stock values soared as a result.  The value of stocks was greater than the value of the companies the stock represented, and when nervous investors began the sell-off in 1929, there was a chain reaction where sellers greatly outnumbered buyers and stock prices plummeted.  Manufacturers no longer had a ready source of added income for investment, and this contributed to further cutbacks in production and jobs.

 Sig:                 The Great Depression was a national calamity that would take a decade to set straight in spite of New Deal gains.  America seemed to be crumbling because there was no immediate answer provided that would get them out.    FDR came along in 1932 and promised a “New Deal.”  In the end, World War II was the answer to the Depression.

Source:            AP762-63

Hoover’s Response to Depression

What:              President Herbert Hoover hoped that state and local governments and private welfare agencies could solve the problems of the Depression.  As the Depression wore on, they ran out of money and he realized that the federal government had to get involved.  The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was developed.   Hoover asked for money ($2.25 billion) to fund public works program to help generate jobs (i.e. Hoover Dam).  

Sig:                  Hoover tried to do what Roosevelt would later do with the “Alphabet” agencies, which was to provide public works jobs that would put money into the hands of the common people and thus stimulate the economy.   Hoover’s response was too little, too late.

Source:            AP766

Hoovervilles What:              Hoovervilles were “Villages” made of shacks and tents that were formed in desolate areas during the Depression.  These served as temporary living quarters for those who could no longer afford a real home or apartment.  

Sig:                  The Government did not formally recognize these and would often force people to move out of them, which led to riots. 

Source:            AP766-67

Bonus March (Bonus Expeditionary Force)

Who:               The Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF) was made up of impoverished veterans of World War I.

What:              During the spring and summer of 1932 they converged on the capital and demanded that Congress immediately pay the bonus granted by Congress in 1924 but not payable for several years.

Sig:                  Some of the “Marchers” stayed in Washington and continued to protest which eventually forced Hoover to call in the army to remove the protestors.  Hoover’s harsh treatment of veterans lessened his popularity right before the 1932 election.

Source:            AP767

 100 Days:  “alphabet agencies” including TVA

Who:               Congress and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What:              Agencies were created by FDR and Congress to aid relief, recovery and reform. CCC- Civilian Conservation Corps employed three million works who worked in environment jobs such as reforestation, forest fire fighting and flood control. AAA- Agricultural Adjustment Act- got money to pay mortgages of farmers and paid farmers not to plant. FERA- Federal Emergency Relief Act granted around three billion dollars to states for payments of wages on works projects. HOLC- Home Owner Loan Corporation refinanced mortgages of non-farm homes. CWA- Civil Works Administration created temporary jobs doing labor such as minor jobs involving roads, parks and bridges.  TVA-Tennessee Valley Authority built dams and electrified Appalachia.

Sig:          The “100 Days” restored the people’s faith in their government and helped employ many jobless citizens.  The 1st 100 days (and the Second New Deal in 1935) helped move the U.S. towards a social welfare state—thus to argue that the U.S. is “capitalistic” to the exclusion of other issues is wrong; to argue that the U.S. is “socialistic” to the exclusion of other issues is wrong.  The U.S. is capitalistic, but as a result of Progressive-inspired regulations, the capitalistic economy is controlled, and as a result of New Deal-inspired relief, the U.S. has significant social welfare programs but is not “socialistic.”  Think of balance in answering essay questions.               

Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) (May 12, 1933:  2nd AAA in 1938)

What:               The AAA established “parity prices” for basic commodities (parity = price set for a product that gave it the  same value in purchasing power that it had from 1909-1914). The Act was supposed to eliminate price-depressing surpluses by paying growers to reduce their crop acreage. The money needed for this program was raised through taxing processors of farm products, such as flour millers.

Sig:      Finally, the government did something about the chronic farm problem of overproduction.  The AAA was struck down by Supreme Court in 1936 because its tax provisions were found unconstitutional.  A second AAA was passed in 1938, and price supports (paying farmers to not produce surpluses) remain, in 2007, a costly program.

Source:            AP783

 Second New Deal (1935—3 laws)

Who:               Congress and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What:              1) Social Security which provided “old age” payments to retired workers

                        2) Works Progress Administration (WPA) which spent billions of dollars employing millions to work on thousands of public buildings, bridges, roads, and art projects (the WPA expired during WWII when the economy had revived).

                        3) Wagner Act or National Labor Relations Act of 1935 gave workers the right to organize and bargain with representatives of their own choosing and created the National Labor Relations Board to oversee union organizing and other labor activities.

Sig:                  Social Security is still present today and is the nation’s largest social welfare program.  The Wagner Act and National Labor Relations Board remain the heart of private sector labor relations still, in 2007.

Source:            AP779-80, 788-90  

Immigration, including Mexican Immigration, during the Depression

What:              Immigration declined significantly during the Depression, with the Roosevelt administration being reluctant to issue visas to those who wanted to come to the U.S.  Mexicans were especially hard hit.  They had been urged to emigrate before the Depression.   With the Depression, those workers were a threat to the employment of U.S. citizens, and hundreds of thousands of Mexicans were deported.  Those who remained were forced to find whatever work they could, including migrant labor.

Sig:                  This treatment of Mexicans reflects yet another nativist reaction to immigrants.

Source:            http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/immig/mexican6.html

Radical and Critics of FDR and the New Deal             3.         Francis Townsend

Who:               Retired physician who fought for support for the elderly

Where:             California

What:                          Townsend gained the support of 5 million “senior citizens” through his proposed plan to the government.  His plan stated that each month, any person over the age of sixty would receive $200, provided that all the money is spent within that month.  Townsend claimed that this would help the economy during the Depression by providing more jobs because the elderly would have more money to spend.  His Old Age Revolving Pension Plan was given to FDR with 20 million signatures attached. 

Sig:                  Provided elderly citizens with a voice in government.  Was one of the radicals who pushed New Deal reforms—collectively one of many demagogues who could have pushed the U.S. towards totalitarianism had it not been for FDR and his New Deal reforms.

Source:            AP779

Congress of Industrial Organizations 1935

What:                          The CIO was first formed within the A F of L as the Committee for Industrial Organization in 1935; its mission was to organize all workers in mass-production industries (steel, auto, rubber), which had few unions at that time. (Recall that the A F of L was composed of relatively autonomous craft unions.)

The leadership of the CIO included John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers.   In 1938, the CIO broke away from the AF of L.

Sig:                  Along with the AF of L, the CIO was one of the nation’s important labor organizations, militantly supportive of its millions of workers in mass-production industries.

Source:            AP790-91

FDR’s Supreme Court fight 1937

What:                          The ultraconservative and obstructionist Supreme Court (struck down the AAA and the NRA) stood in the pathway of FDR’s New Deal progress.  Therefore, in 1937, FDR asked Congress to permit him to add a new justice to the Supreme Court for every member over seventy who would not retire.  This was his “court-packing” scheme.  His plan failed and he was accused of tampering with the checks and balances system and flirting with dictatorial motives.  The Court did become a little more liberal in its decisions, but by then the New Deal was on the wane.

Sig:                  FDR lost much of his political goodwill that carried him so far.  This court-packing scheme was an ugly and dangerous moment in his administration.

Source:            AP792-794.

Keynesian Economics, 1937

Who:               John Maynard Keynes and President Roosevelt

What:              When the American economy in 1937 took another sharp downturn, President Roosevelt at last embraced the ideas of the British economist John Maynard Keynes.  In April 1937, Roosevelt announced a bold program to stimulate the economy by planned deficit spending.    Up to that point, FDR had not done enough to pull the nation out of the Depression because he believed in balanced budgets.  In view of the 1938 recession, however, it appeared that Keynesian deficit spending was the answer.  (This was proven when WWII deficit spending finally ended the Depression and Keynesian economics became orthodox belief thereafter—government deficit spending could invigorate a sluggish economy.)

Sig:                 This new program called “Keynesianism” became the new economic orthodoxy and remained so for decades.   The rise of Keynesianism marked the end of laissez-faire economics.

Source:           AP794-795

Books – Grapes of Wrath (1939), U.S.A. (1938), Tobacco Road (1932) Who:               John Steinbeck, John Dos Passos, Erskine Caldwell

What:              Grapes of Wrath is a book written by John Steinbeck that describes the migration of people from Oklahoma to California due to the Dust Bowl. The U.S.A. Trilogy is the major work of American writer John Dos Passos that comprises the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936).   Dos Passos’s trilogy relates the lives of many characters as they struggle to find a place in American society during the early part of the twentieth century.  Tobacco Road, written by Erskine Caldwell, takes place in Georgia during the worst years of Depression.  It depicts a family of poor white tenant farmers, the Lesters, as one of the many small Southern cotton farmers estranged by the industrialization and migration to cities.

Sig:                  These books represent the struggles of American people during the Depression Era.  They present the truthful tale of the major issues of that time era (like the Dust Bowl Migration) and the feelings and the responses of the American people.

Source:            AP783 for Steinbeck; the New Georgia Encyclopedia @ http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-521 for Caldwell; and U.S.A. Study Guide @ http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-usa/intro.html for Dos Passos.

The Coming of the Second World WarStimson Doctrine and Japan 1931

Who:               Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson (under Hoover)

What:              After the Japanese violated the League of Nations agreement and Nine Power Treaty (affirming the Open Door) by launching an attack into Manchuria in September 1931, Stimson declared that the U.S. would not recognize any territorial claims acquired by force.

Sig:                  Japan went on to bomb Shanghai the next year and America did nothing serious to stop them due to hopes of staying isolated. In a sense, it was the start of WWII.   The Stimson Doctrine was just words.  Stimson later admitted that the Doctrine was just “spears of straws and swords of ice.”   

Source:            AP767 and U.S. State Department @ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/id/16326.htm

Good Neighbor Policy and the Montevideo Conference: 1933

Who:               FDR and his foreign policy in Latin America

What:              In FDR’s inaugural address in 1933, he said "In the field of world policy I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor--the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others." Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, participated in the Montevideo Conference of December 1933, where he backed a declaration favored by most nations of the Western Hemisphere: "No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.”  Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy represented an attempt to distance the United States from earlier interventionist policies, such as the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and military interventions in the region during the 1910s and 1920s. Sig:                  The Good Neighbor policy reflects American isolationist tendencies in the 1930s. 

Source:            AP801-02

[NOTE:  In Latin America we have the Good Neighbor Policy (1933); in Asia we have the Washington Disarmament Conference treaties of 1921-22 (disarm and respect the Open Door); in Europe we have the neutrality laws of 1935-37.  All around the world the U.S. is trying to isolate itself and keep itself free from foreign entanglements in the 1920s and 1930s.  This is an answer to an essay question.]

World War II

Pearl Harbor 12-07-41

Where:             Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

What:              The Japanese initiated a surprise attack against the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The attack killed thousands of American sailors and sunk many ships, including many battleships.  (The Japanese, however, did not sink a single aircraft carrier, which turned out to be the most important ship in WWII. No carrier was at Pearl on 12-07.) Sig:                 This event drew the United States into World War II.  Isolationism was sunk along with the fleet.                                               

Hiroshima and Nagasaki—August 6th and 9th, 1945

Where:             Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan

What:              The United States dropped two atomic bombs, first on Hiroshima, and then, three days later, on Nagasaki.  Fearing an invasion of Japan would cost up to one million U.S. casualties, Truman decided to drop the bombs in the hopes that Japan would surrender and fight no more.  He was correct.

Sig:                  The Japanese were ready to defend against an invasion.  The two bombs, however, caused the Japanese to realize that they could not fight on.  Japan surrendered soon after the bombs were dropped (August 15).   Further, this is the only occasion in history when one nation used atomic weapons in war.

Source:            AP845-46, 848-49

The Home Front during World War II

 Wartime mobilization of the economy during WWII-- 1941-1945 What:              War mobilization actions enabled the United States to begin the economic conversion needed for the war effort: to move industries into the manufacture of armaments, to establish the contracting procedures, and to launch the research and development that was needed to win the war and stay ahead of the German scientists.             1)  Achieving these goals was possible only by converting existing industries and using materials that previously went into manufacturing civilian goods.  (Auto companies, for example, stopped making cars and began to manufacture war items such as tanks, trucks and airplane engines.)              2) The draft was started in 1940, before Pearl Harbor and in anticipation of the need for soldiers.              3)  By 1943, more workers were needed and more and more women went into the workforce.              4)  There was large-scale migration to industrial centers, especially out of the South, and many blacks sought employment in northern or western cities. Mexicans were brought in to fill employment needs (braceros).             5)  Importantly, the War Production Board (WPB) was established in 1942 by executive order of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The purpose of the board was to regulate the production and allocation of materials and fuel during World War II in the United States. The WPB rationed such things as gasoline, heating oil, metals, rubber, and plastics. (The WPB was dissolved shortly after the defeat of Japan in 1945.)  (The WPB was much more important and effective in WWII than the WIB (War Industries Board) was in WWI.)Sig:                  The harnessing of U.S. industrial power tipped the scales decisively toward the Allied forces, reversing the tide of war. Germany and Japan could not match the United States in this effort.

Source:            AP826-30

 Women and Rosie the Riveter 1941-1945

What:                          When America entered the war, men went off to fight leaving the factories short of workers.  Women were encouraged to take up industrial jobs and more than 6 million women heeded the call.  Women who took up war jobs were affectionately called “Rosies” as they built items like aircraft and munitions.  The fictional “Rosie the Riveter” was first seen in the propaganda poster entitled “We Can Do It!”  After the war was over 2/3 of the women left the work force.

Sig:                  Women played a crucial role in winning WWII by supplying the troops with what they needed. This period really began women’s status change and after that point it was known that women could hold their own in the workforce.

Source:            AP 827-28

 Internment of Japanese-Americans 1942-46

Who:               Japanese, Japanese American citizens (mostly living on the West Coast)

What:                          After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment on the West Coast.   F.D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of 120,000 Japanese in remote and hastily constructed camps.  There were 10 camps located in some of the harshest climates of the country.  They were forced to stay for the duration of the war.  Those living in the camps were deprived of basic rights and human dignity.  (There was no due process of law required under the 5th Amendment.)  This was especially unjust because 2/3 of the internees were American citizens.  In Korematsu v. U.S. in 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the internment.  In spite of the deprivations, Japanese Americans created small and vibrant communities within the camps.  Many young Japanese American men served with and courage and distinction in the U.S. armed services while their parents and younger siblings remained in the camps.  (The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is the best example.)

Sig:                  The internment of the Japanese demonstrated how a nation can deny rights to a minority as a result of hysterical overreaction to a perceived and unsubstantiated threat.

Source:            AP 822-825,  http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/index.html


Truman and the Start of the Cold War 1945-1952

Post WWII Economic Boom 1945-1950s

What:                          Once WWII ended, the soldiers returned ready to lead productive lives and forget their wartime nightmares.  Thanks to the GI bill (1944), some 8 million veterans advanced their education.  With help and encouragement from the Veterans Administration, many bought “tract” homes in the growing suburbs.  Most of these 15 million veterans got married, and the “baby boom” followed, which added 50 million more to the population.  These “middle-class” veterans experienced great prosperity, and there was desire for more consumer goods such as TVs, cars, and washing machines. 

Sig:                  Veterans returned to build new lives.  The country became exceptionally prosperous as families flocked to the suburbs, and industry thrived to supply American consumers.

Source:            AP 854-57 (Note the photo on 853:  they are all white men who are taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, and they are being helped by a white female clerk. Note also the ad on 857; they are all white.  While the ad deals well with gender, the “elephant in the middle of the living room” that no one notices is race.  You notice race, every time!!)

G.I. Bill 1944What:              On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law: the Servicemembers' Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights. By the time the original GI Bill ended in July 1956, 7.8 million World War II veterans had participated in a college education or training program and 2.4 million veterans had home loans backed by the Veterans AdministrationSig:                  The G.I. Bill was one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever produced by the United States government.  It helped with the transition of 15 million members of the armed services back into the civilian population and contributed to the robust economy of the post-war period.

Source:            AP853

Truman’s Fair Deal as extension of New Deal and resistance to it

Who:               Truman

What:              Democratic President Truman promoted full employment legislation, an increase in the minimum wage, economic assistance for farmers, extension of Social Security, and enactment of anti-discrimination employment practices.  He faced a hostile, conservative, and veto-proof Republican Congress, and yet his Fair Deal did achieve some success.

Sig.:                 The minimum wage was raised, public housing was provided for with the Housing Act of 1949, and the benefits of Social Security were extended.  Truman’s “Fair Deal” should be seen as an extension of FDR’s “New Deal.”

Source:            AP877

Employment Act of 1946What:              The Employment Act of 1946 was a definitive attempt by the federal government to "promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power."  Conservatives in Congress stripped the Act of much of its power but the spirit of the act remains.Sig:                  This act represents the U.S. government’s effort to manage the economy far beyond the more limited understandings of the past (i.e., control of money, trade, and commerce).  The act represents a breathtaking example of the opposite of the laissez-faire policy that was characteristic of the late 1800s.  From about 1900 to this act in 1946, the relationship of the U.S. government to the economy and society had undergone radical changes as industrialization, depression, and wars forced governmental responses and changes.  Henceforth the U.S. government would be intimately involved in the economic and social affairs of the country.Source:            AP853

Dixiecrats 1948

Who:               Strom Thurmond

What:              The Dixiecrats were a states-rights party that split from the Democratic Party and President Truman.  The Democratic Party platform of 1948 included:

            The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination. We again state our belief that racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws, on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.”                          Strom Thurmond of South Carolina led a breakaway group and formed the Dixiecrats (States Rights Democratic Party) that carried several states in the Deep South in the Electoral College in the election of 1948.   The Dixiecrats’ platform of 1948 included:             “We stand for the segregation of the races . . . . We oppose the elimination of segregation . . . We oppose and condemn the action of the Democratic Convention in sponsoring a civil rights program calling for the elimination of segregation . . . .”

Sig:                  The Dixiecrats were successful in the Deep South, thus demonstrating the power of Jim Crow after World War II and foreshadowing the coming of the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s.

Source:            AP876-77 Containment: Truman Doctrine 1947

What:              The Truman Doctrine stated that America needed to aide “free peoples” resisting attack by “armed minorities.” This aid would come primarily in the form of money.  America was fearful that Greece and Turkey would fall under Soviet control and provided some 400 million dollars in aid.

Sig:                  The Truman Doctrine significantly expanded the U.S. role in hindering communist growth. It set the stage for the Marshall Plan, in which America rebuilt Western Europe and helped counter communist takeovers there.   The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan can be seen as “containment” in action.  Source:  AP869-70

Marshall Plan 1947

Who:                           Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposed the plan.

Where:             Europe

What:                          The Marshall Plan was the primary plan of the United States for the reconstruction of Europe following World War II. The plan was in operation for four fiscal years beginning in July 1947. During that period some $13 billion of economic and technical assistance - equivalent to around $130 billion in 2006-was provided.

Sig:                  By the time the plan had come to completion, the economy of every participant state, with the exception of Germany, had grown well past prewar levels. Over the next two decades Western Europe as a whole would enjoy unprecedented growth and prosperity.  The Marshall Plan was highly successful and effectively served the Truman administration’s need to confront Stalinist Russia and the expansionist tendencies of Communism.

Source:            AP869-70

 The 1950sKorea/MacArthur Feud (during Korean War June 25, 1950 to cease fire on July 27, 1953)

Who:               Gen. MacArthur and President Truman

What:                          The Korean War was taking place and a bitter feud between General MacArthur and President Truman took place.  Although one of the most decorated soldiers in U.S. history, after several public criticisms of White House policy in Korea, which were seen as undercutting the Commander in Chief's position, Harry Truman removed MacArthur from command and ordered him to return to the United States (April, 1951).   MacArthur would have expanded the war by going into China—which Truman and his military advisors knew would be the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sig:                  The feud demonstrated how divided Americans were on whom was the real enemy (North Korea?  China?  Soviet Union?).  Truman asserted himself as Commander-in-Chief and kept the war contained to the Korean peninsula—to his credit.  Truman was fighting a “limited” war consistent with “containment,” and many Americans were having a hard time with the concept, including MacArthur.

Source:            AP879McCarthyism 1950-54

Who:               Named after the U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a Republican from Wisconsin.

What:              This communist witch-hunt took place during a period of intense suspicion in the United States, primarily from 1950 to 1954, when the U.S. government was actively countering American Communist Party subversion, its leadership, and others suspected of being Communists or Communist sympathizers. During this period people from all walks of life became the subject of aggressive "witch hunts," often based on inconclusive or questionable evidence. It grew out of the Second Red Scare that began in the late 1940s.  McCarthy’s justified his unfairness on the basis that just as you would not want a person who associates with known sex offenders to baby-sit your children, you do not want someone who associates with Communists to be in a position of influence. Thus careers could be ruined and expertise lost, both within and outside government, solely on the basis that McCarthy accused the person of having Communist “connections.”  Few had the courage to openly defy McCarthy, and if they did, their careers could be over.

Sig:                  Persons who were victims of McCarthyism were either denied employment in the private sector or failed government security checks. In the film industry alone, over 300 actors, writers and directors were denied work in the U.S. through the informal Hollywood blacklist. McCarthy's influence faltered in 1954. On March 9, 1954, famed CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow aired a highly critical "Report on Joseph R. McCarthy" that used footage of McCarthy himself to portray him as dishonest in his speeches and abusive toward witnesses.  McCarthy’s attack on the U.S. Army, televised, brought him discredit and the Senate finally censured him.

Source:            AP888-90


Social developments during the ‘50’s

What:              1) Transportation.  Anticipating a limitless future of low-cost fuels, endless ribbons of modern, multilane highways were constructed.  The interstate highway system radically changed the movement of goods and people in addition to shifting hundreds of thousands of jobs away from small towns along the old U.S. highway system to new businesses and towns along the interstates. 

                        2)  Housing.  With low-cost loans and inexpensive housing available, a mass migration occurred in which many people (with emphasis on white, middle-class) came to live in suburbs due to the speedy commutes that were now available due to low-cost housing and loans.  

                        3)  Standard of living.  GNP (Gross National Product) increased dramatically.  The economy also increased the average American’s living standards; more affluent people were looking at obtaining two cars, swimming pools, vacation homes, and even recreational vehicles.  By the end of the 1950’s the vast majority of families owned a car and washing machine, 90% owned a TV, and many owned their homes.

                        4)  Black migration.  Huge numbers of African Americans poured into the northern cities, escaping southern racism and Jim Crow. (Note the unintentional segregation that occurred when whites moved to new suburbs built along new highway corridors while blacks moved to cities.) As African Americans left the south, not only conflict occurred, but also the incoming blacks imported the grinding poverty of the rural south into the inner cores of northern cities for the first time in large numbers. 

                        5)  Baby boom.  The baby boom (1946-63) was the largest generation born in American history. 

                        6)  Rock and roll. In addition to all this, rock and roll, rooted in African American rhythm and blues music, changed music as America had known it.   White performers such as Elvis Presley made rock and roll wildly popular.   

                        7)  “Happy days.”  The ‘50s were “happy days” for many middle-class Americans, but many poor people, most especially Blacks caught in a Jim Crow society, suffered.

Sig:                  The 1950s, otherwise known as a decade of conformity, nevertheless witnessed profound changes in American society.

Source:  AP859-62, 882-86

The literature of criticism of the 1950s: The Lonely Crowd, The Organization Man, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, and The Affluent Society

Who:               David Riesman, William H. Whyte, Sloan Wilson, John Kenneth Galbraith.

What:                          Riesman (The Lonely Crowd), Whyte (The Organization Man), and Wilson (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit) all addressed similar issues relating to the idea that the postwar generation was a pack of conformists.  Galbraith (The Affluent Society), on the other hand, questioned the relation between private wealth and the public good; he claimed that the postwar prosperity produced a troublesome combination which led to a lack in social spending, but abundance in private consumer purchases.

Sig:                  Critics of conformity and consumerism represent the conscience of America. 

Source:            AP886-87

Consensus and conformity: suburbia and middle class America 1950sWho:              American middle class What:              The middle class was buying the same cars, the same houses, watching the same T.V. programs, and generally experiencing a homogenization of culture.  “Localness” was yielding to mass merchandising of the same kind of products across a broad spectrum of goods.  McDonald’s is arguably the best example of this rising culture of conformity.  As prosperity increased for many Americans, the nation’s communities lost character.  Modesty and conformity were normative.  Sig:                  The appearance of radical cultural forms during an era notorious for its social conservatism indicates that there were perceptible public doubts over whether this kind of mass consensus was really healthy.   Elvis Presley, Rock and Roll, the Beatniks, the literature of alienation, all spoke to a growing awareness of changes that would eventually break through this conformity.  The explosion would occur the 1960s.Source:            AP884-87http://courses.cvcc.vccs.edu/history_mcgee/courses/his122/his122ln10.htmlBeatniks 1950s Who:              This was a group of American counter-culture writers of the 1950s (e.g., Jack Kerouac and his book On the Road)What:              Their writings reflected the new consciousness which became the groundwork for the social and cultural revolution of the '60s.Sig:                  They mocked the materialistic people of America and the conservative conformity of the nation.  This challenged the mainstream of America. The ‘50s had “Beatniks”; the ‘60s had “hippies.”  Both groups were countercultural and embraced nonconformist behaviors rotating around communal activities, music, sex, alcohol, and drugs.Source:            AP933-35     Sputnik and the space race October 4, 1957 Who:               Soviet UnionWhat:              Sputnik was an unmanned space mission launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 to demonstrate the viability of artificial satellites.  Sputnik caused great fear that the Soviets had a lead in the space race.  That fear sparked the American space program. Sig:                  Sputnik shook American confidence and complacency and Eisenhower was accused of allowing a “technological Pearl Harbor.”  The U.S. made a commitment to catch up and spent billions of dollars on research and development leading to manned U.S. space flight, including the moon landing in 1969.  In 1958, Congress authorized the National Defense Education Act in part to improve the teaching of the sciences.

Source:            AP900-01

Ike and the “Military Industrial Complex” January 17, 1961 Who:               President of the United States (and former General of the Army) Dwight D. Eisenhower What:              In his Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961 he warned the nation to beware of the military-industrial complex which had arisen the 1950s in response to the Communist threat.Sig:                  Ike’s warning went largely unheeded as military expenditures continued to skyrocket and the private sector defense contractors gained greater influence and power.Source:            AP904Brown v. Board of Education (1954) (and Plessy v. Ferguson)

What:                          The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that no state may deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction.

The Court declared separate educational facilities to be inherently unequal, thus reversing its 1896 ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson.  School boards were advised to desegregate "with all deliberate speed."

Sig:                  This is the most important civil rights decision in U.S. history.  The decision drove a stake into the heart of Jim Crow.

Source:            AP894

 Civil Rights Commission 1957What:              A Civil Rights Act was passed in 1957, providing for a Civil Rights Commission authorized to investigate racial conditions within the United States.  Further, a weakly enforced voting rights provision was in the law but little progress was made here.  Eisenhower had little interest in the Act (this is his shortcoming—civil rights).Sig:                  The watered down Act foreshadows the greatly strengthened Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Source:            AP895 The 1960s:  Kennedy’s New Frontierand Johnson’s Great SocietyGreensboro sit-in 1960 Who:               Four black students from the North Carolina A&T (a local all-black college)What:              They sat down at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.   Although they were refused service, they were allowed to sit at the counter.  In just two months the sit-in movement spread to 54 cities in 9 states. Six months after the sit-ins began, the original four protesters were served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter. Sit-ins would be effective throughout the South in integrating other public facilities.  The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (Stokely Carmichael) arose out the sit-in movement.Sig:                  The sit-in movement demonstrated the power of Martin Luther King’s strategy of nonviolent, passive resistance to injustice.

Source:            AP895

  Cuban missile crisis (14 days in October, 1962)

Who:            Kennedy and Khrushchev

What:           Khrushchev deployed Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba.  Kennedy rejected Air Force proposals for a “surgical” bombing strike against the missile-launching sites, and on October 22, he ordered a naval “quarantine” of Cuba and demanded immediate removal of the threatening weaponry.  U.S. Navy warships were sent to blockade the Cuban coast.   On October 28, Khrushchev agreed to a partially face-saving compromise, by which he would pull the missiles out of Cuba. The U.S. in return agreed to end the quarantine and not invade the island. The American government also signaled that it would remove from Turkey some of its own missiles targeted on the Soviet Union.

Sig:                  Nuclear war was a possibility at the time.   Kennedy faced Khrushchev, and Khrushchev blinked first.   This was a very grave Cold War crisis.

Source:            AP915-916

Martin Luther King (Early goals versus later goals only) What:              King’s early efforts attacked Jim Crow and emphasized political rights; after 1965, he began to emphasize economic rights (he was killed in 1968 while in Memphis supporting a trash collectors’ strike) and opposition to the Vietnam War (the war cost money that could have been better spend on social programs at home).Sig:                  King’s agenda changed over time, from the early days of the Montgomery bus boycott (1955) to opposition to the Vietnam War (1968).  In any event, he was the dominant African-American leader of the civil rights era.Source:            AP891, 925-27The Feminine Mystique (1963) and Betty Freidan (and NOW)

Who:               Betty Freidan

What:              Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) is the book that launched the modern women’s movement.  Freidan spoke in rousing terms to millions of able, educated women who applauded her indictment of the stifling boredom of suburban housewives trapped in the “comfortable concentration camp.”   She told them of “the problem that has no name,” which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities. She argued that the “problem” was taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.Sig:                  Freidan and her literature were most often credited with launching the “second wave” of the American feminist movement in the later half of the twentieth century.  She was founder (1966) and first president of NOW, the National Organization for Women.

Source:            AP884

Vietnam War (1940s-1950s-1960s-1970s)What:          In the closing stages of World War II, the Japanese encouraged the people ofIndochina to declare themselves independent.  When the Vietnamese declared independence in 1946, the French military and the French colonists opposed it. The United States supported the French effort in order to contain the Communist Vietnamese rebels under Ho Chi Minh.  After the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu fell to the Communists in 1954, the U.S. backed a noncommunist regime established in the South.  That noncommunist regime was corrupt and ineffective, and in 1964 Congress authorized President Johnson to fight the war against the Communists.  By 1968, the war became unpopular, and the newly elected President Nixon began “Vietnamization,” which was the process of turning the war over to the South Vietnamese army.  The U.S. pulled out in 1973 when a cease-fire was agreed to, but the fighting was renewed and Saigon, the capital of the South, fell in 1975, thus ending the long war with a Communist victory. Sig:                  Vietnam, the only foreign war in which the U.S. has ever been defeated, cruelly convulsed American society, ending not only Lyndon Johnson’s presidency but the thirty-five-year era of the Democratic Party’s political dominance as well. Source:            AP851, 897-98, 927-30, 940-42, 947

Tonkin Resolution (Gulf of Tonkin) (August 7, 1964)

Who:           President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress

What:          After the U.S. destroyer Maddox was allegedly fired on and under attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats, Johnson proceeded quickly to authorize retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam. The next day he accused the North Vietnamese of “open aggression on the high seas.” He then submitted to Congress a resolution that authorized him to take "all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The resolution was quickly approved by Congress.  Johnson later admitted that the incident in the Tonkin Gulf may not have taken place.  (The U.S. ships had not been damaged in the alleged “attack.”)  The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was the war authority Johnson needed to begin a massive troop buildup in Vietnam.Sig:            Later, when more information about the Tonkin incident became available, many concluded that Johnson and his advisers had misled Congress into supporting the expansion of the war.  The Tonkin resolution was characterized by Johnson as “grandma’s pajamas,” meaning it covered everything and that he could fight the war any way he wanted to fight it.Source:            AP921-22Antiwar Movement (1965 – 1972)

What:              This was the most significant antiwar movement in United States history.  Marches and mass protests occurred throughout the war.  After Nixon began bombing Cambodia in 1970, the antiwar movement began to embrace the larger American public and the American war effort was doomed thereafter.  (Included here is the demonstration at Kent State University in 1970, at which the National Guard killed four students.)

Sig:                  This antiwar movement had a great impact on policy and practically forced the US out of Vietnam. The antiwar movement applied pressures directly on Johnson and Nixon and turned the public against the war.  

Source:            AP929-32, http://www.studyworld.com/Antiwar_Movement.htmThe Great Society (1965)

Who:               Lyndon Baines Johnson

What:              This was a political slogan used by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson (served 1963–69) to identify his legislative program of national reform. In his first State of the Union message (Jan. 4, 1965) after election in his own right, the president proclaimed his vision of a “Great Society” and declared a “war on poverty.” He called for an enormous program of social welfare legislation including 1)  federal support for education (including Project Head Start, an antipoverty program), 2)  medical care for the aged through an expanded Social Security Program (Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor), 3)  federal protection for citizens deprived of the vote by state voter registration (Voting Rights Act of 1965), and  4)  immigration reform (dropped the national origins quota test first established in the Emergency Quota Act of 1921).

                        After a landslide victory for the Democratic Party in the elections of November 1964, a sympathetic Congress passed almost all the president's bills (noted above in parentheses).

Sig:                  The War on Poverty, and the Great Society of which it was a part, left a mixed legacy. They were responsible for the most important legal protections of civil rights since the 1860s; they permanently expanded the American welfare and social insurance system; and they gave the federal government important new responsibilities in such areas as the environment, education, and the arts. But the largest Great Society programs—Medicare and Medicaid—proved to be highly inefficient and unwieldy; they ultimately became two of the most costly items in the federal budget. And the gap between the expansive intentions of the War on Poverty and its relatively modest achievements fueled later conservative arguments that government is not an appropriate vehicle for solving social problems.  Further, the costs of the Vietnam War caused support for Johnson’s Great Society agenda to wane.

Source:            AP923-25


Black Militancy after 1965

What:              In August 1965, frustrations with high unemployment and poverty led to riots, one specifically in the Watts section of Los Angeles (primarily a black neighborhood).  In the summers of 1966 and 1967, urban riots occurred in the poorer neighborhoods of several Northern cities.  The summer of 1967 saw 150 racial confrontations and 40 riots.  In 1968, the summer after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., many race riots broke out again.  These urban riots of the mid-1960s voiced black rage and demands for Black Power, which changed the tone of the civil rights movement. Many people such as Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X helped to promote black economic and political independence.  Conflicts soon arose between the older civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP, and black power advocates, with their aura of militancy and violence.  Some blacks called for racial pride and separatism instead of integration.  Civil rights demands shifted from color-blinded to color-consciousness.

Sig:                  By the end of the 1960s, the African American quest for political justice (votes) shifted more to economic justice (jobs).  Further, the civil rights movement had strongly influenced other groups, which adopted its protest tactics.  For example, in 1968 Native American leaders demanded a reimbursement for lands that government had taken through treaties and Indians engaged in violent confrontations with Federal authorities.  At the other extreme were abortion clinics protestors, who included those who would use violence.  The violence of the later part of the 1960s foreshadowed a dark and ugly turn of events across America, a turn that influenced not only blacks but others.

Source:            AP925-27

Black Activists and Organizations in the 1960s1.         Stokely Carmichael: He was a black separatist and a Pan-Africanist and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party, and participated in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

·         SNCC: One of the primary institutions of the American Civil Rights Movement.  Original student members were organizers of sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in the southern United States.  Its purpose then was to coordinate the use of nonviolent direct action to attack segregation and other forms of racism.  SNCC played a leading role in the 1961 Freedom Rides, the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party over the next few years. When Carmichael led the organization, it focused on Black Power and then fighting against the Vietnam War.

2.         Roy Wilkins: He was active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and between 1931 and 1934 was assistant NAACP secretary under Walter Francis White. When DuBois left the organization in 1934, Wilkins replaced him as editor of the official magazine of the NAACP

·         NAACP: It was founded February 12, 1909 to work on behalf of African Americans.  Members of the NAACP have referred to it as The National Association, confirming it’s pre-eminence among organizations active in the Civil Rights Movement since its origins in the first years of the 20th century.  By the mid-1960s, the NAACP had regained some of its preeminence in the Civil Rights Movement by pressing for civil rights legislation. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963. Congress passed a civil rights bill aimed at ending racial discrimination in employment, education and public accommodations in 1964, followed by a voting rights act in 1965.

3.         James L. Farmer: In 1942, he founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

·         CORE: It played a pivotal role in the U.S. Civil Rights movement.  It sought to apply the principles of nonviolence as a tactic against segregation.  The group believed that nonviolent civil disobedience could be used by African-Americans to challenge racial segregation in the South and eventually other parts of the U.S.

4.         Huey Percy Newton: He was the co-founder and inspirational leader of the Black Panther Party. 

·         Black Panther Party: A revolutionary, Black Nationalist organization also founded by Bobby Seale and Richard Aoki.  It grew to national prominence in the U.S. and is a representative of the counterculture revolutions of the 1960s. It was founded on the principles of its Ten-Point Program, which called for greater autonomy of black Americans and correction of the injustices of racism.  The group's political goals were often overshadowed by their confrontational and uncompromising views and approach toward agents of law enforcement, who the Black Panthers saw as the linchpin of racism that could only be overcome by a willingness to take up armed self-defense.

Source:            AP913-14, 925, 959 (Carmichael); 829, 891, 893, 985 (NAACP); 829, 959 (CORE); 925, 936 (Black Panthers)

1968—A Year to Remember in U.S. History:Important Events in 19681.         Tet Offensive

What:              Tet was the great battle of the Vietnam War, a coordinated surprise attack by the Viet Cong (the rebel forces, sponsored by North Vietnam) on hundreds of cities, towns, and hamlets throughout South Vietnam. In January of 1968, on the first day of Tet (the lunar New Year holiday), Viet Cong units attacked five of South Vietnam’s six cities, most of its provincial and district capitals, and fifty hamlets. The U.S. and ARVN soldiers responded quickly by regaining most of the ground the attackers had won.  Only in Hue did the Viet Cong hold on.

Sig:                  America and South Vietnamese military forces defeated the North Vietnamese everywhere, but the Communists demonstrated that they could attack when and where they wanted to attack.  This demonstrated the absence of control of the country by South Vietnam and the U.S. and led to increased opposition to the war at home. Source: AP929 

            2.         Assassination of MLK Who:               Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Earl RayWhen:              April 4, 1968Where:             On the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee What:              He was preparing to lead a local march in support of the predominantly black Memphis sanitation workers’ union on strike at the time.  The assassination led to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 60 cities.  Two months later they captured and escaped convict James Earl Ray.  He confessed of killing him because of his extensive civil rights work. Sig:                  King left a huge impact on America through his promotion of non-violence and racial equality.  He was considered a peacemaker and martyr.  It was a huge loss for America to lose the most famous leader of American Civil Rights Movement.  Source:            AP926-27            3.         Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

When:              July 1, 1968

What:              A treaty established to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.  The treaty is summarized as having three pillars: nonproliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.   

Sig:                  This has been a very successful treaty that still has great affect in today’s world.Source;            AP            4.         Assassination of RFK When:             June 5, 1968Who:               Robert F. Kennedy and Sirhan B. SirhanWhat:              Just four years after the death of his brother John F. Kennedy, Robert was assassinated.  In a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan B. Sirhan, a 24-year-old Los Angeles resident, fired a .22 caliber revolver directly into the crowd surrounding Kennedy.  Kennedy never regained consciousness and died in the early morning hours of June 6, 1968 at the age of 42.  Kennedy was appointed by his brother as Attorney General for his administration.  Sig:                  He was one of President Kennedy’s most trusted advisors.  In 1964, after his brother’s death, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of New York and at the time of his assassination he was running for president.         Source:            AP931            5.         1968 Washington D.C. Riots Where:             Washington D.C., Washington, Baltimore, and ChicagoWhat:              The ready availability of jobs in the growing federal government attracted many to Washington in the 1960s, and middle class African-American neighborhoods prospered.  As word of King's murder by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, spread on the evening of April 4, crowds began to gather.  By 11pm, widespread looting had begun (as well as in over 30 other cities).Sig:                  The riots utterly devastated Washington's inner city economy. With the destruction or closing of businesses, thousands of jobs were lost, and insurance rates soared. Made uneasy by the violence, city residents of all races accelerated their departure for suburban areas, depressing property values. Crime in the burned out neighborhoods rose sharply, further discouraging investment.Source:            AP927, class notes            6.         1968 Democratic Convention RiotsWhat:              In August, 1968, the Democrats held their convention in Chicago.  Antiwar protestors battled police before a national television audience.  Sig:                  The depths of antiwar protest were obvious.  Further, many Americans viewed the protestors as dangerous radicals, which fueled Nixon’s campaign on behalf of the “silent majority.”Source:            AP931Nixon Vietnamization

What:              Soon after taking office President Richard Nixon introduced his policy of "Vietnamization.”  The plan was to encourage the South Vietnamese to take more responsibility for fighting the war. It was hoped that this policy would eventually enable the United States to withdraw gradually all their soldiers from Vietnam.

Sig:                  Nixon was able to achieve “Vietnamization,” but the South Vietnamese government did not enjoy enough support to win the war on its own.

Source:            AP940

Roe v. Wade 1973

What:              The U.S. Supreme legalized abortion in 1973 in the Roe v. Wade case.

Sig:                  This pro-choice victory legalized abortion and sparked a civil rights conflict that is still going on today

Source:            AP956, 978

The United States since 1972Détente (‘70s) and Glasnost (‘80s)

Who:               Soviet Union and U.S.

What:              Détente is “relaxation of tension” in French.  Détente used to describe the decrease in tension between the Soviet Union and U.S. and the weakening of the Cold War.  Nixon was the first president to visit Moscow.  A tangible first fruit of détente was the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972.  Détente eventually failed when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, followed by the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.  Reagan stressed military preparedness as the key to Soviet-American relations (he called the Soviet Union the “evil empire”).  The warming of relations came later under the Soviet leader Gorbachev when Reagan responded to him. [Indeed, they agreed in the INF Treaty of 1987 to ban intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe.] Gorbachev wanted glasnost (openness) in governmental relations and embraced Reagan as a great leader.  Reagan responded and the U.S. and Soviet Union developed a less confrontational and much friendlier relationship (indeed, Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his efforts in ending the Cold War). 

Sig:                  Nixon should be given credit for an effort to reduce tensions with both China and the Soviet Union by making trips to both nations.  (The cynic can always claim he merely wanted to drive a wedge between the two communist powers and play one against the other.)  Reagan should be given credit for embracing Gorbachev and for a rapprochement (renewal of friendly relations] with Russia.

Source:            AP 942-43 (détente), 973-74 (glasnost)

Carter’s economic problems What:              Carter's management of the economy aroused widespread concern. The inflation rate climbed higher each year he was in office, rising from 6 percent in 1976 to more than 12 percent by 1980; unemployment remained high at 7.5 percent; and volatile interest rates reached a high of 20 percent or more twice during 1980. Both business leaders and the public at large blamed Carter for the nation's economic woes, charging that the president lacked a coherent strategy for taming inflation without causing a painful increase in unemployment.  (“Stagflation” was high unemployment coupled with high inflation.)  Sig:                  The nation blamed Carter for the struggling economy (including high gas prices, again) and the hostage crisis and he lost the election of 1980 to Reagan.  Carter, on the other hand, blamed the American people in a startling 1979 TV speech, in which he said:            “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.  Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.  But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning.  We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. . . . The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us.”Source:            AP963, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9020545/Carter-Jimmy

New Right and the Conservative social agenda 1980

Who:               New Right activists under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan

What:              The emergence of a “New Right” movement was in response to the countercultural protests of the 1960s. Many New Right activists were less worried about economic or cultural concerns and more worried about social issues. They rejected abortion, pornography, homosexuality, feminism, and affirmative action. They put prayer in schools and added tougher penalties for criminals.

Sig:                  The Old and New Right were a powerful political combination, devoted to changing the character of American society. Ronald Reagan supported the New Right in his presidential bid in 1980.

Source:            AP 977-78

 Reaganomics 1980’s

Who:               President Reagan

What:              “Reaganomics” were the economic policies of President Ronald Reagan.  He promised lower taxes and a smaller government.   He favored “supply side” economics, whereby a cut in taxes would put more money in private hands with the understanding that the money would be used to stimulate investment and create jobs.  His tax cuts were large, but in the end Reaganomics could not be judged fairly because of his massive military expenditures which drove the national debt up to new and staggering heights.

Sig:                  Reaganomics became a new word—the idea being to hold the line on the federal budget and have tax cuts stimulate the economy.  The problem was that massive military expenditures fueled budget deficits that made the New Deal look stingy.

Source:            AP 970, 975-76

Reagan and Carter as Washington outsiders

What:              Both Carter and Reagan did not have careers in Washington before becoming president.  Both were “outsiders” in this sense, and the people, disenchanted with Washington for various reasons, found them attractive and voted them into the White House.

Sig:                  These men represent a popular revolt against the traditional “establishment.”

Source:            Class notes

Resurgent Fundamentalism (1980s)

Who:               Ronald Reagan, Evangelical Christian groups such as the Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority dedicated believers who enjoyed startling success as political fundraisers and organizers.)

What:              New right activists were more interested in social issues than economic ones.  They denounced abortion, pornography, homosexuality, feminism, and affirmative action.  They championed prayer in the schools and tougher penalties for criminals.  The Christian “right” organized and became a political force at all levels of government.  (For example, at the local level, Christian activists could gain control of a school board and influence textbook selection.)

Sig:                  The legacy of the counter-cultural 1960s was a more liberal, open, and tolerant society that was a threat to traditional Christian morality.  The Christian “right” arose and became a political force.


What:              Consumerism is the belief that the good life is rooted essentially in the possession of material goods—cars, electronic gadgets, boats, RVs, and every conceivable item that could ease the burdens of everyday living.  Advertising and easy credit accelerated consumerism, a phenomenon that began in the 1920s, went into hiding during the Depression and World War II, and then came roaring back after WWII.    By the 1990s, electronic breakthroughs added computers, cell phones, and video games to the list of “must-haves” for the typical consumer, thus adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the growing international consumer-oriented economy.  

Sig:                  Consumerism reflected the growing selfishness of the industrialized world as it sought to deliver the “good life” to those who could afford it with little concern for 1) the poor or 2) intergenerational environmental costs (e.g., smog at the local level and “global warming” at the global level).