Post WWII and the US • Allied leaders Truman, Churchill and Stalin met in July 1945 at the Potsdam Conference. • Germany was divided into four zones. The French, Americans and British united their zones in the West and the Russians controlled the East. • Tensions grew between Stalin and the other Allies as Communist Russia and Poland now controlled much of Eastern Europe. • The US occupied Japan from 1945-1952. By 1947 Japan had a constitution and a democratic government with universal suffrage.
War Crimes Trials • At the Potsdam Conference, the Allied leaders agreed that “stern justice shall be given out to all war criminals….” • The German War Crimes trials were known as the Nuremberg Trials. Twelve Nazi leaders were sentenced to death, thousands more were jailed, fined or barred from holding public office • Many Nazis fled to Latin America to avoid prosecution. • Seven Japanese leaders were sentenced to death in War Crimes Trials held in Tokyo. • The Search Continues
Problems of Demobilization • By 1946 more than 9 million men and women had been discharged from the army. • The GI Bill (officially titled the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944) gave money to military veterans to start a business, buy a farm, or go to college. • Women were encouraged to leave the workforce and become full time homemakers • In 1946 alone almost 5 million workers participated in strikes for higher wages and shorter working hours.
The Marshall Plan • After WWII, European economies were in shambles and horrible blizzards worsened an already difficult situation. • In April of 1948 Secretary of State George C. Marshall presented his European Recovery Program to Congress. • By helping Europe, economies were quickly restored and the U.S. gained strong trading partners in the region. • Initially Congress hesitated to accept the Marshall Plan, but when the Soviet Union overthrew Czechoslovakia, Congress agreed.
The United Nations (the UN) • The United States, Britain, Russia and China met in 1944 and created an international organization called the United Nations. • The UN included a general assembly for all member nations and a 15 member Security Council with five permanent nations, including the United States, and ten rotating positions. • One of the first U.S. delegates to the UN was former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Election of 48’ • Leading up to the election of 1948, President Truman had begun to take steps to end racism in the US. • In December of 1946,Truman created the Committee on Civil Rights. In1948, Truman banned racial discrimination in hiring federal employees. • Truman’s strong stand on civil rights split the Democratic Party and Southern Democrats created the States’ Rights Party or ‘Dixiecrats’. • Republican saw the split as a sure win, but in a great upset, Truman defeated Dewey.
WRONG! The newspaper incorrectly reported Dewey as the winner! Truman upset Dewey in the election.
Roots of the Cold War • After WWII the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the worlds two major powers • The US was committed to the principles of democracy, capitalism and freedom while the Soviet Union included a state-run economy, one-party rule and suppression of rights • The US and Russia began a competition for global power known as the Cold War. The ‘war’ was fought mostly on political and economic fronts, and not on a battlefield.
The Cold War Begins • Soviet expansion after WWII fueled American mistrust. • Winston Churchill described the Soviet influence as an “Iron Curtain” that had divided East and West Europe. • The US and Russia began a dispute over atomic weapons. The US tried to regulate their production but the Soviet Union rejected inspections and created their own A-bombs (atomic bombs) • Berlin airlift,1948–49, supply of necessities to West Berlin by US air transports primarily. It was initiated in response to a land and water blockade of the city that had been instituted by the Soviet Union in the hope that the Allies would be forced to abandon West Berlin.
The Truman Doctrine • In 1946 a civil war broke out in Greece and Communist-led rebels threatened to overthrow the Democratic government. • In a speech to Congress that would later become known as the Truman Doctrine, the President asserted that the US must protect free peoples from outside pressures. • Congress responded to Truman by approving $400 million to aid Greece and Turkey.
NATO and the Warsaw Pact • In 1949 nine Western European nations joined the US, Canada and Iceland to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). • NATO members pledged to defend the other nations in case of an outside attack. • In response to NATO the Soviet Union joined other Communist Nations in a similar agreement known as the Warsaw Pact. • After NATO the US began to station troops in Europe and provided massive aid to its allies
China Falls to Communists • Since the 1920’s, China had two main political parties the Chinese Communists and the Nationalist Party. • During WWII the two sides put away their differences to focus on defeating Japan. • After the War, fighting resumed and the US began to send money to the Nationalist Party • By 1949, Communist forces led by Mao Zedong controlled most of the country and established the People’s Republic of China
Communist Fears in America: McCarthyism • In 1947 the United States established the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) to gather strategic military and political info. • To crack down on the Communist Party in the US the Congress created the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). • In 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed to have a list of known Communist supporters, he used his position on a Senate investigating committee to accuse hundreds of Communist ties with little or no proof. • The United States and the UK worked together to intercept encrypted Soviet messages and to create the Venona Papers which listed Soviet spies in the US.
Edward R. Murrow was a hero. When this nation was drowning in cowardice and demagoguery, it was Murrow who hurled the spear at the terror. The spear was his See It Now television broadcast on Senator Joe McCarthy.
Arms Race & Space Race • After WWII, the United States began work on the hydrogen bomb or H-bomb which was 1,000 times more powerful than the A-bomb the competition between the Soviets and Americans to develop more powerful Nuclear weapons became known as the “Arms-Race” • The Soviet Union, under Nikita Khrushchev, launched Sputnik in 1957 ,the first space satellite. Later, when Sputnik II went into orbit around the earth, the US created NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration) and began to pour millions into improving education in MATH and SCIENCE. The competition to make discoveries in outer space became known as the “Space Race”
Common items in the shelter were: water, canned food, radio w/ batteries, medical supplies. An air filtration system was used to prevent nuclear radiation (fallout) from entering. Occupants were to be prepared to stay underground for weeks. Children were taught to duck-and-cover in case of a nuclear attack!
Life in the Eisenhower Era • In 1952 Dwight Eisenhower became President and a new era began in the United States. • Automation allowed machines to greatly increase productivity in US factories. • Americans began to marry and have children at a younger age. The resulting population increase became known as the Baby Boom. • By the end of the 1950’s, over 46 million households owned televisions. TV commercials helped market many new products across the nation.
A television of the 1950’s, black and white, of course. Note: You had to actually go to the TV and turn a knob to change the channel.
Youth Culture of the 1950’s • Elvis ‘The King’ Presley became the leading talent in a new kind of music called rock-n-roll. • Rock-n-roll also crossed racial lines as Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Ritchie Valens became ‘minority stars’ in rock-n-roll. • Many parents felt that music, movies, and literature were creating juvenile delinquents. • Television and films of the 1950’s glamorized rebellion against suburban culture.
Rebels "What are you rebelling against?" asks someone. "What've you got?" responds surly, leather-jacketed motorcycle punk Marlon Brando. The landmark teen film that solidified Dean's image with the public follows the story of rebellious middle-class teens, disenfranchised with their parents, and given to a life of thuggery and deadly dangerous drag racing to win over women.
The Election of 1960 • The election of 1960 pitted Eisenhower's VP, Richard Milhouse Nixon against the Democrat, JFK (John Fitzgerald Kennedy) • Kennedy chose Texas Senator, Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) as his running mate. Johnson was chosen partially because Kennedy (from Massachusetts) wanted to attract more Southern voters. Johnson would soon be thrust into the spotlight of American history. • Nixon argued that he was more experienced, but many felt that in the televised debates JFK appeared more confident and relaxed. • Kennedy won the election by only 120,000 popular votes and 84 electoral votes.
Campaign Buttons are excellent collectors items and some are very valuable.
Bay of Pigs – A Disaster for the US • In 1959, Fidel Castro led a revolution in Cuba and set up a Communist government. Castro had very close ties to the Soviet Union. • The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) began a project to train Cuban rebels to overthrow Castro and JFK pledged US support. • On April 17, 1961 American trained Cuban forces landed at the Bay of Pigs, but JFK did not provide the support he had promised and Castro’s forces quickly defeated the guerrillas • The incident was a source of embarrassment for Kennedy and pushed Castro closer to the Soviets.
Cuban Missile Crisis The Bay of Pigs caused Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev to question JFK’s toughness. The Soviet Union erected the Berlin Wall (in Germany) and also began sending long range missiles to Cuba. Kennedy responded aggressively by sending troops to Berlin and blockading Cuba from the Soviets. For several days the US and the Soviets were on the brink of nuclear war, Cuba armed nuclear missiles and Soviet ship moved toward Cuba, but Khrushchev backed down and agreed to dismantle Cuban missiles.
The Impact of JFK at Home • John F. Kennedy was an extremely popular President. His good looks and athleticism presented an image of youth and vitality. • President Kennedy often inspired young people to take a more active role in politics. • Domestically (within the US) Kennedy’s programs often were vetoed by Congress. • JFK was successful in passing the Area Redevelopment Act to provide economic assistance to the poorest parts of the US.
Kennedy’s Assassination • As part of his 1964 Presidential campaign, Kennedy traveled to Dallas, Texas. • Around 12:30 PM Kennedy’s open-top motorcade moved through downtown and the President was fatally shot in the head. • Within hours , police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, who would himself be shot to death two day later by nightclub owner , Jack Rubenstein (Ruby). • New President LB Johnson appointed the Warren Commission to review crime scene evidence. The Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone