|Introduction to Post-1945 US History Websites
The Literature and Culture of the American 1950s (Al Filreis, Univ. of Pennsylvania)
This site presents more than 100 primary texts, essays, biographical sketches, obituaries, book reviews, and partially annotated links relating to the culture and politics of the 1950s. Organized alphabetically and according to lesson plans, this eclectic collection includes short stories by communist writer Howard Fast; texts of two Woody Guthrie songs; entries from the Encyclopedia of the American Left; excerpts from Vance Packard’s The Status Seekers (1959); items concerning McCarthyism; and selected texts. The site also offers materials about the 1930s and 1960s, as well as retrospective analyses of the postwar period.
Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertisements (American Memory, Library of Congress)
This site contains highlights of Coca-Cola television advertisements, including 50 commercials, broadcast outtakes, and experimental footage. There are five examples of stop-motion advertisements from the mid-1950s, 18 experiments with color for television ads, and well-known commercials, such as the “Hilltop” commercial featuring the song “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” (1971); the “Mean Joe Greene” commercial (1979); the first “Polar Bear” commercial (1993); and “First Experience.”
Herblock’s History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium (Library of Congress)
An exhibit of 135 cartoons drawn between 1929 and 2000 by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Herblock (Herbert Block) that comment on major events and public issues. The site also presents an essay by Block on “the cartoon as an opinion medium”; a biographical essay; and 15 caricatures of the cartoonist. Organized according to 13 chronological sections, with an additional segment devoted to Presidents.
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project (Stanford University)
Features texts by and about Martin Luther King, Jr., including more than 100 speeches, sermons, and other writings. In addition, 15 chapters of materials collected from diverse sources and published by the Project in 1998 as The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. are available. Includes important sermons and speeches such as the 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the March on Washington address; the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech; and “Rediscovering Lost Values,” a sermon from 1954. The site also provides an interactive chronology of King’s life, a 1,000-word biographical essay; and 23 audio files of recorded speeches and sermons.
Voices of the Civil Rights Era (Webcorp)
Audio clips of speeches by three prominent public figures of the early 1960s: six from John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, which reflect the “doomed idealism” of the early 1960s; five from Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 March on Washington speech; and 11 demonstrating Malcolm X’s oratory prior to his pilgrimage to Mecca. Audio components are introduced by very brief remarks.
The Central High Crisis: Little Rock 1957 (Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.)
A collection of articles and photographs from two Arkansas newspapers covering the crisis in the city of Little Rock when governor Orval Faubus refused to allow nine African-American students to attend the all-white Central High School, despite Federal court rulings to the contrary. The site includes news articles and editorials from each day of the month-long crisis. Additional materials address the 40th anniversary of the crisis in 1997. The site also timelines and a “Who’s Who” of participants.
Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive (Univ. Southern Mississippi, Center for Oral History)
This website offers 125 oral histories relating to the civil rights movement, including interviews with civil rights leaders like Charles Cobb, Charles Evers, and Aaron Henry. It also offers oral history information about prominent figures on both sides of the civil rights movement, such as “race-baiting” Governor Ross Barnett, national White Citizens Council leader William J. Simmons, and State Sovereignty leader Erle Johnston. The alphabetical interview index offers a 50–100 word biography of each subject, as well as information on the date and place of the interview. The site promises digitized manuscript and photograph resources in the future.
Foreign Policy and Relations
The Real Thirteen Days: Hidden History of the Cuban Missile (National Security Archive)
Full-text images of 17 declassified documents, such as a CIA Intelligence Estimate, correspondence, memoranda, and a post-mortem on the crisis, as well as eight audio clips of White House security briefings, spyplane photographs of missile launch sites. The site also offers a chronology of events, a 1000-word essay critical of the film Thirteen Days, a 1500-word essay looking back on the Cold War, and excerpts from seven accounts of the crisis.
Korea + 50: No Longer Forgotten (Truman and Eisenhower Presidential Libraries)
More than 200 official documents, nine oral histories, and more than 70 photographs pertaining to the pursuance of the Korean War by the administrations of Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Provides day-by-day access covering June 24-September 14, 1950—and more sporadic contributions during subsequent periods—to diplomatic and military documents and accounts by administration officials, including correspondence, speeches, memos, reports, and briefing papers. Also includes extensive “Korean War Teacher Activity” from a high school in Independence, MO.
National Security Action Memoranda of John F. Kennedy (John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library)
This site provides access to 272 facsimiles of National Security Action (NSA) memoranda written by President John F. Kennedy or by McGeorge Bundy, his NSA advisor. Topics include training of Cuban nationals, U.S. forces in Vietnam, Berlin, and civil defense. The documents are indexed by NSA numbers from February 1961 to November 1963. There is a 100-word introduction to the collection, but no contextual material or annotations.
The American Experience: Vietnam Online (PBS and WGBH)
Companion to the PBS series, Vietnam: A Television History. Transcripts are available for each episode, from the “Roots of a War” to “The End of the Tunnel.” “Who’s Who” provides photographs and profiles of 41 major figures and a timeline covers 1945 to 1997. Twelve personal reflections of the war include the memories of a Vietnamese-born American poet, a U.S. marine, a soldier who guarded the Ho Chi Minh trail, and a Red Cross aid worker. One essay describes the My Lai massacre and another essay discusses the continuing issue of prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.
The Oyez Project: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia Database (Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University)
Vast number of historical documents on cases heard before the Supreme Court. Includes abstracts of more than 1,200 Court opinions and audio files with more than 1,500 hours of oral arguments for cases going back to 1955. It includes such famous cases as Roe v. Wade (abortion), Baker v. Carr (one person—one vote), and Bush v. Gore.
Politics and Presidents
The Living Room Candidate: A History of Presidential Campaign Commercials, 1952–2000 (American Museum of the Moving Image)
Offers 183 television commercials used since 1952 to sell presidential candidates to the American public and an annotated guide to 21 websites created for the 1996 and 2000 elections. Ads are accessible by year as well as by common themes and strategies, such as ’Looking Presidential,’ Attack Ads,’ Family Man,’ and ‘Real People.’ Includes analysis of ad strategies as well as a program guide and teacher’s guide intended for high school.
History and Politics Out Loud (Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University)
Audio materials of significant 20th-century events and people, including speeches, addresses, and private telephone conversations. Most material comes from three U.S. presidents—Richard M. Nixon (34 items); Lyndon Baines Johnson (30 items); and John F. Kennedy (19 items).
Project Whistlestop (Truman Digital Archive Project)
Offers more than 400 selected documents and photographs organized into broad topics, from the decision to drop the atomic bomb to the Marshall Plan, from the 1948 Presidential campaign to the Korean War. Each study collection includes a chronology, diary entries, official documents, and related items. Sixty teaching units, lesson plans, and classroom activities include 24 elementary school projects, 21 middle school activities, and 22 plans for high school students. Teachers can also create their own interactive Internet lessons for students tailored to grade level and specific themes. Study collections are searchable by keyword, collection folder, catalog records, or historical timeline.
Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum
These 64 oral history interviews include Dean Rusk, Johnson’s secretary, Bess Abell, Robert MacNamara, Thurgood Marshall, and Billy Graham. The site provides transcribed samples of recorded telephone conversations and links to a C-SPAN collection of more than 800 transcribed recorded excerpts and full conversations Johnson had while in office. A selection of 20 speeches and nine messages to Congress are available in transcription and address issues such as the Great Society and limitations on the war in Vietnam. Facsimiles of 98 National Security Action memoranda discuss policies towards Vietnam, nuclear weapons, and Latin America, among other issues.
Watergate 25 (Washington Post)
Commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Watergate burglary. A detailed timeline covers events from Nixon’s election in November 1968 to his resignation in August 1974. Biographies introduce 20 “key players,” including Pat Buchanan, John Ehrlichman, H. R. Halderman, G. Gordon Liddy, and Donald Segretti, while another section details the reforms enacted in response, from the Ethics Rules to efforts to enforce Campaign Spending Limits. One essay explores the identity of Deep Throat, while another examines the impact of the story on the newspaper. Teachers and students can read transcripts of online interviews with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee or search for related stories.
Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum (University of Texas)
Offers a biography, 120 photographs, and documents about Vietnam. In addition 41 National Security Study memos and 83 National Security Decision memos address Israeli military requirements, the classification of nuclear safeguards, and U.S. policy for Antarctica.
Sixties Project & Viet Nam Generation (Viet Nam Generation, Inc., University of Virginia)
Resource for teaching and researching America in the 1960s and during the Viet Nam War. The site contains links to 17 primary documents, including materials from the Black Panther Party, the Free Speech Movement, and GI’s United Against War in Viet Nam. More than 100 images of political buttons and posters and a full-text version of Vietnam: An Antiwar Comic Book, written by civil rights activist Julian Bond. Additional items on the site include five keyword searchable, full-text back issues of Viet Nam Generation and 10 syllabi for courses on the 1960s and the Vietnam War. Visitors may contribute their own personal narratives about the 1960s (the quality and accuracy of these personal narratives are not controlled and should be used with caution).
Free Speech Movement: Student Protest, U.C. Berkeley, 1964–65 (UC, Berkeley, Bancroft Library)
Rich archive of material on the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM). Printed material includes five books, 29 leaflets produced by the FSM, 55 letters to and from FSM activists, 11 local radical newsletters, 21 press releases, and six speeches. Visitors may read complete transcripts of 10 oral histories: eight with university administrators and faculty; two with FSM activists. A collection of legal documents includes 40 pages of trial transcripts and 400 letters from FSM activists to Judge Rupert Crittenden, who presided over their trials. This site also provides 96 photographs of FSM rallies and sit-ins taken by Ronald L. Enfield in 1964 and 1965. The site may be searched by subject, but is somewhat difficult to navigate because pages within the collection do not link directly to an index or the collection’s home page.
The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History of 1968 (South Kingston School, Brown Univ.)
This site contains transcripts, audio recordings, and edited stories from interviews conducted in the spring of 1998 by sophomores at South Kingstown High School, Rhode Island, about their recollections of 1968. These narratives, including references to the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, as well as personal memories, are a living history of one of the most tumultuous years in U.S. history.
Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement (Digital Scriptorium, Duke University)
More than 50 documents—including journal and newspaper articles, speeches, papers, manifestoes, essays, press releases, organization statements, songs, and poems—concerning the women’s liberation movement, with a focus on U.S. activity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Organized into eight subject headings—General and Theoretical; Medical and Reproductive Rights; Music; Organizations and Activism; Sexuality and Lesbian Feminism; Socialist Feminism; Women of Color; and Women’s Work and Roles—and searchable by keyword.