The Cold War Begins Origins of the Cold War

Download 141.28 Kb.
Size141.28 Kb.
The Cold War Begins

Origins of the Cold War

  • US-Soviet relations to 1945

    • Bolshevik Revolution (1917) was viewed as a threat to US, world peace, and capitalism; it led to Red Scare and prompted Wilson to send troops to Russia in an attempt to prevent communists from gaining power

    • US refused to recognize legitimacy of communist government of Soviet Union until 1933

    • in 1939, Stalin signed non-aggression pact with Hitler, confirming Americans mistrust

    • Stalin complained that the Allied invasion of Europe (D-Day in 1944) was intentionally delayed to let the Soviets take the brunt of the German hostility

    • in reality, US-Soviet WWII alliance only materialized because of common enemy

  • postwar cooperation and disagreements

    • creation of United Nations gave hope that US and Soviets could peacefully co-exist

      • US, Soviet Union, and Britain, France, and China were members of UN Security Council

        • each was given a permanent seat on the Security Council

        • each was given veto power over any UN action; this was key to US acceptance of UN

      • Soviets supported US proposal for Atomic Energy Commission, but rejected Baruch’s plan to regulate atomic energy and eliminate atomic weapons

    • Soviets rejected offer to join World Bank (created to fund postwar re-building) because they saw it as capitalist tool, and Soviets did not participate in Nuremberg Trials of Nazis

  • Eastern Europe

    • by 1946, Soviet Army had yet to leave Eastern Europe; elections were held (as Stalin promised at Yalta) but communists were “elected” in all Soviet-occupied nations

      • Soviet-sympathizers claimed Soviets needed a “buffer” to protect against another invasion from West

      • US and Britain alarmed by creation of “satellite” states headed by puppet communist governments

      • in 1946, Truman invited Churchill to US; Churchill declared an “Iron Curtain” had split Europe and Western democracies should halt communist expansion

  • Germany

    • at war’s end, Germany (and Berlin) were divided into 4 temporary zones of control (US, USSR, Britain, France)

    • Soviet eastern zone developed into a communist state (East Germany) with Berlin entirely within Soviet zone

      • Soviets wanted a divided Germany for protection and to extract reparations

      • US and Britain saw a economically and politically stable Germany as key to European recovery

Containment in Europe

  • containment doctrine – US policy to halt the expansion of communism in all areas of the globe

    • policy suggested by expert on Soviet affairs, George F. Kennan, in the “Long Telegram”

      • Kennan argued that only “a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment” would cause Soviets to give up quest on world domination

      • critics, including Walter Lippmann (who coined the phrase “cold war”), argued that communism should only be contained in areas vital to US interests

  • Truman Doctrine (1947)

    • Truman first implemented containment doctrine in response to communist threats in Greece and Turkey

    • he asked Congress for $400 million in economic and military aid to assist “free peoples” resisting totalitarianism

    • Congress overwhelmingly supported the policy

  • Marshall Plan

    • Truman feared that postwar economic conditions would lead to communist governments in Western Europe

    • Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlined massive plan to provide economic aid to Europe; in 1948, Congress approved $12 billion in aid over a four-year period

    • money also offered to Soviet Union and Eastern European satellites, but they rejected it

    • Plan proved very effective; Europe was stable by the 1950s and US exports to Europe increased as a result

  • Berlin Crisis and Airlift

    • Soviets demanded Western allies surrender Berlin (which was within Soviet zone)

    • in June, 1948, Soviets cut off all access to Berlin from West and shut off basic services to starve city’s residents

    • Truman ordered round-the-clock airlift of supplies into West Berlin (Operation Vittles)

    • Stalin ended blockade after 11 months, but the airlift established permanent division of Germany and Berlin

  • end of American isolation

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

      • in 1949, the Senate ratified US entry into peacetime military alliance with Western Europe and Canada

      • NATO marked an end to Washington’s policy of “no permanent alliances”

      • in 1955, Soviets countered with the Warsaw Pact, an alliance of Eastern European nations

    • National Security Act (1947)

      • created centralized Department of Defense replacing War Department and consolidating armed forces

      • created National Security Council (NSC) to coordinate making of foreign policy

    • created Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to engage in espionage

    • in 1948, a peacetime draft was reinstated

    • arms race

      • in 1949, Soviets tested first atomic bomb, years before experts anticipated

      • Truman authorized development of a hydrogen bomb (H-bomb), 1000x more powerful than A-bomb

      • NSC-68 – top-secret NSC report stated that the following measures were necessary to fight Cold War:

        • massive increases in defense spending and an effort to convince the public that it was necessary for nation’s defense

        • form alliances with non-communist nations around the world

The Cold War Expands
Japan and the Philippines

  • US had total control of postwar Japan; Gen. MacArthur was put in charge of postwar reconstruction

    • Japanese generals, including Premier Hideki Tojo, were tried and executed

    • a new constitution (the “MacArthur Constitution”) established a parliamentary democracy

      • Emperor Hirohito was retained as a ceremonial figurehead

      • it renounced war as an instrument of national policy and allowed Japan a very limited military

    • US-Japanese Security Treaty (1951)

      • US ended formal occupation of Japan but kept troops there for defense

      • Japan became strong ally and prospered in coming decades

  • US granted independence to Philippines on July 4, 1946 in accordance with Tydings-McDuffie Act


  • during WWII, US gave massive military aid to Chinese Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek

  • Chinese Civil War

    • after the war, Nationalists and Communists (under Mao Zedong) resumed a civil war that started in the 1930s

    • by late 1940s, Nationalists were losing public support due to high inflation and corruption

    • Truman ruled out sending in troops; instead sent $400M in aid, but most ended up in communist hands

    • by 1949, communists controlled nearly all China; Nationalists fled to nearby island of Formosa (Taiwan)

    • US continued to recognize the Nationalist government as the legitimate government of China (US would not recognize Mao’s communist regime until 1979)

  • US reaction

    • Republicans blamed Truman and Democrats for the “loss of China”

    • Stalin and Mao signed Sino-Soviet pact in 1950, increasing US suspicion of a global communist conspiracy

The Korean War

  • after WWII, Korea was divided at 38th parallel with Soviet forces in north and US in south

    • by 1949, both occupying forces were gone, leaving the North in the hands of communists (led by Kim Il Sung) and South under the nationalists (led by Syngman Rhee)

    • in June 1950, North Korea surprised the world by “invading” South and sparking civil war

    • Truman called for a meeting of UN Security Council; with the Soviets temporarily absent (they were boycotting because of the refusal to seat China’s new communist government), the UN voted to defend South Korea

    • Congress approved using US troops for this “police action,” but did not declare war

      • 90% of the UN force consisted of American troops under the leadership of Gen. MacArthur

  • Korean War (1950-1953)

    • initially, North Korea pushed US and South Korean forces to the southern tip of peninsula

    • MacArthur devised plan to land troops behind enemy lines (at Inchon) and cut off the North Korean advance; within weeks, US forces pushed communists back to the far north near the Chinese border

    • in Nov. 1950, Chinese troops crossed border and pushed US troops back to 38th parallel

    • Truman vs. MacArthur

      • MacArthur called for expanding the war by using atomic weapons on China and even the Soviet Union; however, Truman insisted on a “limited war”

      • after MacArthur publicly criticized the president, Truman relieved him for insubordination, reaffirming superiority of the president as commander-in-chief

      • MacArthur returned home a hero as many Americans supported his desire to destroy communism; Truman’s popularity plummeted to an historic low

    • after two years of stalemate at 38th parallel, an armistice (ceasefire) was signed in 1953

  • consequences

    • over 54,000 Americans died in Korea; US troops remain stationed there today

    • North Korea remained communist, but communist advance was stopped without erupting into a larger war

    • Republicans labeled Truman and Democrats as “soft on communism” for their failures in Korea and the “loss of China;” these failures ensured a Republican victory in 1952

Eisenhower and the Cold War
Election of 1952

  • Republicans

    • moderate Dwight Eisenhower, the affable war hero, won the nomination over conservative senator Robert Taft

    • Eisenhower chose conservative Richard Nixon (who helped prosecute Alger Hiss) to “balance the ticket”

      • an alleged scandal involving Nixon (that he used campaign funds for personal use) almost had him dropped from the ticket; however, Nixon delivered the “Checkers” speech and won popular support

  • the Democrats nominated IL governor Adlai Stevenson, who opposed McCarthy’s witch hunts

  • Ike’s popularity and his pledge to end war in Korea helped him secure an electoral landslide victory

Eisenhower and Dulles

  • the “New Look” foreign policy

    • Ike preferred to invest in an arsenal of nuclear weapons, missiles, and aircraft rather than conventional weaponry and large armies; he hoped this would deter the communists, while being more cost effective

    • would also be less burdensome on American society because – unlike sustaining large military force (like during WWII) –US could maintain a free-market economy, continue to produce abundance of consumer goods, and individual liberties could be preserved

    • did succeed in somewhat reducing defense budget, which skyrocketed under Truman

  • Secretary of State John Foster Dulles

    • Dulles despised “Godless communism” and thought containment policy was weak

    • brinkmanship

      • Dulles believed US should push Soviets and China to “brink of war,” if necessary, confident they would back down due to US nuclear superiority

    • massive retaliation

      • Dulles advocated a policy whereby the US would consider using nuclear weapons whenever vital American interests were threatened

      • massive nuclear forces of both superpowers created a “mutually assured destruction” (MAD theory) that may have prevented World War III, but could not prevent smaller wars (Vietnam, for example)

Eisenhower and the Cold War

  • Third World Crises

    • many former colonies were made independent after WWII (1947-1962), but could not develop fast enough to become stable; as result, many became US or Soviet “pawns”

    • Ike used covert operations to prevent communist takeovers in many small nations; covert ops required less troops and usually cost less

      • Iran (1953) – the CIA helped topple the Iranian government when it tried to nationalize the oil industry; the US helped restore a pro-Western government under the shah (monarch), Reza Pahlavi

      • Guatemala (1954) – the CIA again helped overthrow a communist-leaning government, denying the Soviet Union a foothold in the Western Hemisphere

  • Vietnam

    • since end of WWII, French had fought to reclaim their lost colony of Indochina (Vietnam); in 1954, the French lost control of Indochina communist Ho Chi Minh at Dien Bien Phu

    • the US participated in arranging the Geneva Accords, which temporarily divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel until elections could be held to reunite country

      • US supported government of non-communist Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam

      • elections were never held; the US and South Vietnam refused to participate fear that communist Ho Chi Minh would win

    • the US gave over $1 billion to South Vietnam from 1955 to 1961 to help stabilize country; Ike, however, refused to commit US military forces to Vietnam

    • “domino theory” – Ike argued that Vietnam was first “domino” in Southeast Asia and must be supported or neighboring countries would eventually fall to the communists as well

  • Middle East

    • Israel

      • in 1948, the US and UK supported a United Nations mandate creating the state of Israel in the heart of Arab lands (Palestine); Truman immediately recognized Israel as a nation

      • Israel’s Arab neighbors quickly launched numerous attacks to destroy the new country; the US backed Israel with economic and military aid (and continues to do so to this day)

    • Suez Crisis (1956)

      • Egypt’s Gamal Nasser (an ally of Soviets) seized British- and French-built Suez Canal (which cuts through Egypt) threatening the European oil supply

      • Britain and France attacked Egypt and reclaimed the canal, creating an international crisis; Ike and Dulles tried to prevent the attack and were angered when it went forward without their approval

      • US backed a UN resolution condemning the attack, but the Soviets threatened retaliation; eventually Britain and France withdrew and the crisis ended

    • Eisenhower Doctrine – US offered economic and military aid to Middle Eastern countries resisting communism

    • the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was created in 1960 by Arab oil producers (and Venezuela) to control oil production and prices

      • Western dependence on oil, emergent Arab nationalism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict made the Middle East a serious concern for the US throughout the Cold War (and still today)

US-Soviet Relations

  • despite the tough rhetoric of Dulles, Ike’s primary goal was to end the Cold War and to preserve peace; in the mid-1950s, US-Soviet relations warmed, culminating in the Geneva Conference

    • “atoms for peace” initiative – in 1953, Ike proposed both countries place their nuclear capabilities under new UN agency, so nuclear technology could be developed for peaceful purposes

    • Geneva Conference (1955)

      • Stalin died in 1953, and was eventually replaced by Nikita Khrushchev; in 1955, Ike and Khrushchev met in Geneva, Switzerland for the first of several “summit” meetings between the leaders of the two countries

      • Ike proposed an “open skies” policy, which would have allowed each nation to take aerial photography of the other nation to prevent surprise attack; the Soviets rejected Ike’s offer

      • Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s crimes and advocated “peaceful coexistence” with the West

  • Hungarian revolt (1956)

    • encouraged by the “spirit of Geneva,” a popular revolt in Hungary briefly overthrew the communist government there; Khrushchev, however, sent in troops to crush the rebellion

    • Ike took no action fearing it would spark war; by doing so, the US gave de facto (informal) recognition to a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe

Renewed Tensions

  • Sputnik

    • in 1957, the Soviets shocked the world by launching the first two man-made satellites into orbit while US efforts to do the same were failing miserably; the US feared that the missiles used to launch Sputnik could be used to launch nuclear weapons

    • American response

      • Ike increased spending on American missile technology to close the (incorrectly) perceived “missile gap” with the Soviets

      • National Defense Education Act (1958) – the federal government gave millions to promote math, science, and foreign language education

      • NASA (1958) was created to build missiles and help US explore outer space

  • Second Berlin Crisis (1958)

    • success of Sputnik gave Khrushchev confidence; ordered US out of Berlin

    • Ike refused, and invited Khrushchev to US to diffuse crisis; Khrushchev agreed to postpone his demand

  • U-2 incident (1960)

    • as Ike and Khrushchev were planning another summit in Paris, Soviets shot down U-2 spy plane conducting surveillance in Soviet airspace, exposing America’s secret spying

    • Ike admitted to surveillance, but Khrushchev denounced him and cancelled the summit

  • Cuba

    • in 1959, Cuban nationalist Fidel Castro toppled the US-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista

    • after initially thinking US could work with Castro, Americans grew more concerned when he quickly nationalized US businesses in Cuba and began warming to the Soviet Union

    • Ike authorized a plan to topple Castro, but his presidency ended before the plan could be executed (left for JFK)

  • Eisenhower’s Farewell Address

    • in 1961, Ike delivered a televised farewell address, in which he warned against the growing influence of the “military-industrial complex”

    • term refers to the relationship between government, the military, and private industries that produce war materiel; as they are mutually dependent on each other, the nation could easily be transformed into a military state

The Cold War at Home

Truman’s Troubles and the Fair Deal

  • economic woes

    • Truman asked Congress to continue OPA’s wartime price controls to curb postwar inflation, but Reps and conservative Dems relaxed controls; postwar inflation rose to 25%

    • workers and unions wanted wage increases after 4 years of wage freezes

      • numerous workers, including railroads and mine workers, struck in 1946

      • Truman argued the strikes threatened national security, and used soldiers to operate the mines until the strikes were called off

  • inflation and strikes helped Republicans regain control of Congress in 1946 (first time since 1928)

    • Republicans attempted to cut taxes for upper-income Americans, but Truman vetoed

    • Taft-Hartley Act (1947)

      • Congress passed this pro-business bill over Truman’s veto; the law was designed to limit the growing power of unions

        • outlawed the “closed shop,” a contractual obligation that required a worker to join the union as a condition of employment

        • outlawed secondary boycotts, the practice of unions supporting another union’s strike by boycotting the company’s products

        • it also authorized the president to invoke an 80-day cooling-off period before a strike threatening national security could be called

      • unions tried for years to get the law repealed; the issue divided the parties throughout the 1950s

Election of 1948

  • Republicans were confident in victory as Truman’s popularity was extremely low and the Democratic party was splitting between a far-left Progressive faction and a conservative States’ Rights faction

    • Progressive party, made up of liberal Democrats who thought Truman’s Cold War policy was too aggressive and threatened world peace, nominated former VP Henry Wallace; Wallace’s policies caused him to be labeled a communist

    • States’ Rights (Dixiecrat) party, made up of southern Democrats, left party in response to Truman’s support for civil rights and nominated South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond

  • Truman overcame tremendous odds by touring the country by train and giving fiery speeches (“give-‘em-hell Harry”) that attacked what he called the “do-nothing” Republican Congress

  • Truman won surprise victory over Repub Thomas Dewey by reuniting FDR’s New Deal coalition

Second Red Scare

  • communism and civil rights issues

    • suspecting communist influence in the government, the Loyalty Review Board was set up in 1947 to investigate the background of all federal employees; thousands either resigned or were let go

    • the Smith Act (1940) made it illegal to advocate the overthrow of the government by force

    • McCarran Internal Security Act (1950)

      • made it unlawful to support establishment of a totalitarian government in US

      • restricted employment and travel of those belonging to communist organizations and authorized the creation of detainment camps for subversives

    • House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)

      • investigated alleged communist influence in gov’t, Hollywood, even Boy Scouts

      • investigations of Hollywood actors, producers, writers were most notorious; those who refused to testify (including “Hollywood Ten”) were often blacklisted

        • Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was written as an allegory of what he saw as communist “witch-hunt” led by HUAC and Joseph McCarthy

  • espionage cases

    • Alger Hiss

      • a confessed communist, Whittaker Chambers, testified that State Department official, Alger Hiss, gave him top-secret documents to pass along to the Soviets

      • Congressman Richard Nixon (member of HUAC) helped prosecute Hiss and others; this helped Nixon earn a reputation as a staunch anti-communist that would serve him well politically

      • Hiss was convicted of perjury in 1950 raising fears of other communists in government

    • the Rosenbergs

      • when Soviets tested their first atomic bomb in 1949, many assumed that spies must be working inside the US, passing secrets to the Soviet Union

      • after a controversial trial and despite much international protest, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (an elderly NY couple) were executed in 1953 for treason

      • the release of Soviet documents, including Khrushchev’s memoirs, confirmed the Rosenbergs’ guilt

  • McCarthyism

    • Wisconsin senator Joe McCarthy used the communist scare to advance his political career; in 1950, he claimed to have “lists” of hundreds of State Department officials who were known to be communists

    • for the next several years, he made constant allegations, creating a fear in most public officials that they would be labeled as communists; even Eisenhower hesitated to defend his friend, Gen. George Marshall

    • McCarthy was ultimately exposed as a fraud and bully when he attacked Army officials in televised hearings in 1954 (the Army-McCarthy hearings)

    • McCarthyism was only the most extreme form of anticommunism in 1950s America; general anticommunist sentiment derived from a logical fear of communist subversion; it was widespread, consumed both parties, and existed both before and after McCarthyism’s peak

Postwar America
America after World War II

  • GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944)

    • over 15 million servicemen returned from war in 1945-46 in search of jobs and housing; many feared economic hard times would return

    • the GI Bill provided government-funded college education and low-interest loans for homes, farms, businesses

    • program created a better-educated workforce, prevented unemployment, and loans sparked construction boom

  • the “Baby Boom”

    • economic confidence and a return to peace sparked a boom in marriages and births (known as the “baby boom”); over 60 million babies born between 1946 and 1964

    • “baby-boom” generation has had tremendous impact on social and economic institutions (today, baby boomers are retiring, putting strains on social security, health care)

      • high birthrate focused attention on childrearing and homemaking (The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock); however, women maintained a presence in the workforce

  • population shifts

    • suburbia

      • Depression and war created severe housing shortage; federal policies (GI Bill, housing laws, and low-interest rates), highway construction, and more cars made it easy for middle-class Americans to move to suburbs in 1950s

      • Levittown – large development on Long Island, NY of mass-produced, low-priced homes

      • “white flight” – move to suburbs primarily by white middle-class Americans

        • left inner cities racially divided and lacking tax dollars

        • historians debate whether whites were “fleeing” the cities (and blacks) as the name suggests or if they were simply drawn by the economic advantages that the suburbs offered

      • along with the Great Migration, the move to the suburbs was the most significant migration of the twentieth century

    • Sunbelt – warmth, low taxes, and jobs in defense industries led many to move to the South and West (the Sunbelt), esp. southern California

Conformity and the Consumer Culture

  • many white Americans in the 1950s conformed to social norms (“keeping up with the Joneses”)

  • just like after WWI, a consumer economy developed in 1950s

    • television

      • by end of decade, most every household had a TV set; TV dinners increased

      • many feared that TV was a “vast wasteland” that would destroy America’s youth

    • advertising

      • aggressive advertising created common, national “name brands” and many “franchises” developed nationwide (McDonald’s)

      • suburban shopping malls and credit cars contributed to the consumer culture

    • rock-n-roll music

      • blend of African-American rhythm and blues with white country music; made especially popular by Elvis Presley

      • helped develop a “teenage” culture

  • Corporate America

    • for the first time, more Americans held “white-collar” (professional) jobs than “blue-collar” (industrial)

    • corporate culture encouraged conformity, including dress (dark suit, white shirt, conservative tie)

    • AFL and CIO merged in 1955; union workers were now earning middle-class wages

  • women’s roles

    • women’s role as housewife and mother intensified during the baby boom and was reinforced by conformity

    • more women worked in 1950s than in the past, but wages were still lower than men

    • educated, upper and middle-class women began to show signs of dissatisfaction

      • Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique challenged the notion that women were happy with role

  • challenges to conformity

    • Beatniks (“Beats”)

      • a literary and cultural movement, popular among some young adults, that stressed anti-conformity; comparable to the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s and a forerunner of the 1960s “hippies”

      • popularized by novelist and poet Jack Kerouac (On the Road, The Dharma Bums), as well as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg

    • David Riesman (The Lonely Crowd) and other sociologists analyzed and criticized postwar conformity in American society

Truman and the Fair Deal

  • Truman asked Congress to enact a series of progressive, New Deal-like measures, which he later called a “Fair Deal;” he included: a government commitment to full employment, federal funding for housing and education, national health insurance, and increases in welfare and the minimum wage

    • Employment Act of 1946 – Truman wanted the government to ensure full employment, but Congress passed a weaker version of Truman’s request, creating a Council of Economic Advisers to assist the president in directing the nation’s economy

    • Housing Act of 1949 – provided federal funds to clear slums (urban renewal) and to construct public housing and increased the Federal Housing Authority’s (FHA) role in insuring mortgages

    • Social Security Act of 1950 – revisions to the law now included domestic workers (and later, farm workers and the self-employed) in the program; raised the minimum wage from $.40 to $.75 per hour

    • Truman failed to pass significant civil rights legislation, but did desegregate the federal government and military

    • Truman’s attempts at universal health care were rejected as “socialized medicine” and he secured no federal funding of education, except for what was included in the GI Bill

  • conservative congresses (including Republicans and southern Democrats) and the start of Cold War limited Truman’s domestic agenda

Eisenhower’s Domestic Agenda

  • leadership style

    • Ike filled his Cabinet with businessmen; he liked to delegate authority (similar to Army’s chain of command)

    • the press mistakenly criticized Ike for golfing and fishing too much and delegating important decisions to others

  • Modern Republicanism

    • Ike was moderately conservative on domestic issues, while he strove to balance budget

    • rather than end New Deal programs, Ike accepted them as the new reality and even extended some (Social Security expanded, minimum wage raised, more public housing constructed)

    • he opposed federal health insurance and federal aid to education, however

    • he did not always balance the budget, but curbed federal spending (esp. on defense) more than FDR, Truman, or his successors

  • Interstate Highway System

    • Highway Act (1956) authorized construction of 42,000 miles of highway connecting all major US cities

    • added new taxes on fuel, tires, and vehicles to pay for national defense

    • project created jobs, promoted trucking, accelerated growth of suburbs, linked vital defense industries

  • Eisenhower prosperity

    • some historians consider Ike’s economic policies the most successful of any modern president

    • inflation rate was a paltry 1.5%; budget deficits were severely reduced; the average income was double that of the 1920s

    • by 1960, Americans had the highest standard of living in the world

Struggle over Civil Rights
Early Civil Rights Movement

  • Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in 1947

  • Truman was the first president to use his office to advance civil rights

    • estd. Committee on Civil Rights and strengthened civil rights division of Justice Dept.

    • ordered an end to segregation in the federal government and the military in 1948

    • his efforts to create a federal agency to prevent hiring discrimination were thwarted by southern Democrats

  • despite these developments, blacks still faced segregation, were denied the right to vote, and still suffered from poor educational opportunities and widespread poverty

The Brown Decision

  • Plessy decision (1896) upheld segregation, stating “separate but equal” facilities were constitutional under the 14th Amendment

  • Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)

    • in 1954, NAACP lawyers (including Thurgood Marshall, who became the first black Supreme Court justice in 1967) argued that segregated schools violated the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause

    • Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion of the Court in Brown, stating:

      • “separate facilities are inherently unequal” and thus unconstitutional

      • segregation in schools should end “with all deliberate speed”

  • resistance to the decision

    • Southern Manifesto – declaration by southern congressmen calling on states to resist the Court’s ruling

    • Little Rock Crisis

      • AR governor Orval Faubus used the state’s National Guard to block admission of 9 black students (“Little Rock Nine”) to Little Rock’s Central HS in 1956

      • Eisenhower, who had reservations about the Brown decision, sent federal troops to protect the black students; Ike was the first president to use troops to protect blacks since Reconstruction

Nonviolent Protests

  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    • Rosa Parks, a member of the NAACP, challenged Montgomery’s bus segregation law by refusing to move to the back of the bus; she was arrested

    • Rev. Martin Luther King organized a bus boycott, which lasted over one year and financially crippled the city’s public transit system; in 1956, a court ruled transportation segregation laws illegal

  • other nonviolent protests

    • MLK organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to get southern churches behind the civil rights struggle

    • college students in Greensboro, NC organized sit-ins to protest the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter

    • Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”) organized to coordinate sit-ins and other student-led protests throughout the South

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and nonviolent protest

    • MLK remained committed to nonviolent protest and civil disobedience

    • “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

      • in 1963, MLK was arrested for an “illegal march,” protesting segregation in Birmingham, AL; many Americans thought his arrest was unjustified

      • while in prison, MLK wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which he urged other black ministers to join the movement and advocated nonviolent protest as the best method

    • March on Washington (1963) – at this major civil rights rally, MLK delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech

    • MLK opposed the Vietnam War because he felt it drained money from social programs at home; as the civil rights movement turned more militant in the mid to late 1960s, MLK shifted his focus to black poverty

    • in April, 1968, white supremacist James Earl Ray assassinated King in Memphis, TN; riots followed in most every major American city

Civil Rights Legislation

  • Civil Rights Act of 1957

    • first piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction

    • law created a Civil Rights Commission to protect the voting rights of blacks; but because the law provided minimal enforcement measures, it proved largely unsuccessful

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • the most important piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction

    • key components:

      • Title I – prohibited unequal application of voter registration requirements

      • Title II – outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, theaters, restaurants, “other places of public accommodation” under Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce

      • Title III – prohibited segregation in all public places

      • Title VI – prohibited discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funding

      • Title VII – estd. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to prevent discrimination in hiring on basis of race, religion, sex, national origin (ethnicity)

    • law was upheld in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), when Supreme Court declared constitutional Congress’ use of the commerce clause to prevent discrimination

  • 24th Amendment (1964) – outlawed poll taxes as a requirement for voting

  • Voting Rights Act (1965)

    • outlawed literacy tests as a means of discouraging voter registration

    • also allowed federal supervision of black voter registration

Goals of the Civil Rights Movement

  • an end to segregation (social, political)

  • the right to vote and seek public office (political)

  • an end to violence and intimidation (social)

  • greater access to jobs and an end to poverty (economic)

Two Phases of the Civil Rights Movement

Key Figures

Key Events



First Phase

(WWII to 1965)

Martin Luther King

Rosa Parks

older generation of blacks


the South

Brown (1954)

March on DC (1963)

Civil Rights Act (1964)

Voting Rights Act (1965)


passive resistance

civil disobedience

boycotts, marches, sit-ins

end segregation

voting rights

elicit sympathy for blacks from white Americans

(primarily political and social)

Second Phase

(1965 to present)

Black Panthers

Stokely Carmichael

Malcolm X

younger generation of blacks

the North and West (California)

race riots (1965-68)

King assassination

affirmative action

more militant and aggressive

black nationalism

separation from white society

economic rights and job opportunities

end poverty

protection from (and defense against) white brutality

(primarily economic)

The Kennedy Presidency
Election of 1960

  • Republicans nominated VP Richard Nixon (CA)

    • Nixon had a reputation for being tough on communism (served on the HUAC; helped prosecute Alger Hiss; stood up to Khrushchev in the “kitchen debate”)

  • Democrats nominated senator John F. Kennedy (MA)

    • JFK was handsome, charismatic, young (43 years old), and wealthy; he chose Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (TX) to “balance the ticket”

  • the campaign

    • JFK attacked the Republicans for allowing a “missile gap” to develop; this was, in retrospect, a false contention that the Soviets had taken the lead in the arms race, but was appeared true in the aftermath of Sputnik

    • in the first-ever televised presidential debate and many Americans watching on TV, JFK appeared more attractive and relaxed than Nixon

      • polls of the TV audience thought JFK “won” the debate (the radio audience thought Nixon did), indicating how important television (and a candidate’s image) would now be in American politics

    • JFK also had to overcome the long-standing anti-Catholic bias in America, which especially would cost him support in the rural, fundamentalist South

      • JFK was only the second of three Catholics ever nominated by a major party (first was Democrat Al Smith in 1928; last was Democrat John Kerry in 2004)

  • results

    • JFK barely won the popular vote, but carried the electoral vote, 303-219, in one of the closest elections ever

    • the Democrats were accused of stuffing ballot boxes in IL and TX; despite being pressured to challenge the election, Nixon gracefully conceded defeat

  • Kennedy’s administration

    • JFK’s administration included many “cold warriors” (like himself), reflecting his determination to win the Cold War

    • “best and the brightest” – JFK’s advisers included several men from the top ranks of society, including Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, and his brother Robert as Attorney General

Kennedy and the Cold War

  • in his inaugural address, JFK pledged that the US would “pay any price, bear any burden…oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” making clear his intent to continue the containment policy

  • foreign policy accomplishments

    • Peace Corps – recruited young volunteers to give technical aid and education to Third World countries

    • Alliance for Progress – encouraged economic development in Latin America (similar to Marshall Plan)

    • Trade Expansion Act (1962) – Congress reduced tariffs with newly formed European Economic Community

  • “flexible response”

    • JFK quickly increased defense spending, ordered large numbers of nuclear weapons

    • however, to provide US with more military options (other than “massive retaliation”), JFK and McNamara also increased spending on conventional weapons and elite special forces (Green Berets) to use in the small wars that were breaking out in Africa and Asia (“brushfire wars”)

  • Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961)

    • JFK authorized CIA plan (developed under Ike) to use Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro’s regime

    • exiles landed at Bay of Pigs, but failed to spark anti-Castro uprising; exiles quickly were trapped by Cuban forces, while JFK refused to authorize air strikes or intervention by US forces to save the exiles

    • Castro’s ties to Soviets increased, including installation of nuclear weapons in Cuba

  • Berlin (1961)

    • Khrushchev used JFK’s embarrassment with Bay of Pigs to pressure him to withdraw from West Berlin

    • JFK refused to back-down; after a lengthy stand-off, the Soviets instead constructed the Berlin Wall to stop East Germans from escaping to West Berlin

    • in 1963, JFK visited West Berlin to assure its residents of US support; he criticized the Wall (which became a symbol of communism until it was destroyed in 1989) and stated “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”)

  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

    • US spy planes detected nuclear missiles in Cuba; JFK responded with a blockade (“quarantine”) of Cuba, demanding the Soviets remove the missiles or the US would invade Cuba and remove them

    • for several tense days in October, nuclear war seemed likely if Soviets ran blockade

    • finally, Khrushchev and Kennedy struck a deal

      • Khrushchev promised to remove missiles if US pledged never to invade Cuba

      • JFK also quietly pledged to remove American nuclear missiles in Turkey

    • after crisis, the two superpowers set up a “hot line” to talk directly in future crises

    • they also signed (along with others) the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, ending nuclear testing in the atmosphere

Kennedy and the New Frontier

  • JFK spoke of the “torch being passed to a new generation” of Americans and he believed that the country stood “on the edge of a New Frontier,” implying that America’s greatest challenges and best days were ahead

  • the New Frontier

    • JFK’s domestic agenda included calls for federal aid to education, health care, urban renewal, and civil rights; but Congress passed little of this

    • he did succeed in pressuring the steel industry to rollback a recent price hike

    • likewise, his tax cuts and increased defense spending helped bring the economy out of a brief recession

    • JFK also challenged America to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade (the moon landing occurred in July, 1969)

  • “Camelot”

    • after JFK’s death, his wife Jacqueline (Jackie) referred to the Kennedy White House years as “Camelot,” a reference to the mythical King Arthur’s court

    • the term referred to the youthful optimism and hopefulness that emanated from JFK, his family, and his administration and which inspired many Americans

    • JFK and Jackie brought style, glamour, and appreciation of the arts to the White House; they were young, attractive, and had adorable young children

  • Kennedy Assassination (November 22, 1963)

    • communist-sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed JFK in Dallas, where JFK was campaigning; Oswald was killed two days later on live TV by local night club owner, Jack Ruby

    • the Warren Commission investigation concluded that Oswald acted alone, but theories abound suggesting Oswald was part of a conspiracy that may have included the Mafia, Castro, the CIA or the FBI

The Warren Court

  • Earl Warren’s tenure (1953-1969) as chief justice had an impact on the nation comparable only to John Marshall

  • the Warren Court issued liberal decisions that protected individual rights, especially those of the criminally accused; the Court’s decisions created a storm of controversy and some called for Warren to be impeached

  • landmark cases:

    • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) – declared segregated schools to be unconstitutional

    • Engel v. Vitale (1962) – ruled school prayer a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause (“separation of church and state”)

    • Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) – ruled that a “right to privacy” exists in the Constitution, and therefore, forbids states to outlaw the use of contraception

      • this decision served as the basis for legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade (1973)

    • Mapp v. Ohio (1961) – declared that illegally seized evidence cannot be used in court against the accused

    • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) – required states to provide an attorney for poor defendants

    • Escobedo v. Illinois (1964) – required police to inform an arrested person of their right to remain silent

    • Miranda v. Arizona (1966) – required police to inform an arrested person of other rights

    • Baker v. Carr (1962) – established the principle of “one man, one vote,” meaning congressional districts would have to be drawn so that each contains a relatively equal number of people

Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”
Election of 1964

  • Republicans nominated Senator Barry Goldwater (AZ)

    • Goldwater was a staunch conservative who sought to repeal many of the New Deal programs that had increased the size and cost of the federal government (including Social Security and the TVA)

    • Goldwater’s conservatism was somewhat out of line with the mainstream Republican party, which had become very moderate in the 1950s under Eisenhower; however, he would spark a resurgence of conservatism that would enable Reagan’s victory in 1980

    • Democrats portrayed Goldwater in TV ads as a dangerous extremist who would start a nuclear war (“Daisy” commercial)

  • Democrats

    • nominated President Johnson (TX) with Senator Hubert Humphrey as his running mate

      • LBJ promoted a very liberal agenda that would expand upon the New Deal (“Great Society”)

  • results

    • LBJ won in the largest popular landslide in US history (over 61% of the popular vote)

    • the Democrats won both houses of Congress with more than a 2/3 majority

The Great Society

  • socialist Michael Harrington’s The Other America (1962) focused national attention on the 40 million Americans living in poverty; this emphasis on the poor stood in stark contrast to the prosperity of the 1950s

  • LBJ responded to the decline of prosperity by declaring an “unconditional war on poverty”

    • Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act (1964), which created:

      • the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), offering programs to help the poor

      • Project Head Start, an early childhood education (preschool) program

      • the Job Corps, which offered vocational education classes

      • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), domestic version of Peace Corps

    • the “War on Poverty” was the cornerstone of LBJ’s overall domestic agenda, known as the Great Society

    • LBJ’s “war” succeeded in reducing poverty rates until some programs were cut back due to the costs of the Vietnam War and the economic decline of the 1970s

  • other Great Society initiatives

    • health care

      • Social Security Act (1965) – provided government health insurance to the elderly (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid)

    • education

      • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965)– first major federal funding of schools, especially those in poor areas; also made Head Start a permanent program

      • Higher Education Act (1965) – provided money to universities and low-interest loans to students

      • Bilingual Education Act (1968) – provided money to local school districts for bilingual education

      • Public Broadcasting Act (1967) – created public television (PBS) and national public radio (NPR)

    • urban renewal

      • the move to the suburbs by upper and middle-class Americans left many urban areas with a shrinking tax base and increasing poverty; an effort to redevelop urban areas began as early as the late 1940s and 1950s

      • LBJ’s programs offered low-income housing to the poor and created the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to coordinate federal housing projects

    • Immigration Act of 1965

      • abolished the national-origins quotas established in the 1920s

      • the law greatly increased immigration totals overall and particularly from non-European countries, including Asia and Latin America

      • some analysts credit the law for diversifying the American population; before the law, non-Hispanic whites (or European whites) made up nearly 90% of the US population; today, they constitute about 65%

    • environment

      • Congress passed laws to reduce air and water pollution (including the Clean Air and Water Acts), to set aside more national forest lands, and to preserve wildlife (the Endangered Species Preservation Act)

      • much of the environmental legislation was inspired by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), which exposed the harms of pesticides

        • the book is credited with starting the modern environmental movement and securing the 1972 ban on the pesticide DDT

    • consumer protections

      • Congress set standards for labeling, requiring manufacturers to print quantity and serving sizes; also required warning labels on cigarettes

      • Motor Vehicle Safety Act (1966) mandated standards for car and traffic safety and established the Department of Transportation

        • inspired by Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed (1965), which urged manufacturers to include safety features (like seat belts) on automobiles

    • civil rights legislation

      • civil rights was a central feature of LBJ’s “Great Society” (see notes on the Civil Rights movement)

      • included the Civil Rights Act (1964), Voting Rights Act (1965), and the 24th Amendment

  • legacy of the “Great Society”

    • programs were the most ambitious domestic initiative since the New Deal; LBJ sought to build on what TR had campaigned for in 1912 and what FDR had started in the 1930s

    • conservative critics complained the programs expanded the size and cost of the federal government and have created an increasing dependence by the lower classes on the government (“permanent underclass”)

    • liberal critics complained when the Vietnam War diverted funds away from the Great Society programs

Unit 9: Cold War America 8 April 2013

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page