Ballston spa high school advanced Placement United States History spring semester january 2012

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Post World War II Foreign and Domestic Developments

1947 to 1977
The Cold War - 4 decades of tensions between the super powers. Tensions in the form of words, not bullets. Set in the context of “proxy wars”

The Presidency of Harry Truman

Foreign Policy Developments


Domestic Policy Developments

The U.S. initiates two significant foreign policy efforts:
#1 The Truman Doctrine Stated that the U.S. would support any nation threatened by Communism.

#2 The Marshall Plan - the proposed massive and systematic American economic aid to Europe to revitalize the European economies after WWII and help prevent the spread of Communism.

Containment Policy Containment, George F. Kennan
A member of the State Department, he felt that the best way to keep Communism out of Europe was to confront the Russians wherever they tried to spread their power.


Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American major league baseball player
Taft Hartley Act (1947) The act amended the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and imposed certain restrictions of the money and power of labor unions, including a prohibition against mandatory closed shops.

1948 Berlin Blockade and Airlift
1948 United Nations proclaims the nation of Israel


Harry Truman is elected as president in his own right despite a split in the Democratic Party when the "Dixiecrats" objected to his civil rights stand.
US Military is desegregated by Harry Truman

The Nationalist Chinese are driven from the mainland to the island of Taiwan by the Communist Chinese led by Mao Zedong
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is formed for the purpose of mutual defense.
Soviet Union Has Atomic Bomb Klaus Fuchs admits to giving A-Bomb secrets; FBI traces connection of espionage to the Rosenburgs


HUAC (House on Unamerican Actives Committee)

North Korean forces cross the 38th parallel in a surprise invasion, precipitating the Korean Conflict (1950-53)

NSC 68 -- National Security Council recommended increasing US defense spending by 4X, initially ignored, was resurrected by the Korean crisis when Truman recommended raising the armed forces to 3.5 million men and spending 13% of the GNP ($50 billion) annually on defense.


Sen. Joe McCarthy began the "Second Red Scare" with a speech charging that he had a list of known Communists within the U.S. Dept. of State.
Anti-Communist fervor led to two different laws: the McCarran Internal Securities Act and the McCarran Immigration and Nationality Act (1952).

After months of conflict over the U.S. role and strategy in Korea, Truman fires MacArthur and maintains a limited scope for the war.


The Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower

Modern Republicanism – Acceptance of the New Deal and the Fair Deal but moderation in the expansion of government social programs, support for the United Nations and military and economic aid abroad
Less taxes, less regulation of business. Expansion of Social Security, increased minimum wage ($1.00)

Foreign Policy Developments


Domestic Policy Developments

John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State 1953-59)

and Brinkmanship Containment wasn’t enough!!

Massive retaliation – build-up of Strategic Air Command + nukes to level cities “More bang for the buck” – turned out to be extremely expensive and eventually Ike warns against “military-industrial complex”


Former Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower runs for president against former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson.

"Ike" chooses little known (outside of California) Sen. Richard Nixon.

Eisenhower wins the presidency based upon his vow to end the Korean War.

Eisenhower succeeds in ending the Korean Conflict, which eases the threat of Communism. Used vieled threats of Nuclear attacks in pursuit of peace


Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Executed for Espionage

The French lose their colonial possessions in Indo-China at Dien Bien Phu.


Army-McCarthy Hearings bring about the end of McCarthyism and the threat he had predicted would befall America.

Brown v. Board of Education brought about the end to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) segregation in public facilities by integrating schools.

The Cold War heats up with rhetoric from the U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles such as "massive retaliation" and "mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.)."
Warsaw Pact Signed

The United States began sending military advisors to South Vietnam


Fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till is visiting family in Mississippi when he is kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot, and dumped in the
In Montgomery, Alabama NAACP member Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger, defying a southern custom of the time.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads a boycott of the Birmingham, Alabama bus system as the first in a series of civil rights protests

The Suez Canal Crisis

South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem –with US support- refused to allow the elections to take place because he realized that Ho Chi Minh would win


National Highway Act – massive interstate highway building (41, 000 miles) contributes to suburbanization

The Soviets launch "Sputnik"
The Eisenhower Doctrine – stated that the US would provide economic aid and arms to help Middle Eastern countries fight communism
First applied in Lebanon in 1958


The U.S. responds to Sputnik launch and "space gap" (or the “missile gap”) with large expenditures for missals and education.
Eisenhower is forced to send in federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce federal de-segregation laws. Little Rock Nine
Beat generation novelist Jack Kerouac writes On The Road.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) expands its efforts to include "covert actions" to overthrow pro-Communist governments in Africa and the Middle East.

The Soviet Union vows to suspend the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. The U.S. follows the Soviets toward "peaceful coexistence."
Hungarian Revolution


National Defense Education Act – federal aid to education reaction to Sputnik

Eisenhower coins the term "domino theory" to explain why the U.S. should intervene to stop the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia.
Castro leads revolution in Cuba


Alaska and Hawaii are admitted as the 49th and 50th states of the Union

--The Soviet Union shoots down the American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers.
Powers is tried and convicted of espionage. He is later released in a prisoner exchange, but a planned Eisenhower-Khrushchev summit meeting collapsed.


Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged Vice-President Richard Nixon to the first televised presidential debates. The medium favors Kennedy as a young and charismatic leader, inspiring hope in he "next generation."

First Televised Presidential Debates

Students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.

Ike’s Farewell Address (1961) warned Americans against the “military industrial complex” or arms build up despite the recent unfolding of events in Cuba and a perceived “missle gap”

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