Post World War Two

Civil Rights Movement

Committee on Civil Rights

1946 - 1947

The Committee evaluated the condition of civil rights in the U.S. and proposed measures to Truman on how to fix and protect them

Harry Truman


Tried, but failed, to veto the Taft-Hartly Act, which was to check the power of the growing Unions



Jackie Robinson desegregated the sport by joining the Dodgers as the first black man in the major league


1950 - 1960

Authors such as Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and Allen Ginsberg (Howl) advocated spontaneity, use of drugs, and rebellion of social standards. The Beatniks became models for the youth rebellion of the 60's.

Earl Warren Court

1953 - 1969

Earl Warren was the Chief Justice during the period, which ended racial segregation and applied the Bill of Rights to the states.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka


The NAACP, along with Thurgood Marshall, convinced the supreme court to rule that segregation of public facilities is unconstitutional and segregation of the schools must end quickly

Montgomery, AL

1955 - 1956

Rosa Parks was arrested for not moving from her seat on the bus. Soon a bus boycott began, but ended when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation laws are unconstitutional

1957 Civil Rights Act


The Act was to ensure that all blacks could exercise their right to vote.


1960 - 1970

The organization founded for Civil Rights, organizing sit-ins and freedom rides

Greensboro sit-ins

February, 1960

College students started a sit-in movement after being refused service at a local Woolworth's lunch counter, inviting their on arrest

Civil Rights Act of 1960

May 6, 1960

Eisenhower mandated this law to fill in the loop holes of the 1957 Act. The law punished those who tried to prevent an eligible person from voting.

Mapp v. Ohio


It was ruled that illegally siezed evidence could not be used in court against the accused.

24th Amendment

August 27, 1962

Prohibits Congress and the states from instituting a poll tax.

Ole Miss riot

October 1, 1962

James H. Meredith became the first black student at Mississippi University. This led to a riot between racists and the US Marshals, who were sent by Kennedy to protect Meredith.

Gideon v. Wainwright


It required that state courts provide an attorney for poor defendents.

The Feminine Mystique


Written by Betty Friedan, it sparked a second wave of feminism by showing how unhappy many women were with being housewives.

March on Washington

August 1963

200,000 took place in Martin Luther Kng Jr.'s demonstration, where he gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech

Birmingham, Alabama

September 15, 1963

A Baptist Church in Alabama was bombed, killing 4 and injuring 23. Robert Chambliss was arrested as a suspect, but was never convicted.

Civil Rights Act


Made segregation illegal in all public facilities and gave the federal government the right to enforce school desegregation

Escobedo v. Illinois


It required the police to inform an arrested person of his or her right to remain silent.

Voting Rights Act of 1965


Congress ended literacy tests that kept blacks from voting.

Riots – 1965-1968

1965 - 1968

Race riots erupted in black neighborhoods of large cities because of discrimination of housing. A famous one, the Watts riots, took place in Los Angeles, where over 30,000 people took part and over 200 buildings were destroyed.

1965 Assassination

February 21, 1965

Malcolm X, a black rights and self-sufficiency advocate,was murdered in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom.



The National Organization for Women was founded in 1966 to fight for women's rights. Betty Friedan was the first president of the organization.

Miranda v. Arizona


An arrested person had the right to have a lawer present during police questioning.

Thurgood Marshall


Thurgood Marshall was the first African American justice on the United States supreme court.

1968 Assassinations

April 4, 1968 - June 5, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Robert F. Kennedy, a U.S. Senator and presidential nominee, was shot in the Ambassador Hotel.


August 15, 1969 - August 18, 1969

Hippies gathered for three days of music in upper state New York. This was the last large gathering that reflected their culture.


March 22, 1972

The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by the Senate, which stated that equal rights under the law shall not be denied because of sex.

Cold War

Containment Policy

1944 - 1989

Policy by Truman (and Reagan, etc.) to contain communism to soviet union and not allow its westward spread

Atomic Bomb Detonated

July 16, 1945

Manhatten project tests first atomic bomb

Red Scare

1947 - 1954

Gov saw communist conspiracies behind civil wars in Europe & Asia, led to suspicions of Communists at home

National Security Act


Set up CIA, DOD, NSC (National Security Council), and a peacetime draft

Truman Doctrine

March 12, 1947

Sent $400 million dollars toTurkey and Greece in military aid to prevent communism from spreading there

Defensive Policy


Designed to extend containment policy on an international level with other nations

Berlin Airlift


Stalin cut off US access to West Berlin
Aerial drops of resources supplied Berliners
Stalin could not shoot the planes down and eventually ended the highway blockade

Marshall Plan

April 1948

Economic aid to prevent Europe communism



North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allies (US, British, French, Canadians, etc.) against communists, specifically Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact

Atomic Weapons


US was only country with A-bomb until Soviets developed one
Then the US built an H-bomb and the Soviets followed

First Atomic Bomb Test

August 29, 1949

Unofficial beginning of the arms race
Came as a surprise to the US
Speed came from spies inside development teams in the US

Joseph McCarthy

1950 - 1954

Republican senator from Wisconsin
Charged 205 state department workers w/being Communist; rode the wave of paranoia and anticommunism to make himself powerful
-bashed democrats and the wealthy with “gloves-off” unsupported accusations to keep the attention on himself and to discredit Truman
-a senate committee finally held televised hearings on Commie infiltration in the army in 1954, and McCarthy was seen as a bully by millions; republicans and democrats censured him
“Three years later, McCarthy died a broken man.”

Korean War

June 25, 1950 - 1953

North Korea and (later) China vs. South Korea and the U. N.
War started b/c US was trying to stop communism from spreading to South Korea
In the strategy of the cold war, Truman’s containment policy in Korea worked (stopped communism, no world war)
Provided an excuse to expand the military, create new jet bombers, and placing more troops in overseas bases
Republicans used the war stalemate to hammer the democrats

Rosenburg Case

1951 - 1953

Americans were convinced spies gave nuclear secrets to Russia
FBI traced a spy ring to Julius and Ethel Rosenburg in New York
Were executed for the crime after a controversial trial

Truman vs. MacArthur

April 1951

MacArthur was a general in the Korean War (had his good moments and his incredibly stupid ones)
Called for “expanded war” (bombing/invasion of China)
His statements got him in trouble b/c they criticized Truman’s “limited war,” so he was put on trial for insubordination after MA refused to stop complaining
MA came home to public support


October 4, 1957

Main step towards long range missiles for Russia programs in the Arms race between Russia and America
Basically the first "NASA "

U-2 incident

May 1, 1960

American pilot flew a spy plane across Russia taking pictures of nuclear test sites then got shot down and captured, but was released

Bay of Pigs Invasion

April 17, 1961

Kennedy used C.I.A. agents to train Cuban rebels to stage a coup against Cuba

Berlin Wall

August 13, 1961 - November 9, 1989

Wall that divided up Germany into east and west east
Erected under Communist control by Soviet Russia

Cuban Missile Crisis

October 1962

Cuba got nuclear weapons from Russia which threatend America and pushed towards nuclear war


1964 - 1975

War between North and South Vietnam
US got involved in order to support containment policy

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

August 7, 1964

Joint resolution that the United States Congress passed in response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Gave Johnson the right to employ military force in Southeast Asia

Escalation of the Vietnam War


Tension between Russia and America got to boiling point due to actions made by both countries to support their sides of Vietnam

1968 Election


After JFK’s death Nixon and George Wallace campaigned for presidency
Nixon won

Tet Offensive

January 30, 1968

Military effort in Vietnam War, North Vietnam attack south Vietnam and America counterattacked


1969 - 1975

Policy as result because of Tet Offensive

Trained and equipped the South Vietnamese so US troops could leave


1972 - 1979

continued SALT I
reduced the manufacturing of nuclear weapons between the US and Soviet Union

End of Vietnam War

January 1973

Paris Peace accords
armistice agreed after several weeks of B-52 bomber attacks, the US withdrew troops and received over 500 POW's
Also promised a cease-fire and free elections, but did not end the war between the two Vietnams

Star Wars


Strategic Defense Initiative
proposed high-tech system of lasers and particle beams to destroy enemy missiles before reaching US territory
Critics stated the program would escalate the arms race and could be overwhelmed by the building of more missiles



Mikhail Gorbachev became the new Soviet leader
introduced two new reforms - glasnost and perestroika



Mikhail Gorbachev
openness to end political repression and move to greater political freedom



Mikhail Gorbachev
restructuring Soviet economy by introducing some free-market practices

Eastern Europe

1989 - October, 1990

Communist governments began falling apart
Began in Poland, 1989 with the election of Lech Walesa
Then Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania fell
Communists were forced out of East Germany after protesters tore down the Berlin wall

Tienanmen Square

April 1989 - June 1989

prodemocracy students demonstrate in Beijing, China
Communist government crushed the demonstration with tanks under the cover of night, killing hundreds