We Didn't Start The Fire Timeline


Kenneth Clark's Doll Experiment


an experiment done by Dr Kenneth Clark and his wife Mamie where they asked black children to choose between a black doll and a white doll. The dolls were the same except for their skin colour but most thought the white doll was nicer.

Yalta Conference

February 4, 1945 - February 11, 1945

Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met. Stalin said the Soviet Union would enter the Pacific war 3 months after Germany surrendered. A plan for the new United Nations was developed, including the Security Council with US, GB, Soviet Union, France and China as permanent members. Germany was divided into 4 occupation zones, controlled by US, France, GB and the Soviet Union.

Postdam Conference

July 17, 1945 - August 2, 1945

Truman, Stalin Churchill and later Clement Atlee (new prime minister of GB) met. Truman told Stalin about the atomic bomb. Stalin had been spying on the US and already knew about the bomb, but pretended he didn’t. He promised to declare war on Japan.

Parenting-Dr. Benjamin Spock

1946 - 1960

wrote the book Baby and Child Care- first published in 1946. His approach to raising children was child centered, as opposed to parent centered. he believed a mothers purpose was to help the child learn, grow, and realize their potential. everything else, including the physical and emotional requirements of the mother, should be subordinated to the needs of the child.


1946 - 1973

written by George Kennan. this was a policy that gave US authority to stop communism whenever and wherever it occurred. Containment was dominant policy of the Cold War era and caused America to become involved in foreign affairs

Central Intelligence Agency


Central Intelligence Agency, created by the National Security Act. It would replace the Office of Strategic Services and would be responsible for collecting information through both open and covert methods. It engaged secretly in political and military operations during the during the Cold War.

National Security Act


Central Intelligence Agency, created by the National Security Act. It would replace the Office of Strategic Services and would be responsible for collecting information through both open and covert methods. It engaged secretly in political and military operations during the during the Cold War.

Hollywood 10/Blacklist

1947 - 1955

The hollywood blacklist was the list of suspected communists in the Hollywood area and industry, which was brought about by McCarthyism. The “Hollywood Ten” were the ten artists, writers, actors, and directors who were arrested in October of 1947.

Shelly v. Kramer


Court case involving restrictive covenants, which prevented blacks from living in certain neighborhoods. These covenants were declared unconstitutional by the Vinson court.

Jackie Robinson


joined Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking color barriers in Major League baseball.


1947 - 1957

most famous postwar suburban developer, William Levitt, made use of mass production techniques to construct large housing development on Long Island (It was called a Levittown). First Levittown = several thousand houses. Houses = 2 bedroom Cape-Cod style. Identical interiors and slightly varied exteriors. sold for under $10,000. Helped meet enormous and growing demand for housing.


1947 - 1960

most powerful medium of mass communication. 1920’s = early experimentation of picture and sound together. Commercial television began after WWII- Growth = very rapid. 1946- 17,000 tv sets in US. 1957- 40 million sets. By 1950s, tv news had replaced newspapers, magazines, and radios as nation’s most important vehicle information.

Truman Doctrine

March 12, 1947

Truman’s foreign policy, based on the idea of containment, which said, “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” This shaped America’s foreign policy for decades to come.

West German Republic


Truman reached an agreement with GB and France to merge the three western zones of occupation in Germany into the West German Republic which included the American, British and French sectors of Berlin, though Berlin itself was in the Soviet zone.

Strom Thurmond


Also known as the States’ Rights Democratic Party, the Dixiecrats ran Strom Thurmond as their political candidate, opposing Truman, in 1948. The platform was segregation and states rights.

Arab-Israeli Wars

1948 - 1974

UN declared Israel independent for the Jewish people which caused problems with the Palestinian Arabs whose land was partially given to the Jews. US supported Israel.

Executive Order 9981


Truman's executive order ordering the end of segregation in the Armed Forces.

Berlin Airlift

June 24, 1948 - 1949

After Stalin imposed a blockade around the western sectors of Berlin on June 24, 1948, Truman responded by ordering the Berlin Airlift to supply west Berlin with food and supplies. 2.5 million tons of material was sent, keeping a city of 2 million people alive. In the spring of 1949, Stalin lifted the blockade because the airlift had made it ineffective.

Chinese Revloution


Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government in China collapsed to the communist rule of Mao Zedong in 1949. Chiang fled to Taiwan while the entire mainland of China fell to a communist government that the US believed to be an extension of the Soviet Union. The US refused to recognize the communist government of China. It relied on Japan as a buffer against Asian communism, ending American occupation there in 1952.

National Housing Act


A part of the Fair Deal, this act increased the role of government in mortgage assistance and increased the production of public housing.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

April 4, 1949

An agreement between 12 nations establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and declaring that an armed attack against one member would be considered an attack against all.



missiles capable of traveling through space to distant targets. First American tests = Atlas and Titan- 1950s. 1958- scientists created a solid form of fuel to replace the volatile liquid fuels in the earlier missiles.

Gender Roles/Feminism

1950 - 1960

many middle class men considered it demeaning for their wives to be employed. Many women often shied away from the workplace when they could afford to, partly because of prevailing ideas about motherhood that seemed to require women to stay at home full time with their children.


1950 - 1960

a group of young poets, writers, and artists. They wrote harsh critiques of what they considered the conformity of American life, the meaninglessness of American politics, and the banality of pop culture.

American Bandstand

1950 - 1960

one of most popular television programs among younger people. combined new popularity of television with new popularity of rock ‘n’ roll.


1950 - 1960

record promoters were eager to get their songs on the air so they routinely made secret payments to station owners and disk jockeys to encourage them to showcase their artists.

Culture of Poverty

1950 - 1960

about 20% of population was in constant poverty. Mainly affected African Americans, Hispanics and other Asian-Americans. Native Americans had the highest poverty rate. Also predominantly affected farmers causing a 10% decline in the rural population as they moved to cities. Migrant workers and sharecroppers and tenants greatly affected.

Jim Crow Laws

1950 - 1960

laws that mandated segregation in public facilities, defended through Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” in 1896. Replaced Black Codes. Began to unravel with Brown v Board.

Juvenile Delinquency

1950 - 1960

young people began to wear clothes and adopt hairstyles that mimicked popular images of juvenile criminal gangs. acts of juvenile delinquency = teen rebelliousness toward parents, youthful fascination with fast cars and motorcycles, and increasing visibility of teen sex- assisted by greater availability of birth control devices.

Consumer Crazes

1950 - 1960

occurred because consumer goods were often marketed and advertised nationally.

Passive Resistance

1950 - 1960

Advocated by MLK based on the actions of Gandhi and writings of Thoreau. Nonviolent resistance included peaceful demonstrations and no resistance to arrest or beatings. Led to MLK’s notoriety.


1950 - 1957

Created by mass communist hysteria, Joseph McCarthy began to suspect, investigate, and accuse people across the nation of communism during the 1950s. This became a large scare in which neighbor turned on neighbor until McCarthy was humiliated and eventually died in 1957.

Migrant Farmworkers

1950 - 1960

a group concentrated especially in west and southwest. It contained many Mexican-American and Asian-American workers who sometimes lived in dire circumstances. In rural areas without much commercial agriculture, whole communities lived in desperate poverty, increasingly cut off from market economy. All of those groups were vulnerable to malnutrition and starvation.



a report from the National Security Council which outlined a shift in the american foreign policy. It said that America could not rely on the initiative of other nations in resisting communism, but must establish firm and active leadership of the noncommunist world. It also said America must move to stop communist expansion anywhere it occurred, regardless of strategic or economic factors. It expanded American military power by calling for a defense budget 4 times the previously proposed size.

Credit Cards


1950s- consumer credit increased by 800% between 1945 and 1957 because of Credit cards, revolving charge accounts, and payment plans.

Rosa Parks

December 1, 1951

A NAACP worker who volunteered to not give up her seat on the bus, inciting the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Hydrogen Bomb


unlike plutonium and uranium bombs that were developed during WWII, hydrogen bomb derives power from fusion, not fission. it is capable of producing explosions of vastly greater power that the earlier fission bombs.



military coup organized by CIA to replace Mossadegh with Pahlevi in order to get a shah who would support American business interests in the region.

Massive Retaliation


a strategy of military counterattack that involves the use of nuclear weapons.



Policy of threatening to use nuclear weapons to push the Soviet Union to the brink of war in order for them to grant US consessions.



military coup sponsored by CIA to replace leftist Jacobo Guzmán because of threats to United Fruit Company involvement in Guatemala.

Brown v. Board of Education


unanimous decision that overrode “separate but equal”/segregation in schools. NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall argued the case.

Warsaw Pact


A formal alliance of the Soviet Union with the communist governments in Eastern Europe to counter NATO.

Emmitt Till


A boy who was dared to whistle to a white woman and then was murdered

Executive Order 10950


Eisenhower's executive order establishing the President's Committee on Government Policy to enforce a nondiscrimination policy in Federal employment.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 1, 1955 - December 21, 1956

began with Rosa Parks refusal to leave seat on bus staged by NAACP. Her arrest led to the bus boycott which people attempted to prevent by not insuring black peoples’ cars and making carpooling laws. Almost put bus system out of business until Supreme Court ruled segregation in public transportation illegal in 1956.

Griffin v. Illinois


riffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12 (1956), was a case in which United States Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant may not be denied the right to appeal due to inability to pay for a trial transcript.

Hungarian Revolution


Hungarian revolt against for democratic reforms put down by Soviets supporting the current regime.

Suez Crisis


Nasser responded to US actions by seizing control of Suez Canal from British arguing it would use it to fund building of canal on its own. October 29 Israelis invaded Egypt followed by British and French. US thought invasion would turn Middle East towards supporting USSR and joined UN condemnation of the invasion, pressuring British and French withdrawal and Israeli-Egyptian truce.

Southern Manifesto


The Declaration of Constitutional Principles (known informally as the Southern Manifesto) was a document written in February and March 1956, in the United States Congress, in opposition to racial integration of public places

Little Rock Nine


the first test of the Brown v. Board decision and meaning of “with all deliberate speed”. 9 black students agreed to attend Central HS in Little Rock Arkansas. Were barred from entering by Arkansas Nat’l Guard and only able to attend school starting the second day with the constant protection of the 101st Airborne division sent out by Eisenhower.



The SCLC was the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which created citizen-education and other programs to mobilize black workers, farmers, housewives and others to challenge segregation, disenfranchisement and discrimination. Ella Baker was an important leader.

Civil Rights Bill


bill signed by President Eisenhower to delegate federal power to protect African Americans who wanted to register to vote. Passed by Democratic Congress without much support from the White House and therefore was too weak to be effective. However it signaled the beginning of the executive and legislative branches to begin working on protections for blacks.


October 4, 1957

Soviet Union’s earth-orbiting satellite. Americans reacted to this launch with alarm. American federal policy began encouraging and funding strenuous efforts to improve scientific education in schools, create more research labs, and speed up America’s exploration of outer space.


January 1, 1959 - 1974

Fidel Castro seized control over Batista government (US instated leader of Cuba in 1952 in support of American business), and kicked American corporations out of Cuba. Began accepting Soviet assistance 1960 led to 1961 Eisenhower stopping US-Cuba diplomatic relations

The New Left

1960 - 1970

a large, diverse group of men and women energized by the polarizing developments of their time. They embraced the cause of African Americans and other minorities, although the group was mainly white. Some members of the New Left had radical parents who were part of the Old Left in the 30s and 40s.

Chicano Activism

1960 - 1970

Mexican American activists began calling themselves Chicanos as a way of emphasizing the shared culture of Spanish speaking Americans.


1960 - 1970

A hallucinogenic drug popular amongst the drug users of the counterculture group in the 1960's

Alliance for Progress

1960 - 1963

Kennedy’s proposed series of projects for peaceful development and stabilization of of the nations in Latin America.



SNCC was the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee, a group composed of black students who aimed to end segregation in public accommodations. It was formed by some students who staged a sit-in at a lunch counter in North Carolina after being denied service.

U-2 Crisis

May 1, 1960

an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union and pilot Francis Gary Powers was captured. Eisenhower took responsibility for the spy plane and Soviet leader Krushchev called of a diplomacy conference that was to take place in a few days.

Declaration of Indian Purpose


over 400 of 67 different tribes met in Chicago to discuss ways to bring Indians together in effort to redress common wrongs. They issued the Declaration of Indian Purpose which stressed the “right to choose our own way of life”.

Berlin Wall


The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin.

Bay of Pigs

April 17, 1961

2000 armed anti-Castro Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to overthrow Castro. They expected first American air support and then an uprising of Cuban people in Cuba against Castro. However, Kennedy withdrew air support at the last minute because it was clear that things were going badly and he didn’t want to involve the United States too directly in the invasion. The expected uprising did not occur. Instead, Castro’s forces crushed the invaders. The entire mission collapsed and was considered a failure.

Port Huron Statement


group of students, most from prestigious universities, gathered in Michigan to form organization to give voice to their demands. It was called Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Port Huron Statement was their declaration of beliefs. It expressed their disillusionment with the society they had inherited and their determination to build a new politics.

Silent Spring


Silent Spring, a novel by Rachel Carson, began the environmental movement in the US. It told of the negative side effects of pesticides on the environment, as well as increasing pollution.

Engle v. Vitale


No prayer in public schools; violates separation of church and state

Baker v. Carr


State legislatures have to apportion electoral districts so all votes have an equal weight. Strengthened value of many Hispanic and African American votes. (Previously areas with white populations were given more electoral votes)

Ole Miss


University of Mississippi desegregated at orders of Kennedy to Governor Barnett

Cuban Missile Crisis

October 1962

2000 armed anti-Castro Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to overthrow Castro. They expected first American air support and then an uprising of Cuban people in Cuba against Castro. However, Kennedy withdrew air support at the last minute because it was clear that things were going badly and he didn’t want to involve the United States too directly in the invasion. The expected uprising did not occur. Instead, Castro’s forces crushed the invaders. The entire mission collapsed and was considered a failure.

The Feminine Mystique


The Feminine Mystique is a nonfiction book by Betty Friedan, first published in 1963, which is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States

Medgar Evers


Evers, a black NAACP leader from Mississippi, was killed

Gideon v. Wainwright


every defendant is entitled to a lawyer and, if they cannot afford one, the government will provide one.

I Have a Dream Speech

August 28, 1963

I Have a Dream" is a public speech by American activist Martin Luther King, Jr.. It was delivered by King on August 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism in the United States

UC Berkley Activist Activities


ispute over rights of students to engage in political activities on campus gained national attention. This was known as the Free Speech Movement. It created turmoil at Berkeley- students challenged campus police, occupied administrative offices, and produced a strike where almost ¾ of students participated. Immediate issue was the right of students to pass out literature and recruit volunteers for political causes on campus.

Draft Dodgers

1964 - 1973

someone who is drafted and illegally refuses to serve in the Vietnam War

Freedom Summer


The campaign of thousands of civil rights workers to work on the behalf of black voter registration and participation in the South. It met a violent response from Southern whites.

Escobedo v. Illinois


defendant must be allowed to access a lawyer before police questioning.

Civil Rights Act of 1964


a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States[1] that outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.

Title VII

July 2, 1964

Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that forbade discrimination against ethnic, racial, national, and religious minorities, including women. Although its power was weak at first, Congress began to sufficiently fund and push the Civil Rights Act in voting, schools, and the workplace.

Dominican Republic Intervention


In the spring of 1965, a conservative military regime in the Dominican Republic began to collapse and was replaced by government under the left-wing nationalist Juan Bosch. Johnson thought that Bosch planned to establish a pro-Castro communist regime and dispatched 30,000 American troops to quell the disorder. Only after a conservative candidate defeated Bosch in a 1966 election were American forces withdrawn.

Malcolm X Killed


Violent black leader Malcolm X killed by members of Nations of Islam

Voting Rights Act


Eliminated poll taxes, literary tests and grandfather clauses for voting

Griswold v. Connecticut


Supreme Court Case, under the Warren Court, which allowed for the use of contraceptives by women by declaring a Connecticut law unconstitutional. This was followed by Roe v. Wade, a similar type of case, several years later.

Cesar Chavez


created United Farm Workers (UFW), largely Mexican organization. It launched a prolonged strike against growers to demand recognition of their union and increased wages and benefits. When employers resisted, Chavez enlisted the cooperation of college students, churches, and civil rights groups and organized a nationwide boycott, first grapes, then lettuce. 1968- Chavez campaigned openly for Robert Kennedy. 2 years later, he won substantial victory when the growers of half of California’s table grapes signed contracts with his union.

Dejure and Defacto Segregation


De jure segregation was segregation by law and de facto was segregation in practice, as through residential patterns. By the mid 1960’s, the battle against school desegregation had moved to attack de facto segregation.

National Organization for Women


American activist organization (founded 1966) that promotes equal rights for women.

University of Alabama


Blacks were eventually let into University of Alabama

Black Panthers


Founded by Huey Newton, a group that advocated violent black power

Miranda v. Arizona


uthorities must inform a suspect of their rights when arrested

Six Day War


Israel took over Jerusalem and expanded their territories on the west bank of the Jordan River, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights which displaced a large amount of Palestinian Arabs who took refuge in Jordan and Lebanon. Those governments were concerned of the instability brought in by the refugees who were members of the radical Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Thurgood Marshall


Thurgood Marshall was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice.

Katz v. United States


Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), is a United States Supreme Court case discussing the nature of the "right to privacy" and the legal definition of a "search." The Court’s ruling adjusted previous interpretations of the unreasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment to count immaterial intrusion with technology as a search, overruling Olmstead v. United States and Goldman v. United States. Katz also extended Fourth Amendment protection to all areas where a person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy".

Riots of 67 and 68

1967 - 1968

The riots of 1967 and 1968 were race riots between whites and blacks. The most notable was a racial class in Detroit in 1967 in which 43 people were killed.

American Indian Movement


group of young militant Indians established the American Indian Movement (AIM), which drew its greatest support from those Indians who lived in urban areas but soon established a significant presence on reservations as well. result = Indian Civil Rights Act- 1968- recognized legitimacy of tribal laws within reservations.

Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham


refusal to declare “pupil placement laws” unconstitutional. (attempts to avoid integration in schools by admitting students according to scholastic abilities and behavior). Promoted continuation of efforts to maintain segregation in schools.

MLK Assassinated

April 4, 1968

Martin Luther King was kiled by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Texas

Bra Burning

September 7, 1968

Robin Morgan and the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell protested the 1968 Miss America Pageant for objectifying women by burning bras

People's Park


Berkeley became scene of most prolonged and traumatic conflict of any college campus in the 60s. There was a battle over efforts of a few students to build a “People’s Park” on a vacant lot that was planned to be used as a parking garage. People’s Park battle lasted over a week. Result = 85% of students voted to leave park alone.

Stonewall Riot


A series of violent uprisings by the gay community in New York against police raids. Started when the New York Police raided the Stonewall Inn in the early hours of Jan. 28, 1969. Policeman were forced to call in reinforcements to subdue the mob.



The Woodstock Festival was a three-day concert (which rolled into a fourth day) that involved lots of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll - plus a lot of mud. The Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 has become an icon of the 1960s hippie counterculture.

Man on the Moon

July 20, 1969

Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins successfully traveled in a space capsule and orbited moon. Armstrong and Aldrin = first men to walk on a body other than earth.



A treaty between the Americans and Soviets limiting the number of nuclear arms on each side