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Eisenhower Inauguration:
  • With the military deadlock in Korea, the inflation as a result of the war during Truman’s presidency, and scandal in the White House, the democratic candidates in the election of 1952 were severely limited. The Democrats chose Adlai Stevenson in opposition to the Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • Eisenhower’s popular military status and his slogan “I Like Ike” provided him an advantage in the election. His running mate Richard Nixon also proved an advantage for Eisenhower as he appealed to the large non-communist public of the time period. Video: http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=1083660676&fr=yfp-t-501
  • The election of 1952 was won by Dwight D. Eisenhower by a large margin as he promised the United States that he would travel to Korea to settle the Korean War conflict.
Eisenhower and the Korean War:
  • With Eisenhower’s inauguration as president in 1952, the promise made to the country to settle the conflict with Korea was fulfilled. The Korean War which lasted three years was settled with a stalemate, in other words, the division of North and South Korea along the thirty eighth parallel.
  • As a result of the Korean War in the 1950’s, Americans witnessed 50,000 casualties, a large amount of debt in addition to the military spending during World War Two and the continuing fear of communism, as the Cold War remained.
  • However, the military spending during the war, the United States entered a period of economic prosperity and a new era of different and more versatile consumer products.
Eisenhower and the Fear of Communism:
  • Since the end of World War Two and the rise of the Soviet Union, the fear of communism across the United States caused the public to become suspicious of others around them. As a result of this fear and the spread of the Soviet Union across Eastern Europe, with the creation of the Berlin Wall following the war, political officials such as Richard Nixon and Senator Joseph McCarthy established the Committee for Un-American Activities and “crusades” against communism.
  • Joseph McCarthy- a Republican Senator from Wisconsin, who began a “crusade” against communism throughout the country. He targeted political officials in all areas of the government for employing communists within the nation and government.
  • For example he accused Secretary of State Dean Acheson for employing 205 communists and former army chief of staff George Marshall of being communist within the government. However, McCarthy failed to find one communist within the government during that time period.
  • McCarthy’s accusations of communism throughout the country aided in generating more Cold War fears toward communism and the Soviet Union.
  • He threatened American rights such as free speech and “fair play”, ruining officials, writers and actors careers.
  • McCarthy, loathed by many political officials and President Eisenhower, went too far as he began to attack the U.S army with televised hearings, a new medium in political broadcast.
The “Little Rock Nine”:
  • A large portion of American society inhabited a large population of African Americans that were still limited by the Jim Crow Laws of the South, dividing restrooms, restaurants, and stores between “colored” and white Americans.
  • As a result of the segregation between white and African Americans groups lead by Martin Luther King Jr. such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee from the “sit in” movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were formed advocating equal rights and privileges. With the promotion of civil rights by former president Harry S. Truman, the movement for desegregation began.
  • The Warren Court in 1957- headed by chief justice Earl Warren headed the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas. The case stated that segregation within the education system was unconstitutional and reversed the declaration in 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson stating “separate but equal”. The Border States and North complied with the ruling but the South resisted strongly.
  • “Little Rock Nine”- Eisenhower remained reluctant to promote integration, advising against the army integrating African Americans. However, at Little Rock High school in Arkansas, nine black Americans, escorted by federal troops under Eisenhower, broke the existing segregation with the education system.
“New Look” Foreign Policy:
  • In 1952 the Republicans called for a “new look” foreign policy with the Soviet Union and other nations. Eisenhower decided to enhance not only the United States ground forces but the efficiency of the nation’s aircrafts and nuclear missiles. In addition, Eisenhower called for negotiations and “open skies” with the new Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. However, the Soviet Union rejected the new plan of action.
  • As a result of the spread of the Soviet Union nation’s such as Hungary rose in retaliation without the United States support to ease tensions with the Soviet Union.
  • Vietnam- In the 1950’s nationalist Southeast Asian groups under Ho Chi Minh overthrew the existing French colonial establishment. As the French resisted they were overrun at Dienbienphu crippling American investments with the French. The Vietnam invasion was halted along the 17th parallel at the Geneva Conference.
  • The Middle East- In 1953 in an effort to secure Iranian oil for Western countries, the CIA engineered a coup that installed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as the dictator of Iran. President Nasser of Egypt was seeking funds to build a dam on the Nile River. After associating with the communists, secretary of state Dulles pulled back U.S. monetary aid for Egypt. As a result, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, which was owned by the French and British. In October of 1956, the Suez Crisis ensued as the French and British launched an assault on Egypt. The two countries were forced to withdraw their troops as America refused to release emergency supplies of oil to them. In 1957, Congress proclaimed the Eisenhower Doctrine, pledging U.S. military and economic aid to Middle Eastern nations threatened by communist aggression. In 1960, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, and Venezuela joined together to form the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Video’s of Eisenhower during His Presidency:
  1. http://www.ifilm.com/video/2687285?c...
  2. http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=1074858107&fr=yfp-t-501
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFgKtzyrRN8
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSOjBYb3ks0
  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fANokD1SYA8

Eisenhower's Second Term

  • Eisenhower ran against Stevenson once again in 1956 and won by an even greater margin

The Space Race

  • The Soviets launched Sputnik I during late 1957
  • The satellite caused mass panic as people wondered whether they could be killed at anytime from thousands of miles away
  • Eisenhower passed the National Defense and Education Act in 1958, which gave $887 million to college students in need, and colleges that had to be improved
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Diplomatic Relations

The Eisenhower Doctrine
  • In a message to congress early 1957, Eisenhower presented his foreign policy
  • The US would attack without regret countries that directly attacked them
  • Additionally, those who stood against Communism would be given various types of aid

Second Berlin Crisis
  • In 1958 Soviet premiere Khrushchev, announced that the West had 6 months to remove their troops from West Berlin
  • Eisenhower was able to put a stop to this by inviting the premiere to Camp David, while setting a date for a summit in 1960

The U-2 Incident
  • It looked as thought relations were improving between the two superpowers, however this was all about to change 2 weeks before the scheduled summit
  • A U-2 spy was observed flying over Soviet airspace and shot down
  • Khrushchev was furious with Eisenhower, and canceled the summit, even though Eisenhower took full responsibility
  • The U2 incident intensified the tensions of the cold war, and probably lengthened the time it would take for the two nations to come to any sort of an agreement
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Cuba's New Leader
  • In 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew the American supported dictator Fulgencio Batista
  • Castro announced that he would be distributing US lands in Cuba
  • Eisenhower responded by cutting off imports of Cuban sugar, but the distribution only got worse
  • Cuba turned to the USSR for support, and they gladly obliged, informing Eisenhower that if he attacked Cuba, they would counter-attack
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Latin American Relations
  • On the outside, the US wanted to be a good neighbor with Latin America, but in reality they wanted to make sure that no communist regimes remained on the continent, and that Latin America would assist them if ever attacked
  • The US established the Organization of American States to accomplish this objective
  • The US even gave around $500 million to Latin America, but most nations felt it was too little too late

Civil Rights Progress

  • In 1957 and 1960, laws were passed that established a Civil Rights Commission
  • They also allowed the Justice Department greater powers to defend the rights of African-Americans
  • Martin Luther King Jr founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that aimed to help the progress of African-American rights through the support of Churches
  • The Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was created in 1960 after College Students in North Carolina held a sit in after refused service
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JFK’s Presidential Term

Kennedy’s “New Frontier” Spirit

  • The tall, elegant, and handsome JFK was the youngest president ever elected, coupled with one of the youngest cabinets ever put together.
  • He proposed the Peace Corps, a volunteer army, to bring American skills to underdeveloped countries.
  • JFK gave his famous quote, “ask not what your country can do for you: ask what you can do for your country.”
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The New Frontier at Home

  • Kennedy cam into office with a slight democratic majority, but six democrats threatened to vote down his New Frontier proposals. Kennedy decided to expand the House Rules Committee to stop a domination of conservatives vote down his proposals. Even with this success, progress with the New Frontier was slow.
  • When a labor dispute with the steel industry arose, and the companies had their prices rise, JFK called them in to the White House, and got them to back down. While big business was a direct threat to the New Frontier, JFK announced his support of the tax-cut bill. Instead of using government spending to revitalize the economy after the Eisenhower recessions, JFK chose to put more money in private hands.
  • Kennedy also promoted a multi-billion dollar project that would land Americans on the moon. In 1969, the program was a success after two Americans successfully landed on the moon.
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Rumblings in Europe

· After a few months in the White House, JFK met with Soviet premier Khrushchev in Vienna. At the meeting, Khrushchev threatened to cut East Berlin off from western access, and sure enough in August of that year, the Soviets began to build the Berlin Wall.
· JFK secured the passage of the Trade Expansion Act in 1962, authorizing tax cuts of up to 50 percent to promote trade with Common market countries. This was the beginning of a significant expansion of European-American trade.
· A militarily united “Atlantic Community” with the U.S. as the main power fell through because of the influences of Charles de Galle, president of France. De Galle feared any more American influence in European affairs.

Foreign Flare-Ups and “Flexible Response”

· The U.S. foreign policy would soon take on an era of dealing with former European colonies and their search for stable governments.
· If Laos was to become communist, many felt there would be no stopping China from creating a communist Southeast Asia. Though Kennedy didn’t commit to sending troops to Laos, he sought a diplomatic escape hatch in the fourteenth-power Geneva conference, which established a shaky peace in 1962.
· Kennedy didn’t like the choice of either humiliation or nuclear incineration that came with the policy of “Massive Retaliation”. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara designed the policy of “flexible response” which gave the president an array of military options depending on the circumstances.
· Kennedy increased spending on conventional military forces along with Special Forces. These Special Forces were an elite outfit trained to survive and kill with scientific finesse.

Stepping into the Vietnam Quagmire

  • The biggest problem with the dropping of “Massive Diplomacy” was its negative impact on diplomacy. Diplomacy would soon become ineffective while the use of troops in war soon became reality, as seen in the Vietnam War.
  • With the growing opposition to the right-wing Diem Government in Vietnam, in 1961, JFK sent “military advisors” to protect America’s interests.
  • JFK then encouraged a military coup of Diem’s government, ironically leading to a political meltdown that America was originally trying to prevent. By the time of Kennedy’s death, he had ordered more than fifteen thousand Americans into Vietnam.
  • The “Modernization theory” which believed that countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia could follow the West’s success in modern industry and democracy, was the major underpinning for the commitment of the United States taking part in conflicts in third world areas.
  • Walt Whitman Rostow effectively captured this theme in his book, The Stages of Economic Growth.
  • http://youtube.com/watch?v=1qcIulNur0w

Cuban Confrontations

  • In 1961, Kennedy made the Alliance for Progress with Latin America. The main goal was the close the gap between the rich U.S. and the poor countries of Latin America. The main idea for this was to avoid the rise of communism near the U.S. homeland.
  • Already communist Cuba remained a problem. Kennedy chose to go through with a CIA-backed plan to overthrow Fidel Castro using anti-communist exiles. When the plan fell apart on the shores of Cuba (Bay of Pigs) Kennedy took full responsibility for the failure.
  • Soon, Castro would go to the Soviets to protect his government. In October of 1962, the Soviets were spotted by American spy planes in the action of moving nuclear missiles to the island of Cuba. Thus, the Cuban Missile Crisis had begun.
  • For thirteen days, a diplomatic struggle between Kennedy and Khrushchev took place, with nuclear war a very real possibility. Khrushchev finally backed down and took out his missiles in return for the fact that the United States would not invade Cuba and that they would take out their missiles in Turkey within six months.
  • Premier Khrushchev was run out of power from the embarrassment of blinking gin the diplomatic struggle. Hard-liners soon took over and dedicated the future towards gaining an advantage in the arms race. Kennedy got the Soviets to agree to not test nuclear weapons anymore in 1962. In 1963, the Moscow-Washington “hot line” provided for more rapid communication in case of another crisis.
  • These agreements gave way to the foreign policy of “détente” calling for peaceful coexistence between the Soviet Union and the United States.
  • http://youtube.com/watch?v=5ZYmCQu5oyk

The Struggle for Civil Rights

  • Although Kennedy had promised to support the civil right movement, he was slow to create legislation supporting African Americans
  • Kennedy had political concerns in term of dealing with civil rights. He had little control over congress, and he would need southern representatives to support his economic and social plans, many of which benefited blacks.
  • In 1961, anti-freedom riots were taking place in Alabama, in response to sit-ins and other protests started by the Freedom Riders. When the southern government officials refused to step in, Washington placed federal marshals in Alabama to protect the Freedom Riders. Reluctantly, the Kennedy administration was now joining hands with the civil rights movement.
  • In October of 1962, Kennedy had to send troops and marshals to escort James Meredith, an African American air force veteran, to his class in the University of Mississippi.
  • In the spring of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. organized a set of protest in Birmingham Alabama. These sure enough ended in total violence. Protesters were hosed down and attacked by police dogs. Much of the United States watched on the televisions, as protesters were attacked with hoses, dogs, and electric cattle prods.
  • Following this violence, Kennedy made a speech calling for new legislation in the civil rights movement as he stood behind Martin Luther King, Jr.’s actions.
  • In August, King led 200,000 white and black demonstrators to the nation’s capital where he made his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”. The violence continued even so. That night. Medger Evers, a Mississippi civil rights leader, was assassinated. A month later, four black girls were killed in an explosion in Birmingham.
  • http://youtube.com/watch?v=iEMXaTktUfA

The Killing of Kennedy

  • On November 22, 1963, JFK was shot to death in an open limousine in downtown Dallas. The alleded assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed on television by the self-appointed avenger, Jack Ruby. The two killings left the country stunned and in mourning.
  • Lyndon Johnson was immediately sworn in and promised to continue Kennedy’s policies.
  • Kennedy’s legacy was more of how he appealed to the American public than the concrete legislation he had passed.

LBJ's Presidential Term

  • The long time senator for Texas, Lyndon Johnson was finally the President. He had backed FDR and tried to continue domestic reform that would help the American public.
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The Great Society Congress

  • Johnson's administration fought heavily against poverty, granting over 3 billion dollars to redevolop and assist neighborhoods and citizens in dire need of money.
  • Persuaded Congress to create the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, whiched was placed under the leadership of the first black cabinet member in American history, Robert C. Weaver.
  • Impressively, Johnson addressed his four major concerns upon entering the White House as promised:
  • Aid to Education: Signed an education bill that guaranteed that government aid to students rather than schools, avoiding the ever-present conflict of seperation of church and state
  • Medicare: Created "entitlements" that offered grants to millions of needy Americans. (although a very costly procedure)
  • Immigration Reform: Abolished the ongoing quota system, allowing roughly doubled the amount of immigrants able to enter the nation. During this time period, many Latin Americans and Asians entered the nation, adding yet more variance to the nations ethnicity
  • Voting rights: see below

Battling for Black Rights:

  • Although legally "equals" African Americans until the mid 1960s were still for the most part oppressed, especiall when it came to their "legal" right to vote.
  • Many states found loop-holes to allowing blacks to vote, such as denying their entry to the ballot boxes by clearly segregated literacy tests, and poll taxes, along of course with the heavy intimidation factor.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once an influential preacher, soon became the loudest voice of the civil rights movement, and still pressured theexternal image martin-luther-king2.jpg government to reform voting rights, something the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not address.
  • The Voting Righs Act concluded a century of a silenced African American voice; a voice guaranteed by the government in the constitution. It wasn't long after this act that blacks discovered their strong new power in government affairs.

Vietnam Vexations:

  • Unfortunately, as many needed revolutions were occuring in the United States, the affair in Vietnam was worsening
  • During 1965, the first few antiwar protests were being seen around a few college campuses. Thousands of young Americans fled the country's borders to avoid the ever-unpopular draft, and some well known chants of the decade begun to be heard (most including LBJ's name).
  • By 1968, many Americans felt that the war was no longer "winnable" and became the longest and most unpopular confilict in American history. Over 100,000 Americans were already killed or wounded, and the worst was yet to come in the 1968 Tet Offensive.

Vietnam Topples Johnson:

  • In January of 1968, on the Vietnamese New Year (Tet), the Viet Cong launched simultaneous attacks on 27 cities, inflcting drastically heavy losses on the American and South Vietnamese troops.
  • The Tet Offensive, as it would be come to known, was the icing on the cake of the Vietnam conflict. American opposition to the war was no longer ignorable, and demanded an immediate end to the conflict.
  • On March 31, 1968, LBJ announced that he would send no more troops into the conflict, and that he would not be a candidate for the 1968 presidential election.

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Targets of the 1968 Tet Offensive

The Obituary of Lyndon Johnson:

  • LBJ quietly returned to his ranch in Texas in 1969, and died in guilt there only four years later
  • It is unfortunate that LBJ had made such a horrid mistake in the Vietnam conflict and is remembered so infamously, for his reforms and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, Medicare, education, and immigration policy were truly incredible.
  • LBJ was essentially a direct source to the end of legal African American oppression in the United States, and was simply a man in the wrong place at the wrong time regarding the Vietnam conflict.


1. The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan represented attempts by the United States to deal with the

national debt

spread of communism

President’s political opposition

arms race
2. Both the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (1961) and the invasion of Panama (1989) are examples of United States attempts to

eliminate unfriendly governments geographically close to the United States

cultivate good relations with Latin American nations

stop the drug trade

end the Cold War
3. A constitutional issue that was frequently raised about United States involvement in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict was the

right to regulate commerce with foreign nations

use of deficit spending to finance wars

lack of a formal declaration of war by Congress

Supreme Court’s role in foreign policy decision-making

anwser key: 1) 2, 2) 1, 3) 3
1. President Eisenhower's economic policy can be best characterized as
A. the adoption of deficit financing to promote economic growth, but the repudiation of the progressive income tax
B. the rejection of the New Deal and an attempt to restore laissez-faire policies
C. the acceptance of the New Deal, but moderation in the expansion of governmental social programs
D. a vigorous effort to increase defense spending and federal funds for health care
E. a continuation of his predecessors' efforts to expand the role of the federal government

2. Which of the following is correct about United States involvement in the Vietnam War?
A. It was justified by an appeal to the Open Door policy
B. It was the exclusive responsibility of the Johnson and Nixon administrations
C. It came about only after a formal declaration of war
D. It was primarily anti-Soviet in purpose
E. It grew out of policy commitments and assumptions since the Second World War

1. C
2. E