Nearly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans in Southern states still inhabited a starkly unequal world of disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence.
Growing out of post-World War II tensions between the two nations, the Cold War rivalry between the United states and the Soviet Union that lasted for much of the second half of the 20th century resulted in mutual suspicions, heightened tensions and a series of international incidents that brought the worlds superpowers to the brink of disaster.
The United States was the world's strongest military power. Its economy was booming, and the fruits of this prosperity-new cars, suburban houses and other consumer goods- were available to more people than ever before. However, the 1950s where also an era of great conflict. For example, the nascent civil rights movement and the crusade against communism at home and abroad exposed the underlying divisions in American society.
At the beginning of the 1960s, many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. On January 20, 1961, the handsome and charismatic John F. Kennedy became president of the United States. His confidence that, as one historian put it, 'the government possessed big answers to big problems' seemed to set the tone for the rest of the decade. However, that golden age never materialized. On the contrary, by the end of the 1960s it seemed that the nation was falling apart.
The 1970s were a tumultuous time. in some ways, the decade was a continuation of the 1960s. Women, African American, Native Americans, gays and lesbians and other marginalized people continued their fight for equality, and many Americans joined the protest against the ongoing war in Vietnam. In other ways, however, the decade was a repudiation of the 1960s. A 'New Right' mobilized in defense of political conservation and traditional family roles, and the behavior of President Richard Nixon undermined many peoples faith in the good intentions of the federal government . By the end of the decade, these division and disappointments had set a tone for public life that many would argue is still with us today.
The Vietnam War was a long. costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong against South Vietnam and its principle ally, the United States. The divisive war, increasingly unpopular at home, ended with the withdrawal of the U,S. forces in 1973 and the unification of Vietnam under Communist control two years later. More than 3 million people, including 58,000 Americans, were killed in the conflict.
On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People's Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the South.
Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign relations provides a general overview of the history of the U.S. engagement with the world through short essays on important moments, or milestones, in the diplomatic history of the United States. The basic objective of these essays is to provide a clear, accurate, narrative account of the events being discussed, with a brief discussion of each event's significance for the U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic history. The publication is divided into 19 chapters covering time periods from 1750 until 2000, with brief introductions providing context for each period.