Post WWII Timeline

  • Panama Canal

    Panama Canal
    Waterway across the Isthmus of Panama. The canal connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The United States built it from 1904 to 1914 on territory leased from Panama
  • G.I. Bill

    G.I. Bill
    A law passed in 1944 that provided educational and other benefits for people who had served in the armed forces in World War II. Benefits are still available to persons honorably discharged from the armed forces
  • Fair Deal

    Fair Deal
    The Fair Deal was an ambitious set of proposals put forward by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address. More generally the term characterizes the entire domestic agenda of the Truman administration
  • Iron Curtain

    Iron Curtain
    The Iron Curtain was the name for the boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War in 1991. It symbolized the efforts by the Soviet Union to block itself and its satellite states from open contact with the West and non-Soviet controlled areas
  • Truman Doctrine

    Truman Doctrine
    The principle that the United States should give support to countries or peoples threatened by communist insurrection. First expressed by President Truman in a speech to Congress seeking aid for Greece and Turkey, the doctrine was seen by the communists as an open deceleration of the Cold War.
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    Cold War

    After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were the world's strongest nations. They were called superpowers. They had different ideas about economics and government. They fought a war of ideas called the Cold War.
  • 2nd Red Scare

    2nd Red Scare
    The second Red Scare refers to the fear of communism that permeated American politics, culture, and society during the opening phases of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
  • Marshall Plan

    Marshall Plan
    A program by which the United States gave large amounts of economic aid to European countries to help them rebuild after the devastation of World War II. It was proposed by General George Marshall
  • Berlin Airlift

    Berlin Airlift
    At the end of World War II, the United States, British, and Soviet military forces divided and occupied Germany. It also divided into occupation zones, Berlin was located far inside Soviet controlled eastern Germany
  • Beat Generation

    Beat Generation
    The Beat Generation is a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-World War II era. The bulk of their work was published and popularized throughout the 1950s
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    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 were also an era of great conflict
  • Elvis

    Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll", or simply "the King".
  • Atomic/Hydrogen Weapons

    Atomic/Hydrogen Weapons
    An atomic bomb is about fission. You're breaking up very large atoms (Uranium or Plutonium) in a super-critical chain reaction. A hydrogen bomb, or a thermonuclear bomb, uses fusion in a chain reaction
  • Television

    At the start of the decade, there were about 3 million TV owners; by the end of it, there were 55 million, watching shows from 530 stations. The average price of TV sets dropped from about $500 in 1949 to $200 in 1953.
  • TV Shows

    TV Shows
    Browse our classic TV vault for some of the best 1950s TV shows that aired during primetime television from 1950 to 1959. Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. View Show. Bonanza. View Show. Dragnet. View Show. Father Knows Best. View Show. Gunsmoke. View Show. Have Gun - Will Travel. View Show. The Honeymooners
  • Rock 'n' Roll

    Rock 'n' Roll
    a type of popular dance music originating in the 1950s, characterized by a heavy beat and simple melodies. Rock and roll was an amalgam of black rhythm and blues and white country music, usually based on a twelve-bar structure and an instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums
  • Dr. Jonas Salk

    Dr. Jonas Salk
    Vaccine against poliomyelitis named for Dr. Jonas Salk who developed and introduced it in 1955. It was the first type of polio vaccine to become available. It was made by cultivating three strains of the virus separately in monkey tissue
  • Albert Sabin

    Albert Sabin
    Albert Bruce Sabin was a Polish American medical researcher, best known for developing the oral polio vaccine which has played a key role in nearly eradicating the disease
  • Polio Vaccine

    Polio Vaccine
    Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. ... There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio: inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV). IPV is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on the patient's age.
  • Earl Warren Supreme Court

    Earl Warren Supreme Court
    Appointed the 14th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1953. The landmark case of his tenure was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), in which the Court unanimously determined the segregation of schools to be unconstitutional. The Warren Court also sought electoral reforms, equality in criminal justice and the defense of human rights
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    Civil Rights

    Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.
  • Emmett Till Tragedy

    Emmett Till Tragedy
    14-year-old Emmett Till reportedly flirted with a white cashier in Money, Mississippi. Four days later, two white men tortured and murdered Till. His murder galvanized the emerging Civil Rights Movement
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Montgomery Bus Boycott
    The Montgomery bus boycott, a seminal event in the Civil Rights Movement, was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama
  • Space Race

    Space Race
    The competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States, for supremacy in spaceflight capability.
  • Little Rock 9

    Little Rock 9
    The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas
  • Civil Rights Act of 1957

    Civil Rights Act of 1957
    primarily a voting rights bill, was the first federal civil rights legislation passed by the United States Congress since the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
  • Korean War

    Korean War
    Also known as the Forgotten War or the Korean conflict It was fought between the United Nations, supported by the United States, and the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (AKA North Korea). The war began when the North invaded the South.
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    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.
  • LSD

    a synthetic crystalline compound, lysergic acid diethylamide, that is a potent hallucinogenic drug.
  • Counter Culture

    Counter Culture
    A way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm
  • Feminism

    The feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s originally focused on dismantling workplace inequality, such as denial of access to better jobs and salary inequity, via anti-discrimination laws. ... As such, the different wings of the feminist movement sought women's equality on both a political and personal level
  • New Frontier

    New Frontier
    The term New Frontier was used by liberal Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in his acceptance speech in the 1960 United States presidential election to the Democratic National Convention at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the Democratic slogan to inspire America to support him
  • Freedom Rides

    Freedom Rides
    Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years in order to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions
  • Peace Corps

    Peace Corps
    The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the United States government. The stated mission of the Peace Corps includes providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand American culture, and helping Americans to understand the cultures of other countries
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    A confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1962 over the presence of missile sites in Cuba; one of the “hottest” periods of the cold war.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, political demonstration held in Washington, D.C., in 1963 by civil rights leaders to protest racial discrimination and to show support for major civil rights legislation that was pending in Congress
  • Birmingham Bombing

    Birmingham Bombing
    The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963, when four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the church.
  • Assassination of JFK

    Assassination of JFK
    Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was 46.
  • Ascendancy of Lyndon Johnson

    Ascendancy of Lyndon Johnson
    Lyndon B. Johnson became the 36th president of the United States. Upon taking office, Johnson, launched an ambitious slate of progressive reforms aimed at alleviating poverty and creating what he called a “Great Society” for all Americans. Many of the programs he introduced–including Medicare and Head Start–made a lasting impact in the areas of health, education, urban renewal, conservation and civil rights. Johnson’s legacy was defined by his failure to lead the nation out of the Vietnam War.
  • Freedom Summer

    Freedom Summer
    Freedom Summer was a 1964 voter registration project in Mississippi, part of a larger effort by civil rights groups such as the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to expand black voting in the South
  • Great Society

    Great Society
    The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. The main goal was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
  • Selma March

    Selma March
    Martin Luther King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, where local African Americans, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Hippies

    A hippie (or hippy) is a member of a liberal counterculture, originally a youth movement that started in the United States and the United Kingdom during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world
  • Nixon's Presidency

    Nixon's Presidency
    Richard Nixon, the 37th U.S. president, is best remembered as the only president ever to resign from office. Nixon stepped down in 1974, halfway through his second term, rather than face impeachment over his efforts to cover up illegal activities by members of his administration in the Watergate scandal
  • Race to Space/Moon

    Race to Space/Moon
    The Soviet Union achieved an early lead in the space race by launching the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 in 1957. The United States led during the "Moon race" by landing Neil Armstrong (pictured) and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
  • Silent Majority's involvement in politics

    Silent Majority's involvement in politics
    The term was popularized by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a November 3, 1969, speech in which he said, "And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support."
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    The 1970s were a tumultuous time. In some ways, the decade was a continuation of the 1960s. Women, African Americans, 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
  • Stagflation

    In the 1970s, Keynesian economists had to reconsider their beliefs as the U.S. and other industrialized countries entered a period of stagflation. Stagflation is defined as slow economic growth occurring simultaneously with high rates of inflation.
  • Beginnings of the Personal Computer

    Beginnings of the Personal Computer
    By the 1970s, technology had evolved to the point that individuals–mostly hobbyists and electronics buffs–could purchase unassembled PCs or “microcomputers” and program them for fun, but these early PCs could not perform many of the useful tasks that today’s computers can. Users could do mathematical calculations and play simple games, but most of the machines’ appeal lay in their novelty
  • Equal Rights Amendment

    Equal Rights Amendment
    The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender; it seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment, and other matters
  • Watergate

    An incident in the presidency of Richard Nixon that led to his resignation. In June 1972, burglars in the pay of Nixon's campaign committee broke into offices of the Democratic party. He resigned the presidency in August 1974, complaining of a lack of support from Congress.
  • Title IX

    Title IX
    Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
  • Jimmy Carter

    Jimmy Carter
    Jimmy Carter struggled to respond to formidable challenges, including a major energy crisis as well as high inflation and unemployment. In the foreign affairs arena, he reopened U.S. relations with China and made headway with efforts to broker peace in the historic Arab-Israeli conflict, but was damaged late in his term by a hostage crisis in Iran.
  • The Moral Majority

    The Moral Majority
    The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right and Republican Party. It was founded in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell and associates, and dissolved in the late 1980s
  • Iran Hostage Crisis

    Iran Hostage Crisis
    Iran hostage crisis, in U.S. history, events following the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran by Iranian students on Nov. 4, 1979. The overthrow of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi of Iran by an Islamic revolutionary government earlier in the year had led to a steady deterioration in Iran-U.S. relations
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    Americans embraced a new conservatism in social, economic and political life during the 1980s, characterized by the policies of President Ronald Reagan. Often remembered for its materialism and consumerism, the decade also saw the rise of the “yuppie,” an explosion of blockbuster movies and the emergence of cable networks like MTV, which introduced the music video and launched the careers of many iconic artists
  • Rap Music

    Rap Music
    is a music genre developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans in the 1970s which consists of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti writing
  • Election of 1980

    Election of 1980
    The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent
  • Reagan Presidency

    Reagan Presidency
    President Ronald Reagan implemented policies to reduce the federal government’s reach into the daily lives and pocketbooks of Americans, including tax cuts intended to spur growth (known as Reaganomics). He also advocated for increases in military spending, reductions in certain social programs and measures to deregulate business.
  • Space Shuttle Program

    Space Shuttle Program
    The Space Shuttle program, officially called the Space Transportation System (STS), was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972
  • Ronald Reagan

    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan, a former actor and California governor, served as the 40th U.S. president from 1981 to 1989. Dubbed the Great Communicator, the affable Reagan became a popular two-term president. He cut taxes, increased defense spending, negotiated a nuclear arms reduction agreement with the Soviets and is credited with helping to bring a quicker end to the Cold War.
  • AIDS Crisis

    AIDS Crisis
    The epidemic of the immunodeficiency disease AIDS, which began in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1930s as a mutation of the chimpanzee disease SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus), which was named Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) found its way to the shores of the United States as early as 1960
  • Music Television (MTV)

    Music Television (MTV)
    MTV: Music Television goes on the air for the first time ever. The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first music video to air on the new cable television channel, which initially was available only to households in parts of New Jersey. MTV went on to revolutionize the music industry and become an influential source of pop culture and entertainment.
  • Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) "Star Wars"

    Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) "Star Wars"
    The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars, was a program first initiated on March 23, 1983 under President Ronald Reagan. The intent of this program was to develop a sophisticated anti-ballistic missile system in order to prevent missile attacks from other countries, specifically the Soviet Union.
  • Reagan Doctrine

    Reagan Doctrine
    In his State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan defines some of the key concepts of his foreign policy, establishing what comes to be known as the “Reagan Doctrine.” The doctrine served as the foundation for the Reagan administration’s support of “freedom fighters” around the globe.
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    the 1990s are characterized by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media, which continued into the 2000s. Movements such as grunge, the rave scene and hip hop spread around the world to young people during that decade, aided by then-new technology such as cable television and the World Wide Web.
  • Climate Change findings come out

    Climate Change findings come out
    By the 1990s, as a result of improving fidelity of computer models and observational work confirming the Milankovitch theory of the ice ages, a consensus position formed: greenhouse gases were deeply involved in most climate changes and human caused emissions were bringing discernible global warming
  • Internet

    a vast computer network linking smaller computer networks worldwide. The Internet includes commercial, educational, governmental, and other networks, all of which use the same set of communications protocols. The online world took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web
  • Health Care Reform

    Health Care Reform
    The Clinton health care plan, known officially as the Health Security Act and unofficially nicknamed "Hillarycare" (after First Lady Hillary Clinton) by its detractors, was a 1993 healthcare reform package proposed by the administration of President Bill Clinton
  • Rodney King Incident

    Rodney King Incident
    was a taxi driver who became internationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991
  • Persian Gulf War/1st Iraq War

    Persian Gulf War/1st Iraq War
    A war between the forces of the United Nations, led by the United States, and those of Iraq that followed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. The United Nations forces, called the Coalition, expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait in March 1991.
  • Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey
    She spoke openly about this on her talk show in 1991, lending support and showing empathy to guests and viewers who had endured similar painful experiences.
  • Election of 1992

    Election of 1992
    The United States presidential election of 1992 was the 52nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 3, 1992. There were three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush, Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot.
  • Al Gore

    Al Gore
    an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. He was Clinton's running mate in their successful campaign in 1992, and was re-elected in 1996. At the end of Clinton's second term, Gore was picked as the Democratic nominee for the 2000 presidential election.
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

    North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
    The North American Free Trade Agreement is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America
  • Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy

    Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy
    The discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gay and lesbian service members is officially in the dustbin of history. For 17 years, the law prohibited qualified gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the armed forces and sent a message that discrimination was acceptable
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    a subset of modern history which describes the historical period from approximately 1945 to the present. ... Contemporary history is politically dominated by the Cold War (1945–91) between the United States and Soviet Union whose effects were felt across the world.
  • Bush v. Gore (SCOTUS Case)

    Bush v. Gore (SCOTUS Case)
    is the United States Supreme Court decision that resolved the dispute surrounding the 2000 presidential election. The ruling was issued on December 12, 2000. On December 9, the Court had preliminarily halted the Florida recount that was occurring
  • Election of 2000

    Election of 2000
    The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush (1989–1993), and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President
  • Election Controversy

    Election Controversy
    The United States presidential election of 2000 was the 54th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2000. Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-incumbent governor of Texas and the eldest son of the 41st President George H. W. Bush, narrowly defeated the Democratic nominee Al Gore, then-incumbent vice president and former Senator for Tennessee, as well as various third-party candidates including Ralph Nader.
  • 9/11 Attacks

    9/11 Attacks
    On Tuesday, 11 September 2001, nineteen members of the Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda perpetrated a devastating, deadly assault on the United States, crashing airplanes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, killing thousands.
  • War on Terror

    War on Terror
    A metaphor of war referring to the international military campaign that started after the September 11th attacks on the United States

    The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. With its ten-letter abbreviation (USA PATRIOT) expanded, the full title is "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001"
  • George W. Bush

    George W. Bush
    an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Bush was elected president in 2000 after a close and controversial win over Democratic rival Al Gore, becoming the fourth president to be elected while receiving fewer popular votes than his opponent
  • No Child Left Behind Education Act

    No Child Left Behind Education Act
    The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was a U.S. Act of Congress that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; it included Title I provisions applying to disadvantaged students
  • Election of 2008

    Election of 2008
    The 56th quadrennial United States presidential election was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain.
  • Bill Clinton Presidency

    Bill Clinton Presidency
    Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, defeating incumbent Republican opponent George H. W. Bush. Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history and signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement. After failing to pass national health care reform, the Democratic House was ousted when the Republican Party won control of the Congress in 1994