1. The flappers
Flappers were a new generation of young American women in the 1920’s who bobbed their hair, wore short dresses, danced the foxtrot, listened to jazz, drove cars, and were doing sports. Flappers struggled against the influence of the Victorian era and against the established norms of a decent society. The emancipated women made an incredible revolution in gender relations. The new cultural movement was defending the female suffrage and right to work equally with men. It was for the first time in history when women could stay alone with men without any obligations to marry them. There were flappers who first used the word “dating” which was considered to be the alternative to the marriage. This style was of great popularity and was also borrowed by quite respectable young girls and women. Flappers increased transatlantic cultural exchange by promoting the American jazz culture in Europe.
2. The Scopes Monkey Trial
The Scopes Monkey Trial was an American trial in 1925-1926 in which the high school teacher, John T. Scopes, was found guilty of teaching Darwinism and violating Tennessee’s Butler Act. The defense tried to doubt the legality of the Butler Act and strived to abolish it in the court. The court accused Scopes in amorality and the abuse of Christian precepts. Although John Scopes had formally lost the trial and was sentenced to a fine, the Scopes Monkey Trial showed the senselessness of the unscientific laws. The Scopes case is considered to be one of the most important trials of the twentieth century. It did not put an end to the disputes about the Darwinism teaching but seriously undermined the position of its opponents. In 1926, the Oklahoma lawmakers abolished the law which existed for almost two years and excluded the Darwinian concepts from the school textbooks. In 1967, the Tennessee General Assembly repealed the Butler Act which has been never used on the practice after the Scopes trial. The events of this famous case provided the basis for the play “Inherit the Wind”, the film “The Scopes Monkey Trial “, and the episode “The Monkey Suit” from “The Simpsons”.
3. The prohibition
Prohibition is the U.S. law which prohibited manufacture, sale or transportation of the alcohol. The prohibition was due to the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and lasted from October 28, 1919 to December 5, 1933. Such strict measures decreased the number of fires and reduced the mortality rate. Despite this, Prohibition had a considerable number of the negative consequences. First of all, large liquor enterprises were eliminated, and the rest of the factories were usually not able to switch their business to non-alcoholic production. As the result, the United States lost a significant profit from the alcohol sales. The prohibition of the alcohol intensified the activity of various gangs who gained control over the illegal alcohol supplies from abroad and illegal alcohol production. The law also increased the crime rate by 70 percent and led to smuggle and corruption. In overall, the Prohibition caused many troubles for the U.S. citizens and exerted a corrupting influence on the American society.
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4. Franklin D. Roosevelt
The 32nd President of the United States and one of the most prominent and powerful U.S. politicians of the XX century. He was four times elected for the presidency and was famous for defeating the Great Depression and leading the U.S. through the hardships of World War II, which made the United States the world’s leading nation. Being an excellent political leader and strategist, Roosevelt introduced his plan against the Great Depression where he started the monetary expansion, refused to fix prices, and began to fund public works. He is also famous by the “fireside chats” on the radio where he was presenting his proposals and understanding of democracy directly to the American public. It helped to gain the support among the ordinary Americans and contributed to Roosevelt’s victory over the Great Depression. From the one side, Roosevelt’s foreign policy was flexible and realistic, and, from the other side, it was contradictory and prudent.
During 4 terms of his presidency, Franklin D. Roosevelt has contributed greatly to the development of the USA and influenced the course of world history in general. Thanks to the President Roosevelt, the U.S. supported France, the UK and the Soviet Union in the struggle against fascism during the World War II. Franklin Roosevelt also contributed to the creation of the UN and the development of post-war international political and economic cooperation.
5. The New Deal
The New Deal is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic policy which is a set of measures aiming to overcome the large-scale economic crisis. The program was launched in 1933 and was carried in two stages. First of all, the great attention was paid to rescue the banking and financial systems by taking the state control over the gold which was forbidden to export. The New Deal also defined certain measures against unemployment and provided a number of innovations in industry, agriculture, social life, and labor policy.
The New Deal helped the U.S. economy to escape from the negative impacts of the Great Depression and became the bright example of solving the crisis with the help of governmental economy regulation. It marked the beginning of a transition to the social market economy and the “welfare state”. The increase of the governmental intervention in the economy has strengthened the democracy and provided the higher level of the social security and political rights. In this case, the New Deal managed to lead the country through the crisis with minimal costs and strengthened the American economy. As a result, the U.S. state-monopoly capitalism was further developed and was entrenched in economic regulation function of the government policy.
6. The Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowlwas a series of disastrous dust storms that occurred in the U.S. and Canadian prairies in 1932-1936. It was the result of a combination of both anthropogenic (extensive agriculture, soil degradation) and natural (drought) factors. Intensive tillage and extremely favorable natural conditions for erosion led to a large amount of soil dust in the air. The dust storms covered the vast territories of Kansas, Colorado, and the adjacent parts of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. In order to neutralize the effects of the Dust Bowl, the United States were forced to exclude a large amount of damaged land from the use and created the system of the hedgerows. As a result of the four years of the dust storms, the former rich states Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and New Mexico have become the poorest desert. The Dust Bowl coincided with the Great Depression and caused the population exodus from the prairie states which reached nearly 2.5 million people. This natural disaster also accelerated the process of moving people from rural to urban areas.
7. Anti-Japanese hysteria
Anti-Japanese hysteris was a result of a surprise attack of the Japanese warplanes on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The USA proclaimed the state of war with Japan and started to create a number of the Japanese internment camps all around the country. During the World War II, there were almost 120 thousand Japanese people forcibly moved to the special concentration camps in remote and desolate regions of the USA. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, authorized the Japanese internment by allowing military authorities to determine the eviction zones and move every Japanese-American in them.
In 1946, the law on eviction was canceled, and American government started to pay the partial compensations to the victims of internment, however, the payment was not enough to indemnify the lost property. Later, the U.S. government assumed the crimes against Japanese-Americans and apologized for the internment which was caused by racial prejudice, war hysteria, and mistakes of the political leadership. Anti-Japanese hysteria was of a great impact on the American democracy and value system. The Japanese deportation was illegal and caused by racism, and not by military necessity.
8. George S. Patton
George Patton was one of the most prominent generals in the American command center during the World War II. His violent temper and courage made him one of the most prominent military men in the American history. During the World War II, Patton was a commander of the new Tank Corps which took part in military operations in France. In 1943-1945, he was also taking an active part in the number of campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany. George Patton was also famous by his exceptional care of the American soldiers which helped him to gain a significant respect among them.
As quite controversial, eccentric, arrogant, and vain man, Patton could go through the World War II without suffering any significant defeats. The American general was the first to organize the trips to the former death camps for German soldiers. Very often, he showed his temper and expressed his opinions on political issues beyond his competence. Patton was accused of connivance with the former Nazi officials which led to the loss of his commanding career. George S. Patton was rather a good combat commander than military thinker and expert in martial arts.
9. The nuclear weapon
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the only examples of the nuclear weapon use in the history of mankind. The bombings were conducted in August 1945 by the U.S. Armed Forces and killed around 200 thousand people. The nuclear factor played a crucial role in determining the time of the Potsdam declaration ratification, whose draft was prepared by the U.S. government long before the Potsdam Conference. Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings aimed to make Japan surrender in the World War II and also to restrain the Soviet expansion in Europe.
By using the atomic bombs, the United States pursued rather political goals instead of military ones. Demonstrating the weapon of enormous destructive power, the U.S. political circles intended to intimidate people and strengthen the American military, political, and diplomatic position in the postwar world. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the first act of Cold War and caused a long-term confrontation with a Soviet Union. The atmosphere of mutual mistrust led to the nuclear deadlock in the future.
10. The Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine is a foreign policy program set by the U.S. President Harry Truman on March 12, 1947. According to the doctrine, the United States decided to give the financial aid to Turkey and Greece under the pretext of the communist threat from the Soviet Union. This doctrine was based on the containment policy which empowered the U.S. government to react on the attempts of the Soviet Union to expand its spheres of influence. In this case, the Truman Doctrine opened the era of intensive military aid to the other countries by creating a network of military bases on the foreign territories. This policy led to the U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and escalated the international tension. It also symbolized the transition from cooperation to competition and confrontation with the Soviet Union which unleashed the Cold war. As a result, the historical and geographical bonds between European countries were breached which led to the detriment of national cultures.
11. The Korean War
The Korean War is the conflict between North Korea and South Korea which lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. Very often, this conflict is seen as a proxy war between the United States and forces of China and the USSR. The Korean War is considered to be the first armed conflict of the Cold War which became the prototype of many subsequent conflicts. It created a model of a local war, when the two superpowers are fighting in a limited area without the nuclear weapon use. As a result, the Korean War has significantly contributed to the growth of anti-Soviet sentiments within the PRC leadership which later became one of the prerequisites for the Sino-Soviet conflict. Although it was the war between North Korea and South Korea, the conflict clearly showed that these two countries were merely puppets of the Soviet Union and the United States. On this basis, the Korean War is considered to be the starting point of the Cold War which was more connected with the confrontation between the USSR and some European countries at that time.
12. The Caribbean Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis (also known as the Caribbean Crisis) was an extremely tense confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union regarding the placement of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba which occurred in October 1962. The Cuban government has reached an agreement with the Soviet Union government to deploy strategic weapons in Cuba. This fact forced the United States to issue an ultimatum with the threat of military action to begin. Eventually, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended peacefully and became a turning point in the nuclear race and the Cold War. This crisis could detente the international tension which later led to the anti-war movements in a number of western countries. The Soviet Union also declared the urgent need to limit the nuclear weapon race and strengthen the role of society in political decision-making. The Caribbean Crisis has favorably affected the world by forcing the Soviet Union and the United States to make mutual concessions in their foreign policies.