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Modern American History


Modern American history is generally considered to start in 1945, after the Second World War, to the present time. America has seen many changes, as it has transformed into a global superpower along with experiencing numerous social changes. Some of the major events of this era include the Cold war, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

The Cold War

The cold war was a state of hostilities between the Western bloc, headed by America and their allies, and the Eastern bloc, headed by the Soviet Union and their allies. The commonly accepted dates for the duration of the war are 1947-1991, although there is not a clear exact date of the start of the war.

After World War II ended, many thought that there would be good relations between the two countries, however due to the alien culture, hostilities were almost imminent right after the conclusion of the war.

The United States followed a capitalist ideology, which was the polar opposite of the Soviet Union communist ideology. This formed the basis for the rivalry between the two superpowers.

The two never engaged in direct warfare, instead choosing to battle each other through ‘puppet’ states, and manipulating them to the detriment of the other. The use of Atomic weapons was a real possibility during the war and was taken very seriously. The war finally ended in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Civil Right Movement

Although slavery was abolished in 1865, American citizens of African descent and other ethnic minorities faced extreme discrimination and segregation, often to the extremes of having their own public restrooms, or even having to drink from separate water fountains.

One of the most important acts of resistance to this segregation occurred in 1955, when Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to give up her seat to a white person, after the white seating section of the bus was filled.

This act of resistance led to a chain reaction and inspired people like Martin Luther King Jr. who led the immediate Montgomery bus boycotts which finally led to the Civil Right Act in 1964. The Civil Rights Act finally ended the public segregation and granted all ethnic minorities equality under the law.

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War, from an American perspective, started in 1965 when the US decided to militarily intervene in the war between North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam, led under a communist regime, and supported by other communist regimes such as the Soviet Union and China, waged a guerilla war against the South, which was supported by the United States and their allies.

The United States was determined to curb the spread of Communism, as it feared that if one Asian country fell to the communist ideology other Asian countries would follow suite. The war was an ultimate failure and humiliation for America as it led to the reunification of the south and North Vietnam under the Communist regime, and paid dearly with the loss of 58, 220 lives as well as an entire generation of men who felt disenfranchised after the end of the war.

Many changes and advancements have occurred in modern American history. America’s participation and the results of World War II left America as a superpower and ever since, its changes have impacted the rest of the world.

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