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World War II Through the 1970s

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Two Major Turning Points

One of the major turning points during this time was the Cold War. Beginning in the late 1940's and continuing well into the late 1980's, the Cold War wasn't necessarily a true war where opponents face each other in combat, but rather a political stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. The Soviet Union and the countries and territories that they dominated were Communist areas and viewed as a threat to the rest of the "free world". The Cold War affected Americans in several ways. The constant fear of nuclear attack or the threat of Soviet invasion became a daily thought for many Americans and the entire country was constantly on alert. The Cold War even reached the lives of American artists who portrayed the fear and anxiety that many carried while the country was involved in this stand-off.

A second turning point during this time period was the Vietnam War. Unlike the Cold War, the Vietnam War was an all out combat war. President Lyndon Johnson kept the United States involved in fighting against communism and American soldiers soon found themselves involved in the civil war of North and South Vietnam. The war had a huge impact at home in the United States, with many protestors, all across the country, marching against the war. As the first combat war to be actively viewed and covered by the media, Americans got their first look at war through their televisions. The media coverage fostered anger among many Americans, especially young Americans. This became a catalyst for movements in which younger generations began questioning authority and rejecting certain values and political views, growing a counterculture that the country had never seen before.

Staying out of World War II

At the start of World War II there were many Americans who were against the United States becoming involved in this conflict. The impact of World War I and its devastation was still fresh in the minds of most Americans and the idea of becoming involved in yet another European issue was the last thing they wanted to deal with and they were against the loss of American lives to protect the freedoms of other countries. After WWI and the great depression, the idea of isolationism grew and many believed the United States should be more focused on improving their own country rather than worry about foreign nations.

Women and World War II

Women had been fighting for rights and recognition for many years by the time WWII began, but during the War they really had an opportunity to stand up and show how truly needed they were and to play a major role in the war even though they never saw combat. Women took over many of the jobs that men left behind when they went to war. They kept the factories going and the resources needed for war were now being manufactured and handled by women. Many women also found themselves in military positions due to the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp which enlisted women for combat support such as communications, intelligence and nursing, to help support the war efforts. Although discrimination against women still continued during this time, and even afterwards, it allowed women to take on jobs that were higher paying then what they were used to and it provided them the platform to prove their worth to the country and its economy and society.

Two Civil Rights Breakthroughs for African-Americans

Women were not the only ones fighting for rights; African-Americans were still trying to even the playing field as well. Fortunately, this

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