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B2 1960s Convery

Page history last edited by Klaudia Janek 10 years, 3 months ago


Tom Kemennu

Kassy Kneen

Emily Sculthorpe

Paige Thulin


MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?




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(Student-made video.)




The 1960’s was America’s time to show off its economic dominance to the world.  While the 50’s expanded on more basic and building blocks for technology, the 60’s began to create products to satisfy a more luxurious consumer’s appetite.  With the great increase in families’ average income, consumers were free to fulfill their flamboyant appetite.  The economy of America was so great in fact, that “the country's high standard of living became the envy of the world” (Baughman 1).  Although, America as a whole was in an economic boom, many still did not get a share of these increasingly deeper pockets.  These impoverish peoples were the reason for Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty,’ which was highly exclaimed by many Americans.   Due to the civil rights laws being implemented in the 60’s, the American workforces began to grow more diverse than ever before.  The workplace now gained more permanent women workers and minority workers than ever before.


The 60’s were also a decade for the big business to become even bigger.  Main manufactures of the 50’s grew much larger in the 60’s, and their revenues grew to substantial amounts.  America’s large business ranges were not limited to within the borders, their companys oversea investments increased from "$11.8 billion in 1950 to $49.2 billion in 1965" (Baughman 1).  The globalization of america’s dominant market was then labeled "Coca-Colonization of the world."  Though America seemed to be a untouchable economic power, they were possibly blinded by their own money piles stacked to high and in all directions, to see their foreign competition making tremendous strides in american-dominated industries.  The 1960s were a time of economic bliss for most, growing workforce diversity, large industries, and a high before a 70’s low.




The federal government was becoming more oriented around education.  This was debated because of the relation of the different movements at the time and the government (i.e. Civil Rights Movement).  Privates schools were refused funding, which is still the case today.  As the fighting in Vietnam escalates, young men were drafted into the military.  High school graduates who could afford college tuition to somehow avoid the draft.  The result of this was that the Vietnam War was fought by the 'under-classes', those who could not afford tuition fees.  To be able to draft more men at this age, the federal government committed millions to fund educational programs in the military.


In the classroom, there were new techniques arising.  Schools put emphasis on diversity.  The struggle for the civil rights of African Americans and Native Americans was added to the curriculums.  The Brown v. Board decision began the process for the integration, which was more evident in the 1960's.  A bilingual education was becoming more important as well. 


As the civil rights struggle gained some steam, students from small and big universities held protests.  The scope of these protests included "the war in Vietnam, racism, course content, and what was considered the inappropriate union between college administrators and the military-industrial complex" (Carnagie 5).  These protests also led to the reform of the rules and regulations of the university campuses.  The formality of the classroom turned into open discussion between the students and professors.







The 1960s was a time for huge changes in the fashion world, especially for women. One of the most celebrated and controversial designers of the time was Rudi Gernreich, a Jew who fled Vienna and the Nazis at 16 years old. He is credited with many firsts in the industry, including the "unisex" look, knitted tube dresses, and thong bathing suits. One of his most remembered designs is the cutout dress, in which a clear, vinyl band exposed some of the wearers skin below the dress, a design that was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1967 (Cutout Dresses).




Although Gernreich's work would not be considered controversial in the twentieth century, in the 1960s they were often the focus of the public and media alike.


Men's fashion in the 1960s changed as well, especially in regards to suits and formal wear. It was the beginning of the "Peacock Revolution," a time when men had more opportunities to be vain. This movement, which began in London, was comprised of bright colors, bold prints, and new fabrics, such as velvet. It also was "in style" to wear double-breasted jackets, turtlenecks under suits, and Nehru jackets. Men's jewelry also became popular. In general, the basic concept of style was beginning to become acceptable for men in the '60s. It was then that men were first able to refer to a growing number of men's magazines for information on what was "fashionable" (Colors Courageous).




The 1960's saw a radical change in the content and production of the motion pictures of Hollywood.  There were increasing amounts of nudity, graphic language and violence.  This increase led to the establishment of the MPAA rating system that we are familiar with today.  Also, Hollywood began to be more youth-oriented.  The method of the production of these movies was changed by actors and directors doing their own projects instead of trying to sell an idea to a Hollywood studio.   


The expanding movie industry introduced the American public to many figures that we all know and love.  Some examples are Doctor Who, Spock, and James Bond.  Below is the trailer for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No (1962):


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After the death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, Audrey Hepburn assumed the role as an idol for young girls.  Hepburn was a famous Broadway star.  The 1960's saw the rise of Broadway plays, written especially by British playwrights.  This rise paralleled with the Beatles's assistance in the British Invasion.  Some famous musicals are HairBye Bye Birdie, and 1776.  Characters were depicted in unconventional ways. 


In 1960, the programs on televisions were unentertaining.  But, the 1960's saw the rise of sitcom television.  As radio provided musical entertainment, television provided many series that are known today such as Doctor Who, The Flintstones and Star Trek.  The addition of these television series began the popularity of television that is so present today.  

Before the rise of television, theatre was the means by which the American public would receive news.  When news was reported on television, theatres were visited less and less.  Because of this shift, the American public was introduced to one of the first anchormen, Walter Cronkite.

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Eating trends tell much about how a society is living; the same is most definitely true for the 1960s.  The newer trend of dinner parties developed, as people wanted to show off what they bought with their increased disposable income, reflecting the economic boom time.  A great change developed in the US with eating trends, for “Americans became a people "'on the go'" with food and life overall (Fraser 1).  The innovation or invention of the franchise caused the success of this trend, for restaurants that provided faster food could spread across the country.  Meals were now less often a time of family gathering and communication, but more of a pit stop in the Americans’ daily routine.  Skeptics of this trend worried about more than the replacement of the family gathering.  They also complained of the questionable nutritional value and overall healthiness of these meals.


            In result of the unhealthy trend which America was headed towards, the government began to heavily educate the public on healthy habits.  “Never before had the federal government been so active in promoting health through nutrition” (Hill 1). They presented a daily food guide of what to eat in and in what portions.  The government developed five food groups: fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, breads, and other.  Each of those groups had a recommended daily intake for many situations (age of a person, a nursing women, and pregnant women as well).  Even after the large increase in informing the public on nutritional value and recommendations, America still continued their ‘on the go’ mentality in the 1960’s.








In the 1960s, "big-city newspapers were on the decline." This was caused mainly by the fact that people no longer a) had time to read newspapers and b) were able to obtain information from other sources, like the television. Due to widespread suburbanization, people relied more and more on their personal cars, and were no longer reading the newspaper while riding the bus or subway to the office. Because of the changes in the general media, newspapers had to revise their techniques in order to keep the public interested. With the television and its bright, exciting images, newspapers also began to appeal to the more visual aspects of the news. They also began to print less detailed, summarized stories, as they were being designed for the "on-the-go" reader.


As the population increased, the number of large-circulation newspapers decreased. Despite this decline of big-city newspapers, however, the "number and circulation of smaller market newspapers increased."  So, although the classic image of newspapers was no longer applicable, the newspaper itself continued to endure.





            The 1960’s may appear to be a decade full of the same type of sports stories as in the past or future.  For the most part that may be true, but there were a few occurrences that were more significant than past events.  Professional sporting gained in popularity due to the expanding disposable incomes, but college sports still reigned supreme.  Of the more ground breaking things, one of the biggest stories was the political status of a boxer, an African American boxer.  Boxers had previously been African American and champions of the sport, but none had used their status to voice their opinion like Muhammad Ali had.  While Muhammad Ali was fighting for the title in the ring, he was fighting for what he believed in outside of it.  Ali spoke of equal rights for all men and even went to jail in protest of the Vietnam War (written about in his poem featured below). 


            Many other athletes drew people together past racism and segregation, including Wilma Rudolph.  Wilma won three Olympic gold medals in the 1960 track and field events, then “returned home a national hero, even in segregated Tennessee” (Rudolph 1).  While teams won championships and players broke scoring records like all decades, others made significant steps in the political world through sports.



Ali's stance on the draft.


Hell no,
I ain't going to go.
Clean out my cell
And take my tail
To jail
Without bail
Because it's better there eating,
Watching television fed
Than in Vietnam with your white folks dead.




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The 60s are often called a music revolution. Rock and Roll, which had been born in the previous decade, grew and flourished in these years. Along with many home-grown hits, the British Invasion changed music forever. Many would say that the Beatles are one of the greatest bands of all time, having a huge and lasting impact on the industry in America from even before they arrived in February of 64. Beatlemania gripped the country for many years to come, and they are still popular today, in spite of having broken up at the turn of the decade.


The music of the 60s reached its epitome in '69, when, for three days, on a farm in New York, during pouring rains, almost 500,000 people rocked out "For Three Days of Peace and Music" to Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Santana, The Grateful Dead, and their fellow musicians. All the bad stuff in the world - the war, the draft, segregation, political tension - all seemed to disappear for those three days. There were no incidents of violence during the music festival.


Music broke down the walls of segregation. The creation of R&B music put African-American musicians on the charts with their white counterparts. The Motown record label, started in 59, was the first major label to be owned and operated by black Americans. It thrived in the 60s, and was popular with blacks and whites. Some of the more famous are The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Pips, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson 5. Some artists, like Bob Dylan, used their standing in the music world as a podium to spread the ideas of equality and desegregation.


Music in the 60s was about uniting people through the power of peace and love. With all the pain, death, and fighting of the last few decades still hanging in the air, music gave people away to "come together." It was just a matter of "giving peace a chance."



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The 1960s brought a brand new kind of “American Revolution.”


The hippies of the 1960s opposed the Vietnam War, were for sexual liberation, and embraced non-Christian faiths. The core beliefs of the hippies were peace, love, and personal freedom.

They lived on music, travelling between music festivals, and thriving on the chords of artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles.

They were heavily involved in protesting what they saw as wrong. Most remembered is their various marches and rallies in opposition to the Vietnam War. These would continue on, even after the 60s, with the most remembered being the Kent State rally in May of 1970.


The African-American Civil Rights movement sought to change the social standing of black Americans. On August 28, 1963, Dr Martin Luther King Jr lead over 200,000 people on a march through Washington DC. There, he shared a dream that inspired a nation. Taking inspiration from world-changers like Mohandas Gandhi, many more peaceful protests would be conducted, favouring civil disobedience over violence.


Feminine Mystique, written by Betty Friedan, motivated women to rebel against the role of the housewife that society forced on them. It created a new way of thinking about women and their domestic and sexual roles.


Homophobia was very active in the 50s and 60s. Homosexuality was often labelled as a psychological condition or mental illness, thus depriving the LGBT community of social and legal rights. Prejudices caused a witch-hunt for gay teachers under the assumption that they were out to "recruit" or otherwise abuse the children they were responsible for. Still, efforts were made to clear the LGBT name and better the social standing of those individuals. Examples include the Mattachine Society and the formation of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, which sought to join gay rights activists and religious leaders.

One of the greatest turning points in this particular movement was the Stonewall Riots of 1969. On June 28, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar near New York City. This is often said to be the first time when the LGBT community fought back against the law's abuse. Within weeks of the initial raid, activist groups had formed, leading protests, riots, anything that would make a noise and bring attention to the issue at hand. One year later, the first Gay Pride marches were held in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles in honour of the Stonewall Riots, and still continue today.





It could be said that the 1960s was the most tragic of all U.S. decades. With the assassination of many of the nation's great leaders, like President Kennedy in November 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, and Malcolm X in February 1965, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the growing war in Vietnam, the nation seemed to be coming apart at the seams (The 1960s Government, Politics, and Law: Overview)


The Cuban Missile Crisis, in October 1962, was a terrifying event in U.S. history. With the Soviet placement of nuclear weapons in Cuba which, if they were to become operational, would be able to reach as far as Washington D.C., the two nations were on the brink of all out nuclear war. Although an agreement was eventually reached and the missiles were removed from Cuba, the U.S. was ready to, and almost did, invade Cuba. Said agreement also came at a personal cost to the U.S.: they signed a non-invasion agreement for Cuba, as well as removed the American Jupiter missiles from Turkey (Cuban Missile Crisis).




The war in Vietnam was one of great controversy with the American public. As Pres. Johnson (Kennedy's successor) sent more troops to fight in Vietnam, more and more people joined the picket line in protest. To add to the public's fear of the war, the 1960s saw crises like the Tet Offensive, in which the North Vietnamese mounted a large-scale attack on cities and American military bases in South Vietnam, which was a huge blow to the collective American psyche. They also saw horrors like the Mai Lai Massacre, in which American soldiers killed almost 500 Vietnamese citizens during a raid, and then lied about it. On the domestic front, the government sent the National Guard to break up anti-war protests, attacking them with clubs, guns, and tear gas The 1960s Government, Politics, and Law: Overview).


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Overall, the 1960s was very hard on the American government and the American people.




On August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to over 200,000 people at the National Mall in Washington D.C. This is viewed by many as the turning point of the struggle for equal rights for African Americans. Many see this great man as the leader of this movement. Born on January 15th, 1929, King was surrounded by segregation throughout his childhood and adolescence. hen he was older, he became a minister like his father, and joined the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). He was the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and participated in many peaceful protests throughout his life. His "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," written in jail after he was arrested for one of these protests, he urged others to join him in his fight for civil rights.In December 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Civil Rights Movement. He continued to speak out against not only African American rights, but also against the Vietnam and Cold Wars (King, Martin Luther, Jr.).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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In April 1968, King met with striking black sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. On April 4th, he was shot and killed on the balcony of his hotel in Memphis. In his speech to the sanitation workers, he said these words, eerily predictive of the coming events: "We've got some difficult days ahead, but it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop…. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" (King, Martin Luther, Jr.)


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By the end of World War II, Eisenhower was a five-star general and many wanted him to run for the Presidency.  In 1952, Eisenhower won the election after promising to "go to Korea" (Darity 4).  His biggest challenge was the Cold War and his refusal of support in Indochina is considered his wisest decision.  One of his biggest domestic successes was establishing the interstate highway system.  After the launch of Sputnik, Eisenhower funded math and science programs across the country.  Eisenhower was responsible for sending troops to Little Rock to desegregate the first school after the Brown v. Board decision, but, he could not support the wider civil rights movement.

He was re-elected, and his last term ended in 1961.




"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you  can do for your country." In his inaugural address, Kennedy recognized the 60s as a time of change and volunteerism. America was moving in a new direction, and it was the people's job to incite that change.

Kennedy was committed to the fight against Communism. This may have been because of all the foreign affairs nightmares of the time: the failure that was the Bay of Pigs invasion, the divisions in Germany caused by the Berlin Wall, and so on. Maybe that was why he had such a record for sending in troops?

Although he never got the chance to pass it, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can easily be seen as Kennedy's brainchild.  In his address to the nation on the subject of Civil Rights, he pointed out the morality of the issue, and called Americans to honour and support those who had been fighting for so long.

After his death, he was seen by the American people as a hero in the fight for peace and liberty. President Lyndon would use this to his advantage in gaining support for some of the laws and policies that JFK had started, but never got the chance to see-through.



President Johnson inherited this huge duty, in a time of American turmoil.  He used some of President Kennedy's popular views and supported acts to win popularity among the American people, then lost much of it do to his overall actions in the war.  Featured below is an undocumented, unconfirmed conversation Johnson had with his mother, about whether or not he should run for a third term.

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When most people think of Nixon, the first things they think of are (usually in about this order) his big nose, that he was the president, and that he was involved in a thing called Watergate. Give them a few minutes, and maybe they'll think of how he made nice with China and Russia after all the anti-Communist sentiments that had been circulating through the US for the last several years. Finally, if they're really smart, they just might mention how he helped to pull the country out of the Vietnam War.

President Nixon did a lot of great things for this country. The sad thing is that they're lost, hidden behind Watergate and his self-impeachment.







During the 1960s, the streets ran with blood.


With the push for social change, protests sometimes got out of hand, turning into riots filled with acts of violence and vandalism. Many of those who were pushing for civil rights prided themselves on their non-violent protests: sit-ins, boycotts, etc. But, not everyone felt the same way...


At the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, an Anti-Vietnam protest was started up. The police broke it up before a riot could start, but seven men were arrested on charges of trying to start one. The trial was a long, increasingly complex affair, but in 1970, all seven were acquitted of the charges, though five of them were imprisoned on other charges.


The 1960s also contained some of the most famous criminals in the 20th century.

The most famous of those names is probably Charles Manson. Head of the "Manson Family" cult, he orchestrated the murders of several well-known persons. He also believed that the blacks of America were going to rise up and take-over the country. To counter this, he attempted to start a race war which he called Helter Skelter, after the Beatles' song.  Manson, along witha number of his "family members," was arrested in 1969. He has been sentenced to life in prison, and is still in Corcoran Prison in California to this day.


But, things weren't all bad. The Law and Justice system took large steps in stopping segregation and moving forward with the Civil Rights Movement. There was the passing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1960 and 1964, as well as, in 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice of the Supreme Court.




Controversies facing the world of religion of American in the 1960's seemed infinite.  Nuns were leaving to be able to get married.  Bible reading was exempted from the curriculum of schools.  These issues aroused many emotions.  The revival of religion in the post-war period came to a halt, and people were talking of a decline over the course of the decade.  By 1970, 75% of Americans thought that religion was in decline.  In the beginning of the decade, the mainline Protestant churches still held dominance over the American culture.  The united church had permitted more coordination over social changes such as the civil rights movement.  By the end of the decade, these churches began to see a decline in their membership.


Conservative Protestantism became more popular through their evangelicalism.  


With the election of John F Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic president, there was a symbolic success.  The structure of mass began to change.  There were changes from English was spoken instead of Latin to the relocation of the priest from the altar to the church-goers at the Mass.  The members of the Roman Catholic church were among the most successful of American groups.  Parishioners became more independent in religious and moral matters, particularly birth control.


Prayer was no longer allowed in the schools because it was felt it violated the First Amendment by giving the government the ability to sponsor an established religion.  This controversy made it difficult to introduce prayer into schools.


The Six Days War in 1967 began the "rededication of Jews to their heritage and an intensified identification with the Jewish state" (Baughman 5).


Over the course of the decade, less known religions were gaining ground.  Pentecostal Protestant and Pentecostalism found its way into the more traditional churches.  The Mormon religion became the fastest growing religion in the United States when it moved out of its western center.  Its greatest achievement was when a temple was built in Washington, D.C., area.  After Malcolm X's exposure and less strict regulations on immigration, Islam acquired new members.  Other religious sects, such as Krishna and the Metropolitan churches, gained membership in the 1960's.


Below is a picture of the present-day Mormon temple at Washington D.C.:









This cartoon is positive because it finally shows the public that cigarettes are bad for one's body. It shows this by illustrating a cigarette box as a coffin, with a newspaper next to it with the heading of "Surgeon-General's Committee Report," showing that these results were medical and legitimate.  




     The cartoon shown above conveys the message that the government was telling the American public the opposite of what was true of the events in the Vietnam War.  The radio symbolizes the regular radio broadcasts from the President and the Department of Defense.  The quote from the troops in Vietnam represent the reality that the conflict was escalating, not resolving.





MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?  


     John Lennon was amazing.  He was part of the British Invasion, which affected the music of American history.  He was involved in the anti-war effort and held rallies for this effort.  All we are sayin' is give peace a chance.  Woodstock was a large musical festival.  The reason why the festival was not in Woodstock, New York, because there were people in the town that supported the war effort.  The festival was moved to a farm farther away.  Woodstock was advertised as three days of peace, love, and music.  There were not any arrests for acts of violence.  Movies contained more violence and graphic violence, which led to MPAA ratings that we know today.  Movies such as James Bond and Mary Poppins became popular.  The British Invasion also spread into television and theatre.  Famous plays as Hair and 1776 became extremely popular.


     The Vietnam War drastically changed the trust of the American public.  It gave birth to the flower child generation, those who lived for peace, love, and understanding.  The War split the population.  Students of the campuses across the nation held multiple protests against the Vietnam War.  With the event of the Cuban Missile Crisis at the beginning of the decade, the standpoint of the government paralleled with the American public. 


     Martin Luther King, Jr., worked for the continuation of desegregation across the nation.  He supported civil disobedience and did not support the Vietnam War.  He led several protests against the War after his "I Have A Dream" speech.  The new wave of feminism came about after the oppressive image of the American housewife.  In the 1960s, women started to rise against this image.  Betty Friedman wrote The Feminine Mystique, which challenged women to fight against the stereotypes of women in their domestic and sexual roles.  The gay rights campaign began in the 1960s and took hold in the 1970s, and, so, marchers and protesters in 1968 and 1969 would give rise to leaders such as Harvey Milk. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which gave rights to minorities and women.  He initiated the war on poverty.    


     The 1960s was an age of great fear and great progress.  It was a new kind of American revolution.  It was a political revolution.  It was a social liberation.  Racial minorities took an equal place into society.  It was a sexual revolution.  Women and LGBT persons began the fight that they would continue for the next two decades.  The 1960s were about bringing liberty and justice to all.  Amen!!! 



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