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Unit 4 - Changing Face of the World & The Rise of America in the Modern World
  • Unit Question - Why does perspective matter? What factors can influence people’s perspectives?  What social opportunities and problems arise from an interconnected global economy?
  • Historical Context – The Cold War, International Realignment, Contemporary Society, United States as a “Super Power”, Korean War, Vietnam War, War at Home, & Civil Rights Movement
  • Final Assessment - The Counterculture (Music) Task

America:  The Story of Us 

(History Channel Documentary) 

Rise of a Superpower

The final two episodes of this series look at defining moments in U.S. history from 1945 on and trace them back to their antecedents in earlier American history.  Some of the nation's most prominent personalities and leaders share their ideas on the definitive moments in American history, and reflect on what is unique about the U.S.


Full Video links:

Mini-Task:  Answer the following questions in your COMP books and be able and willing to discuss with the class.


  1. What inventions do you think have been most important in U.S. history and why?
  2. What do you think have been the five most important events in U.S. history since WWII?
  3. Many historians debate whether or not the U.S. has seen continual progress throughout its history, or if there have been moments of back-peddling or regression. How do you define progress in history? Do you think the U.S. has always progressed? Discuss.
  4. If you could interview one American about our nation’s past, who would it be and why? 

Interesting Facts from America:  The Story of Us:
  • The Greatest Generation built the Interstate Highway system in only 5 years.  
  • They produced 80% of the world's cars.
  • They built 13 million homes in 10 years following the end of World War II and it cost only $71,000 in today's currency.
  • The Greatest Generation produced a baby (Baby Boomer Generation) every 10 seconds!
  • They made 15 times more than Europeans during this time.
  • The U.S. Army was desegregated in 1948. 
  • The U.S. government spent an average of $4,000 ($20,000 today) per U.S. citizen on nuclear and military technology.  While the average salary was $4,237 dollars ($24,000 today) in 1950. 

Iron Curtain (Mini-Russian History
Read p.23-29 in your new All The People mini-book and answer the Iron Curtain (Mini-Russian History) questions below in your COMP books: 

1. What does the United States spend money on to prove it was mightier than the Soviet Union?
2. Where does Russian word tsar come from? 
3. Who led the 1st Russian Revolution in 1917?  HINT:  Before Vladimir Lenin (image to the left) and the Bolsheviks take power. 
4. What was the likely fate of Russians who questioned or opposed Lenin or Stalin?
5. Most credit the creation of communism to what 19th century thinker?  What was his opinion of capitalism?
6. What did Winston Churchill mean by, "...an iron curtain has descended across the Continent?"
7. Who was the president of Yugoslavia after World War II?
8. How did President Harry S. Truman attempt to stop the spread of Soviet Russia and communism?

Marshall Plan & McCarthyism

Read p. 30-33 & 40-48 in your All The People mini-book and answer the Marshall Plan & McCarthyism questions in your COMP books: 

  1. How does the Marshall Plan prove a lot has been learned since the end of World War I?  HINT: ThinkGermany! 
  2. Why do think the Soviet Union and countries controlled by the Soviet Union denied aid?
  3. The Marshall Plan can be viewed as extremely unselfish, but what was the large benefit to the U.S. economy and manufacturing?  In addition to your response, was there an additional agenda or motive for the Marshall Plan?  HINT: Think Cold War! 
  4. Some historians have argued that the Civil Rights Movement famous after Martin Luther King Jr. and during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, really started under President Harry S. Truman.  Cite one example. HINT: Try this Jim Crow Stories: Harry S. Truman Supports Civil Rights (1947-1948)
  5. What made communism attractive to many U.S. citizens from the Great Depression to the post-World War II era?  HINT: Start reading p. 40
  6. How did the attractiveness, sympathy, or simple understanding of communism come to a dramatic end in the United States?
  7. After World War II and the Chinese Civil War ended, who is the communist leader of China?
  8. What did the Truman administration call the Korean War because it was never authorized by Congress?  More on the Korean War a bit later! 
  9. What was the HUAC?  HINT: Try this History Channel: HUAC
  10. Was Joseph McCarthy's "list of 205 names" real?  Why did he do it?
  11. What 1952 presidential candidate was "blacklisted" by Senator McCarthy?
  12. Why did the American public believe Joseph "McCarthyism" McCarthy?  Give an example.
  13. Why didn't Congressman stand up against Joseph McCarthy (image on the right)?

Wisconsin Senator 

Joseph McCarthy

Cold War (Capitalism vs. Communism)

The Cold War is the name given to the relationship 
that developed primarily between the USA and the USSR after World War Two. The Cold War was to dominate international affairs for decades and many major crises occurred - the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Hungary and the Berlin Wall being just some. For many, the growth in weapons of mass destruction was the most worrying issue.A clash of very different beliefs and ideology - capitalism versus communism - each held with almost religious conviction, formed the basis of an international power struggle with both sides vying for dominance, exploiting every opportunity for expansion anywhere in the world.

The Korean War (The Forgotten War)

The Korean War began as a civil war between North and South Korea, but the conflict soon became international when, under U.S. leadership, the United Nations joined to support South Korea and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) entered to aid North Korea. The war left Korea divided and brought the Cold War to Asia. Read more: Office of the Historian: The Korean War

Discussion Question:
Who won the Korean War? Was anyone victorious?

Birth of the Civil Rights Movement

Read p.68-87 in your All The People mini-book and answer Birth of the Civil Rights Movement questions in your COMP books:

  1. I know you remember the Supreme Court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson (see the Before Progress section far above), which stated "separate but equal" re-establishing segregation in the United States.  Before the historic Brown v. Board of Education, Briggs v. Clarendon County challenged separate but equal by showing the vast difference in educational spending for black students compared to white students.  So, how much was spent on black students compared to white students in Clarendon County in South Carolina?
  2. What National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leader and great-grandson of a slave and later Supreme Court Justice, argued the Brown v. Board of Education case at the Supreme Court?
  3. What was the Supreme Court's decision regarding the famous Brown v. Board of Education?  What is the historical impact of this decision?
  4. What was the Supreme Court's decision regarding Tinker v. Des Moines?
  5. What did Mike King change his name to?
  6. Name the two influential and enlightened thinkers that inspired Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sit-ins, peaceful protests, boycotts, and civil disobedience policies? 
  7. Where does Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. start his career as a preacher? [HINT: Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement]
  8. What did Rosa Parks do as a member of the NAACP?
  9. Why were members of the NAACP surprised at the arrest of Rosa Parks?  How does the NAACP respond to Rosa Parks' arrest?  Who led the boycott?
  10. Was life like for the Melba Pattillo and the other nine African-Americans at Central High in Little Rock Arkansas after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision?
  11. What did President Dwight D. Eisenhower do to secure the safe education for these African-Americans at Central High?  Why didn't he act sooner?
Civil Rights Movement Continued 
(Progressive and Violent)

Read p.97-104 in your All The People mini-book and answer the Civil Rights Movement Continued (Progressive and Violent) questions in your COMP books:
  1. How did Birmingham, Alabama respond to the government attempts desegregate the city?
  2. Who helped finance and elect Eugene "Bull" Connor as Birmingham Commissioner (Police Chief)?  Why did residents of Birmingham, even those considered "kindhearted", support or allow the racist policies of "Bull" Connor?
  3. How, although not their intentions, did the racist leaders of Birmingham actually help the Civil Rights Movement?  HINT: Try this MLK Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" also think TV!  
  4. How did "Bull" Connor respond to the nonviolent protests of over 1,600 kids?
  5. What happened to the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963?
  6. Who did President John F. Kennedy put in charge of justice issues for African Americans?  Why choice?
  7. What Civil Rights Movement organization did Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. help create?
  8. What event took place on August 28, 1963 in Washington D.C.?  Who's idea was it?
  9. Name a few celebrities that supported, or better yet, where in attendance at the March on Washington? HINT: Try this AJC: Famous Faces-March on Washington 1963
  10. What famous speech did Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. deliver on August 28, 1963? 
  11. What famous African American leader died around the time of the March on Washington?  HINT: We learned about him and his famous debates earlier this school year! 
  12. Who were the Black Panthers?  What was their message?  HINT: Try this Marxist.org - Black Panthers History

BONUS:  Can you tell us why Malcolm X is pictured here with Fidel Castro of Cuba (right)?
Civil Rights Movement Continued (A New Message)

Read p.120-127 and p.157-164 in your All The People mini-book and answer the Civil Rights Movement Continued (A New Message) questions in your COMP books:

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

  1. What award did Martin Luther King Jr. win at the young age of 35?  What did he do with the prize money?
  2. What did the Norwegian students teach or prove to Martin Luther King Jr.?
  3. The 15th Amendment (see Reconstruction period above) guarantees that everyone has the right to vote. So, why didn't African Americans in Alabama and Mississippi vote in 1964? Why did Martin Luther King Jr. go to Selma, Alabama that same year?
  4. What did Malcolm X mean by, "If the white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King"?
  5. Why did Malcolm X break away from the Nation of Islam or Black Muslims?  HINT: Try this US History: Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam
  6. Why was the death of Jimmy Lee Jackson too much for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Civil Rights Movement to bear?
  7. What happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama?  How does the tragedy eventually help the Civil Rights Movement?
  8. After the tragedy of Selma, known as "Bloody Sunday", how did President Lyndon B. Johnson respond on live television to over 70 million people?
  9. As the Civil Rights Movement progressed, Martin Luther King Jr. viewed the struggles as more than an issue of race.  The problems of the United States included poverty, sexism, and labor injustice.  So why was Martin Luther King Jr. disappointed shortly after agreeing to a Poor People's Campaign?  Why did he proceed to Memphis?  HINT: Start reading p. 157
  10. What did Martin Luther King Jr. mean by, "Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty and say if you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th Century, I will be happy"?
  11. Who was responsible for the assassination of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968?
  12. Who broke the news to African Americans in Indianapolis, which was televised to the entire nation?  Violence erupted around the entire country almost immediately, but not in Indianapolis.  Why do you suppose that is?
  13. How many cities burst into riots after the death of Martin Luther King Jr.?  How did the Black Panthers respond?  
  14. Which of the African Americans writers from 1940-1970, mentioned on pages 162-164, do you most admire? Why?
  15. Death of another 1960s American icon!  What made Robert "Bobby" Kennedy so popular as a presidential candidate in 1968?  June 6, 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot by Palestinian nationalist Sirhan Sirhan.  What did the historian mean by, "Born the son of wealth, he died a champion of outcasts of the world"?

BONUS:  I think most of us would like to believe that we would have followed the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. over that of his most famous contemporary Malcolm X, but if you were truly honest with yourself; could you really practice his non-violent methods or would the path of Malcolm X or the Black Panthers guide your frustration?  Need help deciding?  Try this Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Debate
Civil Rights Movement Resources:

Eyes on the Prize (Civil Rights Movement) Collection: 

Enter the 1960s

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.  
- President John F. Kennedy

Read p.88-96 in your All The People mini-book and answer the Enter the 1960s questions in your COMP books: 

Che Guevara

  1. Who is the youngest President ever elected?
  2. Who took power of Cuba two years before the election and inauguration of President John F. Kennedy?   Who was the militant revolutionary from Argentina that helped the communist Cuban revolution?  HINT: BBC: Che Guevara (1928 - 1967)
  3. How and why was the small island country of Cuba a real threat to the U.S.A.?
  4. Who took power as the Soviet Premier after the death of Joseph Stalin?
  5. What was the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) plan, before the Bay of Pigs disaster, for dealing with Cuba?  Was this President Kennedy's idea?
  6. What was the Bay of Pigs?  Describe one failed CIA assassination attempt of Fidel Castro.  HINT:  Try these Mental Floss: 10 Ways the CIA Tried to Kill Castro or The Guardian: 638 ways to kill Castro
  7. What was the Cuban Missile Crisis?What secret concession did JFK make to resolve the crisis peacefully?
  8. What was the public opinion regarding the Vietnam War in the early 1960s?  Remember, Congress never approved the Korean and Vietnam Wars, so what were the American troops called in the conflict?

Death of a President (again!) JFK

Read p. 105-108 in your All The People mini-book and answer the Death of a President (again!) JFK questions in your COMP books:

  1. When President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American people about the "New Frontier", what did he mean?  HINT: Try this US History: Kennedy's New Frontier or JFK: Frontier Speech
  2. What did the critics of President Kennedy call him and his plans of civil rights, equal pay, and aid to the poor?  HINT: Think same criticism of President Barack Obama and FDR
  3. Premier Khrushchev said of President Kennedy, "It quickly became clear that he [Kennedy] understood...that an improvement in relations [with Russia] was the only rational course."  How does this comment from Premier Khrushchev prove President Kennedy had survived the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis disasters and the U.S. could possibly survive the Cold War?
  4. Why did President Kennedy decide to visit Texas in November of 1963, despite his press secretary's warning, "DON'T LET THE PRESIDENT COME TO DALLAS...IT IS TOO DANGEROUS"?
  5. How did the people of Texas greet the President and his wife?
  6. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.  According to the Warren Commission's Report who was the lone assassin?  HINT: History.com: Warren Commission
  7. If we are to believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, why did he do it?  HINT: National Archive: Warren Commission-Chapter 7: Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and Possible Motives
  8. Unfortunately, it is unlikely we will ever know whether Oswald acted alone because he was silenced two days after the death of the President, by whom?  Why did he kill Oswald?  HINT: History.com: Ruby kills Oswald
  9. Conspiracy Time!  So who really killed President Kennedy?  HINT:  Try Death of a President (again) JFK Resources below to help you decide.  

Vietnam War
Vietnam War, (1954–75), a protracted conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam, known as the Viet Cong, against the government of South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. Called the “American War” in Vietnam (or, in full, the “War Against the Americans to Save the Nation”), the war was also part of a larger regional conflict (see Indochina Wars) and a manifestation of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies.  Read more: Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
MORE COMING SOON

DBQ on Vietnam (discussion):  Use the DBQ on Vietnam: History Teacher.net link, answer the following questions in your COMP books and be ready and willing to share with the class:  Did the attitudes and policies of the United States government regarding the war in Viet Nam (1965-1975) reflect the attitudes of the American people during the time of the war? Why or why not? Include present-day opinions and facts about the war in assessing this question as well as the documents. 

The Counterculture Movement

The American Counterculture refers to the period between 1964-1972 when the norms of the 1950s were rejected by the youth.  Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation (Civil Rights Movement), the Vietnam War (Anti-War Protests), sexual norms (start of the LGBT Movement here), women's rights (a rebirth in the movement), and materialism (see the SDS and Weather Underground).  Hippies were the largest countercultural classification comprising mostly white members of the middle class.  The counterculture movement divided the country.    Authorities attempted to ban all drug use (start the War on Drugs here), restricted political gatherings, and tried to enforce bans on what they considered obscenity in books, music, theater, and other media. Parents argued with their children and worried about their safety. Some adults accepted elements of the counterculture, while others became estranged from sons and daughters. The movement died in the early 1970s because most of their goals had become mainstream, and because of rising economic troubles.

The Counterculture (Music) Task:  Music in the 1960s becomes more political in nature.  Your task is to discover a musician of the 1960s and find a song that embodies the Counterculture Movement (read above).  Share that song with the class, it's meaning including specific lyrical examples.  You can find any musician, from the era, you want, but here is a list of musicians to consider.  If you find it difficult to select a musician or song, also see Counterculture Resources:

BONUS:  Of course, there is another side to the Counterculture and the best; I mean most terrifying and evil example would probably have to be Charles Manson.   If you are interested in these horrific stories, I suggest starting here: The Charles Manson (Tate-LaBianca Murder) Trial NOTE: Don't try to understand or find an explanation because, there is not a good answer.  Need proof?  Try this: Charles Manson's Epic Answer

Cesar Chavez 
Senator Robert F. Kennedy described Cesar Chavez as 
"one of the heroic figures of our time."

A true American hero, Cesar was a civil rights, Latino and farm labor leader; a genuinely religious and spiritual figure; a community organizer and social entrepreneur; a champion of militant nonviolent social change; and a crusader for the environment and consumer rights.

A first-generation American, he was born on March 31, 1927, near his family's small homestead in the North Gila River Valley outside Yuma, Arizona. At age 11, his family lost their farm during the Great Depression and became migrant farm workers. Throughout his youth and into adulthood, Cesar traveled the migrant streams throughout California laboring in the fields, orchards and vineyards, where he was exposed to the hardships and injustices of farm worker life.

After attending numerous schools as the family migrated, Cesar finished his formal education after the eighth grade and worked the fields full-time to help support his family. Although his formal education ended then, he later satisfied an insatiable intellectual curiosity and was self-taught on an eclectic range of subjects through reading during the rest of his life.
Cesar joined the U.S. Navy in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, and served in the Western Pacific. He returned from the service in 1948 to marry Helen Fabela, whom he met while working in fields and vineyards around Delano. Together they settled in the East San Jose barrio of Sal Si Puedes (Get Out if You Can), and had eight children, later enjoying 31 grandchildren.

American Feminist Movement 
In 1960, the world of American women was limited in almost every respect, from family life to the workplace. A woman was expected to follow one path: to marry in her early 20s, start a family quickly, and devote her life to homemaking. As one woman at the time put it, "The female doesn't really expect a lot from life. She's here as someone's keeper — her husband's or her children's."  As such, wives bore the full load of housekeeping and child care, spending an average of 55 hours a week on domestic chores. They were legally subject to their husbands via "head and master laws," and they had no legal right to any of their husbands' earnings or property, aside from a limited right to "proper support"; husbands, however, would control their wives' property and earnings.  If the marriage deteriorated, divorce was difficult to obtain, as "no-fault" divorce was not an option, forcing women to prove wrongdoing on the part of their husbands in order to get divorced.  Read more: Tavanna.org: THE 1960S-70S AMERICAN FEMINIST MOVEMENT: BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS FOR WOMEN

American Feminist Movement Resources: