Monthly Archives July 2015

The American Century

I Jenims and hot dogs, skyscrapers and supermarkets, mass production and rock music—what do all these have in common? One thing is that they can be found today all over the world. Another is that all of them were born in the United States. The country which for most of its existence had been an importer of influences has become in the twentieth century a major exporter of them. In many areas of life, American popular tastes and attitudes have conquered the world.

You have read earlier about the part that American movies played in this process. After the Second World War the spreading of American influence was continued by a powerful new force —television. As early as 1947, around 170,000 American families had television sets flickering in their living rooms...

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Henry Kissinger

In 1938 a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy was forced to Нес from Germany with his parents in order to escape imprisonment in one of Hitler’s concen­tration camps. The family went to live in the United States where the boy got a job cleaning bristles in a shaving-brush factory. He was Clevel­and hardworking, however, and went on to become a brilliant student at Harvard University. Just over thirty years later he became the Secretary of State of the United States. 1 lis name was Henry Kissinger.

Kissinger’s rise to importance began when Richard Nixon became President in 1%9. He became Nixon’s personal adviser in all the United States’ dealings with the rest of the world. In 1973 Kissinger officially became Secretary of State, a position he held until jimmy Carter became President in 1977...

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An End to Cold War?


“They talk about who lost and who won. Human reason won. Mankind won.” These words were spoken by the Soviet leader, Khrushchev, after the Cuban Missile Crists of 1962. President Kennedy felt the same. Both men knew that for ten days they had been close to bringing death to millions of people. They began working harder to make such dangerous situations less likely.

In August 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a treaty agreeing to stop testing new nuclear weapons in the atmosphere or under water. They also set up a special telephone link between Washington and Moscow. On this “hotline” American and Soviet leaders could talk directly to one another. In future any dangerous crisis would be dealt with more quickly and with less risk of misunderstanding.

The hotline pr...

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Kennedy’s Peace Corps

In their rivalry with the Soviet Union, American governments never forgot the lesson of the Marshall Plan. They knew that communism is often most attractive to the people of countries where food is short and life is hard. From the 1950s onwards, therefore, they spent millions of dollars on modernizing farms, constructing power stations and building roads in countries as far apart as Turkey and Colombia, Pakistan and Chile. The idea of this “foreign aid” was to give poor people all over the world better lives, partly out of a genuine desire to help them but partly also to win new friends and supporters for the United States.

Foreign aid did not always take the shape of food, machines or money. Sometimes human skills were sent, in the form of teachers and technical experts...

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American Hispanics

In 1950 the population of the United States included fewer than four million resident “Ilis – panics”-rhat is, people originating from Spanish­speaking countries. By the mid 1980s this number had increased to 17.6 million and was still rising fast. In some parts of the United States, especially in the South and West, it became more common to hear Spanish being spoken on the streets than English.


Illegal immigrants caught by U. S. border officials.

Reformers accused the United States of helping to keep these groups of wealthy tyrants in power. There was some truth in this. The American government often seemed more concerned with suppressing communism in Latin America than with improving conditions of life there...

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