Monthly Archives July 2015

Crisis over Cuba


Тії г Си ban Missile Crisis—the American blockade.

Cuba is an island nation only ninety miles from the coast of the United States. In 1959 a revolution­ary reformer named Fidel Castro took over its government. Cuba’s banks, railroads and many other businesses were owned by Americans at this time. So, too, were many of its big sugar plantations.

Castro needed money to make changes it! Cuba. To obtain it he began to take over American – owned businesses. In the opinion of the United States government this was stealing American property. Not only this, but Castro seemed to be organizing a communist state right on the door­step of the United States.

In 1960 President Eisenhower agreed to give weapons and ships to refugees from Cuba who wanted to overthrow Castro...

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The Berlin Wall

just after midnight on Sunday, August 13, 1961, trucks rolled through the silent streets of hast Berlin. At the border with West Berlin soldiers jumped out and blocked the streets with coils of barbed wire. By morning they had closed off all but twelve of the eighty crossing points to West Berlin. Within days workmen were replacing the barbed wire with a lasting barrier of concrete. The Berlin Wall had been born.

To understand why the Berlin Wall was built we have to go back to the late 1940s. Since its formation in 1949 West Germany had prospered. By 1961 its people were among the best-off in the world. East Germans were less fortunate. Their wages were lower. They had less to buy in the shops, less chance to speak their minds. Millions fled to the West...

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The Space Race

“1 believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

President Kennedy’s proposal in May 1961 that the United States should send a man to the moon was eagerly welcomed by politicians and the American people. Soon work had begun on the Apollo program, as the project was named.

The Apollo program was another move in the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union. The costs of this race were enor­mous. But there were two important reasons why both the Americans and the Russians were willing to pay them...

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The bomb exploded in a blinding burst of green – white light. The fireball at its center grew into a towering pillar of flame. A huge, colored mushroom of poisonous cloud boiled high into the skv. It was November 1952. American scientists testing a new weapon had blasted a whole uninhabited island out of the Pacific Ocean. They had exploded the first hydrogen, or H-bomb.

The H-bomb was many times more destructive than the atomic, or A-bomb, that destroyed Hiroshima. Just one H-bomb had five times the destructive power of all the bombs dropped in five years of the Second World War. By 1953 the Russians, too, had made an I I-bomb. By 1957 so had the British. But only the Americans and the Russians could afford to go on making them...

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The birth of NATO

In the years after 1945 the non-communist govern­ments of Western Europe looked uneasily at the huge Russian armies grouped just behind the barbed-wire fences of the Iron Curtain. They feared that Stalin might order his soldiers to over­run them. In February 1948, their fears increased. With Russian support a communist government took control in Czechoslovakia. Then, in June, Stalin started the blockade of Berlin.

These events convinced President Truman that Western Europe needed more than economic aid. in 1949 he invited most of its nations to join the United States in setting up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This was an alliance of nations who agreed to support one another against threats from the Russians and set up combined armed forces to do this.

The North Atlantic...

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