History 4

Like the 1800s, the 1900s in America also had three themes: War, Depression and Development. However, we can also divide the history into decades.

The first decade, 1900-1909, were the years of invention and economic revolution an progress. In 1901, J.P. Morgan's US Steel Corp. became the first billion dollar industry. In 1903, the Wright brothers flew the first plane at Kitty Hawk, NC. The U.S. was given the Panama Canal Zone in 1904, and began work on the Panama Canal. Theodore Roosevelt negotiated the end to the Russo-Japanese War(Treaty of Portsmouth) in 1905, and the Ford Company introduced the Model-T in 1908.

The second decade was marked by World War I. The Titanic sunk in 1912, but it was not the only big ship to sink. In 1915, the Germans sunk the Lusitania, which was one reason for the US to enter World War I in 1917. They did not fight long, because President Wilson made a plan for peace in 1918, which was accepted in 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference (Treaty of Versailles).

The third decade (1920s) was called the "Roaring 20s"; the economy was good and society changed a lot. Because of the war, women became stronger and in 1919, the 19th amendment (women’s vote) was ratified. Prohibition started in 1920. The Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 said that only Biblical creation, not evolution, may be taught in school. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew solo over the Atlantic Ocean, and Babe Ruth hit his 60th Home Run. But the economic bubble burst in 1929 when the stock market collapsed.

This led to the Great Depression in the 1930s. People had no work and no money. There was also a drought, creating the "Dust Bowl" in the Midwest. “Hoovervilles” were poor areas named for the US president at that time, Herbert Hoover. There was a lot of crime then too. Al Capone, a famous mafia leader, was sentenced to prison in 1931. In 1932 Charles Lindbergh's baby was kidnapped and killed. In 1934, famous bank robber and murderer pair Bonnie and Clyde were killed by police. But things started to get better in 1933, when President F.D. Roosevelt was elected and began the "New Deal". By the end of the decade, Hollywood films were getting better, and "Gone with the Wind" was the first

However, WWII had already begun in Europe in 1939, marking the beginning of the war years in the 1940s. America was worried about Europe, but first entered the war when attacked at Pearl Harbor by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941. America declared war on Japan on Dec. 8. Germany and Italy declared war back as Japan's allies, and America entered the European war on Dec. 11. In 1942, the "Manhattan Project" began, leading up to Atomic bomb testings in New Mexico, and finally Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings in 1945. Victory in Europe (V-E day) was May 8, 1945, and V-J day (victory in Japan) was Sept. 2, 1945. Reconstruction began in Europe with the Paris peace conference in 1946, and the Marshall Plan in 1948. The NATO treaty was signed in 1949. In Japan, Macarthur took charge of the occupation and reconstruction until 1952.

By the sixth decade (1950-1959) America was very worried about communism. The cold war between America and Russia began with the Korean War in 1950-1953. In the Mc Carthy era from 1950-1956, people were accused and convicted (often wrongly) of being communist. However, as after WWI, the economy boomed. Color TV was introduced in 1951, and "the pill" was invented in 1952, giving women more freedom. Disneyland opened in 1955, and the US launched Satellite Explorer I in 1958, after the USSR launched Sputnik in 1957, the first earth satellite. Concern over civil rights began in 1954 with the Brown vs. Board Court decision that declared race segregation in schools unconstitutional. Rosa Parks began a bus boycott in 1957 that ended in further victories against race segregation.

The seventh decade (1960-1969) was marked by the Vietnam War and assassination of President John F. Kennedy and several other leaders. After coming very close to another war in 1962 with the Cuban Missile Crisis President Kennedy assassinated in 1963. Many other assassinations followed: Black leader Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965, and Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated in 1968. The US presence in the Vietnam war had been escalating since 1961, and students protested against this in 1966 in the US, and around the world in 1968-70. The hippie movement in the 1960s and 70s was also a passive protest against war. In 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and US troops began withdrawing from Vietnam.

The eighth decade (1970-1979) led to peace and more Civil Rights actions. Nixon visited China in 1972, normalizing relations with the communist country. He was impeached in 1974, though, for the Watergate scandal. In 1975, the Vietnam War "officially" ends, and the Russian and US spaceships Apollo and Soyuz link in space, symbolizing the wish to end the cold war. In 1977, President Carter pardoned draft dodgers, people who left the country to avoid having to fight in Vietnam. On the other hand, tensions in the middle East increased after the Egypt/Israel summit at Camp David in 1978, and US Embassy staff were taken hostage in Iran in 1979.

1980-1989 continued this trend. Gorbachev introduces "perestroika" and "glasnost“ ending cold war in 1987, and the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989. However, Iraq invaded Iran in 1980. Scientific progress continued; in 1981, AIDS was identified, and the IBM personal computer was invented. However, in 1986, the space ship Challenger exploded in space.

1990-1999 began the Electronic age. WWW began in 1992, and personal computers spread quickly. Los Angeles figured highly, with racial unrest (Rodney King riots) in 1992 and the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Bombings also occurred in New York (World Trade Center) in 1993 and Oklahoma in 1995. More trouble abroad included the Gulf War from 1990-1991 and US Embassies bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the same year that President Clinton was impeached over the Monica Lewinsky scandal but found not guilty.

And into the 21st century!
2001- Twin towers attacked by terrorists (9/11)
2001- War in Afghanistan
2003- War in Iraq
2005 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
2008 Democrats win the election
2009 Michael Jackson dies