The 60's

Why were the sixties a importance to our country's history? The sixties were an exciting, revolutionary, turbulent time of great social and technological change: assassination, unforgettable fashion, new musical styles, Camelot, civil rights, women's liberation, a controversial and decisive war in Vietnam, the anti-war protest to go along with the war, space exploration and the space race, peace marches, flower power, great TV and film and sexual freedom, and of course the great babyboomers. The sixties also showed Communism coming into the Western hemisphere and thus coming to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Movements towards the end to poverty, helping the environment, and the women's rights all came to be in the sixties. Medical breakthroughs were important in the sixties. This essay explains the events and people of the sixties from 1960 to 1970. One thing in the sixties was the years of the American Camelot. In 1960 a president was elected by the slimmest measure of margin since 1884, "John Fitzgerald Kennedy is elected president by just over 100,000 votes"(Turbulent Years 23). Some say that John's father bought the election, but the truth is unknown. This election was the first election that was on radio and television. Kennedy and Nixon engaged in the first televised campaign debates. President Kennedy was the youngest man to become president and the youngest president to die in office. President Kennedy was also the first and only Roman Catholic President in history. During President Kennedy's Presidency, he had to make many decisions about the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the sixties the "Cold War" was heating up. Before President Kennedy came into office, a U-2 plane was shot down in the Soviet Union while spying on the Soviet Union, thus cutting all Diplomatic ties between the Soviet Union and the United States. Amongst other problems President Kennedy faced with the Soviet Union, no other was more serious than the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1960, Soviet Premier Khrushchev supplied Cuba with nuclear missiles that would put the eastern United States within range of nuclear missile attack. During the summer of 1962, U. S. spy planes flying over Cuba photographed Soviet-managed construction sites and spotted the first missile on October 14. Kennedy consulted with advisors for seven days , discussing the possible means of action. On October 22, Kennedy told the nation about the discovery of the missiles and demanded that the Soviet Union remove the missiles, he also declared the waters around Cuba a quarantine zone. For several tense days, Soviet vessels en route to Cuba avoided the quarantine zone, while Khrushchev and Kennedy discussed the issue through diplomatic channels. Khrushchev, realizing his weak military position, sent a message to Kennedy in which he agreed to remove the missiles. The following day, before the United States could respond to the first note a second note was sent by Khrushchev to try and negotiate terms. Kennedy responded to the first message and an agreement was met for the Soviet missiles to be dismantled and removed from Cuba. In return Kennedy secretly promised not to invade Cuba and to remove older missiles from Turkey. These decisions were perhaps Kennedy's greatest moment as president. Many feel that because of Kennedy's aggression that perhaps WWIII or a Nuclear war was avoided. Kennedy was also a strong supporter of civil rights. He was strongly against segregation. President Kennedy helped Dr. Martin Luther King with his fight for civil rights. Many Black leaders had sided with Kennedy in the presidential race because Kennedy claimed to be a strong believer in civil rights. In the beginning President Kennedy ignored his claims for civil rights but in his later presidency he changed and began trying to pass laws against segregation. November 22, 1963, President and Mrs. Kennedy were in Dallas, Texas. As the motorcade approached an underpass, two shots were fired in rapid succession. One bullet passed through Kennedy's neck, and the other bullet hit the president in the head. At 1:00PM, he was pronounced dead; he had never regained consciousness. Ninety minutes after Kennedy was fatally shot, Vice-president Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One. That afternoon, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged with murder. "On November 24, a Dallas Man, Jack Ruby, shot and killed Oswald before there was a chance to put him on trial." ( John F. Kennedy was survived by his wife