I hope you enjoyed Key Dates in American History Part I, and you’ve settled down nicely ready to continue our lesson to bring us up to date. The ending of the Second World War was among the key dates in American History. America with its vast resources helped establish forms of order in Europe and other parts of the world. The United States has continued to be a primary influence in the world with key dates in American History, also becoming significant for other countries. Here are some more of those key dates in American History that have influenced our world of today!
Following the end of World War II, a period of tension between the Western powers and Russia began. Post-war, rebuilding Europe was mainly the responsibility of Britain, America and communist Russia (U.S.S.R), all of whom promised free elections with new governments. This did not happen and left Europe divided between the communists in the East and democracy in the West. A Soviet blockade of Berlin, Germany forced a military alliance led by the United States to combat this action and the National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. There were twelve member countries in its original formation and 1949 remains a key date in US history because it is under the NATO banner that US forces are based in Europe.
Events shocked the world on November 22, 1963, one of the most infamous dates in American History. At the Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon B. Johnson became President of the United States of America. On November 26, a National Security Action Memorandum was signed by President Johnson reversing the policy towards Vietnam decreed by John F. Kennedy, drafted the day before he died. Various questions were raised concerning the contents of this document and its relation to both Presidents. This was only one aspect of the assassination that has created wide speculation on perhaps one of the most emotional dates in American History.
Arguably, one of the most amazing events in US history and indeed the world, that actually brought the universe into our homes, and one that to this day can stir the emotions and imagination happened at 4:18 P.M. EDT on July 20, 1969. The now famous and recognized phrase “the Eagle has landed” heralded the arrival on the moon in the sea of Tranquillity of the space module from the Saturn V rocket launched Apollo 11. More than half a billion people on Planet Earth watched as at 10:56 P.M. EDT thousands of miles away in space, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and said those now immortalized words “That's one step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Every country has its political scandals - perhaps one of the dates in American History known for disturbing the nation was the resignation of President Richard Nixon at 11:35 A.M. on August 9, 1974. On the same day, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the thirty eighth President of the United States of America, leaving the country without a Vice President. The circumstances surrounding the resignation of President Nixon had shocked the nation. However, when Nelson Rockefeller was nominated as Vice President, his financial affairs, political campaigns and philosophies were reviewed and scrutinized by a Congressional examination. Various controversial issues were revealed, which included gifts and loans to friends and political allies. This could be called a time of political mistrust and disappointment in the system for the citizens of America.
On March 29 1973 plans for the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam were announced. It signified the ending of the generally acknowledged as the longest and most unpopular war in the history of the USA. April 30, 1975, is one of those dates in the History of America that combines sorrow and relief for the nation. The remaining Americans in South Vietnam were airlifted from the country and the North Vietnamese accepted the surrender of South Vietnam, ending a war that had claimed 58,000 American lives during the eight year intervention.
Many great things have come out of the USA, including rock music. An innovative concept was first recognized on August 1, 1981. Music Tele-Vision was launched on this day as a promotional vehicle for the record industry. As its value to the music industry continued to improve, financial investment became available for the creation of cutting-edge videos. The careers of icons like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and others were inspired by this medium. Such was the impact of this concept on the industry and an ever increasing market, that the launch of MTV deserves a place as one of the key dates in American History.
The world watched with absolute shock and horror as the Twin Towers vanished forever from the New York skyline after they had been hit by airplanes that had been hijacked by Islamic suicide fighters from the Osama Bin Laden led Al-Queda group. The world has seen countless acts of terrorism, but this one sent shockwaves that continue to ripple today. It led to an increased determination by the US and its allies to wipe out terrorist cells and further deployment abroad of US troops to protect the rights of people being forced to live under oppressive fundamentalist regimes. For all of us reading this, 9/11 2001 is probably the most shocking of all dates in US history.
With sustained winds in landfall of 125 miles per hour, Hurricane Katrina recorded a category three on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It created widespread devastation along the central Gulf Coast States of America and expressed a fury that only nature could produce on this terrifying date in American History. Katrina developed from a tropical depression in the south eastern Bahamas on August 23. The next day it had grown into a tropical storm. Shortly before landfall in south Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach, Florida on August 25, it attained category one with wind speeds exceeding 75 miles per hour.
Arguably, a date that changed the face of America in the eyes of the world happened in 2008. On one of the most symbolic dates in American History, Barack Hussein Obama became the elected forty-fourth president of the United States of America, and removed the perceived last racial barrier in American politics. The citizens of America chose Mr. Obama in a symbolic action towards an evolution that only a few years previously would have seemed impossible to achieve.
So, there we are. There are plenty of monumental dates in US history but we don’t have time and space to cover them all. I’ve picked some key and significant events in US history that not only have meaning to the US and its citizens but to the rest of the world too. Do you remember your reaction or where you were for these most recent ones?
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