World Wide Welcome to the Information Age

In the globalization era, computers and the Internet became increasingly important. This shifted the focus from the production and sale of manufactured goods to information. The computers invented during World War I were bulky, pricey, and slow. The space program implemented during the 1960s, in attempt to beat the Soviet Union to be the first nation to send a man to the moon, sparked the further development of computers. As a result, the microchip was created, which led to the birth of many popular goods including video casette records, handheld video games, and cell phones.

Computers were a big hit in America. Renowned companies like Apple and IBM produced computers for business and personal use. These computers were designed to be relatively smaller, cheaper, and faster than its predecessors. Soon, computers became assimilating into offices and homes. The Internet was also made available for commercial and personal use. The Internet transformed the means of communication with the availability of electronic email. The Internet also broadcasted the beliefs and values of American culture to other parts of the world.


Who Has the Bigger Gun?

One major political change that occurred during the 1960’s was Kennedy’s quarantining of Cuba. In 1962 American spy planes figured out that the Soviets were installing missiles in cuba, which could reach the United States. Kennedy determined that the missiles were intolerable and had to act upon this threat immediately. Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba, and demanded that the missiles be removed. Khrushchev, of the Soviet Union, agreed to withdraw the missiles, and America said that they would not invade Cuba. This was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This series of events stems from the “massive retaliation” of the 1950’s. In 1952 the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb. This was the most deadly bomb yet. The Soviets retaliated and created their own bomb. What resulted was that both sides now had weapons of mass destruction that could potentially harm a big chunk of the world. This began “massive retaliation,” or the idea that the US would attack the Soviets if the Soviets were ever to attack them. While none of this actually occurred, it did create an even bigger competition between the US and Soviet Union, and it make both sides very paranoid of the other’s weapons. This is why the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during the 1960’s.

Below is a video showing Kennedy’s reaction to the discovery of Soviet missiles. These missiles were only created because of US hydrogen bomb, the Cold War, and massive retaliation, which all took place in the 1950’s.


Space Race: Russia I – U.S.A. 0

I know we have not really gotten into this in the lecture yet but today is the 50th anniversary of the first man that orbited the earth.  Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagari in 1961 took the fascinating  flight that only lasted 108 minutes .  The reason this pertains to the class is that this occurs during the height of the Cold War.  Russia, as did many other nations, saw this event as a huge win over the United States.  Not until a year later an American, John Glenn, successfully took the same journey.  During the Space Race, the Soviet Union’s achievement sent out a display of domination over the United States.


The paranoid curtain pullers

Had Churchill not declared that an “iron curtain” should be descended so as to separate the Soviet Union and it’s sphere of influence from the West many things may have turned out differently. This idea of the Iron Curtain threw the world into a state of paranoia that inevitably led to the Cold War. Furthermore, it greatly hindered the development and reconstruction of the Soviet Union by barring them from any significant trade partners leaving the Soviet Union effectively in a dark corner of the world. It would be very easy to go on and on about the possible outcomes, had the fright of Soviet Union’s strength and influence been nonexistent, but fear is a very strong player in political control and effectively led to the demise of the Soviet Union, whose struggle is still evident today.


Fall of Berlin Wall

Erected in 1961, the Berlin wall seperated eastern and western Berlin. The main purpose of the wall was to prevent any radical idea’s from entering and corrupting the socialist society that dominated the easern side of Berlin. After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the Berlin fell as well, marking the end of the cold war.