(1865-1877) that federal troops occupied a city.With the power of nuclear weapons, the United States policy in the 1950’s was massive retaliation. If the Soviets did something, we would respond with nuclear weapons. This would ratchet up tensions and increase fears of a nuclear war. The Sovietslaunched the first satellitein 1957 named Sputnik. This beeping satellite terrified Americans. They feared that the Soviets were capableof launching nuclear weapons from outer space. This gave rise to an entire genre of bad movies about aliens. Congress passed the National Defense Education Actof 1958 (NDEA) to increase student’s knowledge in science and math and prevent the Soviets form remaining ahead in the spacerace. They also passed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) to oversee our new space program, which was stationed in Titusville, Florida (the Space Coast).1960.1969The 1960’sThe 1960’s marked a dramatic shift from the conformityand consensusthat the 1950’s had imparted. The decade was rocked with a brush with nuclear war, the assassinationsof political and cultural leaders, protests, riots, and a war. In what many consider to be America’s worst year, 1968 had virtually all of the above elements in one calendar year.1960 was an election year. The two candidates were very dissimilar from one another. Republican Richard Nixonwas an experienced, shrewd politician, but cold and ruthless. Democrat John Kennedywas youthful and inexperienced, but very charismatic and personable. The two met inthe first ever Presidential debate, which was televised. Kennedy looked more presidential and may have convinced enough voters to elect him in the closest election in the 20thcentury.Kennedy inherited a plan to train exiled Cubans and have them attack the newly communist Cuba. They trained on Cayo Costa in Lee County. The plan, called the Bay of Pigs, was a complete disaster. This was one of a number of events in the simmering cold war. The Soviets completed the All Rights Reserved, Copyrighted by Adam McGarry, 2010.
Berlin Wallin 1961 separating east and west Berlin, essentially making East Germany a prison. The emboldened Soviets placed missiles in Cuba, 90 miles from Florida. The interstate was closed except for military traffic as the world watched and hoped a nuclear war would not occur. A tense stand off began as the United States demanded the Soviets remove the missiles. The world held its breath for thirteen days as the two countries glared frostily at each other. The Soviets finally backed down and removed the missiles, in exchange for our promise not to invade Cuba.President Kennedywas assassinatedin November 1963. The new President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, embarked on an ambitious program to combat poverty and inequality. The program, called the Great Society, would introduce head-start, Medicare, Medicaid, a civil rights act, and a voting rights act. Johnson tried to help the lower tiers of society achieve the success of middle class enjoyed.