In the Middle East, the US tried to balance maintaining friendly relations with the oil-rich Arab states while at the same time supporting the new state of Israel. Israel was created in 1948 in the British mandate territory of Palestine. Israel’s neighbors, including Egypt, had fought unsuccessfully to prevent the Jewish state from being formed.
General Gamal Nasser of Egypt, asked the US for funds to build a dam on the Nile River, which the US denied. In response, in 1956 he seized and nationalized the British and French-owned Suez Canal that passed through Egyptian territory. This threatened Western Europe’s supply line to Middle Eastern oil. In response, Britain, France, and Israel carried out a surprise attack against Egypt and retook the canal.
Eisenhower was furious that he had been kept in the dark about the attack and sponsored a UN resolution condemning the invasion of Egypt. Under pressure from the US and world public opinion, the invading forces withdrew.
In a policy announcement is later known as the Eisenhower Doctrine, the US in 1957 pledged economic and military aid to any Middle Eastern country threatened by communism. Eisenhower first applied the doctrine by sending 14,000 marines to Lebanon to prevent a civil war between Christians and Muslims.
In 1960, the Arab nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran joined Venezuela to form the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Oil was becoming a growing foreign policy issue.
In his farewell address as president, Eisenhower spoke out against the negative impact of the Cold War on US society. He warned the nation to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” Basically, the idea of the military-industrial complex is that all of the industries who produce military goods (planes, boats, weapons, etc.) continued to push the US government and Department of Defense to take aggressive actions with the Soviet Union, so they could sell more of their product.
In 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the US by launching the first satellites, Sputnik I and Sputnik II, into orbit around the Earth. Suddenly, the technological leadership of the US was open to question. To add to American embarrassment, US rockets designed to duplicate the Soviet achievement failed repeatedly.
In 1958, Congress responded with the National Defense and Education Act, which authorized giving hundreds of millions in federal money to schools for math, science, and foreign language education.
Congress also created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to direct the US efforts to build missiles and explore outer space.
In April 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth, traveling in the capsule-like spacecraft.
For the U.S. effort to send a man into space, dubbed Project Mercury, NASA engineers designed a smaller, cone-shaped capsule far lighter than the Russian one. They tested the craft with chimpanzees and held a final test flight in March 1961. On May 5, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space (though not in orbit).
The Gemini program then launched with the goal of learning about what happened to astronauts while in space and going outside of the aircraft. In February 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth, and by the end of that year, the foundations of NASA’s lunar landing program–dubbed Project Apollo–were in place.
From 1961 to 1964, NASA’s budget was increased by almost 500 percent, and the lunar landing program eventually involved some 34,000 NASA employees and 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors.
Apollo suffered a setback in January 1967, when three Apollo 1 astronauts were killed after their spacecraft caught fire during a launch simulation. December 1968 saw the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned space mission to orbit the moon
On July 16, 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the Apollo 11 space mission, the first lunar landing attempt. After landing successfully on July 20, Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon’s surface. Television viewers around the world witnessed the astonishing sight of two American astronauts walking on the moon’s surface.
By landing on the moon, the United States effectively “won” the space race that had begun with Sputnik’s launch in 1957. There would be a total of 17 Apollo missions (supposed to be 20 but the budget was cut) with man returning to the moon multiple times.
Many remember Apollo 13, another crew which was supposed to make it to the moon, but had several catastrophic failures in space, but still remarkably made it back to earth.
In 1978, President Carter invited the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin to negotiate a peace treaty under his guidance at Camp David. They met for 13 days. They emerged with the Camp David Accords which was a framework for negotiations rather than a peace settlement.
They paved the way for a 1979 treaty between the two nations which provided for the gradual return of the Sinai to Egypt but left the fate the Palestinians, the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip unsettled. Egypt became the first Arab nation to recognize the nation of Israel.
Any sense of peace in the Middle East was offset in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution. Under Nixon and Kissinger, the US had come to depend heavily on the Shah for the defense of the Persian Gulf. Carter continued this relationship despite signs of domestic discontent with his leadership.
Ayatollah Khomeini led a fundamentalists revolt against the Shah, who was forced to flee the country. Carter permitted the Shah to enter the US for medical treatment. Irate mobs in Iran denounced the US and seized the US embassy in Tehran and took 53 Americans prisoner.
The Iranian hostage crisis revealed the extent to which American power had declined in the 70s. In 1980, the President authorized a desperate rescue mission that ended in failure when several helicopters broke down in the Iranian desert. The crisis dragged on for months and was a symbol of American weakness.
In a massive embarrassment for Carter, the hostages were not released until the day of Reagan’s inauguration.
🎥Watch: AP US History - The 1970s
🚀 Thematic Guides
Theme 1 (NAT) - American and National Identity
Theme 2 (WXT) - Work, Exchange, and Technology
Theme 3 (GEO) - Geography and The Environment
Theme 4 (MIG) - Migration and Settlement
Theme 5 (PCE) - Politics and Power
Theme 7 (ARC) - American and Regional Culture
Theme 8 (SOC): Social Structures
📑 Document Based Questions (DBQ)
🌽 Unit 1: 1491-1607
1.1Context: European Encounters in the Americas
1.6Cultural Interactions Between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans
🦃 Unit 2: 1607-1754
2.0Unit 2 Overview: Contextualization
2.3The Regions of the British Colonies
2.5Interactions between Native Americans and Europeans
2.6Slavery in the Colonies
🔫 Unit 3: 1754-1800
3.6The Influence of Revolutionary Ideals
3.10Shaping a New Republic
🐎 Unit 4: 1800-1848
4.2The Rise of Political Parties and the Era of Jefferson
4.3Politics and Regional Interests
4.8Jackson and Federal Power
4.9The Development of an American Culture
4.10The Second Great Awakening
4.11The Age of Reform
4.12African Americans in the Early Republic
💣 Unit 5: 1844-1877
5.5Sectional Conflict: Regional Differences
5.6Failure of Compromise
5.7Election of 1860 and Secession
5.9Government Policies during the Civil War
🚂 Unit 6: 1865-1898
6.2Westward Expansion: Economic Development
6.3Westward Expansion Social and Cultural Development
6.6The Rise of Industrial Capitalism
6.7Labor in the Gilded Age
6.9Responses to Immigration
🌎 Unit 7: 1890-1945
7.0Unit 7 Overview: Contextualization
7.3The Spanish-American War
7.5World War I: Military and Diplomacy
7.6World War I: Home Front
7.81920s: Cultural and Political Controversies
7.9The Great Depression
7.10The New Deal
7.11Interwar Foreign Policy
7.12World War II: Mobilization
🥶 Unit 8: 1945-1980
8.2The Cold War from 1945-1980
8.3The Red Scare
8.4Economy after 1945
8.6Early Steps in the Civil Rights Movement
8.7America as a World Power
8.8The Vietnam War
8.10The African American Civil Rights Movement
8.11The Expansion of the Civil Rights Movement
📲 Unit 9: 1980-Present
9.0Unit 9 Overview: Contextualization
9.2Reagan and Conservatism
9.3The End of the Cold War
9.6Challenges of the 21st Century
🧐 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
📋 Short Answer Questions (SAQ)
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