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C O U R S E 
The Modern World: Global History since 1760
Prof. Philip Zelikow, University of Virginia
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Post WWII: The Age of America
Notes taken on June 18, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
the age of the Americas
1950s: the United States takes on a particularly important role in shaping world history
1920s was important for the United States, but most of that was commercial and cultural
in the 1940s, the United States becomes exceptionally important militarily and politically
1940-1954: formative period
1940: after the fall of France, the United States declares a national emergency and begins mobilizing on a mass scale to participate in global war
1954: United States has decided that it is going to have a global strategy of maintaining communism all over the world
began to make domestic decisions in order to play a global leadership role
1954: Brown v. Board of Education
this began a second reconstruction of the southern part of its country
America as world power
by 1898, America had become an important power among many other powers, but by no means a dominant one
during the 1940s, the United States emerged as a lead world power, in some cases, the lead world power
became a national security state
"national security" was a phrase people didn't use until the 1940s
security is about more than the size of the army and the navy
after 1945, the United States began demobilizing, was tempted to become the way it was before the 1940s
but then the rise of the Cold War propelled the United States to get back into preparing for world war
the 40s and the 50s are the formative years of the national security state
1947: United States Air Force
1947: National Security Council
1947: Joint Chiefs of Staff
1947: CIA
1949: created the Department of Defense
this was an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947
1952: National Security Agency
begins defending frontiers designed to limit the spread of communism
America as economic model
became the leading model for the practice of social democracy
big business, big unions, and a big government umpiring it all
becomes the leading spokescountry for free trade
this is an irony because from the late 1800s to the 1930s, America had been a protectionist country
Britain had been the free-trade country but then abandoned the doctrines of free trade at the beginning of the 1930s
domestic transformation
integration of the South into the national economy
it's hard for us to remember this now, but in the 1920s and well into the 1930s, the American South was regarded as the substantially unreconstructed backward backwater of American society, weaker education, oppression of the Negros, a kind of benighted, colorful place, fit for the fiction of William Faulkner but hardly for imitation in the rest of the country
but hardly for imitation in the rest of the country
industries weak
economic growth modest,
its laborers, mainly black, trapped in an almost sort of serfdom, sharecropping on their tenant plots
many of the best workers increasingly able to free themselves from this kind of peonage, leaving it, and migrating in large numbers to work in factories in the North
changes in 1930s, 1940s
Roosevelt's New Deal
opportunities of the War
Southern businesses began to participate in the national labor and capital markets
cities like Atlanta and Houston are growing tremendously
from 1940-1970, Houston adds 1 million people
from cotton to international oil and petrochemicals
the rise of the Western United States
in 1930 was quite small
today 34 million people and one of the largest economies of the world
a lot of it because of U.S. defense industry
since 1930, population of West increased significantly
took on the legacy of African slavery inside the country
had been freed but were being kept in a state of profound legal discrimination and systematic oppression
why the 1940s, why the 1950s did a second reconstruction of American South begin?
not a coincidence that it begins at this time
you can't separate this from what is going on in world history
the United States had just mobilized the whole country to destroy a tyranny based on racial prejudice
this bounced back on people in a myriad of ways on people through the United States in the way American then viewed the heritage of racial prejudice inside their own country
you can see the erosion of the old established American positions on race
1948: integration of blacks in the armed forces
1954: Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court votes 9-0 to integrate schools
1955: boycott of the segregated bus system in Montgomery, Alabama by black American who refused to provide financial support to a bus system that treated them as second-class citizens
the second reconstruction of the South was not a foregone conclusion
there is a complex, twisting story, based much on key decisions at key times