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PinkMonkey Study Guide - American History

11. 17 Our World Today

The beginning of 1970s saw the U.S. government involved in environment issues. In this context, the DDT insect killer was banned as it is known to have harmful effects on the environment as well as the people.

This decade also witnessed a major energy crises everywhere including the U.S. This crisis is a result of the OPECís decision to raise oil prices. [The OEPC is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries established in 1961. The energy crisis led to economic problems in the US, Europe and Japan.

The year 1974, saw President Richard Nixon resign over the Watergate Scandal. The World entered the 1980 with fresh conflicts. It also saw the "silicon revolution" in America. Moreover, computers developed in the 1980s have changed our lives greatly today.

Exhibit 11.8

The Berlin Wall comes down in 1990

The 1980s also saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. This historic event took place in 1989, when the Berliners brought the wall crumbling down. Thus, began the break up of socialist countries in Eastern Europe. Moreover, the reform programs of Glasnost and Perestroika introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the U.S.S.R , leads to a total thawing of the Cold War. The reform programs were mainly introduced to strengthen the Soviet economy which was falling apart. On the other hand, the 2 superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR met and reached an agreement, for the first time on nuclear disarmament (1987).

The 1980s was also a period of great disasters. For instance, in 1986, an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor caused a massive leak of radioactive particles.

Exhibit 11.9

The Chernobyl disaster had gruesome aftereffects

And back home in the U.S., the íChallengerí exploded after taking off, killing all its crewmembers. This decade has also seen the spread of the dreaded disease AIDS. The end of the 1980s saw dramatic changes in the USSR National groups within went on to declare their Independence. Thus began the break up of the U.S.S.R (1989).

Today, with the breakup of the communist superpower, the U.S.S.R, the world has become a unipolar world with the U.S. as the only power with sole hegemony over the world. With the breakup of the Soviet Union into various small states, the old strategic alliances that the U.S. had in Asia with Afghanistan and other countries in the Far east were no longer relevant.

Today, the single major threat to the world, second only to the AIDS virus is the growing menace of environment degradation.

Exhibit 11.10

Natural Resources like water are polluted with toxic effluents from industries.

The erosion of the Ozone layer; the environmental threat due to the various nuclear reactors and nuclear waste; and the depletion of forests in South America and Asia have had a dramatic effect on the climate all over the world today.

Exhibit 11.11

Deforestation is on the rise.

The fast disappearing forests in Brazil and Indonesia, are causing serious problems of pollution; forest fires affect entire countries in Asia. The forest fires raging in Indonesia are causing smog in countries like Burma.

This is slowly moving into the Indian subcontinent. One of the reasons for the growing environmental problems is the way the economy of the world including that of U.S. is run. Where profit motives rule over developmental issues, the environment will always be a major cause of concern!




Table of Contents

11.0 - Chronology of Major Events in this Period
11.1 - Conditions at Home
11.2 - The Employment Act
11.3 - The Taft-Hartley Labor Management Relations Act
11.4 - The Truman's Civil Rights Program
11.5 - The McCarthy Period
11.6 - The Cold War Abroad
11.7 - The Korean War
11.8 - The Eisenhower Administration
11.9 - The Civil Rights movement and the question of Desegregation
11.10 - The Labor Reform act
11.11 - The Budget
11.12 - The Economy in the 60s
11.13 - The Communist Threat Abroad
11.14 - The Threat of Nuclear War
11.15 - The Exploration of Outer Space
11.16 - The Geneve Conference on Disarmament
11.17 - Our WorldToday


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