Archive for '- The 1960s'
This Sunday is the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. To commemorate the event, the National Archives is displaying a program from the march in the East Rotunda Gallery and screening The March on August 27 and 28.
The first reel of this documentary (embedded below) shows the lead-up to the march—from assembling thousand of picket signs to making 80,000 cheese sandwiches for bagged lunches to the long bus rides into the Washington, DC. The first 12 minutes gives a different view of the event from the usual clips of the March on Washington.
The film was directed by James Blue, who was later nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for another documentary, A Few Notes on Our Food Problem.
The March was made as part of a series of films created by the United States Information Agency (USIA), founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. These films were meant to promote American policies in foreign countries, without being overt propaganda. (You can read about the agency’s anticommunism message in this Text Message post about the race to the Moon.)
But these USIA films were rarely seen in America because … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on August 26, 2011, under - Civil Rights, - Cold War, - The 1960s, News and Events, Rare Videos.
Tags: Congress, Eisenhower, James Blue, March on Washington, Oscar, Smith-Mundt Act, The March, United States Information Agency, USIA
Americans often associate the month of August with family vacations and the summer heat, but that was not the case in 1961. Fifty years ago this month, a Cold War chill filled the air as construction began on the Berlin Wall.
After the end of World War II, the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union each occupied a piece of postwar Germany. The four powers intended to jointly govern through the Allied Control Council until the country could be reunified under one government. But as relations between the West and the Soviet Union deteriorated in the late 1940s, Germany became a central part of the Cold War.
In 1949, the the three western zones merged to form the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet Union responded by establishing the German Democratic Republic. Although the capital city of Berlin was located within Soviet-controlled East Germany, it remained divided as a multinational area.
Between 1949 and 1961, millions of East Germans defected from the German Democratic Republic by crossing into West Berlin. The mass exodus of young, well-educated individuals—which led to both economic stagnation and political turmoil—compelled Communist leaders to refortify East Germany’s borders.
Posted by Gregory Marose on August 25, 2011, under - Cold War, - The 1960s, - World War II, News and Events.
Tags: 1961, Berlin, Berlin Wall, Cold War, Federal Republic of Germany, france, German Democratic Republic, Great Britain, National Declassification Center, Soviet Union, United States
Julius Henry Marx–better known by his stage name Groucho Marx–passed away on August 19, 1977. He left behind a legacy of humor on stage, radio, and film. I was not able to find to find any images of him in our holdings, which was disappointing as his trademark mustache was a fine candidate for Facial Hair Friday.
However, I did find something unexpected. Groucho had been corresponding with President Truman.
What would a funny man and a President have in common? Well, it turns out that the young Harry Truman was an avid vaudeville fan, attending shows at the Orpheum Theatre and the Grand Opera House whenever he was Kansas City. He even took his future wife Bess to vaudeville shows on dates. Truman especially enjoyed the Marx Brothers, later recalling that he never missed a chance to see them when they were in town.
So Truman was a fan of the famous brothers, but how did he come to correspond with Groucho (and later Harpo Marx)?
It started with the displaced persons, the survivors of the Holocaust who had lost their homes and families and were now living in temporary camps. Truman had issued a directive in 1945 to allow some of them to immigrate to the United States. In … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on August 19, 2011, under - Presidents, - The 1960s, - World War I, - World War II, Facial Hair Fridays, Letters in the National Archives, Prologue Magazine.
Tags: displaced persons, Groucho Marx, Harry Truman, Holocaust, President Truman, vaudeville
If you opened the the New York Times this morning in 1971, you would have seen the first part of the secret “Pentagon Papers” that the newspaper published—without authorization from the government.
Today in 2011, the National Archives and the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Presidential libraries will release the entire official Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force (commonly referred to as the Pentagon Papers).
Although the unauthorized publication of the Papers fueled opposition to the Vietnam War and provided historians with unique insight into the U.S. policymaking apparatus, today’s release will finally provide the American public with unimpeded access to this historic text.
The release will feature over 2,300 pages of previously undisclosed material not included in the Senator Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers, the most commonly referenced compilation of the Papers.
So what were the Pentagon Papers?
Following the 1954 Geneva Accords, the United States assumed a substantial role in the political and military development of South Vietnam. In order to prevent the new nation from falling into the communist sphere of influence in Southeast Asia, the Eisenhower administration provided the government of Ngo Dinh Diem with billions of dollars in economic and military aid. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson continued authorizing similar assistance prior the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Gregory Marose on June 13, 2011, under - Cold War, - Presidents, - Spies and Espionage, - The 1960s, News and Events.
Tags: Daniel Ellsberg, John McNaughton, Johnson Presidential Library, Kennedy Presidential Library, Leslie Gelb, Morton Halperin, national archives, Nixon Presidential Library, Pentagon Papers, Senator Gravel Edition, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vietnam Study Task Force, Vietnam War
We’re now in the middle of commencement season, and there’ll be many words of wisdom coming from the mouths of speakers: academicians, celebrities, inventors, authors, artists, business people, and political leaders.
Sometimes commencement speeches become historic.
President John F. Kennedy announced talks for a test-ban treaty in his commencement speech at American University in 1963, and a treaty banning nuclear testing above ground was signed later in the year. “In the final analysis,” Kennedy said, “our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson officially unveiled his “Great Society” in his commencement speech at the University of Michigan in 1964. “The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to . . . advance the quality of our American civilization,” Johnson told the graduates. “For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the ‘Great Society.’”
Posted by Hilary on May 31, 2011, under - Cold War, - Presidents, - The 1960s.
Tags: "Great Society", American University, commencement, communism, Harvard University, MArshall Plan, Notre Dame University, nuclear testing ban, University of Michigan