This is a review of the book The Rise and fall of the American Century: United States from 1890-2009 authored by Chafe, William Henry, in 2009. He noted that Cold War was a result of several reasons that had either built up over a long period or immediately triggered the war. The built up reasons included the ideological tension between the two powerful nations, USA and USSR, in which each opposed the other’s system of government. One advocated for capitalism while the other communism.
Henry argued that power rivalry between the two nations also escalated Cold War. After the World War II, the two nations both wanted to dominate the world hence making conflicts inevitable. The US strategy was to force for a free open market in Europe. Soviet Union, on the other side, saw this as an intrusion on their totalitarian system and feared the influence from the west. Thus, Russia did engage in cold war to shield herself and the regions in Europe against the influence of international market.
He noted that Russia continued domination of Eastern Europe and its refusal to negotiate with the capitalists led to the US to take a stiff stance against the policies in Europe. It is noted that Russia’s communism had influenced most countries in Europe including Germany and Italy where communist parties had gained a lot of power. Russia’s awareness of its communist policies dominating Europe saw President Stalin refusing to commune with other countries that were not like-minded.
According to Henry, overseas involvement created blowbacks to US in terms of the Soviet Union engaging in support of countries that were seen as anti US such as Iran, Cuba and Angola.US involvement in international affairs, like the Guatemala and Vietnam wars, was met with reactionary measures from the Soviet thus escalating the war.
US Foreign Policy in the Interwar Years 1919-1939
The US acted rationally despite the communist forces acting across the world. Countries in the east were scrambling to acquire influence in countries that British were leaving. Germany and Russia were exerting their communism influence in countries like Turkey and Slovakia. However, the US allowed these forces to thrive to the point of regulating the world economy. The US attempted to advocate for capitalism during the global recession. However, it failed to control world markets.
Evolution of Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement has been with America since independence. However, the executive order by President Kennedy rendered racial discrimination VA illegal. This was a major win of the civil movements. In 1964, the federal government funded Civil Rights Act which illegalized racial discrimination in federally-funded housing. Subsequent Supreme Court cases also saw the civil rights movement continue to register massive successes towards issues of discrimination, democracy and employment. The height of this was the 1968 Civil Rights Act that saw the expansion of fair housing for people of color and addition of more characteristics like religion as a feature of protected class. American integrated this movement through enacting of legal structures that criminalized certain acts like discrimination and segregation (Chafe, 47).
Groups and Issues of Concern in 1960 to 1970s Oppression
Civil rights movement was mainly concerned with the issues of discrimination, religion, employment, housing, health and education among others. These are issues that people who were seen to posses certain unique characteristics were denied by the elites of the American leadership. Groups such as the Native Americans, the red Indians, African American and Hispanics were faced with oppression in tying to integrate in the larger American society that was majorly dominated by the whites (Chafe, 95).
Political and Socio-Economic Decline of the US in the 1970s
American socio-political and economic decline was a result of several factors including the 1973 oil crisis, recession, increasing population and emergence of popular culture that changed the social stratum of the country. This was a period immediately after the nonviolent protest and political actions of the 1960s that made the federal government to give out a lot of powers to the people thus weakening its political and social structure (Chafe, 95).
In conclusion, the author has succeeded in giving the exact picture of certain aspects of the US history.