1) What were the “Three Shocks” (as discussed in lecture) and how important were they to America’s post-war role in the world? Did they weaken or strengthen the case for international containment? Explain why or why not.
2) Explain the differences between “international containment” and “domestic containment.” Was the atomic bomb a factor in either? What role were families expected to fulfill?
3) What kind of impact did the atomic bomb have on American society, culture, and foreign policy in the decades after the 1945 bombings of Japan? (Note: this question is NOT about Hiroshima and Nagasaki; focus on post-war American society, culture, and foreign policy.)
4) Define the Cold War and explain its causes. What were the National Security interests that the U.S. sought to protect, and what kind of strategy did policymakers employ to protect them? How did Americans at home react?
5) Why is World War II considered to be the “good war” but Vietnam is considered the “bad war?” What were the differences between them (i.e., causes, objectives, and support on the home front)?
6) How were the 1960s a pivotal decade for American politics and society? What social movements were spawned in the decades to follow, and why do we see the rise of a backlash (i.e., the Politics of Resentment) gaining so much political traction?
7) For decades the world stood on the precipice of nuclear Armageddon during the Cold War; and yet in many respects, the post-Cold War world seems a much more dangerous place. Why? Explain the most important events leading to the end of the Cold War, as well as the challenges (some new, others old) that America has faced in the decades since?
8) “If there’s one thing that civil rights protestors learned during the sit-ins and freedom rides, it was that no matter how badly protestors were beaten, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations simply were uninterested in supporting their cause.” IS THIS STATEMENT TRUE OR FALSE? IN YOUR ANSWER, GIVE A GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF THE SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
9) Why is the concept of “race” in America becoming even more difficult to define? What has been the cause of the demographic changes going on America (what demographers refer to as a “Browning of America”); what forms of recent (post-1960s) conflict have these changes caused; and what factors will continue to influence American race relations, not just in the present but in the future?
10) Detail the up and down fortunes of modern conservatism and liberalism since the 1960s. What led to the decline of Great Society liberalism and the rise of Nixon/Reagan conservatism by the 1970s and 1980s? How has the popularity of conservatism faired in the post-Reagan decades, particularly in contrast to Clinton/Obama pragmatism?