Chapter 39: The Stormy Sixties 1960-1968

Kennedy's "New Frontier" Spirit:
  • Attorney General - bro, Robert Kennedy -> wanted to get FBI more active against organized crime and for civil rights (opposed by J. Edgar Hoover)
  • SoDefense - Robert S. McNamara (Ford president)
  • JFK proposed Peace Corps. Harvard. Youngest president. Seductive.

The New Frontier at Home:

  • New Frontier promoted medical assistance for old and increased federal aid to education (stalled in Congress)
  • Help economy: anti-inflation (steel industry agreed, then raised prices - JFK got mad). Tax-cut bill (conservative, supported free enterprise)
  • JFK supported multibillion dollar project to land on moon - 1969 it happened.
Rumblings in Europe:

  • 1961 JFK and Khrushchev met - threatened to cut off Berlin from W
  • Aug 1961 - Berlin Wall constructed - designed to prevent E Germans from going to W Germany -> division of Europe.
  • W Europe prospering. Common Market (free-trade area, later EU).JFK Trade Expansion Act 1962 - tariff cuts up to 50% to promote trade w/Common Market countries -> expanded US-Euro trade.
  • US wanted "Atlantic Community" w/ US dominant. Blocked by Charles de Gaulle (prez of France) - 1963 vetoed British application for Common Market - ousted US proposal for NATO to go nuclear. Made French atomic force (what a joke). Demanded independent Europe.
Foreign Flare-ups and "Flexible Response":
  • Colonies released from Europe. Congo violence -> UN peacekeeping force (US money, but not forces)
  • Laos Commie civil war -> Geneva Conference imposed shaky peace on Laos in 1962
  • SoDefense McNamara -"flexible response" (as opposed to "massive retaliation") - array of military options to match gravity of crisis -> increased spending on military, Special Forces (Green Berets)
Stepping into the Vietnam Quagmire:
  • S Vietnam (led by corrupt Diem) were threatened by N Vietnamese commies.
  • 1961 JFK increased troops to S Vietnam - to protect Diem and enact social reforms. Nov 1963 US coup against Diem.
  • US commitment -> 15,000 troops

Cuban Confrontations:

  • 1961 Alliance of Progress (Marshall Plan for Latin America) -> little impact on social problems
  • April 1961 invasion of Cuba at Bay of Pigs - 1200 exile invaders surrendered, jailed, ransomed for $62 million in humanitarian supplies
  • Sovs were giving Cuba missiles (shield Cuba and blackmail US into backing down at Berlin). 1962 JFK ordered "quarantine" of Cuba and immediate removal of missiles. Threatened Sovs with nukes. Khrushchev finally agreed to take missiles out of Cuba and US ended quarantine.
  • Sov and US military expansion
  • 1963 - treaty prohibiting nuke testing signed by US and Sovs.
  • Moscow-Washington "hot line" installed - immediate communication
  • 1963 JFK speech to coexist w/ Sovs => d├ętente (relaxation)
The Struggle for Civil Rights:

  • JFK had put civil rights on the back burner, bc he needed support of the South for med and edu bills (those'd help blacks eventually...right?)
  • Freedom Riders were attacked -> federal marshal protection
  • JFK + MLK + SNCC = Voter Education Project (register disfranchised blacks)
  • Integrated universities. Ole Miss - James Meredith - 400 marshals and 3000 troops to enroll him.
  • MLK campaign Birmingham, Alabama -> campaigners were fought with attack dogs and hoses.
  • June 1963 televised JFK speech "moral issue" - called for civil rights legislation
  • Aug 1963, MLK peaceful "March on Washington" in support of JFK's speech - 200,000 - "I have a dream" speech
  • Violence, little headway w/ civil rights bill

The Killing of Kennedy:

  • Nov 22, 1963 - JFK shot in Dallas in a limo by Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald shot by Jack Ruby. Many conspiracy theories and investigations.
  • LBJ sworn in, pledged to continue JFK's policies.

The LBJ Brand on the Presidency:

  • Liberal, egoist, FDR was his hero
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 - (in honor of Kennedy) banned discrimination in privately-owned public facilities, govs enforcement in schools, created Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Conservatives added gender equality to stop bill, but that part ended up passing too.
  • 1965 "affirmative action" against discrimination.
  • LBJ "War on Poverty" -> "Great Society" - New Dealish economic and welfare measures.
  • Michael Harrington - The Other America - 1962 - 20% of whites in nation and 40% of blacks were in poverty
Johnson Battles Goldwater in 1964:
  • Democrats: LBJ -> liberal "Great Society" platform
  • Republicans: Barry Goldwater -> very conservative - against Social Security, TVA, civil rights, Great Society, "war-happy"
  • Aug 1964 - 2 American destroyers fired upon by North Vietnamese -> retaliatory air raid against N Vietnamese bases. "No wider war" LBJ boasted. Tonkin Gulf Resolution: blank-check power for prez to use further force in SE Asia.
  • LBJ won 486 to 52. Democratic maj. in Congress.

The Great Society Congress:

  • $2 billion for Office of Economic Opportunity, $1 billion to redevelop Appalachia.
  • 2 new cabinet offices - Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (Robert C. Weaver - 1st black in cabinet)
  • Big 4: aid to education, medical care for old and poor, immigration reform, new voting rights bill.
  • Education aid to students, not schools -> funds could go to religious schools too.
  • Medicare for elderly, Medicaid for poor (1965)
  • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 - abolished quota system from 1921. Doubled number of immigrants allowed annually (200k), set limits on W Hemisphere immigrants (120k). Allowed admission for close relatives of US citizens outside these limits. Latin Americans and Asians mostly started immigrating.
  • Poverty declined, especially in elderly.
Battling for Black Rights:

  • Blacks were still denied ballot a lot in the South - poll tax, literacy tests, intimidation. Jan 1964 - 24th amendment - abolished poll taxes
  • 1964- Mississippi "Freedom Summer" - 3 killed.
  • 1965 MLK voter registration campaign in Alabama - tear-gassed, some killed.
  • LBJ speech - "we shall overcome." Voting Rights Act of 1965 - outlawed literacy tests and sent federal voter registrars to South.
Black Power:

  • Watts (a ghetto in LA) - blacks burned their own hood, many were killed.
  • Black struggle changed to militant, N and W cities, led by radical/violent spokespersons, aimed at black separatism.
  • Malcolm X - weird Islamo charismatic speaker -> separatism.
  • "Black Power" slogan. Riots in big cities.
  • MLK assassinated 1968 -> more ghetto gutting
  • Voter registration and school integration shot upward in South.
Combating Communist in Two Hemispheres:

  • April 1965 - Dominican Republic revolt - threatened by Commies - LBJ sent 25,000 US troops - condemned for it.
  • Vietnam: 1965 - American air based bombed -> retaliation -> "Operation Rolling Thunder" - regular attacks against N Vietnam.
  • US stayed to keep from "domino" Communism
  • 1968 - LBJ had half a million troops and $30 billion/year going to Nam
Vietnam Vexations:

  • While the US is busy w/ Nam, Sovs expanded to Egypt, Israel gained territory in Six-Day War (1967) against Egypt.
  • Nam protests, anti-draft. Senator William Fulbright aired TV anti-war hearings.
  • SoDefense McNamara against war, dismissed from cabinet.
  • 1966-1967 - bombing halts. More troops on both sides sent to S Vietnam.
  • LBJ ordered CIA to spy on antiwar activists in US (overstepping CIA's bounds). FBI "Cointerpro" - sabotaged peace groups.
Vietnam Topples Johnson:

  • 1968 N Vietnamese Tet Offensive - attacked 27 S Vietnamese cities - militarily defeated but political victory.
  • Military leaders requested 200,000 more US troops
  • Senator Eugen McCarthy - contender for 1968 Dems - antiwar students = his campaigners. Robert F. Kennedy also went for Dems - blacks, youngs, Hispanics.
  • March 1968 LBJ speech - freeze US troop levels, shift responsibility to S Vietnam, less aerial bombingg, wouldn't run 1968.
  • N Vietnam willing to talk peace - Paris meeting - slowwwwwwwwww progress
The Presidential Sweepstakes of 1968:
  • Antiwar democrats Kennedy and McCarthy fought for primaries. Robert Kennedy assassinated by Arab.
  • Aug 1968, Dems met at Chicago - "Fort Daley" - barricaded - militants chanted and attacked. "Police riot" - police fought back.
  • Former VP, Hubert H. Humphrey De. nominee - LBJ's bitch. Fight till Nam negotiates.
  • Repubs: Nixon - war-hawk, moderate domestic, "Victory in Vietnam and anticrime policy"
  • 3rd party: American Independent party - George C. Wallace - pro-segregation, bomb Nam.
Victory for Nixon:

  • Both parties called for "honorable peace"
  • Nixon won301 to 191 - Congress Democrat majority
  • Wallace got 46 electoral votes from the deep south - largest 3rd party popular vote ever
The Obituary of Lyndon Johnson:

  • Went back to TX and died 1973. Civil rights! Helped poor, blacks, and ill-educated. People's President. Nam sunk him. Couldn't please hawks and the doves.
The Cultural Upheaval of the 1960s:

  • The youth became filthy hippies
  • 1954 UC Berkeley "Free Speech Movement" - started it off
  • Trippy drugs, sexual revolution, homosexuals come outta the closet and fight for rights
  • Morals? Where are they?