Unit 4: 1960's

1960's Intro.mp4

The 1960's

Unit Objective

  • You will identify major cultural movements happening in the United States through emerging pop culture

  • You will explain how the age of the American population influence trends and how pop culture reflects that

  • You will analyze how international relations and policies played a role in the rise of the Hippie movement

In the 1960's Cold War tensions were still as strong as ever and as both the United States and the USSR were building up their arsenal of nuclear weapons and international bases. By 1962 the Cold War reached its most tense moment with the Cuban Missile Crisis in which the United States discovered a number of missile sites run by the USSR in Cuba - a location less than 200 miles off the coast of the United States. This discovery led to a three week standoff as both nations inched towards a nuclear war. In the end the USSR conceded and agreed to remove the missile sites as long as the United States did not attempt to take over Cuba when they left. During this same time John F. Kennedy challenged America to reach for the stars and enter the space race to see who could get to outer space first. The USSR beat the United States to outer space with Sputnik, but the United States would not be defeated and pushed the technological bounds of man launching the Apollo missions and landing on the moon first and effectively winning the space race.

In addition to these international conflicts, the United States was undergoing a revolution of its own as it dealt with race relations throughout America. The civil rights movement gained attention and momentum throughout the 1960's as African American battled for their basic freedoms and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. rose to become the voice of the movement. Racial division has strong roots in American culture and this movement saw great resistance, leaders were attacked and those who spoke out against injustice were targeted by local and federal police forces. MLK was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968 by those that opposed his message and the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King Jr. was not the only national figure assassinated in the 1960's however, John F. Kennedy was also assassinated in Huston, Texas on November 22nd, 1963 on his way to a campaign rally. The United States was undergoing immense change during the 1960's and those who resisted these changes were outspoken and openly violent and racist. But, thanks to the powerful messages of men like Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy and the images captured during these movements for change, eventually change did come and begin to help move America Forward.

The 1960's also saw a resistance to the ideas of consumerism and the traditional way of life. Young Americans under the age of 18 represent nearly half the population in the United States and they have a new idea of what America should look like. The Hippie movement emerges to promote an idea of anti-consumerism, anti-war, free love and experimentation with drugs, sexuality and our way of living. This rising movement caused new conflicts in the United States and opened up the door for a more expressive and wild era of Pop Culture.