President Kennedy learned of Soviet plans for missile installation in Cuba and announced a blockade on Cuba to prevent more missiles from entering the country. In the following days, Kennedy and Khrushchev exchanged messages under mutual threat of nuclear war. On October 28, Khrushchev agreed to halt missile work in Cuba, and Kennedy promised to withdraw missiles from Turkey. The agreement put an end to the crisis and averted an escalation to major nuclear conflict.
The American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded in 1968 by Dennis Banks and others as a militant civil rights organization that aimed to correct injustices perpetrated against American Indians. AIM’s goals focused on economic independence, preservation of traditional culture, civil rights, autonomy for tribal lands, and the restoration of lands seized by the government to American Indians. AIM was involved in the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969–1971 as well as the Second Battle of Wounded Knee in 1973.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is an activist women’s rights organization founded in 1966 by Betty Friedan and others. In the 1960s and 1970s, NOW helped lead the feminist movement in its efforts to eliminate sex discrimination and secure reproductive and equal rights for women. As the largest feminist organization in the United States, NOW continues to address issues of equality, race, economy, health, sexuality, and violence against women.
The New Left, a radical political movement, began in the early 1960s and was embodied by anti-capitalist and anti-war groups such as Students for a Democratic Society. The manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, the Port Huron Statement, was a platform of the New Left and called for “participatory democracy” and “revolutionary leadership.”
The Peace Corps was a product of the Cold War. A week before the 1960 presidential election, John F. Kennedy observed that the Soviet Union had “hundreds of men and women, scientists, physicists, teachers, engineers, doctors, and nurses . . . prepared to spend their lives abroad in the service of world communism.” The United States had no equivalent. Kennedy feared that the United States was in danger of losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the world’s peoples. He believed that a “peace corps” was the answer. “I am...
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was founded in 1959 as a civil rights organization. The organization issued its manifesto, the Port Huron Statement, in 1962, and the group soon began protesting the draft and American involvement in the Vietnam War. In the late 1960s, several splinter groups formed from the SDS, including the Weathermen or Weather Underground, a militant activist group that employed violent and terrorist tactics.
The United Farm Workers of America (UFWA) is a labor union established in 1966 by the merger of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), founded by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta in 1962, and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). With the leadership of Chavez, Huerta, and others, the UFWA organized various farmworker strikes and boycotts, including the grape strikes of the 1960s and 1970s, to improve conditions and increase wages.
The Viet Cong were Vietnamese Communist rebels from South Vietnam who fought against the South Vietnamese government and the United States. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the Viet Cong used guerrilla attacks and developed a sophisticated network of logistics and command structure in the fight to reunify Vietnam under a Communist regime.