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The Second World War also known as World War II was there from 1939 to 1945. Conflicts may have begun earlier before 1939. Many world nations were involved, and even the world’s greatest powers were involved. As a result, there were two alliances that were formed; that is; the allies and the axis (Hart, 2015). Franklin Roosevelt was the President of the United States when World War II began until he died on April 1945 and Harry Truman became the President. The three principle partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. The allied powers were led by the Great Britain, United Sates, and the Soviet Union.
Even though the United States was a latecomer in the war, its entrance in 1941 meant that the entire country devoted all its human and material resources to defeating the Axis countries. Out of the total population of 130 million which was there in the United States 16 million Americans served in the war. A total of 156,000 allied troops landed in Normandy and 73,00out of these military were from the United States (Hart, 2015). The lend lease act of 1941 that was introduced in the US also helped the military a great deal in the acquisition of arms. When it came to Marshall Plan, us was also involved and played a great role.
The cold war was a mere ideological struggle, a battle, for the hearts and minds of people all over the world (Cockroft, 2013). The cold war reshaped the understanding of freedom more that how it was shaped during World War II. It is during the cold war during the 1950s that there was the rise of human rights. This idea that all members of the human family have human rights emerged in the 18th, century in the Enlightenment and the American and French revolutions. It is in 1948 that the UN approved the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
On the side of politics and culture, the cold war had a significant impact. For example, the cold war led to the election of anticommunist presidents who may include; Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan. The battling Soviets, politically and culturally these leaders waged economic warfare with the Soviet Union. Therefore the cold war had great impacts regarding United States’ politics and the culture. One of the events that defined cold war is the creation of the iron curtain. Others include the Warsaw Pact, the Vietnam war, the formation of NATO and the Berlin airlift.
The main characteristics of the affluent society of 1950 are numerous. To begin with, there was a remarkable economic boom which had a lot of impacts on government spending, capital, and labor. The second main characteristic is the explosion of scientific and technological breakthroughs in the decades after the World War I. a good example is in computer and electronics. Various innovations in various fields came into widespread during this period. The third characteristic is the changing economy. Since the 1950s the American economy is shifting away from manufacturing.
The center of farming too moved to the west and mostly to California. Another characteristic is women at work and home. The number of women who were working began to rise significantly (Hart, 2015). The last feature is that the TVs replaced the newspapers. The main source of information changed from newspapers to televisions. The presidential campaign of 1960 became the closest in the history of America. John F. Kennedy became the youngest presidential candidate in American history. He was also a Catholic.
Some of the major events in the civil rights movement of the early 1960s are discussed below. One of them includes the lunch counter process that was in 1961 (Winter, 2014). Ten men sat in the “whites only” counter in Rock Hill in Carolina where they were protesting against segregation. In 1961 again there were freedom riders opposing discrimination. Blacks and whites took buses the south to protest bus station discrimination. In 1962 there was desegregation drive in Birmingham. There were protesters, and the king opposed laws that support segregation. Riots, firebombing, and the police were used against the protesters.
On September 1963 there was the bombing of Birmingham church where four black girls were killed by a bomb that was planted at the church. Kennedy’s presidency had some major crises and policies initiatives. Some of them are mentioned below. Before 1963 Kennedy had disappointed those who were involved in the civil rights struggle. On March 1963 he attracted 250,000 demonstrators to the nation’s capital in support of civil rights legislation. In 1962 Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba. Johnson’s great society program was meant to help citizens a great deal. For example, the wilderness protection act saved 9.1 million acres of forestland from industrial development. It also helped a lot in minimizing poverty and racial injustice.
The civil rights movement had great changes in the 1960s. One of the changes that were there in 1964 was introduced by the civil rights act of 1964 (Winter, 2014). It outlawed major forms of discrimination. The voting rights act of 1965 also outlawed the discriminatory voting systems. The black power movement also was a significant change that emphasized on racial pride. It stressed the creation of black political and cultural institutions. The Vietnam war affected the culture and the politics of US in several ways. It is the one that made the voting age to be lowered to 18 years of age. It also made the Congress end the military draft, and it was replaced by all – Army volunteer. Finally, it is this war that made the US cautious about getting involved in the war anywhere in the world.
The Watergate scandal that was there in 1972 made the citizens in the US lose faith with the government after they realized that they lie through the media. They realized that executive administration was corrupt. The Vietnam War and Watergate disillusioned Americans. They damaged Americans faith in the interim government and the leaders.
The opportunities for most Americans diminished during this period since it is then that they experienced an increase in divorce rates. This made many American women work to cater for their families needs (Kaiser, 2015). It is during this period that there was an increase in the use of drugs.
There was also an increase in crime rates. There was also increase in pre-marital sex, and many couples were living together outside of marriage. This is how the opportunities of many Americans were lost. The rise of conservatism in the 1970s is associated with the rise of Reagan. He believed that the government intruded too deeply into the lives of the Americans. He, therefore, wanted to eliminate the programs that he thought were not much helpful to the country. Regan leadership affected the Americans greatly. All the negative impacts of the Vietnam and Watergate scandals discussed above were as a result of his leadership. The black and whites began being equal in America out of his leadership.
The economic performance of the US in the late 1990s was remarkable. It was remarkable regarding labor productivity growth after a long period of sluggish gains. The role of information technology has greatly led to this development (Nabers, 2016). The growth can be attributed to the introduction of computers. The introduction of computer hardware, software and the communication types of equipment in the second half of the 1990s contributed greatly to the economic development of the US. The cultural wars in the US began in the 1990s.
There were conflicts between the conservatives who were the traditionalists and the progressive values also known as the liberals. Abortion, separation of church and state were of great concern during this war. The Republicans in 2000 moved away from the previous positions that were unattractive. The party under the leadership of Bush proposed new policies. The conservative, the Bush Republicans emphasized much on moral issues particularly abortion. Bush made more efforts to gain minority votes by giving blacks the prominent roles in the party.
September 11, 2001, opened an era of crisis upheaval and militarization of the US society. It was marked by the criminalization of the American states and their judicial, foreign policies the national securities were included. The intelligent apparatus were also included. The crimes that were committed on September 2011 led to the loss of lives, and a lot of properties were destroyed in the name of 9/11. The crimes that were committed in the name of 9/11 had two processes.
The first process involved the launching of the global war on terrorism which was used as a justification to wage a war of subjugation (Nabers, 2016). The second process involved the derogation of the public freedom and inauguration of Orwellian police state within western countries. This war had enormous effects since there was blood she and a lot of property were destroyed. This led to the determination of the US economy out of the funds invested and the property that was damaged. Bush was criticized during his second term for remaining in vacation in Texas as Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Bush later returned to Washington, flying over New Orleans on air force one.
Cockroft, E. (2013). Abstract expressionism, weapon of the Cold War.
Hart, B. L. (2015). A History of the Second World War. Pan Macmillan.
Herring, G. (2013). America's longest war: the United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Kaiser, D. E. (2015). Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War: Germany, Britain, France, and Eastern Europe, 1930-1939. Princeton University Press.
Nabers, D. (2016). The Bush Leadership, the Power of Ideas, and the War on Terror. Routledge.
Winter, M. (2014). Civil Rights Movement. ABDO.
Swift’s work Gulliver’s Travels is a manifestation of the real life problems facing England upon the reign of King George I. The shenanigans of King George are highlighted particularly through Gulliver’s travel to the Land of Lilliput. Here, Swift uses the Lilliputians to highlight the problems and challenges facing England, especially with the presence of a pro-Whig parliament.
First off, Swift uses the affairs of Lilliput to satirize the political landscape in England. The deadly differences between the High Heels and Low Heels in Lilliput shed considerable light on the political scenario in England. In Lilliput, the High Heels, also called the Tramecksans, are avid supporters of the Emperor and Lilliput’s constitution. Unfortunately, the Low Heels, also called the Slamecksans, are the ones in power in Lilliput, as evidenced by the fact that the Emperor will only appoint Low Heels to high office in his government. The fact that the Emperor does not assess the individual capabilities of all his Low Heel appointments to higher office is a direct jab at the pro-Whig government of King George. Being a pro-Whig King, he was sure to appoint only like-minded individuals to high office. This left the Tories, in this case the High Heels, out of contention for High office (Lemke et.al., 2008). The King favored the liberal Whigs over the conservative Tories who supported the crown and the constitution.
Lilliput’s government is a representation of the coronation of King George I following Queen Anne’s death (Ernst, 2008). The decision to fill significant government positions with pro-Whig individuals is represented in the Emperor’s appointment of Low Heels to high office. The lack of consideration in such decisions by the Emperor is a satirical jab at King George, who similarly did not bother assessing the qualifications and capabilities of his appointments (Jan & Firdaus, 2004). The fact that these high office officials were chosen on merit of their rope dancing abilities highlights the true nature of the English Court. Having to dance on a rope that is a foot high was a dangerous feat for any Lilliputian, seeing that they were only six inches tall.
This dangerous rope dancing game satirizes the true nature of the English Court. To be appointed to higher office, one had to please the King through their dancing abilities, and not necessarily their qualifications of holding high office (Lemke et.al., 2008). It also signified that this was a dangerous affair, much like the influence of King George’s close officials can portend doom for any individual. Gulliver learns this truth when he receives Articles of Impeachment written by Skyresh Bolgolam. The fact that the Emperor was a close friend of Gulliver’s did not change the fact that depending on his mercy could have meant death for Gulliver. The same situation played out in England, where depending on King George’s mercy could cause the downfall of a man. This is particularly because of the cronies appointed by the King-the Low Heels that held actual power.
Swift also satirizes the administration of King George I. Flimnap represents Robert Walpole, the Whig leader and Skyresh Bolgolam represents either the Earl of Nottingham or the Duke of Marlborough, both close allies of Robert Walpole. The cunning and coercive nature of Walpole ensures the King pays little attention to the widening political differences between the Whigs and the Tories (Ernst, 2008). Walpole, on the other hand ensures that the Tories fade into political oblivion, much like Flimnap engineers the impeachment and ‘execution’ of Gulliver. Gulliver also satirizes the fall of Robert Walpole. The fact that the King’s mistress played a central role in his ascent back to power is manifested in the fact that the King’s pillow helps to break Flimnap’s fall during a rope dance.
Swift also satirizes the evident but shallow falling out between the Catholics and the Protestants in his time in the conflicts between the Little-Endians and the Big-Endians and the islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu. The change in Lilliput that forced the entire populace to crack eggs from the little end, and not from the big end, is the centerpiece of the disagreement between the Big-Endians and the Little-Endians. Following an accident where the Emperor’s grandfather cut himself while cracking an egg from the big end, he forces all Lilliputians to stop cracking eggs from this end, and instead use the little end (Lemke et.al., 2008).
This shallow source of dispute is used to highlight the similarly shallow between the Catholics and the Protestants under the Anglican Church. The Catholics are forced to flee to France where they are accepted and are allowed to worship. This is referenced in Gulliver’s Travels a great deal. The Lilliputians who thought they did not want to adopt a new style of cracking eggs (in this case religion) chose to flee to Blefescu that was a haven for Big-Endians (Catholics). The long war between Catholics and Protestants (Little-Endians) in England is an object of Swift’s satire, seeing that it has a very shallow base. The fact that France harbored Catholic exiles form England upon Henry VIII’s break with Rome, and that this is a source of eternal conflict is worthy of ridicule.
The Emperor of Lilliput is also keen on waging war with the neighboring island of Blefescu. To achieve victory, he uses Gulliver to capture the entire navy of Blefescu (Lemke et.al., 2008). Swift uses this to satirize the shallowness of the long standing conflict between Protestants and Catholics, and also between England and France. The fcat that Protestants and Catholics could not co-habit purely due to religious reasons is shallow petty. This is likened to the conflict between big end and little end egg crackers in Lilliput. The conflict between France and England stems from the War of the Spanish Succession. The war between England, Spain, Austria and France is the subject matter of this satirical conflict.
The fact that differences in religious opinion were used as pretexts for warfare greatly disagrees with Swift’s ideologies (Jan & Firdaus, 2004). Despite being an Anglican Minister, he does not advocate for the deepening of religious conflicts based on minor differences. He greatly opposes the discrimination against the Catholics, since they had their freedom to worship. This sort of religious abuse by the government is the motivation behind his satirical representation of Lilliput and Blefuscu in his work. Swift aimed to enlighten the public on the need to accommodate differences in religious opinion as well as politics.
The desire to wage war against France by King George I is also represented. King George uses the War of the Spanish Succession and the harboring of Catholic exiles as an excuse to engage in warfare. His love for warfare sees him twist this minor happening into justification for engaging in warfare. Similarly, the fact that the Emperor of Lilliput was willing to engage in warfare with Blefuscu for harboring Big-Endians and for ‘plotting against Lilliput’ is shallow cause for warfare.
At the time of writing, Swift witnessed a number of political and religious injustices in England. The fact that the government was doing very little to address these issues in a sober manner, and instead chose warfare and religious discrimination was a source of inspiration for Swift (Jan & Firdaus, 2004). Having been on the receiving end of these political falling outs, he clearly addresses the political and religious challenges facing England in the most satirical of ways.
Ernst, R. (2008). Analysis of the nature of Swift's satire in Gulliver's Travels - Targets, techniques and effectiveness. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.
Jan, K. M., & Firdaus, S. (2004). Perspectives on Gulliver's travels. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors.
Lemke, D. B., Martin, C., Fuentes, B., & Swift, J. (2008). Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's travels. Minneapolis: Stone Arch Books.
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