Postwar America (1946-1975)
(135 total)

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President Kennedy wrote this letter to Soviet Chairman Krushchev on the day of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation, in which 1,400 U.S.-trained Cuban exiles attempted to invade the island and overthrow Fidel Castro. Responding to an indignant letter from Krushchev in which the Soviet leader threatened to defend Cuba with military force, Kennedy…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1961

Before launching the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, President Kennedy already had received over 25,000 letters from American volunteers. Their offers came in response to a campaign speech Kennedy delivered on the campus of the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960 in which he challenged young people to serve abroad in…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1961

This letter to President Nixon was written by the members of Company D, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army to complain about what they saw as an unfair burden of combat duty that they and other infantrymen bore in Vietnam. The letter paints a vivid picture of life "in the field," which the soldiers contrast…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1969

In this letter home from Vietnam Sergeant. Phillip Woodall writes his father about the recent assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Comparing King's death with that of his platoon leader, an African-American lieutenant who died in battle, Woodall expresses his disillusionment with the war and his dismay about events on the home front.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1968

In September 1968, Captain Rodney R. Chastant, from Mobile, Alabama, extended his 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam with Marine Air Group 13, 1st Marine Air Wing, Da Nang. He was killed 22 October. He was 25 years old. David is his brother.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1967

This letter from the Women's Political Council to the Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, threatens a bus boycott by the city's African Americans if demands for fair treatment are not met.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1954

These two letters from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., composed four years apart, provide insight into the evolution of King's struggle against injustice. In the excerpt from "Letter from Birmingham Jail," written following King's arrest at a peaceful protest in Alabama , he expresses his disappointment in the "white moderates" who urged a cautious,…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1963

In this letter to a close friend back in the United States, Douglas McCormac, a sergeant in the Special Forces, describes the economic corruption spreading through war-torn Vietnam.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1968

This political cartoon by Tom Darcy portrays the divisive impact of the Vietnam war on American society. According to public opinion polls taken in May 1970, when this cartoon was published, 64% of Americans thought the U.S. had made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam. Five years earlier, the percentage was almost reversed, with 61% of…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1970

This 1960 comic book warns young readers of the dangers ahead should Uncle Sam fail to steer clear of the "Red Iceberg." Published by Impact, an imprint of the anti-communist Catholic Cathechetical Guild, the comic was distributed to thousands of Catholic school children during the Cold War.

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1960