From Ohio History Central
From 1946 to 1975, two important themes dominated United States history: the Cold War and civil rights. The events and outcome of World War II served as the impetus for the emergence of each.
The Cold War was to be a long lasting and continuing confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. It was called the Cold War because neither the Soviet Union nor the United States officially declared war on each other. However, both sides clearly struggled to prevent the other from spreading its economic and political systems around the globe. The Cold War continued until the late 1980s. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the two sides sought to spread their ideology in Europe and Asia. Conflicts over communism in Cuba and South Vietnam dominated the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States began to produce as many nuclear warheads as possible to deter the Soviets from launching their own nuclear attack against America. This strategy, encouraged by President Ronald Reagan, helped the United States emerge victorious from the Cold War.
While the Cold War was raging, African Americans struggled to attain equality with white men in the United States. Following World War II, many African Americans and whites united to protest the racism and discrimination that existed in the United States. For many years before World War II, a smaller number of blacks and whites had fought for equality. However, with the end of World War II a more organized Civil Rights Movement came into being. During the 1950s and the early 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged as an important leader of the Civil Rights Movement. King organized protest rallies, boycotts, sit-ins, and marches. He hoped that thousands of people asking peacefully and respectfully for equal rights would rally support to the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was successful in 1964 and 1965, with the federal government's passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These two federal laws outlawed segregation, guaranteed African Americans equal protection under the law, and truly secured black men and women the right to vote. However, the Civil Rights Movement was not over. Activists continued to protest the lack of equal pay for equal work for African Americans. They also sought to improve educational opportunities for people of all races.
To learn more about this important era in Ohio's history, please browse these entries at your leisure.
Pages in category "The Cold War and Civil Rights"
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