The Eisenhower Years – the years that started in January of 1953 and ended in January of 1961. Years which saw a Cold War, a Space Race, a Population explosion, a wave of independence and new technology; along with a questioning of old values, old clothes, old music and old prejudices.
There was a lot going on domestically as well as overseas, and this one hour capsule view of President Eisenhower’s time in office tries to cover all that. Difficult at best, for one hour – but it’s a highlight of the decade, a Cliff-notes version of all that went on.
The growth and predominance of the CIA. Our role in shaping governments, especially newly established ones. The fears of Communist influence in everything from government office workers to movies and the slow, steady establishment of the Military-Industrial Complex.
The Civil Rights movement was getting started and slowly gaining momentum, but it was going to be long, difficult and deadly. The famous showdown at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas and the integration of Public Schools was only the tip of a very large and all-encompassing iceberg . No easy task, and a struggle which would continue for decades.
All in a little less than an hour – but enough to let you know it was a busy and dramatic set of years, and a reminder that nothing is ever easy and often comes back to haunt. The well-worn phrase about “the good old days” is cloaked in myth – when you’re in the middle of them, there’s not much that’s really good about them – and much as we’d like to think the arrival of Elvis Presley and the birth of Rock n’ Roll changed music forever, like everything else, it was resisted and not the overnight revolution we have fantasized about.
Lest you think anything in life happens fast – this hour of how a decade evolved, is ample proof it ain’t so.
Enjoy, take notes and Google things you aren’t familiar with.