1970s in the United States
During the 1970s, a new generation of young adults examined, criticized, and in some cases totally discarded the former generation’s ways. Established concepts about friendship, sexuality, marriage, race relations and ethnicity, war, and women’s rights were challenged and transformed. The ongoing Vietnam War (1959–1975), which was ultimately lost by the United States, caused disillusionment and anger among men who were eligible for the draft. It was a time of experimentation and protest, which were expressed in literature, lifestyles, and in political resistance. There were divisions between the younger generation and the older one, as well as between the more radical and more conservative members of the youth movements. Because of this upheaval, young people particularly felt a new alienation from their government and their political leaders. Those who wanted change opposed those who wanted no change. Authority was questioned, laws challenged or ignored. The culture shifted in various ways during the 1970s. On an environmental level, the 1970s saw the removal of lead from gasoline because of the recently recognized effects of lead poisoning in children.
The first Earth Day was held, calling attention to environmental pollution. President Nixon signed the first Clean Air Act, and the dangers of second-hand smoke were revealed. The Environmental Protection Agency was created. On the social level, streaking (running naked at a popular event or in a public space) became a fad and so did drinking bottled water. Disco music was in and Elvis Presley died. The Beatles produced their last album as a group, and Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix died from drug overdoses. The first International network for the general public was created, and Sony’s Walkman came on the market. Public cynicism regarding elected officials grew as people learned of the Watergate break-ins. President Nixon subsequently resigned under threat of impeachment. Four students were shot at Kent State University as National Guard troops tried to quell a student demonstration against the Vietnam War. Then governor of Alabama, George Wallace led a demonstration against racial integration of his state’s schools. The Chicago 7, a group of protest organizers who met in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention, were found innocent of inciting riots. President Carter pardoned all draft dodgers, who had left the country to avoid serving in the military. The Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, and in Roe v. Wade made abortion legal.
The Russian Civil War (1918–1921) involved various militant groups, including the Bolsheviks (the Marxists under Lenin), the Green Army (the anarchists), the Red Army (communists), and the White Army, which opposed the other three. The White Army was a loose, unorganized group of Russians who supported the czar. Some of those associated with the White Army (also called White Russians) leaned toward democracy and were backed by European nations as well as Japan and the United States. People from Ukraine, Siberia, and Crimea provided additional troops and supplies for the Whites, but the army was never able to unify and did not pose sufficient force to make much difference in Russia. Many White Russians fled the country, regrouping in places such as Paris, Berlin, and Shanghai. Networks among these groups developed and were maintained until World War II. After that, many so-called White Russians immigrated to the United States.
Ira Mark Milne – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 24, Ella Leffland, Published by Gale Group, 2006