Talk:American History Lecture Twelve

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This is laughable.

Where is the discussion of the Cuban Misslie Crisis, one of the pivotal points of the Cold War?

"Hippies started protesting the Vietnam War". No, all sorts of people started protesting the Vietnam War: lawyers, accountants, college graduates, all sorts of people.

"A substantial percentage of our casualties in the Vietnam War were from stepping on land mines. That indicated a lack of smart leadership on our side. Today we have mine-sweepers to clear out dangerous areas before our soldiers enter them."

The US has had land mine clearance devices since World War II. A simple check of facts would have revealed this. Daphnea 22:03, 23 June 2008 (EDT)

Voluntary draft?

"the draft (it was required of young men then, but is voluntary today)," That doesn't make sense. There's no such thing as a voluntary draft. HDCase 16:19, 30 November 2008 (EST)

Thanks, Ed. HDCase 16:24, 30 November 2008 (EST)


"Some, your teacher include, think that the nation is perpetually becoming more conservative as liberal ideas are perpetually demonstrated to be failures." From the Post-WW2 culture section. Include should have a d at the end and perpetually is used twice. I'd fix it myself, but I'm not sure if we're allowed to fix the lectures. HDCase 17:52, 30 November 2008 (EST)

Thanks much, and please feel free to correct and improve the lecture as you think best!--Aschlafly 17:53, 30 November 2008 (EST)
Hard for him to do that since he was banned for 3 months just before you posted --WillB 18:37, 30 November 2008 (EST)

Sputnik (1957) is not Vostok (1961)

Sputnik was unmanned, Gagarin was launched with Vostok. --BRichtigen 09:39, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Great catch. Thanks!--Aschlafly 10:08, 3 December 2008 (EST)
A minor point, but Sputnik was the name of the satellite carried by the rocket, not the name of the rocket itself. Names like Sputnik, Vostok, Pioneer, etc. referred payloads carried into space by any number of launch platforms. --DinsdaleP 10:54, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Other Space Race Notes

I didn't recall significant opposition to the U.S. working to achieve parity with the Soviets in the space race over it being a "wild goose chase", but I'd be interested in reading about it if you can provide a reference. The concerns about lagging the Soviets were very real at the time, because being able to launch satellites was seen as the first step towards putting intelligence-gathering cameras and then nuclear weapons in space - the ultimate form of air superiority. At the time, we were reliant on risky, limited aerial reconnaissance approaches like the U-2 planes,and one of the first priorities in developing space capabilities was the creation of imaging spy satellites. It may also be worth tying in the concept that a key priority of the arms-limitations treaties in that era was to prevent the deployment of weapons in space.

The Soviets were actually quite serious about going for the moon, but they were never able to perfect the heavy-lift rocket technology required to propel large vehicles out of Earth orbit, as the American Saturn-V platform eventually did. (In layman terms, our approach was to build a single incredibly-powerful base stage, and the Soviet's was to cluster several smaller ones for the same effect, but the clustering proved too complex and failure-prone).

What would be worth mentioning in a brief look at the dawn of the space age is that the achievements in unmanned space technology during the 1960's were ultimately more important the the manned achievements. That era gave us communication, imaging and navigation satellites, and your students enjoy digital TV, better weather forecasting, Google Earth and GPS as a result. --DinsdaleP 10:54, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Corrected again, though I disagree with your analysis. The Soviets could have gotten to the Moon, but decided against it. We went on a fool's errand there. Liberals supported it simply because they liked Kennedy, who proposed it.--Aschlafly 11:05, 3 December 2008 (EST)
I'm in agreement that the Soviets decided against it - they could have kept working at their heavy-lift capability until it was perfected, but as you said they decided at a certain point that there was no value in continuing down that path. Frankly, putting a man on the moon just for the sake of doing so was never a justifiable mission, except that it's man's nature to always reach for greater goals. I'm against the Constellation program approved by President Bush and Congress in 2005 for the same reason - there's no justification to spend vast sums on returning men to the moon when so much more can be learned for a fraction of the cost using unmanned/remote technology. Since that was done by a Republican President with the support of a Republican Congress, such folly is not the sole province of liberals, I'm afraid. --DinsdaleP 11:19, 3 December 2008 (EST)
I found this to be an interesting read about the Soviet lunar program. It's always amazing to watch history unfold as a fusion of decision and chance. --DinsdaleP 11:25, 3 December 2008 (EST)


Cold War military thinking also gave us one of the greatest innovations from the 1960's. The Defense Department created the concept of the ARPAnet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in the late 1960's as a way of enabling electronic communications even if parts of the national telecommunications network were disabled or destroyed. The ARPAnet concepts were refined in the 1970's to create the framework of today's Internet. --DinsdaleP 11:08, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Modern Conveniences

Refrigerators and televisions were introduced to the public before WWII, but the combination of the poor economy in the 1930's and the war itself held off mass adoption until the post-war era. One key development that was actually introduced after WWI instead of before it was electronic computing. The ENIAC celectrical computing device was invented in 1946 to perform ballistics calculations. It weighted 30 tons, took up 1800 square feet, and consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power while operating. The development of the transistor and integrated circuit in the 1950's began the trend in rapid miniaturization that puts more computing power in one of your students' cell phones than ENIAC ever had. (I recall reading that a single modern laptop could handle all the computing used by NASA to run an Apollo mission, but can't find the reference now.) --DinsdaleP 11:44, 3 December 2008 (EST)

You can still see part of ENIAC at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. A nice little side trip if you happen to be in the area. --Hsmom 11:48, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Neil Armstrong

On July 20, 1969, a simulated broadcast of American Neil Armstrong stepping foot on the Moon was broadcast to a record television audience, with Armstrong's words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."[2]
I wasn't quite sure what you meant by "simulated broadcast"? I looked at the reference but I couldn't find anything about the broadcast, except that it said "People around the world watched and listened as Neil slowly climbed down the ladder of the lunar lander." Did you mean "simulcast"? Thanks, and sorry in advance if this is another "blonde moment" on my part. I have a cold so I'm not thinking at 100% at the moment. --Hsmom 11:34, 3 December 2008 (EST)

I think it's "simulcast" as well. One of the news commentators at the time (Cronkite?) remarked that he didn't know which was more amazing - that a man was taking the first steps on the moon, or that people around the world could be watching him live as he did it. --DinsdaleP 11:47, 3 December 2008 (EST)
I'm not sure what is meant by "simulcast". The word "simulated" is clear; the images were converted rather than being a straightforward live telecast. See Wired magazine's article, which I'll add as a footnote.--Aschlafly 12:23, 3 December 2008 (EST)
I'm not a native English speaker, but for me, simulated sounds like staged, and I don't think that you want to invoke this impression. As far as I can see, the article you quote deals with the problem of the quality of the images. And - in my opinion - a live telecast is still live even when the data format was changed somewhere in between. --BRichtigen 12:45, 3 December 2008 (EST)
To clarify, a simulcast is a broadcast taking place on radio and television at the same time, which would be done for major events like this. The term's fallen out of use because there are so many options for broadcasting an event today, but in the 1960's it was a big deal to simultaneously broadcast, or simulcast, an event like a concert or major news story on TV and radio as it happened.
A simulation is not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article. What the Wired article describes is not a simulation, but a broadcast of the event that involved a conversion of video formats in the process where image quality was lost. I'd suggest replacing "a simulated broadcast" with "live, low-resolution video" to resolve the confusion. It also removes the redundant use of "broadcast". --DinsdaleP 13:00, 3 December 2008 (EST)
the article explains that the image was converted from a slow-scan image (smaller image and 10 frames per second) to broadcast standard because of limits on the bandwidth available from the moon. The word simulated is used but appears to relate to some initial testing of the process to be used. perhaps reformatted would better describe the broadcast ? Markr 13:05, 3 December 2008 (EST)
"Reformatted" is jargon inappropriate for a history class. "Simulcast" is something different entirely. The article uses the word "simulated". I welcome other suggested improvements on that term as used by the technical source. Additional credible sources would also be welcome.--Aschlafly 13:17, 3 December 2008 (EST)
I think that replacing "a simulated broadcast" with "live, low-resolution video" would be accurate, appropriately clear for the target audience, and in the context of the cited reference from Wired (a great article, by the way). --DinsdaleP 13:24, 3 December 2008 (EST)
Here is an interesting NASA link on Apollo Television. The Apollo 11 section starts on page 13. --DeanStalk 13:57, 3 December 2008 (EST)
"Simulated broadcast" is the same term used here, which seems to describe something similar: [1]--Aschlafly 13:54, 3 December 2008 (EST)

I started an article on simulcast. I'm sure other editors in this discussion can improve it. --DeanStalk 13:34, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Looks good just as it is - no improvement needed. Thanks. --DinsdaleP 13:38, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Civil Rights Movement and Faith


I was a bit surprised by how little mention is made of the pivotal role Christian faith, churches, and organizations played in the early civil rights movement. Certainly, you mention Dr. King's faith, but the role of faith in the movement went far beyond one man, however influential and important he was. Is there any way this section could be revised to include an acknowledgment of the critical role churches and people of faith played in this movement? --Benp 11:54, 6 December 2008 (EST)

An illuminating quote which I found very relevant and which might be of use:
"[Chappell] argues persuasively that revivalism engendered the civil-rights movement's solidarity,
leadership, world view, and rhetoric. Inspired by what he characterizes as this "illiberal" faith,
southern black activists led what was at heart a religious movement with political dimensions.
Although previous historians have noted this, Chappell, a liberal atheist, goes further,
contending, again convincingly, that the ethos of the southern black movement—its pessimistic view
of human nature, together with its ultimately redemptive faith—was not merely different from but
in essential ways antithetical to northerners' tepid liberalism."
It seems to illustrate the key point: the Civil Rights movement was fundamentally a conservative Christian movement. I would also argue that it was successful in achieving its aims because of the moral bedrock on which it was rounded; it stood FOR something profound and worthwhile, whereas many later protests were simply AGAINST authority. --Benp 12:52, 6 December 2008 (EST)
Martin Luther King, Jr., was a minister. Many of the marchers were devout Christians. But, consistent with your last comment, the movement was subsequently taken over by leftists who sought to use (misuse) it for their own agenda that brought harm to the African American community, such as those as documented by Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.--Aschlafly 13:00, 6 December 2008 (EST)

Certainly, and I think you've already made that point clearly in the lecture; that's why I specified the early Civil Rights movement in my initial comment. I think pointing out that difference--and pointing out how much more was accomplished by the fundamentally-Christian early movement than by the later, militant, leftist movement--would lend a valuable perspective to the lecture. It might also be valuable to emphasize HOW far left the later movement became...perhaps note the ties to Communism that prominent members of the movement like Angela Davis had.
Of course, I recognize that this is meant to be a broad overview; perhaps such observations fall outside the scope of what you're trying to present here, and would be better in a separate article?--Benp 13:04, 6 December 2008 (EST)
The only limitation is conciseness and avoiding too much detail. With that guideline, go ahead and make the changes that you think best, and I'll review them!--Aschlafly 13:23, 6 December 2008 (EST)

Thanks for adding your insights, Benp! The students will benefit from that!--Aschlafly 14:38, 6 December 2008 (EST)