Major Events in the Post WWII era (1945-2002)

Objective: The objective of this unit is to familiarize you with the major events and significant people that have shaped the second half of the 20th Century.

Opening Activity: We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel

’49 Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray

South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe Dimaggio

’50 Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television

North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

’51 Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom

Brando, The King and I and The Catcher in Rye

’52 Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new Queen

Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

Chorus: We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire. No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it.

’53 Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nassar and Prokofiev

Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

’54 Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron

Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock

’55 Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team

Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

’56 Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev

Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez


’57 Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac

Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai

’58 Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California Baseball

Starkweather, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide

’59 Buddy Holly, Ben Hurr, Space Monkey, Mafia

Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel in a no-go


’60 U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy

Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo


’61 Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger In A Strange Land

Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs Invasion

’62 Lawrence of Arabia, British Beattlemania

Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston Beats Patterson

’63 Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician Sex

JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

’64- Birth Control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again

Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, Punk Rock

(70’s) Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the Airline

Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russian in Afghanistan

( 80’s) Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, Heavy Metal, Suicide

Foreign Debts, Homeless Vets, Aids Crack, Bernie Goetz

Hypodermics on the shore, China’s under martial law,

Rock and Roller Cola Wars, I can’t take it anymore.

Assignment #1 Explain the Song Lyrics (25 points)

With a partner explain the significance of the people and or events in your assigned year.

You will choose your partner and year during class on Wednesday June 6th.

You will explain the events to the class and hand in 1 page minimum written summary.

Make sure to put both partners' names on the assignment.

Assignment # 2 Create your own Lyrics (25 points)

The song "We didn't start the fire" was created in 1989 and therefore doesn't include the last 12 years. With the same assigned partner create a song that shows events that explain the social, political and cultural events from 1990 to the present. You will turn in your song with an explanation of the people and events you choose.


Books available in the classroom and the following websites

Both assignments are due and will be presented to the class.