The Generation Project: 1960 - 1964

© Mark Verma 2005


 

1960

 

POPULATION

 

GENERAL

*World population is 3 billion. It has taken 33 years to add a billion people.

*World Jewish population is 12 million.

*During the 20th century, mortality rates have been declining rapidly in the US and in all developed countries (primarily due to improving health care and medical breakthroughs, especially during and since WWII – see 1943). In 1900, the annual mortality rate was one in 42 Americans. By 1998, on an age-adjusted basis, the rate will drop to one in 125 people. But from this year, mortality reductions will be associated with two newer factors: the frequent conquest of cardiovascular disease in the elderly and the prevention of death caused by low birth weight in infants. The biggest change from these factors precipitated by the former is to concentrate mortality reduction in the aged (hence, an ageing population, whereas in the first four decades of the twentieth century, 80% of life expectancy improvements resulted from reduced mortality for those below age 45). The latter development sees the volume of world population increase by ever greater numbers annually.

 

URBANISATION

*33% of the world’s population now lives in cities.

*Latin America’s population is as urban as it is rural. The US reached this point in 1920.

 

MIGRATION & REFUGEES

*A new policy of integration rather than assimilation is promoted for migrants to Australia. However, while a degree of cultural pluralism is accepted, migrants are still expected to assimilate in the long run.

During the 1960s, immigration from Europe slows as economic conditions improve, forcing Australia to look to a wider range of countries to maintain the migration intake.

 

 

POLITICS

 

WORLD

*The Social Liberal Consensus begins to emerge: The election of John F. Kennedy to the US presidency (see below), touches off a decade of liberal socially-progressive politics throughout the West, a time when social democratic governments (or moderate conservative governments acting on liberal high court decisions) will oversee the passage of much legislation that will radically alter the social landscape (such that both sides of politics will, in the main, accept the changes).#

*Seventeen newly independent States, including 16 from Africa, join the UN, the largest number of new members in one year.

*The USSR denounces UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s decision to send a UN force to assist the war-plagued government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see below), demanding his resignation and the replacement of his office by a three-man troika.

*Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pledges support for “wars of national liberation” in an address to the UN.

 

ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST

*This decade, Israel becomes a staunch US ally against the proliferating radical Arab nationalist regimes; this is both a material and ideological prop, however, as the Jewish state becomes a massive recipient of US aid, while enjoying the prestige of a partnership with the world’s foremost power.

*Israel moves tractors into the demilitarised zone on the Syrian border, resulting in exchanges of fire. Anticipating an Israeli invasion of Syria, Egypt moves two divisions into the Sinai, but the crisis is defused with Israel’s withdrawal; Egypt in turn withdraws its divisions.

*Jordan grants citizenship to any Palestinian who so wishes, as part of its attempt to equate Jordan and Palestine, in response to louder calls for a Palestinian entity throughout the Middle East.

*Assassination of Jordanian Prime Minister Hazza‘al-Majali (1916 – 1960) in a bomb attack suspected to have been arranged by Syrians. King Hussein plans an invasion of Syria in retaliation but strong pressure from the US and Great Britain sees him abandon the plan.

 

EUROPE

*The 1960s will be a time where the EEC is beset by serious disputes concerning both the internal and external orientation of the integrating machinery established in Brussels. French President Charles de Gaulle will famously declare he prefers “Europe European,” in distinction to the US, as well as a “Europe of the Fatherlands,” where the continent is a simple community of independent states built around the Franco-German emerging dominant partnership (and not along supranational lines). (De Gaulle, although opposed to the underlying federalist purpose of the Treaty of Rome, nevertheless acknowledges the need for France open up to outside competition as the only way of imposing the discipline necessary for her industrial and commercial development - protectionism having damaged the nation’s economy.) The other members will resist such ideas (prompting the French to operate their infamous “empty chair” policy in 1965 - rejecting the principle of qualified majority voting).

 

NORTH AMERICA

*The Quiet Revolution begins in Quebec. A series of legislative initiatives (e.g. creation of a welfare state, cultural affairs offices, department of education) brings about rapid change to Quebec’s provincial character: it moves from a rural, religious (Catholic) backwater with little interest in engagement in national affairs to a an urbanised, secular modern province anxious to flex its cultural muscles and identity. By the mid-1960s, French Canadians desire to be recognised, not only individually but also collectively, as equals in Canada’s Confederation, which will have implications for the future of the federation as a whole (see 1968, 1976, 1980, 1995).

*Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) defeats Republican Vice-President Richard Nixon for the US presidency in one of the tightest electoral contests ever. Kennedy is the youngest man and first Catholic ever elected President. He is also the first US leader born in the 20th century and promises generational change, declaring he will only make presidential appointments of the “brightest and the best,” based on merit.##

 

ASIA

*An ideological split develops between China and the USSR. The ideological roots of the dispute lie in the more pragmatic approach to world affairs taken by Soviet Premier Khrushchev, which places a geopolitical emphasis on peaceful co-existence with the West (in contrast to a more hardline oppositionist Communist stance favoured by the Chinese). In addition, long-simmering border disputes between the parties begin to effect relations. Thereafter, China adopts a policy of “one line of defence” or “one great defence area,” in which it works towards building a global “front line” defence with Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the US against the USSR. The apogee of this approach is reached after the thaw in relations with the US next decade (see 1971, 1982, 1992, 2005).

*China abandons the Great Leap Forward after the program’s failure initiates a deadly famine (see 1959). The failure sees Party moderates such as Deng Xiaoping gain more influence, stressing the need for results over ideological orthodoxy. Mao Zedong will ultimately hit back at what he sees as a political “revisionism” that dilutes Communist ideals and even threatens the regime (see 1966).

*Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security: Japan’s 1951 mutual security treaty with the US is replaced with a revised treaty of security and mutual cooperation. However, President Eisenhower’s trip to Japan to sign the new treaty is cancelled in the face of popular protest. Leftist opponents, having failed to stop the treaty being legalised in parliament, organise massive demonstrations by students and unions. Opposition centres on an article which commits both parties to assist each other in case of armed attack on territories under Japanese administration (Japan cannot come to the aid of the US due to its constitution forbidding the posting of troops overseas – even for peacekeeping duties). The treaty also includes general provisions on the further development of international cooperation and on improved future economic cooperation.

*The Viet Cong is founded in South Vietnam as an insurgent force seeking to unite the country under the control of the Communist North. (Tensions had initially been unleashed in the South following Premier Ngo Dinh Diem refusal to hold promised elections in 1956 - when it became clear the communists would win. Subsequent repressive rule by Diem’s regime has stirred increasing anti-government feeling, which sees the North finally sponsor the founding of the Viet Cong, dedicated to a campaign of guerrilla warfare and terrorism to overthrow South Vietnam’s regime (see below).

 

AFRICA

*French President Charles de Gaulle agrees in principle to Algerian independence, although he insists on French colonists maintaining property rights and French control over oil reserves. Intermittent negotiations between France and the Algerian provisional government begin. French colonists believe de Gaulle has sold them out and rebel (see below).

*Belgian Congo gains its independence from Belgium (and becomes the Democratic Republic of the Congo). However, a mutiny by the armed forces (see below), and growing disorder following the failed intervention by a Belgian force, sees the government call for UN assistance. The UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC) is dispatched to prevent all-out civil war and maintain the nation’s territorial integrity (following one province’s secession). At its peak, ONUC numbers over 19,000 troops (lasts until 1964).

*Chad gains its independence from France.

*Dahomey (later Benin) gains its independence from France.

*French Cameroon gains its independence from France.

*French Congo gains its independence from France (and becomes the Republic of the Congo).

*Ivory Coast gains its independence from France.

*Madagascar gains its independence from France.

*Mali gains its independence from France.

*Mauritania gains its independence from France.

*Niger gains its independence from France.

*Nigeria gains its independence from Great Britain.

*Senegal gains its independence from France.

*Following successful referendums, British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland merge to form Somalia, which gains its independence from Great Britain and Italy.

*Togo gains its independence from France.

 

 

CONFLICT

 

NATION STATES

*French troops occupy Bizerte during a dispute with Morocco.

*Somalia, unwilling to recognise political boundaries drawn by the colonial powers (which has seen thousands of Somalis left in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti), begins to aid guerrillas in these countries agitating for the creation of a Greater Somalia.

*Chinese and Indian troops skirmish over disputed territory.

 

CIVIL WAR

*Failed coup attempt in Guatemala (put down with US help – in the form of two B-26 bombers – which is given due to Guatemalan president General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes’ [1896 - ] allowing his country to be used as a base for any potential US invasion of Cuba) sees the leaders of the coup initiate an armed insurgency against the government (lasts until 1996, 200,000 killed).

*Nicaraguan rebels invading from Costa Rica are defeated by government troops.

*Algerian colonists, feeling betrayed by President de Gaulle after his decision last year to allow a referendum on Algerian self-determination, initiate an armed insurrection (which wins widespread popular support in Europe). Police and the army do not intervene initially and the military only ends the rebellion after de Gaulle calls on them to remain loyal.

*Civil war in newly-independent Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 days after the nation’s birth) sees rebels, supported by Belgian troops and industrialists, declare the secession of Katanga province. President Joseph Kasavubu (1915 – 1969) calls for international assistance and, after an initial defeat, a UN force (sent on the orders of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld) puts down the rebellion (lasts until 1964; 100,000 killed).

*Failed military revolt in South Vietnam. Also, the founding of the Viet Cong, which initiates a campaign of guerrilla warfare and terrorism to overthrow South Vietnam’s regime (becoming part of the Vietnam War – see 1965).

 

COUPS

*Coup in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Congolese army chief of staff Colonel Joseph Mobutu (1930 - 1997) overthrows Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba (1925 – 1961), who establishes a Soviet-backed administration in Stanleyville. Lumumba is captured by Katangan secessionists and murdered the following year.

*Coup in El Salvador.

*Coup in Ethiopia.

*Coup in Laos. A neutralist government succeeds the rightist regime.

*Coup in Turkey.

 

CIVIL UNREST & ETHNIC CLASHES

*A mass protest against the nuclear attack civil defense drill “Operation Alert” takes place in New York.

*Large-scale protests at the re-election of Syngman Rhee in South Korea (suspected of being rigged) force Rhee to resign. (120 killed).

 

 

ESPIONAGE & SECURITY

 

EUROPE

*A U-2 spyplane piloted by Gary Powers (1929 – 1977) is shot down over Sverdlovsk. Powers, who cannot bring himself to take hi suicide pin, is captured, indicted on espionage charges and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and seven years of hard labour.

*Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev demands an apology from US President Dwight Eisenhower for U-2 spy plane flights over the USSR, promptly ending a summit in Paris.

*A Soviet MiG fighter north of Murmansk in the Barents Sea shoots down a US six-man RB-47 crew. Two US Air Force officers survive and are imprisoned in Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka prison.

 

SOUTH AMERICA

*Operation Mongoose: President Eisenhower authorises the CIA to depose or assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Among other things, the Agency tries assassinating him with exploding cigars and poisoned milkshakes. Other covert actions against Cuba include burning sugar fields, blowing up boats in Cuban harbours and sabotaging industrial equipment.

 

ASIA

*A specialised North Vietnamese Army unit, Group 559, is formed to create a supply route from North Vietnam to Viet Cong forces in the South. Group 559 develops a primitive route along the Vietnamese/Cambodian border (and partly extends into eastern Laos), with offshoots into Vietnam along its entire length. This eventually becomes known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

 

 

ECONOMICS, COMMERCE & CONSUMERISM

 

GENERAL

*The rapid increase in the world’s population in the post-war period, especially in the Third World, hampers the attempts of the poorest nations to escape from their poverty and adds to inflationary pressures, which tend to be far worse in developing countries than industrial ones, as well as exacerbating environmental problems. Consequently, development and population control begin to enter into discussions on policy frameworks in international political circles.

*By the early 1960s, primitive forms of money (e.g. cowrie shells and manilas) that were still in widespread circulation only a few decades earlier have virtually disappeared from use in most countries, with a few minor exceptions (e.g. the use of fei stones in Yap). The replacement of primitive by modern money, together with the move from subsistence to market economies, means that the lives of more people than ever before are directly affected by monetary policy.

*The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation becomes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international organisation of developed countries which accept the principles of representative democracy and a free market economy.

*France addresses its high inflation problems by adopting a new heavy franc to replace the old one (wherein 100 old francs equate to a single new franc).

*Economic growth begins to slow in the USSR (and will decline for the next two decades). One reason for this trend is a change in management styles, from the Stalinist to post-Stalinist era. The ending of systematic terror sees the rulers of the country become increasingly more forgiving of the failures of their employees at all levels - ministers, plant managers, and workers, who respond by relaxing their efforts. Consequently, central planners experience ever greater difficulties in directing a growing economy. The growing burden of military expenditures (especially the nuclear build-up in the 1960s) and the exhaustion of natural resources will further contribute to declining growth rates.

*MIT Management Professor Douglas McGregor (1906 – 1964) publishes The Human Side Of Enterprise in which he contrasts traditional managerial styles with a people-centred approach inspired by Abraham Maslow (see 1943). The book becomes a bestseller and inspires a move away from a purely ‘transactional’ contract with a company's staff, in which they receive money in exchange for doing a job, to a complex ‘relational’ one, where a company offers opportunities for an individual to feel fulfilled, but expects more in return.

*Economist Walt Whitman Rostow (1916 – 2003) publishes The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, which advances a theory that seeks “to generalize the pattern of modern economic history in the form of a series of stages of economic growth.” He proposes economies follow a discernible pattern:

1) traditional society (based on pre-Newtonian science and technology, and on pre-Newtonian attitudes towards the physical world) - these societies, because of the limitation on productivity, have to devote a very high proportion of their resources to agriculture; and flowing from the agricultural system there is a hierarchical social structure, with relatively narrow scope­ but some scope­ for vertical mobility.

2) preconditions for take-off - societies in the process of transition; it takes time to transform a traditional society in the ways necessary for it to exploit the fruits of modern science.

3) take-off - the interval when the old blocks and resistances to steady growth are finally overcome. The forces making for economic progress expand and dominate society; growth becomes a normal condition.

4) drive to maturity - a long interval of sustained if fluctuating progress, as the now regularly growing economy drives to extend modern technology over the whole front of its economic activity.

5) age of high mass consumption - in time, the leading sectors shift towards durable consumers’ goods and services (because  real income per head rises to a point where large numbers gain a command over consumption which transcends basic food, shelter, and clothing; and the structure of the working force changes in ways which increase the proportion of urban to total population and the proportion of the population working in offices or in skilled factory jobs ­ aware of and anxious to acquire the consumption fruits of a mature economy.

As its subtitle - “a non-communist manifesto” - indicates, Rostow’s book argued for the efficacy of the capitalist development model, an argument aimed especially at the newly developing nations of the Third World.

 

TRADE

*The Dillon Round: 26 nations meet in Geneva, Switzerland, for the fifth round of GATT trade talks, achieving 4400 tariff concession worth US$5bn in trade. The talks, named after Eisenhower administration Under Secretary of State (and Kennedy administration Treasury Secretary) C. Douglas Dillon (1909 – 2003), mark the first GATT talks in which the EEC negotiates as a single entity for its individual member countries (lasts until 1962).

*The 1960s marks the decade where the US’ complete domination of global trade will begin to subside.###

*The Latin American Free Trade Association: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela form a grouping to work towards a common market, a goal which ultimately proves too elusive. The Association is superseded by the Latin American Integration Association in 1980, wherein agreements mostly cover specific areas rather than covering trade or eliminating all barriers.

*Socially-Responsible Investing: The new era of activism on behalf of Civil Rights, women's rights, freedom of expression and, soon, antiwar efforts (against the Vietnam conflict) (see below) will also encompass investment, with socially-concerned activists seeking to use investment as a tool to advance various causes (either targeting investments to companies/projects deemed beneficial to society or else protesting economic interests seen as engaging in activities that help fuel a particular problem/issue - see 1971, 1972). The rise of environmentalism as a global activist cause in the 1990s sees socially-responsible investing become increasingly defined as a means to promote environmentally sustainable development.

 

CORPORATISATION & NATIONALISATION

*Goldman Sachs (founded 1869) is one of the first investment banks to set up departments dedicated to mergers and acquisitions and real estate. Already a leader in equities markets, its success sees it expand into Europe and Asia in the 1970s. In later years, Goldman oversees the 1986 flotation of Microsoft (see 1975) and the initial public offering of Yahoo! (see 1995). It has a market cap of US$48.6bn by 2005.

*Papert, Koenig, Lois is launched and becomes the first ad agency to go public.

*Tyco Inc. (later Tyco International) is founded as an investment and holding company to oversee Tyco Semiconductor and the Materials Research Laboratory, which studies materials and devices with applications in the fields of solid state sciences and energy conversion. Tyco is supported by US Government research contract but soon, management recognises the commercial applications of its work and Tyco begins the search for acquisitions to develop product, manufacturing and marketing capabilities. Rapid growth follows as the company becomes a world leader in security and fire-protection systems (as well as building up operations in electronics, healthcare, engineered products and services and plastics and adhesives). It has a market cap of US$62bn by 2004 but its reputation is tarnished when CEO Dennis Kozlowski (1946 - ) is convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from the company to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

 

MARKETING & CONSUMPTION

*As marketing philosophy expands, new concepts - such as managerialism (the science of management decision making), holism (examining all aspects of marketing as a whole rather than discrete units) and internationalism (the concept of international markets) – emerge. As do new techniques: models of competition simulation and market segmentation, controllable and uncontrollable aspects of consumer behaviour, foreign / international marketing, economic models applied to retailing, etc.

*Participation Advertising: As the 1960s begin, television networks want more control over the content and style of programming, and as the medium becomes more sophisticated and production costs rise, single sponsors (see 1950) begin to struggle. NBC comes up with the idea of selling not whole shows to advertisers, but separate, small blocks of broadcast time. Several different advertisers can buy time within one show - the content of shows moves out of the control of a single advertiser - rather like a print magazine. This becomes known as the ‘magazine concept,’ or ‘participation advertising,’ as it allows a whole variety of advertisers to access the audience of a single show. Thus, the ‘commercial break’ is born. By the 1990s, the average viewer watches 3000 commercials each day.

*Bubble wrap.

*First cordless, rechargeable electric razor.

*First automatic typewriter (that punches a paper tape automatically while the original document is being typed, eliminating the need for separate tape punching).

*Battery operated home smoke detector.

*First regular production of Coca-Cola in cans (aluminium cans are introduced in 1967).

*Coffee Rich non-dairy creamer.

*Etch-A-Sketch.

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

*The US Hazardous Substances Labelling Act mandates warning labels on household chemicals and requires instruction for safe use.

*The US-based Consumers Union helps found the International Organisation of Consumers Unions, (later Consumers International) with a small group of nascent national consumer organisations from around the globe. The organisation rapidly grows and soon becomes established as the voice of the international consumer movement on issues such as product and food standards, health and patients’ rights, the environment and sustainable consumption, and the regulation of international trade and public utilities.

 

ENERGY & RESOURCES

 

---GENERAL

*Numerous newly independent African nations nationalise their mining industries as a reflection of the ideology of non-subservience to white First World political and financial interests. Subsequently, a period of neglect of the African resources sector arises as major corporations invest elsewhere (and more so after the early post-colonial era begins to fall into political chaos and coups). Other than South Africa (where private interests are left alone by the Afrikaner government), exploration expenditure falls - only to re-emerge significantly after the end of the Cold War (see 1996). In contrast, the increasing instances of authoritarian governments in South America will see little or no obstacles to corporate investment / exploitation of raw materials, with that continent quadrupling the volume of copper mined between 1975 and 1996, and significantly increasing its supply of bauxite (the prime element in producing aluminium) and iron ore.

 

---AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK & FISHERIES

*Global fish catch is 40m tons (double that of a decade ago).

*US herring/haddock fisheries are decimated by foreign fleets (especially from the USSR).

 

---FORESTRY & TIMBER

*Agricultural development schemes in Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia move large populations into their respective rainforest zones, increasing deforestation rates (see below).

 

---OIL, GAS & FOSSIL FUELS

*From the early 1960s, global oil consumption (particularly First World) increases more rapidly, while consumption of coal and natural gas declines.

*World oil discoveries this decade: 350bn barrels. Global discovery peaks in the 1960s, with 1964 being the last year to date of a major oil find (of over 500m barrels). US oil discovery peaked in the 1930 with the discovery of the large East Texas field. Given that US production peaks 40 years later (see 1971), Peak Oil (see 1956) proponents later propose global oil production will peak circa 2005 (see 1971).####

*The Baghdad Conference: With major oil companies cutting the posted price of crude oil (see 1959) and the US introducing an import quota system that gives preferential treatment to oil imports from Mexico and Canada (thereby discriminating against Venezuela and Middle East producers, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia join with Venezuela in forming the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to obtain higher prices for crude. OPEC is unsuccessful in its first decade. Real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) world prices for crude oil continue to fall until 1971. In 1958 the real price is US$10.85 per barrel (in 1990 dollars). By 1971 it has fallen to US$7.46 per barrel. However, real prices begin to rise slowly beginning in 1971 (due to Arab demands for better profit-sharing deals from Western oil companies – see), and then jump dramatically after OPEC nations deliberately reduce their supplies (see 1973). By then, Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will have joined OPEC, strengthening its market clout further (although Ecuador and Gabon later withdraw).#####

 

---WATER

*The Second Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS II), designed to resolve fishing and navigation issues, does not result in any international agreements (see 1973).

*The Indus Waters Treaty is signed by India Pakistan and the World Bank in Karachi, opening the way to the use and development of water resources on which depends the livelihood of some 50m people in the two countries.

 

---RENEWABLE ENERGY

*First large-scale geothermal electric-generation plant (utilising naturally-occurring geological heat sources such as geysers) begins operation (in the US).

*This decade, Kuwait is the first state in the Middle East to begin using seawater desalination technology, providing the dual benefits of fresh water and electric power.

 

POVERTY, AID & CHARITY

*The International Development Association (IDA) is set up. The success of the World Bank in helping Europe recover from the devastation of World War II has led it, within a few years, to turn its attention to the developing countries. However, it has become clear the poorest developing countries need softer terms than those that can be offered by the Bank, so they can afford to borrow the capital they need to grow. Consequently, led by the US, a group of developed nations set up the IDA as a way for the “haves” of the world to help the “have-nots.” President Eisenhower insists the IDA be run with the discipline of a bank, however, and, as such, that the Association be part of the World Bank, to which the relevant parties agree. The first IDA loans, known as credits, are approved the following year, to Chile, Honduras, India and Sudan.

*With support in Congress for existing US foreign assistance programs having dwindled, the US decides to focus its aid programs on developing nations and separate military and non-military aid (see 1961).

 

 

SOCIOLOGY

 

CRIME, PUNISHMENT & INTERNATIONAL LAW

*Crime begins to increase greatly this decade across the developed world. Much of the increase is due to the explosion in juvenile crime (mostly petty vandalism, destruction for its own sake), with over half of all crime eventually committed by young men under 21. Criminologists attribute this to a breakdown in shared norms of acceptable behaviour and family values (as individualism becomes more prized and especially as divorce skyrockets in the 1970s after no fault regimes become widespread), a decline in religious beliefs (people becoming more amoral and less prone to a sense of shame if caught breaking the law), a more liberal atmosphere to school discipline (with corporal punishment phased out in coming years in numerous nations), a more liberal court system (with behaviourism – see 1939 – having, by now, entrenched a system focusing on rehabilitation – especially of younger criminals – above punishment/deterrence), inadvertent social conditioning which desensitises attitudes toward crime (and violence – see below) due to the rise of the mass media (and the failure of tis self-regulation to curb depictions of violence), and the rise of a mass drug culture later in the 1960s (most property crime is drug-related).

*In addition to overall crime rates skyrocketing, of particular concern is the rapid rise in violent crimes. In the US, serious crimes rise from five per 1000 total crime a year to 22 per 1000 (quadrupling into the 1970s).###### Additionally, criminality becomes more deviant, such that, by the 1990s, cannibalism, drinking blood and other macabre rituals are being incorporated into murders).

*Simultaneous to the rise in crime rates, the American justice system (like most Western judicial systems) continues to grow more liberal (see 1950), with expected punishment per crime plunging from 50 prison days in 1950 to 10 days in 1970.

*While murder rates will remain higher in US cities (national rates increasing from 4.6 per 100,000 in 1950 to a peak 10.2 in 1980, thereafter declining to 5.5 by 2000 due to tougher sentencing and gun ownership laws), overall crime rates will rise faster in European cities and be higher by century’s end, predominantly because of poverty in inner urban areas occupied by waves of post-war immigrants that arrive in greater numbers in London, Paris, et al from, mainly, Asia and Africa.

*The rise in crime sees the post-war consensus on justice begin to fray in the West, with right-leaning parties invariably calling for a toughening up of the court system to counter the rise in criminality and the political left arguing this is simplistic (some say statistics show crime is not as serious as is perceived and the media distorts the true picture with its focus on the more violent and salacious offences) and more should be done to tackle social problems which are perceived as the cause of crime.

*The growth in crime begins to erode public confidence in police forces across the developed world as the sheer number of crimes that will be committed annually in coming years becomes too great to attend to with the diligence of times past (e.g. US clearance for murder rates in 1965 is 92% but just 66% by 1992).

*There is currently 1 police officer for every two crimes investigated in Britain. In 40 years, there will be 1 police officer for every 44 crimes investigated (a similar trend experienced throughout the West).

*In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mossad agents abduct fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann. He will be put on trial in Israel in 1961.

 

DRUGS, TOBACCO & ALCOHOL

 

---NARCOTICS

*There are officially 44,000 drug addicts in the US (see 1972).

*Following his European experience (see 1957), Timothy Leary begins work as an academic at Harvard University. Soon after, he tries hallucinogenic (psilocybin-bearing) mushrooms in a Native American ritual during a vacation in Mexico and is so affected that, together with associates, he begins conducting research into the effects of psilocybin with graduate students (in terms of the potential for treatment of alcoholism and reforming criminals). Later, his research moves from psilocybin to LSD, which Leary perceives as holding much potential for treating psychiatric disorders (dismissing government findings that the drug is of little use in this area and, indeed, dangerous). Within a couple of years, Leary’s drug odyssey moves beyond a purely scientific quest and becomes quasi-mystical (indeed, the clinical detachment and scientific objectivity conventionally recommended for evaluating drugs comes to be seen by him as worse than beside the point, in fact actively pernicious, in interpreting the psychedelic experience – hence, such methods are abandoned in informal group sessions that quickly come to resemble less academic seminars or medical experiments than a cross between religious convocations and wild parties). Leary comes to claim the right dosage, the right ‘set’ (by which he means the mindset and mental paradigm an individual brings to the experience) and the right setting make the LSD very beneficial both physically and spiritually. Many of those who take part in his experiments report profound mystical experiences such that Leary even tests a group of divinity students (on Good Friday no less) as a means of investigating the notion that chemically-enhanced alterations to the mind can produce spiritual experiences. The results are that those who took LSD claim they have experienced some kind of mystical episode while those given a placebo have felt nothing. Leary concludes that the ‘set’ of most of the participants in his experiments is compromised by their cultural upbringing as many are not ready to admit the possibility of directly connecting with the spiritual realm. As he later relates in his autobiographical account of the Harvard University Psychedelic Drug Project Flashbacks (1983):

We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic [having multiple deities] views of the Universe.

 

GAMBLING

*Concerns in Britain this decade over the involvement of organised crime in the gambling industry will see tighter legislative restrictions (making it harder for gambling clubs to open and operate) (see 2002).

*The new Cuban regime (see 1959) nationalises the island’s hotel-casinos and outlaws gambling, ending Cuba’s status as one of the world’s centres of gambling and tourism that has drawn the rich and famous since the late 1930s.

 

ACTIVISM & ADVOCACY

*Mass Activism: This decade sees the emergence of political activism as a mass phenomenon for the first time in the modern era, wherein radical movements will seek to take advantage of the mass society that has emerged in the wake of WWII (primarily driven by the telecommunications revolution and rapid growth of televisual popular culture centred on television) to try and bring about changes to society at large aimed at achieving a more equitable outcome for individuals seen as marginalised (e.g. women, minorities, etc – see below). The mass campaigns for civil rights and against the Vietnam War in particular, inspire millions throughout the world, as large-scale ‘people power’ revolts occur against oppressive regimes such as the Prague Spring (see 1968) and the overthrow of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos (see 1986).

*Maoism & The New Left: The Western political left, having split in the wake of the Hungarian revolt, experiences more convulsions this decade. Marxist intellectuals, predominantly based on college campuses, shift the leftist agenda away from issues connected with labour and the working class and toward more personalised (arguably middle class) goals such as working to overcome the perceived widespread alienation of society (which they blame on the ‘establishment’). Equally, they become more radical; no longer looking to Moscow (in the wake of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin – a ‘signal’ that the Soviets are becoming revisionist, watering down pure Marxism and encouraging democratic reforms, and hence, no longer the in the forefront of international communism). Instead, they increasingly take their cues from China’s Mao Zedong (whose Maoist ideology favours revolutionary mass mobilisation and strong control of the arts and sciences) (see 1965) and, as the Vietnam War develops (see 1961, 1965), North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh (see 1956, below).

*Law Reform Activism: The more activist spirit of this decade will see the emergence of law reform groups in the US and throughout the West, lobbying for change in the justice systems of various nations (whereas previously the business of advocating reform has been mainly undertaken by practising and academic lawyers and judges working part-time for committees). The agenda of such groups is primarily informed by a desire to expand civil liberties and individual rights.

*20,000 people attend a SANE (see 1957) rally for nuclear disarmament at Madison Square Garden.

 

CENSORSHIP

*The increasing acceptance of the concept of private morality (see below) and the growing importance of the politics of the personal in the circles of the Western intellectual and political elite (reflected in widely discussed works such as The End of Ideology [see below] and Mills’ essay “Letter to the New Left” [see below] – both illustrating the more potent influence of the Frankfurt School [see 1951]) sees government censorship of pornography begin to erode this decade.

*D.H. Lawrence’s (1885 - 1930) sexually explicit novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover (1929) is published in Great Britain following passage of the Obscene Publications Act (see 1959), resulting in an obscenity trial. A jury subsequently determines that the work is not obscene. The decision sounds the death knell for most censorship of literature, theatre and the media over the next two decades.

*The availability of (illegal) pornography begins to markedly increase in the US (as the profusion of legal sexploitation and skin flicks fuels the demand for ‘harder’ material only traded on the black market). Incidence of rape increases 124% over the next 12 years (and spikes further after the progressive end of censorship of hardcore material into the 1970s), although frequently, psychology and medical experts in the US and Europe will deny a direct link between the growth of the porn industry and incidence of rape (arguing sexual assaults cannot be considered solely with regard to one causal factor but several – e.g. family background of the rapist, their psychological development, etc).

*There are about 20 cinemas in the US showing adult (sexploitation) movies. By 1970, there are 750 (and the films are hardcore, police raids on premises falling off as obscenity charges become harder and harder to sustain in the urban cosmopolitan centres – especially after 1973 – see).

*The American Motion Pictures Producers Association requests that Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980) recut Psycho, his take on sensationalistic B-grade films, for classification. Hitchcock waits a week, sends the film back unaltered and has it passed.

 

SUICIDE & EUTHANASIA

 

---SUICIDE

*Suicide rates across the globe begin to markedly increase this decade (especially in Western nations) and especially in younger people (e.g. rates for those aged 15-19 triple by 2000). Psychologists later point to the era’s rapid social change and its concomitant erosion of social cohesion as the main reason for this (as well as the rise in the incidence of drug use – see 1967 - and mental health problems, itself also associated with social breakdown – see below).

 

RACE RELATIONS

*The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which states that he subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the UN Charter and an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation. It also calls for immediate steps to be taken in all territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of these territories. A Decolonisation Committee is set up to monitor progress towards meeting the demands of the Declaration.

*Third World Racism: Primarily due to a cultural hangover from colonialism, although racism is pervasive in numerous non-Western nations (e.g. race-based Malaysian laws rendering non-Malays to the level of second-class citizens, widespread marginalisation of Indian tribes in South America by Hispanic/Latino populations, etc), it is subject to little focus in the UN or the First or Third world media (outside of general statements / reports denouncing racism in general – which is often taken to mean white racism against non-whites). Dominance of the UN by non-Western nations (many of which will experience little in the way of democratic government over the next several decades) ensures anti-racism actions / declarations by the international body focus solely on issues such as South African Apartheid or even engage in anti-Semitic diatribes (see 1975). Third World media, usually state run, will either not champion minority issues or else actively print / broadcast racist propaganda attacking minorities in various nations. Finally, First World media, will increasingly be informed by post-1960s elites whose thinking will have fully absorbed the ideologies of Critical Theory (see 1951) by the early 1970s (and, hence, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male establishment power structures are seen as the prevailing hegemony responsible for much of the world’s problems – including [and especially] racism, along with marginalisation of women in society).

*British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan makes his famous “Winds of Change” speech in which he recognises the inevitability of full decolonisation of Africa and pledges Great Britain’s co-operation in the process.

*The US Supreme Court overturns the conviction of a black man indicted on trespassing charges for being in a restaurant in a bus terminal which was “whites only,” ruling racial segregation in public transportation is illegal because such segregation violates the Interstate Commerce Act, which broadly forbids discrimination in interstate passenger transportation. The decision will lead directly to the Freedom Riders movement (see 1961).

*In the US, a controversy arises this decade whereby Southerners begin to accuse television networks of having an anti-Southern bias and promoting a liberal policy of racial integration. Many Southern television stations even refuse to air programs such as I Spy and Star Trek, because of their racially mixed casts.

*The Chicano Movement: Young Mexican Americans throughout the US begin to engage in the struggle for civil rights and seek to create a new identity for themselves. The movement sparks a renaissance in the arts among Mexican Americans. Many Chicano artists call attention to inequalities faced by Mexican Americans, developing new styles of art that eventually gain acceptance in mainstream literary and art scenes.

*Four African American college students hold a sit-in to integrate a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, launching a wave of similar protests across the South.

*The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee is formed in North Carolina with funds supplied by a grant from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference formed to help co-oridnate the sit-in movement (see above).

*Since 1930, 5% of immigrants to the US have been Asian, while European immigrants have constituted 58% (see 1984).

*With the success of numerous black independence movements in Africa, Black Nationalism becomes a social force for black peoples everywhere.####### Also, Negritude (see 1939) begins to wane.########

*The Sharpeville Massacre: The Pan Africanist Congress organises a peaceful march to demonstrate against the new pass laws (which require blacks to carry an identity card at all times to justify their presence in “white” areas). However, it is fired upon by police, resulting in the deaths of 69 protestors. Subsequently, the government cracks down on black political activism. The incident marks the turning point in the Apartheid struggle as international protests and condemnation by the UN sees the country face increasing political isolation in the coming years. Also, the government bans the anti-apartheid African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress parties.

*Albert Luthuli (1898 – 1967), the leader of the African National Congress, wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

MEN

*Traditional Development: Almost 70% of American men have reached the traditional milestones of adulthood - leaving home, getting an education, starting a family and starting work - by the age of 30 but societal changes will radically alter this developmental landscape over the next few decades (see also 2000).

 

WOMEN, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

*The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect to Employment and Occupation, an ILO Convention which addresses the issue of equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value.

*The introduction of the oral contraceptive (see below) allows women to take charge over their reproductive faculties for the first time. Feminists later hail this development as women are now more in control of their bodies and, hence, are able to experience sex with more freedom than was previously socially accepted for them (see 1967).

*Female suffrage in Cyprus, Gambia and Tonga.

*Policing Domestic Violence: The US criminal justice system begins to conceive of crisis intervention as a human program to aid police, courts, and victims in domestic violence cases. Arrest is deemed inappropriate for solving the complex social and psychological problems demonstrated in these “family squabbles.” Police officers become de facto counsellor and mediators, trained in the skills of crisis intervention. Couples can then be referred to the appropriate social or psychiatric agency. By the time the battered women’s movement develops (see 1964), family courts and psychiatric and social work approaches reduce these criminal assaults to problems of individual or social pathology.

*The US workforce is composed of 38% women (which grows to 60% in 1990).

*The divorce rates in several Western nations begin to rise significantly, putting pressure on prevailing restrictive (‘fault’-based) divorce laws (see 1969).

*Sirimavo Bandaranaike (1916 - 2000), wife of the assassinated S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike (see 1959) is elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, becoming the world’s first female head of government.

 

DISABILITIES

*Paralympic Games: The first Paralympics are held in Rome, Italy (after the Olympic Gamessee below), a tradition that continues to date. Winter Paralympics begin in 1976 and the first intellectually-disabled athletes compete in 1996 (although controversy results when the Spanish basketball team includes non-disabled athletes in its team).

 

EDUCATION

*Global illiteracy rates will fall over the next four decades primarily due to the spread of education in the Third World (often as part of programs tied to development). The global populace without any schooling decreases from 36% this year to 25% in 2000.

*Multimedia begins to appear in classrooms (e.g. slide and filmstrip projectors, tape players, etc).

*UNESCO passes the Convention against Discrimination in Education, wherein signatories agree to legislate so as to outlaw discrimination in education based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, and economic condition or birth.

 *Radicalisation of the Western University Campus: US campuses, as with most tertiary institutions throughout the world, have not been radical hotbeds of political activism prior to now (education seen as beyond politicisation thus far, as merely a means to learning knowledge and skills rather than part of a process of producing more socially-adjusted individuals on the micro-level and changing society for the better on the macro-level). However, a conjunction of progressive movements, ideologies and the like this decade lead to a recasting of American campus life (which spreads to tertiary institutions throughout the Western world). The rise of the New Left (see above), the anti-war movement opposed to the Vietnam conflict (see 1964, 1965, 1966, etc), the civil rights movement (see 1958, 1961), the free speech movement (see 1964) and the wholesale adoption of Critical Theory (see 1951, 1965) in academic social science departments (in turn giving rise to various identity studies such as gender-based and race-based faculties) and then permeating the ethos of academia generally. Such a process has far-reaching implications, in effect radicalising an entire generation of future societal leaders (who go on to take pioneering roles in all sectors of political, corporate, social, etc life, giving rise to major public policy changes that see such things as diversity, affirmative action, multiculturalism, etc become adopted and then entrenched in society (regardless of resistance by significant sections of the wider community in the US, Europe, and the like).

 

SEX & SEXUALITY

 

---GENERAL

*US sociologist Ira Reiss publishes Premarital Sexual Standards In America, in which he rejects the traditional notion that sexuality is governed by a biological drive to reproduce, in favour of human “social heredity” (the two factors which combine to make sex most important in all societies were physical pleasure and great personal intimacy). He also predicts a coming sexual revolution which will lead to an era of sexual permissiveness.@

 

---MEDICAL

*The Pill: The Food and Drug Administration approves the sale of the birth control pill which helps lead to a fundamental transformation of the role and place of women (and sexuality – arguably doing more than anything else to divorce sex from procreation) in society, being a key underpinning of the modern feminist movement and the Sexual Revolution (see 1967) and contributing the significant rise in females entering the workplace. Within three years, 2.3m women are on the Pill and other progesterone-based oral contraceptives begin to be approved for sale (notably, Syntex, which begins to market its Pill using the drug Carl Djerassi developed in 1951 - see). By 1964, ¼ of all US couples are using the Pill (and similar widespread use is in evidence in numerous non-Catholic Western nations).

*The discovery of antibiotics in the 1920s (and especially their rise to widespread usage in WWII) has by now led to a public perception that VD is ceased to be a serious medical threat.

 

---PROSTITUTION & THE SEX INDUSTRY

*The private peep-show booth with a coin-operated projector is invented.

 

---HOMOSEXUALITY, TRANSVESTISM & TRANSGENDERISM

*The Pill (see above), in ushering in a new era that separates sexuality from reproduction, will not only lead directly to the sexual revolution (see 1967), but also ultimately opens the door for the gay rights revolution (see 1969) alongside political feminism (see 1963): if the bearing and raising of children is no longer the primary goal of married heterosexual couples, the question arises as to how similar rights shouldn’t be enjoyed by homosexual pairings (ultimately, this encompasses the notion of the marriage rite itself – see 2000).

*The activist spirit of this decade sees more and more demonstrations and rallies for gay rights conducted by homosexuals (primarily in the US). However, such activism is small-scale, despite the fact liberalisation of sodomy laws begins in the US and elsewhere) and the fully-fledged gay rights movement does not emerge until the decade’s end (see 1969).

*The French National Assembly adds ‘homosexualite’ to a list of ‘fleaux sociaux’ (“social plagues”) that the government is charged to combat.

 

 

ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENTALISM

 

GENERAL

*The Wilderness Letter: US novelist Wallace Stegner (1909 - 1993) writes an influential letter advocating federal protection of America’s wilderness that inspires the mass environmentalist movement that emerges at the turn of the next decade:

 

We are a wild species, as [Charles] Darwin pointed out. Nobody ever tamed or domesticated or scientifically bred us. But for at least three millennia we have been engaged in a cumulative and ambitious race to modify and gain control of our environment, and in the process we have come close to domesticating ourselves. Not many people are likely, any more, to look upon what we call “progress” as an unmixed blessing. Just as surely as it has brought us increased comfort and more material goods, it has brought us spiritual losses, and it threatens now to become the Frankenstein that will destroy us. One means of sanity is to retain a hold on the natural world, to remain, insofar as we can, good animals. Americans still have that chance, more than many peoples; for while we were demonstrating ourselves the most efficient and ruthless environment-busters in history, and slashing and burning and cutting our way through a wilderness continent, the wilderness was working on us. It remains in us as surely as Indian names remain on the land. If the abstract dream of human liberty and human dignity became, in America, something more than an abstract dream, mark it down at least partially to the fact that we were in subdued ways subdued by what we conquered…It seems to me significant that the distinct downturn in our literature from hope to bitterness took place almost at the precise time when the frontier officially came to an end, in 1890, and when the American way of life had begun to turn strongly urban and industrial. The more urban it has become, and the more frantic with technological change, the sicker and more embittered our literature, and I believe our people, have become…I am not moved by the argument that those wilderness areas which have already been exposed to grazing or mining are already deflowered, and so might as well be “harvested.” For mining I cannot say much good except that its operations are generally short-lived. The extractable wealth is taken and the shafts, the tailings, and the ruins left, and in a dry country such as the American West the wounds men make in the earth do not quickly heal. Still, they are only wounds; they aren’t absolutely mortal. Better a wounded wilderness than none at all. And as for grazing, if it is strictly controlled so that it does not destroy the ground cover, damage the ecology, or compete with the wildlife it is in itself nothing that need conflict with the wilderness feeling or the validity of the wilderness experience…We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.

 

POLLUTION, DEFORESTATION & DESERTIFICATION

 

---POLLUTION

*Plastics Pollution: About 5% of the world’s seabirds have plastic in their stomach. By the late 2010s this will rise to 90% (and plastic pollutants will also be found at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, the deepest natural point in the world).

*Oil Spill: The tanker Sinclair Petrolore spills 17.6m gallons of oil off the coast of Brazil.

 

---DEFORESTATION

*One fifth of the world’s tropical rainforests are destroyed between 1960 and 1990, with most of the damage occurring in Asia (see above).

 

WEATHER & CLIMATE

*A cyclone kills 350 in the US and impacts on every east coast state.

*A cyclone and tidal wave strike the Gulf of Bengal, killing 6000 in East Pakistan.

*Charles Keeling (see 1957) establishes that there are strong seasonal variations in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere with peak levels reached in the late northern hemisphere winter and reducing as plants commence growing (see 1961).

 

 

MAJOR DISASTERS

 

NATURAL

*The largest earthquake this century (9.5) strikes Chile, killing 5500 and generating tsunamis that strike Hawaii, killing 60 and destroying 500+ buildings, and then Japan’s coast, killing 1000.

*An earthquake destroys Agadir, Morocco (12,000 killed, 12,000 injured).

 

MAN-MADE

*Total number of aviation-related deaths globally this decade: 13,692.

 

 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT

 

GENERAL

*World knowledge now doubles every ten years (see 1967).

*The World Academy of Art and Science is established, a non-government forum for leading scientists and thinkers to discuss the vital problems of humanity, four years after the idea was first floated at the First International Conference on Science and Human Welfare (see 1956).@@

 

PHYSICS & MATHEMATICS

*Theodor H. Maiman (1927 - ) invents the first operable laser device.

 

NUCLEAR ENERGY, WEAPONRY & BALLISTIC MISSILES

*The first British nuclear submarine, Dreadnought, is launched (it is also the first British submarine to surface at the North Pole, in 1971).

*Both the US and USSR now possess operational intercontinental ballistic missiles, meaning the world now faces the possibility of instant total war (which will only rise as total warhead and missile stockpiles do so over the course of the decade and beyond).

*France tests its first atomic bomb, detonating the device in Algeria (see 1962).

*The nuclear submarine USS Nautilus completes the first under water circumnavigation of the Earth.

*The US Navy successfully test-fires a Polaris missile from a submarine. Subsequently, the US bases a substantial portion of its nuclear deterrent forces on submarines, where they are safe from a successful first strike by Soviet forces.

*The USS Enterprise is the first aircraft carrier powered by nuclear reactors (which free the carrier from the need for refuelling).

*A new US military plan is devised for a nuclear war which calls for the launch of more than 3000 nuclear weapons - including hundreds of hydrogen bombs - in the first few hours of conflict against 1000 separate targets in the Communist bloc.

*A radar malfunction causes the central war room of NORAD to receive a top priority warning from the Thule, Greenland Ballistic Missile Early Warning System station, indicating a massive missile attack has been launched against North America.

*Marine explorer Jacques Cousteau and Prince Rainier III of Monaco publicly oppose a French plan to dump radioactive wastes into the Mediterranean Sea. The French decide not to proceed with the plan.

*Nuclear reactors worldwide: 15

*Worldwide stockpile of nuclear warheads: US – 20,434, USSR – 1605, Great Britain – 30.

*American/Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles: US – 12, USSR - 2.

 

ASTRONOMY & SPACE EXPLORATION

*Launch of Sputnik 5, with two dogs, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants aboard, which are all returned safely to Earth a day later, making them the first living things to be launched into space and returned safely to the ground.

*Project Ozma: First SETI (see 1959) experiment sees Cornell University astronomer Frank Drake (1930 - ) use a 25-metre telescope in West Virginia to examine the stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani, for possible signs of life although nothing of note is found (see 1961).

*Allan R. Sandage (1926 - ) isolates optically an intense radio source (later identified as a quasar), 3C-48, the first time such a discrete radio emission from space has been connected to a visible object: appearing to be a faint blue star, the object contains many unknown broad emission lines and the anomalous spectrum defies interpretation (see 1963).

 

ARCHAEOLOGY & PALAEONTOLOGY

*L’Anse aux Meadows: Evidence of Viking colonisation of North America is discovered in Newfoundland.

*Archaeologists determine that a wreck on the sea bottom near Cape Gelidonya, Turkey, is that of the oldest ship found to that date, a small freighter loaded with copper and bronze from about 1200BC.

*Impact Craters: Eugene Merle Shoemaker (1928 - 1997) proves that an asteroid created the 1.2-mile diameter crater near Flagstaff, Arizona, and theorises that the Moon’s craters had a similar origin (which is confirmed by Apollo 17 in 1972).@@@

 

GEOSCIENCES

*Plate Tectonics: Geologist Harry Hess (1906 – 1969) posits that mid-ocean ridges occur where the ocean floor splits apart due to plate tectonics and magma oozes out to form new ocean floor. Building upon the theory of continental drift developed in the early part of the century, scientists eventually suppose the outermost part of the Earth’s interior is made up of two layers, the outer lithosphere and the inner asthenosphere. The lithosphere essentially “floats” on the asthenosphere and is broken-up into ten major plates: African, Antarctic, Australian, Eurasian, North American, South American, Pacific, Cocos, Nazca, and the Indian plates. These plates (and the more numerous minor plates) move in relation to one another at one of three types of plate boundaries: convergent (two plates push against one another), divergent (two plates move away from each other), and transform (two plates slide past one another). Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries (most notably around the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”) (see also 1963, 1968).

*The number of volcanic eruptions annually increases from 40-50 (in the 1940 – 1960 period) to a new higher plateau of 50-70. However, vulcanologists later assert this is a statistical glitch whereby more eruptions are being reported (and more detected with better equipment) rather than an actual increase (noting, for instance, two falls in the historical record during the world wars – when people’s attention and that of the media was elsewhere).

 

PSYCHOLOGY

*Growing Community Awareness of Mental Illness: This decade, in the US, Britain and elsewhere, there is a breakdown in the taboo of silence about mental health in the press and television.

*Reflecting the outsized growth of psychology in the US that occurs over the next few decades, between now and 1990, while the total populace increases 40%, the number of psychologists increases 1667% (versus 67% for the number of clergy and 260% for the number of lawyers).

*R.D. Laing (1927 – 1989) publishes The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness, in which he argues that strange behaviour and seemingly confused speech of people undergoing a psychotic episode are ultimately understandable as an attempt to communicate worries and concerns, often in situations where this was not possible or not permitted. Laing stresses the role of society, and particularly the family, in the development of madness, asserting that individuals can often be put in impossible situations, where they are unable to conform to the conflicting expectations of their peers, leading to a ‘lose-lose situation’ and immense mental distress for the individuals concerned. ‘Madness,’ therefore, is an expression of this distress, and should be valued as a cathartic and transformative experience. Laing is a key influence on the emergence of the anti-psychiatry movement that emerges later in the decade (see 1961, 1967).

 

ANTHROPOLOGY & LINGUISTICS

*Cognitive Anthropology: Influenced by cognitive science (see 1958, 1967), a new school of anthropology emerges this decade that seeks to examine the concept of culture as a web of meaning or signification, which proves very popular within and beyond the discipline (in turn helping to set the stage for emerging postmodern theories – see 1967, 1968).

*The Politicisation of Anthropology: Conflicts such as the Algerian War of Independence and Vietnam politicise anthropology, as Marxism becomes a more popular approach within the discipline. The focus is not merely on aspects of post-colonialism and Western imperialism but also, in urban anthropology, on the status of the poor and racial minorities in Western countries (in particular on their economic and political deprivation and oppression by hegemonic elites) (see 1980).

*The Rise of Semiotics: Various developments such as the rapid growth of mass media as well as the influence of the Frankfurt School (see 1951) in the emergence of Critical Theory (see 1965) see the semiotics, the hitherto niche sub-branch of linguistics, become far more widely studied and influential. Its central conceit (being the study of signs and how they generate meaning) ultimately combines with Frankfurt School Marxism to birth the post-structuralist approach to philosophy from which emerge many early postmodern theories such as deconstruction (wherein everything is a text waiting to be de-constructed of its component meanings) (see 1967, 1968).

*Reader Response Criticism: This decade, linguists and semioticians begin to challenge New Criticism, the idea that a text contains no meaning except that which lies within it (rejecting extra-textual conceits such as the author’s real-life experiences). Instead, the challengers propose that reader of a text is an active agent who imparts “real existence” to the work by reading it and completes its meaning “by applying codes and strategies.” This approach influences post-structuralist ideas in philosophy later in the decade (which see all of ‘reality’ as a social construct).

*Primatologist Jane Goodall observes tool-making by a chimpanzee, calling the attention of science to the practice. She sees a chimp that she has named David Graybeard take a blade of grass and shape it so that it can be poked into a termite mound for the purpose of removing termites. David proceeds to eat the termites so obtained.

*W.V. Quine (1908 – 2000) in Word and Object, discusses his theory as to the indeterminacy of translation, considering the methods available to a ‘field linguist’ attempting to translate a hitherto unknown language. He notes there are always different ways one might break a sentence into words, and different ways to distribute functions among words. Any hypothesis of translation could be defended only by appeal to context: to seeing what other sentences a native would utter. But the same indeterminacy will appear there: any hypothesis can be defended if one adopts enough compensatory hypotheses regarding other parts of language.@@@@

 

HEALTH & MEDICINE

*This decade, the purity of insulin is improved. Home testing for sugar levels in urine increases level of control for people with diabetes.

*This decade, the inflammatory component of asthma is recognised and anti-inflammatory medications are added to the treatment regimen.

*The first implantable pacemaker is invented (see 1949).

*The first kidney dialysis shunt is implanted (hitherto, dialysis has been restricted to operating rooms – see 1943).

*Hip Replacements: John Charnley (1911 – 1982), applies engineering principles to orthopaedics and performs the first artificial hip replacement procedure, or arthroplasty. In 1962 he devises a low-friction, high-density polythene suitable for artificial hip joints and pioneers the use of methyl methacrylate cement for holding the metal prosthesis, or implant, to the shaft of the femur. Charnley’s principles are subsequently adopted for other joint replacements, including the knee and shoulder.

*The Pill: The Food and Drug Administration approves the sale of the birth control pill which helps lead to a fundamental transformation of the role and place of women (and sexuality) in society, being a key underpinning of the modern feminist movement and the Sexual Revolution (see above, 1967).

*Stimulant medication becomes more widely used for hyperactive children (see 1970).

 

CHEMISTRY, BIOLOGY & GENETICS

*Robert Woodward synthesises chlorophyll.

 

ENGINEERING

*UNESCO launches the Nubia Campaign in Egypt to move the Great Temple of Abu Simbel to keep it from being swamped by the Nile after construction of the Aswan Dam. During the 20-year campaign, 22 monuments and architectural complexes are relocated. This is the first and largest in a series of campaigns including preservation efforts at Moenjodaro (Pakistan), Fez (Morocco), Kathmandu (Nepal), Borobudur (Indonesia) and the Acropolis (Greece).

 

AVIATION, TRANSPORT & SHIPPING

*The Changing Face of International Travel: With the advent of large passenger aircraft (and growing affordability) this decade, most travellers switch from ships to planes. Most passenger shipping thereafter becomes cruise oriented (cruise liners booming from the 1970s on, thanks primarily to the popular 1970s television show The Love Boat). By the 21st century, there are several hundred cruise ships, some carrying over 3,000 passengers, and displacing over 100,000 tons - placing them among the largest ships ever built - plying routes all over the world.

*Trans-Canada Air Lines begins transatlantic services, flying between Montreal and London.

*The last flying boat airliners (that made possible flights between Europe and the US in the 1920s and 1930s) are retired from service.

*Capt. Joseph Kittinger sets a world record for highest parachute jump (31,150m or 102,200ft) and longest parachute freefall (25,815m or 84,700ft) while testing high altitude parachute escape systems.

*A C-119 Flying Boxcar recovers a data capsule from the Discoverer 14 (see below) satellite in mid-air.

*Within three months of the downing of the U-2 spyplane (see above) the US launches a new highly-classified drone program dubbed Red Wagon. Nearly 3500 reconnaisance drones are subsequently used in the Vietnam conflict between 1964 and 1975 and the US military continues efforts to try and develop robotic drones (see also 1941, 1980).

*High Speed Trains: Many nations adopt high speed rail beginning this decade (see 1964) in an attempt to make rail transport competitive with both road and air transport.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

*Development of Digital Communications: The post-microchip evolution of computers this decade spurs the development of digital transmissions. Large telegraphy operators have used telephone-like rotary dialling to connect teletypes since the 1930s (Germany was the first nation to implement the first wide-coverage of the technology). These machines, called 'telex,' worked by first performing rotary-telephone-style pulse dialling and then sending baudot code (a character set used primarily on teleprinters). At the then-blinding rate of 45.5 bits per second, up to 25 telex channels could share a single long-distance telephone channel, making telex the least expensive method of reliable long-distance communication. In the 1960s, the rapid rise of computers and need to communicate between them sees significant improvements in digital transmissions. Speeds double to 100 baud but due to this still limited speed and the lengthy call set-up time, new specialised networks for computer communications quickly become necessary. The new networks that develop are either circuit switched (wherein a dedicated circuit [or channel] is established between nodes and terminals before users may communicate; each circuit that is dedicated cannot be used by other callers until the circuit is released and a new connection is set up), like the old telex network, or packet switched (see 1962, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1976).@@@@@

*The US launches the first weather satellite, TIROS-1.

*Echo, the first passive communications satellite, is launched. Other communications-satellite developments are by the US military: Midas 2, the first spy satellite designed for detecting missile launches, relays information it obtains with infrared cameras to Earth; Corona, publicly known by the civilian code name Discoverer 13, successfully returns a capsule to Earth - the first object ever returned from space; Discoverer 14 uses cameras designed by inventor of the Polaroid camera (see 1947) Edwin Land (1909 - 1991) to spy on the USSR, parachuting canisters of film back to Earth, where they are captured in air by specially equipped aircraft - they yield more images in a single day than the U-2 spy system had in its entire lifetime (and the success of the satellite is timely, after the Soviets shoot down a U-2 spy plane – see above - reconnaissance aircraft being superseded by the new era of spy satellites) and there will be more than a hundred similar missions in the Corona program, which continues until 1972 (during which time 800,000 photographs are taken).

*Bell Laboratories carefully characterises the reflections and echoes from a wide range of telephone line channels, and develops statistical models and sensing techniques that can be used in echo-cancelling equipment. From accurate models of the channel, it becomes possible to invent the equaliser, a signal-processing device that in the early 1960s undoes the echoes, and thus greatly reduces the need for signal shaping amplifiers. The cost savings and quality increase immeasureably.

*Customer trials begin of the world’s first electronic telephone central office (in the US).

*IBM develops the first automatic mass-production facility for transistors (in New York).

 

COMPUTERISATION & AUTOMATION

*Computer Networks: M.I.T. psychologist and computer scientist Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (1915 – 1990), tired of the amount of time he finds he is spending on tedious algorithms as opposed to meaningful work, publishes a paper entitled “Man-Computer Symbiosis,” in which he conceptualises the idea of people and computers interacting in real-time as a way to improve the quality and efficiency of problem-solving (i.e. a ‘network’ of man and machines sharing the burden of problem-solving). At a time when access to computers is limited to an elite group, he advocates research that will improve the efficiency of people in their everyday work and lays the groundwork for the Internet, predicting that millions of people will eventually be so interconnected (envisioning a time when any computer in the world can link to any other computer via an “Intergalactic Computer Network”). After being appointed program director of the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, Licklider will prove instrumental in directing Agency-funded research into time-sharing and interactive computing at various educational institutions and, later, in establishing ARPANET, the forerunner to the Internet (see 1969).

*Ted Nelson (1937 - ) launches Project Xanadu, intended to create a computer network which operates ‘hypertext’ (a user interface paradigm for displaying documents which contains automated cross-references to other documents called hyperlinks - a concept originally proposed by Vannevar Bush - see 1939, 1945), a term Nelson coins in 1965. While the Project fails to get off the ground, it does enable the later development of a prototype hypertext system (see 1967) and also proves an inspiration in the creation of the World Wide Web (see 1980, 1989, 1990).

*Digital Equipment Corporation introduces the PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor), a computer with a maximum memory of 26,000 bytes which is the first commercial computer with a keyboard input and a monitor to show what the user has entered. Because of its size and configuration, it is the predecessor of the minicomputer (see 1965), a computer affordable by small businesses.

*UNIVAC, completes the LARC (Livermore Advanced Research Computer) for Lawrence Livermore Laboratories; with 60,000 transistors, it is the first large scientific computer to use transistors.

*Computer-Assisted Education, Plasma & Touch Screens: University of Illinois computer lab assistant Donald Bitzer (1934 - ) and others devise PLATO I, one of the first generalised computer-assisted instruction programs (and running on the locally-built ILLIAC I computer). Returning to a basic drill-based system, Bitzer and his team improve on existing systems by allowing students to bypass lessons they already understand. Their system includes a TV for display and a special keyboard to navigate the system's menus. The next year, the team develops PLATO II, which runs two users at once. Development of PLATO continues apace thereafter, with the team inventing the plasma display panel in 1964 (a type of flat panel display with numerous tiny cells located between two panels of glass holding an inert mixture of noble gases - neon and xenon; the gas in the cells is electrically turned into a plasma which then excites phosphors to emit light), and the touch screen the same year (i.e. display overlays which have the ability to display and receive information on the same screen). In 1967, the PLATO III allows ‘anyone’ to design new lesson modules using the TUTOR programming language (developed in 1965), which has powerful answer-parsing and answer-judging commands, graphics, and features to simplify handling student records and statistics by instructors. It can also run up to 20 lessons at once, and is used by a number of local facilities in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, that can be attached to the system with their custom terminals.

*Perceptron is the first computer that can learn new skills by trial and error, using a type of neural network that simulates human thought processes.

*American Airlines begins construction of SABRE, the first computerised airline reservation system and one of the first computer systems to operate in real time. SABRE will be completed and begin operations in 1962, but not be fully operational until 1965.

*First music synthesiser program, MUSIC.

*First automatic sliding door.

*The predecessor of the ATM (see 1967) is installed: New York’s First National City Bank (now CitiBanksee 1998) installs a Bankograph in several branch lobbies. The idea is for customers to pay utility bills and get receipts without having to see a teller.

*Cyborgs: Manfred Clynes, chief research scientist in the Dynamic Simulation Laboratory at Rockland State Hospital in New York, coins the term ‘cyborg’ to refer to his conception of an enhanced human being who can survive in extraterrestrial environments. The concept is the outcome of thinking about the need for an intimate relationship between human and machine as the new frontier of space exploration is beginning to take place. The concept eventually moves on from here to address the concept that the metaphysical and physical attachments humanity has with even the most basic technologies have already made us cyborgs. In a typical example, a human fitted with a heart pacemaker might be considered a cyborg, since he is incapable of surviving without the mechanical part. As a more extreme example, clothing can be seen as a cybernetic modification of skin; enabling us to survive in drastically different environments by constructing things that aren't naturally existing in those environments. A notepad can be seen as rudimentary memory augmentation. The boundary blurs even more when controlled fire or agriculture are thought of as modifications to our digestion processes. Later, the idea is taken to a more extreme philosophical place (see 1991).

 

MISCELLANEOUS

*Jacques Piccard (1922 - ) and Don Walsh in the bathyscaphe USS Trieste break a depth record when they descend to the bottom of Challenger Deep, 35,820 feet (10,750 meters) below sea level in the Pacific Ocean.

*First ascent of Dhaulagiri (7th highest peak in the world).

 

 

ARTS & CULTURE

 

GENERAL

*The Seeds of Postmodernism: Scholars will later attribute the rise of postmodernism (see 1967, 1972) to a sense of general disenchantment with the Modern architecture that by now dominates city skylines in Western nations (see 1946, below).

 

PHILOSOPHY, POLITICAL SCIENCE & HISTORY

*Sociologist Daniel Bell (1919 - ) publishes The End of Ideology, in which he asserts that a new philosophically pragmatic age has emerged and that old ideological left-right debates (certainly in the socio-economic sphere) are fading away (see below).

*Elias Canetti (1905 – 1994) publishes Crowds and Power, an imaginative study of mass movements, death and disordered society which drew on history, folklore, myth, and literature. For Canetti, a crowd is not just a bunch of people but a cumulation of small units into a large ensemble, causing it to become something entirely different from the units that make it up.  He contends that this crowd instinct is as natural to human beings as the passion to survive. “The lowest form of survival is killing.” Tied to this is the dynamic whereby crowds deliver this allegiance to rulers: in essence, a desire on the part of a crowd for an outlet to any real or imagined humiliation is grist to the mill of a ruler who can exploit it. Examining Nazi Germany, Canetti sees Hitler, a paranoiac ruler of crowds, fascinated by the size of the crowds he commands, paired with a German people reeling under the humiliation of losing WWI and then dealing with the ongoing problems of the Weimar Republic. The persecution of the Jews he connects with the German experience of inflation - they needed to pass their humiliation on to something else which would be reduced to worthlessness. Hence, our most pressing need, as Canetti asserts, is to control the “survivor mania” of our rulers, and the key to this is “the humanisation of command.”

*Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900 - 2002), publishes Truth and Method, in which he argues that truth cannot be adequately explained by scientific method, and that the true meaning of language transcends the limits of methodological interpretation. He asserts that hermeneutics (the science of interpretation) is not merely a method of determining truth, but that it is an activity which aims to understand the conditions which make truth possible. In a stroke, Gadamer transforms the art of hermeneutics by recasting it as philosophical and, in doing so, refashions philosophy as essentially hermeneutics (hence, how people develop their concepts of truth and no longer reaching a final objective truth as an end goal). The notion that human understanding is a process of constant reinterpretation will, along with the work of Thomas Kuhn (see 1962), erode the modernist concept of fixed, transcendent and objective truth and open the way to postmodernism.@@@@@@

*Ernst Gombrich (1909 - 2001) publishes Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, in which he addresses the question as to why different ages and different nations have represented the visible world in such different ways (in their aesthetics). At the heart of his theory is the notion of “schemata,” that is, the idea that the artist ‘‘begins not with his visual impression but with his idea or concept’’ and that the artist adjusts this idea to fit, as well as it can, the object, landscape, or person before him or her.

*Paul Goodman (1911 – 1972) publishes Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized System, in which he asserts that old cultural norms seem meaningless to the young, who are in need of new symbols and rituals to shape their beliefs and guide action or else face an ongoing situation whereby modern culture’s cloying and stifling conformity stunts their psychological growth:

In our society, bright lively children, with the potentiality for knowledge, noble ideals, honest effort, and some kind of worthwhile achievement, are transformed into useless and cynical bipeds, or decent young men trapped or early resigned, whether in or out of the organized system. My purpose is a simple one: to show how it is desperately hard these days for an average child to grow up to be a man, for our present organized system of society does not want men. They are not safe. They do not suit.

*Friedrich Hayek (see 1944) publishes The Constitution of Liberty, in which he addresses what comprises liberty in the modern world. He defines the concept of liberty as “absence of coercion,” with coercion occurring “when one man’s actions are made to serve another man’s will, not for his own but for the other’s purpose.” The only kind of coercion acceptable is that by the state that is intended to prevent more severe coercion (including fraud and deception) between individuals. Hayek extends this idea in proposing that government should not pursue policies intended to achieve greater material equality, since involuntary redistribution involves coercion of some, and is thus in violation of liberty. Hayek also explores some of the characteristics of the legal system of a country where freedom reigns: people must be ruled not by the whims of other people, whether an autocratic ruler or a democratic majority, but by laws that apply equally to everyone.

*Sociologist C. Wright Mills (see 1951, 1956, 1958) publishes “Letter to the New Left,” in the New Left Review, in which he advocates a new leftist ideology, moving away from the traditional (‘Old Left’) focus on labour issues, towards more personalised fare such as opposing alienation, anomie, authoritarianism and other ills of the modern affluent society (see 1958). The seminal essay influences an entire generation of radicals (see above).

*Thomas Schelling (1921 - ) publishes The Strategy of Conflict, in which he utilises game theory (see 1943) as a unifying framework for the social sciences. Turning attention away from zero-sum games, such as chess, where players have diametrically opposed interests, he emphasises the fact that almost all multi-person decision problems (such as the Cold War) contain a mixture of conflicting and common interests, and that the interplay between the two concerns can be effectively analysed by means of non-cooperative game theory. For instance, he asserts that investments in deterrence can become dangerous in case of false warnings as well as when misjudging the adversary’s interests and intentions; a party can strengthen its position by overtly worsening its own options; the capability to retaliate can be more useful than the ability to resist an attack; and that uncertain retaliation is more credible and more efficient than certain retaliation (e.g. in the face of an enemy’s military escalation, a country should threaten to let the situation “slip out of hand” rather than commit to certain retaliation).

 

ARCHITECTURE

*The Decline of Modern Architecture: Criticism of Modern Architecture begins in earnest this decade, initially from without the architectural establishment, on the grounds that it is universal, sterile, elitist and lacks meaning, and eventually from within (see below, 1964, 1972).

*Structuralist Architecture: The observation of deep structures in language and culture (see 1958) which prompts the rise of semiotics (see above) leads to speculation that there might also exist a corresponding language of architecture, the structure of which might be uncovered and analysed. Consequently, linguists and others begin a semiotic analysis of built environments which ultimately begins to ascribe ‘pattern languages’ (underlying universal structures/patterns) to a range of urban configurations and architectural types. Although derided by many architects (who resent such an intrusion into their discipline by non-architects), the ideas of the structuralists prove influential as some later architects do begin to concern themselves with the relationships between buildings and social structures. From this stream of architecture comes criticism of Modernism as poorly defined and unliveable (especially the designs of the Brutalist movement – see 1952), a reaction to the notion of imposing design on environment rather than seeking the underlying structures informing that environment (with which to determine design) (see 1995).

*Russian writer Vladimir Soloukhin (1924 – 1997) begins to publish a series of essays lamenting the loss of ancient monuments in the name of progress. His essays spark a grassroot interest in preserving the past and the formation of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture.

 

VISUAL ARTS & SCULPTURE

*Color Field: Evolving from abstract expressionism (see 1948), which had involved a strong personal emotionalism, a painterly quality, and occasionally elements of cubism, artists working in the various styles of post-painterly abstraction move toward a more impersonal and austerely intellectual aesthetic. Seeking to rid art of references to nature, and any recognisable references to past or present art, this new wave of abstract painters desire to present each painting as one big, cohesive, monolithic image, the fundamental formal elements of abstract painting: pure, unmodulated areas of colour; flat, two-dimensional space; monumental scale; and the varying shape of the canvas itself.

*Pop Art: The rise of mass media culture combines with the Modernist urge to produce art that captures the zeitgeist in influencing the rise of a movement seeking aesthetic in the images of popular things: ordinary objects, mass produced common everyday items that most people like and recognise, such as record labels, logos, packaging, fashion pictures of (famous) people, road signs, hamburgers, money, soda bottles, comic books, and so on. In incorporating popular as opposed to elitist culture into art, pop artists seek to target a broader audience. (Although Scottish sculptor Eduaardo Paolozzi [1924 - 2005] [see below] produced slide projections as early as 1947, with their collage of cuttings from advertising, comic-strips, design and magazines, he preferred to be labelled a surrealist – and it is only in this period of the early 1960s, that such practices gain a wider cultural ascendancy in the world of art.) Notable figures are: (i) Robert Rauschenberg (1925 - ), who emerged from abstract expression (and began to attach collage and found objects to the canvas of his expressionistic paintings such as a stuffed goat and the artist’s own bedquilt – thereby smashing traditional boundaries between painting and sculpture). He later begins to incorporate not only found objects but found images as well - photographs transferred to the canvas by means of the silkscreen process. (ii) Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997), whose work features thick outlines, bold colours and Benday Dots (a process combining small dots of two or more colours to produce a third) to represent certain colours, as if created by photographic reproduction (thereby tackling the way the mass media portrays subjects). His most famous works resemble comic book panels. (iii) Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987), whose work (including films, books, a magazine called Interview dedicated to the cult of celebrity [see 1966] as well as paintings) revolves around the concept of Americana and American (junk) culture (e.g. money, dollar signs, food, groceries, women’s shoes, celebrities, newspaper clippings – all the pre-fabricated fakery that increasingly congests culture and society, such that Warhol dubs his studio The Factory). His most famous works are a painting of a Campbell’s soup can and screenprints of the late actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962). Additionally, Warhol will sell himself as artist as art form, self-consciously cultivating an image (silver wig, dark clothes, et al) – an idea that feeds into conceptualism (see 1967) and later influences such painters as Mark Kostabi (1960 - ), who doesn’t even paint his own work (instead signing ‘Kostabi paintings’ determined as worthy of his name by a special committee that is wont to reject some submissions by Kostabi himself). On one level, the Pop movement marks the apotheosis of Modernism in art, helping to finally erode the cultural fault line dividing existing ‘high’ and ‘low’ delineations of what constitutes ‘proper art’ as opposed to ‘shallow kitsch’ (see 1990); and, ironically, in democratising art, Pop ultimately unleashes forces that ‘destroy’ aesthetics in any meaningful sense of the word (see 1967).

*The Boundaries of Sculpture: By now, the very idea of what constitutes sculpture is under review within the arts community. The traditional view holds sculpture to be fixed (not mobile), invariably made from wood or stone (rather than newer industrial materials), and permanent (hence, ice carvings and other ephemeral creations did not count), but postwar developments have reduced the definition to simply ‘a three-dimensional form created as an artistic expression.’

*Pop Art Sculpture: Sculptors begin to produce work influenced by the world of mass media and reproduction (like their painter peers – see above). Claes Oldenburg (1929 - ) creates ‘environments’ (e.g. The Store – an actual storefront he opens in 1961 filled with painted plaster versions of consumer objects) and grossly oversized replicas of foods like hamburgers, ice-cream and cakes and objects such as electrical plugs and lipstick tubes. Eduardo Paolozzi (see above) also begins to produce robotlike, pseudo-mechanical sculptures with geometrical proportions (they are large lifelike statuary works, but with rectilinear (often cubic) elements added or removed, or the human form deconstructed in a Cubist manner).

 

LITERATURE & LANGUAGES

*Mass Market Fiction: The growth of a true mass market in fiction after the advent of affordable paperbacks (see 1940) has seen popular fiction authors sell hitherto unknown volumes of titles. Authors such as Herman Wouk (1915 - ) and Harold Robbins (1916 – 1997) are notable examples (the latter eventually publishing over 20 books translated into 32 languages and selling over 50m copies). However, Wouk’s literary pretensions and Robbins’ thin semblance of them (in earlier years) will vanish in the mass market literature to come, this new phase of ‘trash-lit’ emerging in the soap opera fiction of Jacqueline Susann’s (1918 – 1974) Valley of the Dolls (1966) and ‘perfected’ by Jackie Collins (whose first success comes with The Stud [1969] before she goes on to sell some 400m books in over 20 languages).

*Postmodern Trends in Literature: Cultural exhaustion with traditional aesthetic forms (akin to growing discontent with modernism in architecture – see above, 1961) will see new genres emerge this decade as authors seek to capture the emerging postmodern zeitgeist, notably Black Humour (see 1961), Metafiction (see 1963) and the Non-Fiction Novel (see 1965). Also, non-fiction (especially memoirs and autobiographies) grows significantly in popularity into the 1970s and beyond (see also 1967). Additionally, more incisive social commentary emerges in literature in novels such as Harper Lee’s (1926 - ) To Kill a Mockingbird (this year), which deals with a story about a small southern town and social distinctions between races.

*International PEN, a worldwide association of writers founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere, and to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture, establishes a Writers in Prison Committee. In response to increasing attempts to silence voices of dissent by imprisoning writers, the Writers in Prison Committee is set up to monitor the cases of writers who have been imprisoned, tortured, threatened, attacked, made to disappear, or killed for the peaceful practice of their profession. It later publishes a bi-annual Case List documenting free expression violations against writers around the world.

*French begins to be recognised as an official language taught in schools outside of Quebec.

*A woman is arrested in Hunan, China who spoke a language that was not understood. Her speech is later found to be Nu Shu, a secret language developed by women hundreds of years earlier.

 

THEATRE

*By now, Broadway productions have become prohibitively expensive for adventurous offerings, and producers resort almost solely to musicals and works proven elsewhere. Growth in the number of prospective actors also sees the rise of Off-Off-Broadway theatres, often found in open spaces, they engage in new styles of production and often mount audience participatory theatre.

 

CINEMA

*The Emergence of Modern Cinema: Cinema changes for all time this decade. As Ethan Mordden puts it in Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960's (1990): “'In the 1960s…writers, actors and directors suddenly retire the traditional character models.  They begin to observe rather than idealize the world. To put it roughly, for the first fifty years the movies are about romance. Nothing happens in the 1950s. Then, from 1960 on, the movies are about reality.” A convergence of cultural exhaustion with Modernism (e.g. notable in the rise of black humour – see above – which thoroughly informs the dark anti-nuclear satire of Dr. Strangelove, Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb [1964]) and established conventions as well as the inspiration of film criticism and the auteur theory (see 1951) sees filmmakers “break away, force the issue, rebel-against the Fascism of studioheads, the oppression of the Production Code, the dreary gleam of the generation of stars chosen to succeed [Clark] Gable and [Joan] Crawford [1905 - 1977] and [Bette] Davis [1908 –1989], the routine of genre. Perhaps the enforced conformity of the American 1950s, combined with the collapse oft the studio structures, energise[s] the rebellion.” Consequently, all manner of taboos will become fair game: religion, the fairness of the American political system, Hollywood’s own values, the moral rightness of war, the beauty of marriage, the very nature of romance, honestly with sex in all its varieties. Movies will also show sympathy for psychotic heroes, make merry comedies about disgusting people, and deconstruct heroism. Nothing is ever the same. However, the creative impetus comes from Europe as Hollywood focuses on family fare like Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) in the earlier part of the decade. French New Wave (see 1958) and British Free Cinema (see 1959) eventually inspire a new generation of American filmmakers who emerge by decade’s end (see 1969).

*Art House Cinema: Federico Fellini’s (1920 - 1993) La Dolce Vita and Michelangelo Antonioni’s (1912 - ) L’Avventura signal the death of Italian neorealism and the birth of art house cinema. A reaction against Hollywood movies (their style and marketplace dominance), art films loosen the ties between a film’s style and narrative concerns, allowing increased subjective realism and authorial expressivity.

*Direct Cinema: Primary (a documentary about the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary campaign between Senators John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey) initiates the Direct Cinema documentary style (aims to be a fly-on-the-wall capturing life as it unfolds, relying on an agreement among the filmmaker, subjects, and audience to act as if the presence of the camera does not (substantially) alter the recorded events).

*The End of the Blacklist: The talented scriptwriter Dalton Trumbo (190-5 – 1976), one of the Hollywood 10 (see 1947), receives full credit for writing the screenplays for Otto Preminger’s Exodus and Kubrick’s Spartacus, thus becoming the first blacklisted writer to receive a screen credit. Trumbo is finally reinstated in the Writers Guild of America and such official recognition effectively brings an end to the ‘blacklist era.’

*Actress Joanne Woodward (1930 - ) receives the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

MEDIA

 

---TELEVISION

*In Britain, the first episode of Coronation Street, the longest running television soap opera in the world, is broadcast.

*Television & Public Trust: Extensive surveys and opinion polls over the next tow decades will show that television is the only American institution to show a rise in the level of public confiedence (when all else – politics, religion, etc – decline.

*Game Shows: Game shows come back into favour this decade by adopting merchandise prizes of far less value than hitherto (which had contributed to scandals in the industry – see 1959) and by emphasizing larger numbers of simple questions, or physical contests without an advantage. In 1965, Chuck Barris (1929 - ) conceives of a new type of game show wherein the competitor's personal life became part of the show: namely, The Dating Game (where the prize is a romantic opportunity). Ironically, his follow-up, The Newlywed Game actually prompts some divorces. It is in the 1970s, however, that the genre (preferred by media executives because of the cheapness to produce such programs for a significant return: their immense popularity) comes into its own with shows such as The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune (seen in 55 nations with 100m weekly viewers by 2005) and Jeopardy!.

*First televised presidential debate. Commentators later note that Senator John F. Kennedy’s more telegenic appearance (versus a sickly Vice-President Richard Nixon’s pale complexion) helps him win votes (and possibly the election is one of the closest electoral contests in history – 49.7% to 49.5%). Those polled who listened to the debate on radio largely score the debate to Nixon as opposed to television viewers who overwhelmingly favour Kennedy.

 

MUSIC & POP SUBCULTURES

 

---GENERAL / TECHNOLOGY

*College Radio: The Federal Communications Commission issues class D licenses for ten-watt college-based radio stations to further develop the FM band (although some colleges have been transmitting for decades on the Am band). American college radio later becomes the primary location for alternative music, helping to foster a vibrant alternative scene (see 1980).

 

---AVANT-GARDE / CLASSICAL

*Minimalism: American composer Terry Riley, having been initially inspired by the work of Karleinz Stockhausen (see 1953), changes direction in composing a piece for a string quartet based around repetitive short musical phrases. This style, based on improvising through a series of modal figures of different lengths, is soon dubbed ‘minimalism’ (the musical counterpart to minimalist architecture – see 1950 – and sculpture – see 1963).

*Sound Collage: The widespread availability of magnetic tape sees recording engineers begin to experiment with cutting up tape and splicing it back together in a different order and even from different sources. Soon, artists and avant-garde musicians are working with sound collage (e.g. John Cage) and it is later explored in popular music (most notably by the Beatles).

 

---POP / ROCK

*Surf: Arising out of surf culture (surfing having exploded in the last couple of years in the US due to the development of cheaper and more manoeuvrable boards), surf music incorporates the basic guitar, bass and drums combo of rock ‘n’ roll (ironic somewhat given how it is a rival of rock ‘n’ roll culture). Instrumentals (by groups such as the Ventures and the Surfaris) re as popular (arguably more so) than songs with vocals (which typically utilise harmonies). Surf pop teen idols such as Jan and Dean (Jan and Dean (Jan Berry [1941 - 2004] and Dean Torrence [1940 - ]) are also popular. The most substantial artist to come out of the genre, however, is the Beach Boys, who go on to significantly influence popular music. Group leader Brian Wilson (1942 - ) has an epic and creative vision for pop music and his songs become more ornate, making more use of the recording studio as the decade wears on. Early fare such as “Surfin’ USA” evolves into “Good Vibrations” with these later songs inspiring the Beatles (see 1963) to push themselves artistically (and revolutionise pop music towards the decade’s end).

*Ska: Jamaican artists begin recording their own version of American R&B that has been a hit with local audiences over the radio. However, their brand accentuates the guitar and piano on the upbeat, giving it a distinctive sound. As the decade progresses, ska evolves, slowing down from its early frentic pace and becoming rocksteady, wherein the bass plays more varied rhythms and the music as a whole has more emphasis on the downbeat and more soulful vocals (thereby paving the way for reggae (see 1971). The original ska sound is later revived in the later punk era, as British bands inspired by punk such as the Specials and Madness, don rude boy (see below) fashions and play a distinctly British variant of the music known as Two-Tone (originally the name of the Specials’ own label, intended to reflect the interracial nature of their songs and style). A third revival of ska occurs in the 1990s, when American bands combine it with punk and jazz.

 

---SUBCULTURES

*Rockers: More and more, Teddy Boys (see 1953) come to identify with American rock ‘n’ roll and the Greaser subculture (see 1955). The previous year has seen the first British motorcycles made (and the postwar period has seen much new construction throughout Britain – such as the racetrack-like new arterial ring roads in cities). The Teds soon begin to don leathers and ride motorbikes. Although 1950s’ rock ‘n’ roll is their music of choice, they are motorcyclist first and foremost. Largely due to their sense of dress and dirtiness, in an age when conservative public decorum still exited, the Rockers are not widely welcomed by pubs and dance halls and instead frequent the new postwar transport cafes, which become their natural haunts. They are also reviled by the British Motorcycle industry and general enthusiasts as being bad for the industry and the sport. Rockers will gain wide notoriety due to the frequent clashes with their deadly rivals, the Mods, as the decade proceeds (see below).

*Mods: Akin to the Teddy Boys (and something of an outgrowth from that movement – see 1953), the Modernists (or ‘Mods’ for short) emerge in Britain. Although sharing a love of suits and sharp fashion, including polo necks, Fred Perry shirts and US Army parkas; however, Mods are more nationalist than their forebears and are also obsessed with Jamaican ska (see above) as well as American R&B and soul (see 1959). Drugs are also part of the Mod subculture, notably amphetamines (to help them last through the evening at all-night clubs which they frequent to show off their clothes and dance). Use of drugs is part of the reason they are hated by their rivals the Rockers – see above, who, almost unique to youth subcultures, oppose drug use, which they associate with unmanly behaviour - because they value physical prowess so highly, having to resort to chemical substances to give one nerves or confidence is seen as sissy. In contrast to the Rockers, Mods favour scooters (Lambrettas or Vespas). Clashes between the groups (especially in the seaside resort town of Brighton - see 1964) will spur much debate in British society about violent youth culture (similar to disquiet that arose in the US in the 1940s lasting through the 1950s – see 1943, 1947, 1950). A Mod revival occurs in the wake of punk (see 1977).

*Rude Boys: In Jamaica, in the wake of ska (see above) and the rise of dance hall culture, disaffected unemployed urban youth begin wearing sharp suits, thin ties, and pork-pie hats in imitation of American gangster movies (to back up a ‘gang’-style image, as groups of rude boys begin forming nascent gangs and crashing dance halls frequented by other gangs – such violence becoming integral to rude boy culture). West Indian immigrants transport this style and culture to Britain, where it influences the skinhead movement (see 1968).

 

BEAUTY & FASHION

*Beauty & Politics: Beauty contests reach their all-time peak in popularity this decade but politics and other controversies will erode this. Tabloid coverage of nude photographs and the alcoholic excesses of winners, the rise of feminism (see 1963, 1966, 1967) begin the trend. In the 1970s, one winner of Miss World is forced to resign because of her high-profile serial dating while another quits after it is discovered she is a single mother. In 1977, the UN sponsors a boycott of Miss World due to its inclusion of a contestant from South Africa (see 1980).

*Pierre Cardin (see 1954) becomes the first fashion designer to license his name for various products (but the resulting ubiquity of ‘Cardin’ product eventually sees the brand lose some of its chic); he is also the first to create ready-to-wear lines.

*London boutique owner Mary Quant (1934 - ) develops the miniskirt and champions the emerging youth movement in her designs and marketing, becoming the most influential designer of the decade. She also develops coloured and patterned tights. Successfully marketing her designs to the culturally hip and influential trendy ‘Chelsea Set,’ her clothes become popular and an integral part of the ‘Swinging London’ image (at least as much as fashion stores of Carnaby Street and the music of The Beatles – see 1963). Later in the decade she introduces the dangerously short micro-mini skirt, ‘paint-box’ make-up, plastic raincoats and hot pants, becoming the leading fashion force outside Paris. Even after longer dresses become once more dominant in fashion, the miniskirt remains a permanent part of conventional women’s wear.

*Reflecting the shift towards image and looks that takes place in the US over the next four decades (as the culture shifts to a postmodern one), the number of licensed barbers falls 48% between now and 2001 while the number of cosmetologists rises by 213% (according to Census figures) (see also 1997).

*Radical Fashion Changes: Arguably, Western fashion changes more in the space of the next few years than ever before, a combination of the rise of modern mass media culture and the Baby Boom generation coming of age (this generation’s sheer size – the largest in history to date – creates the market pressure for the fashion industry as a whole to follow its whims, frequently informed by the 1960s rock music culture – see 1965). The 1960s begin with crew cuts on men and bouffant hairstyles on women.  Men’s casual shirts are often plaid and buttoned down the front, while knee-length dresses are required wear for women in most public places. By mid-decade, however, miniskirts (see above) or hot pants, often worn with go-go boots, are revealing legs, bodywear is revealing curves, and women’s hair is either very short or long and lanky.  Men’s hair becomes longer and wider, with beards and moustaches.  Men’s wear has a renaissance:  bright colours, double-breasted sports jackets, polyester pants suits with Nehru jackets, and turtlenecks are in vogue. By the end of the decade, ties, when worn, are up to 5” wide, patterned even when worn with stripes. Women wear peasant skirts or granny dresses and chunky shoes. Unisex dressing is also popular, featuring bell bottomed jeans, love beads, and embellished t-shirts. Clothing is as likely to be purchased at surplus stores as boutiques. Blacks of both genders also grow their hair into afros. The rapid changes establish the pattern in post-1960s fashion, with ever more frequent style changes (sometimes annually), as the advertising and fashion industries become more aggressive at marketing and more adept at absorbing the influences of any underground cultural movements (e.g. grunge fashion – plaid shirts, surplus store-style dressed down wear, etc - goes from underground cult music scene style to Parisian catwalks in a year in the early 1990s).

 

TOURISM & TRAVEL

*Global annual tourist arrivals: 69m. The rate grows 9.1% annually through 1970.

*Mass Air Travel & Tourism: The advent of the jetliner age (see 1958) sees international mass travel expand exponentially in coming decades. By way of illustration, the air route from Australia to Britain in 1945 is the equivalent of 130 weeks of average salary earnings but by 1965, with the introduction of the 707 it has dropped to 21 weeks. In the 1970s, with the advent of the 747, it drops to eight weeks, in 1991 it is five weeks and in 2003 it is just over a fortnight. Also, from 1964 to the end of the century, the air fare rises 92% via inflation but average weekly earnings increase 1419%.

The proliferation of airlines and cheap fares eventually mean average workers in Western nations can afford to travel to other countries with the ease with which their forebears traveled to local seaside resorts last century.

*Let’s Go: Harvard University students launch the Let’s Go travel guide company. The first Let’s Go guide is a 20-page mimeographed pamphlet handed out on student charter flights to Europe. The first professionally published guide is issued in 1961. Early guides tend to be freewheeling (e.g. advising travellers to help finance accommodation costs in Europe by singing in the street). By 2004, there are 45 books in the series.

 

SPORTS & HOBBIES

*The Beginning of Modern Professionalism: The growth of the mass media, creating a new market for the watching of sport, begins to create pressures that eventually see the wholesale professionalisation of sports throughout the world (e.g. a desire to see the best in the world compete). In those sports where there are already professionals, the changing dynamic will eventually see salaries that dwarf those of the past (as the sportsmen, successfully posit, due to the emergence of sporting agents, that as the prime drawcards of sport as mass entertainment they should be handsomely rewarded – although by the 1990s, the situation of young players leaving school or college and being paid large amounts of money before playing a professional game sees critics assert that various codes are being ruined: with nothing to play for as their futures are now secure, many argue that professionalisation – or at least the modern huge salaries that accompany it – takes the competitive fire out of too many bellies). The Olympic Games becomes the last bastion of amateurism but that too eventually changes (see 1988).@@@@@@@

*The Olympic Games are held in Rome, Italy. The Italians make use of ancient sporting venues - the wrestling competition takes place in the Basilica of Maxentius, gymnastics is held in the Caracalla Baths and the finish of the marathon at the Arch of Constantine. US boxer Cassius Clay (1942 - ) first comes to international prominence at these Games (see 1964).

*The Birth of Gaming: Following the development of the first cardboard and paper wargame (see 1953), wargaming clubs have been established in most major American cities, with enthusiasts recreating nearly every type of conflict imaginable, including historical battles. The International Federation of Wargaming is established this decade as a growing association of the various clubs. One such Federation associate will be the Castle & Crusade Society (see 1969), whose member Gary Gygax (1938 - ) will go on to develop the game Dungeons & Dragons (see 1974), which becomes a phenomenon that propels gaming into the cultural mainstream in the next decade.
 

 

RELIGION & BELIEF

 

GENERAL

*Global breakdown of major religions: Christians (33.5% of the world population; evangelicals 4%); Muslims (14%); Buddhists (6.5%); Hindus (12.5%).

*The Temple of Understanding: After studying comparative religion at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary and devouring books on the major religions of the world, wealthy American housewife Juliet Hollister (1917 – 2001) becomes convinced that there is much more that unites the great faiths than divides them, and develops a vision of a world in which the many religious traditions of today will come together in dialogue rather than conflict. She later notes that she was sitting in the kitchen of her Greenwich home with a friend, snacking on peanut butter sandwiches, talking about what a mess the world was in, with the spectre of nuclear Armageddon not a remote possibility, when as if out of nowhere, a light turned on in her mind and she excitedly saw an antidote: an ongoing forum where dialogue and understanding could be promoted by bringing all the world’s religions together under one roof. The “energy” of this idea was enormous and she was convinced that she had to do something about it. She convinces her husband, a well-networked partner in a Manhattan law firm, of the merit of the idea and he is soon able to arrange a meeting with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (who has been active in such causes as promoting the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rightssee 1948 – since leaving the White House). Roosevelt is inspired by the concept and arranges for Hollister to share her vision with some of the great political, religious and civic leaders of the time on a  round-the-world trip (e.g. Acting UN Secretary-General U Thant, Pope John XXIII; Egyptian President Nasser, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer [1875 – 1965], and the Dalai Lama). Roosevelt also helps officially launch Hollister’s vision made manifest: the Temple of Understanding, the first modern/postwar global multifaith group, proposed to be a kind of “Spiritual United Nations” with a goal of promoting interfaith dialogue and education. Schweitzer says of the new organisation: “My hopes and prayers are with you in the realisation of this great Temple of Understanding, which has a profound significance...The Spirit burns in many flames,” a reference to the idea that all religions - which, for interfaithists, includes Christianity - are diverse expressions of the same essential deity. By 1963, the Temple has been sponsored by six thousand politicians, occultists, celebrities, one-world religion advocates and multinational companies, including the Presidents of Egypt, India and Israel, US Secretary of Defense and later head of the World Bank Robert McNamara, financier John D. Rockefeller IV (1937 - ), the presidents of TIME-Life, Paramount Pictures, IBM and CBS, representatives of Methodist, Unitarian, Episcopalian, Spiritualist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, Theosophical Society of America President Henry A. Smith, and film stars such as Cary Grant (1904 – 1986). From its Manhattan headquarters, the Temple organises symposiums, round-table discussions, educational projects, global forums, and spiritual summit meetings abroad. These Spiritual Summits (beginning in Calcutta, India in 1968 and later convening at Geneva in 1970, Harvard University in 1971, Princeton University in 1971, Cornell University in 1974, the UN in 1975, and New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1984) pioneer regular gatherings of the world’s spiritual leaders (and the summits of the early 1970s help play a pivotal role in creating a platform between East and West at a time when the impact of Eastern religious traditions on the West is at its height, growing out of the counterculture’s emphasis on non-Western spirituality). Later, the Temple helps organise global forums on spirituality, gatherings which combine religious leaders and political representatives (see 1988).

*H. Reinhold Niebuhr publishes Radical Monotheism and Western Culture, in which he observes that human faiths have taken three forms. Henotheism regards the limited group as the centre of value, and it values people and things according to how they serve the group’s ends. Polytheism is committed to different causes in different contexts; persons and things are valued for their contributions to diverse ends. A third form of faith, radical monotheism, emerged in Israel and in Jesus Christ. This faith apprehends that God the creator, the power of being, is also the redeemer or the centre of value. Therefore the community of moral concern is no longer a closed society or limited group but the entire community of being. Relations among God and all creatures are seen to be matters of covenantal responsibility. Radical faith conflicts with the other forms. In politics, for example, henotheists judge people in light of loyalties to a particular nation or race. Polytheists estimate persons by their unequal contributions to knowledge, economic production or the arts. But radical monotheists insist on equality because all people are equally related to the one universal centre of value. From this perspective, whenever politics capitulates to lesser devotions, justifications for gross manipulations, injustice and oppression follow close behind.

 

CHRISTIANITY

*Sex & Christianity: The Liberal Consensus (see above) and changing social mores throughout the West this decade see Christian churches forced to confront issues of human sexuality many believed settled centuries ago. In the main, liberal denominations (or such local churches of denominations) of mainline Protestant bodies will seek to become more culturally ‘relevant’ and loosen long-standing proscriptions against, for example, sex outside of marriage or even homosexuality (the latter after another two decades of social change see secular acceptance of gay couples – although usually such acceptance will only stretch to couples engaged in a committed loving relationship). Evangelical Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic churches will predominantly remain opposed to any loosening of religious directives against more libertarian sexual practices (although surveys in the 1980s and 1990s indicate the incidence of fornication, adultery and divorce is often the same in conservative churches as that in secular society and liberal churches, regardless of church teaching).

*Women & Christianity: The rise of second wave feminism (see 1963) and consequent emergence of feminist theology (see 1968) raise the controversial issue of women in the priesthood for Catholic and Protestant churches. The Catholic Church will hold to traditional teachings about earthly male authority but mainline Protestant denominations will suffer various conniptions and controversies before women priests (and later bishops) begin to become a reality from the 1980s onwards. Related to this, will be the issue of divorce (after the advent of higher divorce rates in the wake of liberation of no-fault divorce laws in several nations into the 1970s, Protestant churches will dilute their steadfast disavowal of allowing divorced people to enjoy religious wedding ceremonies for new marriages while the Catholic Church, holding the line, will nevertheless grant skyrocketing numbers of annulments in coming decades).

*The Decline of Mainline Protestantism: The spiritual alienation created by the mass consumer society engenders a demand for immediate, powerful, and deep religious experiences in the younger Baby Boomer generation this decade (throughout the West). However, the staid and anachronistic veneers of the European state and American mainline Protestant denominations (by now beholden to Neo-Orthodoxy – see 1946 – a doctrine perceived as false and empty to a youth weaned on existentialism, such that self-expression is prime and insincere attachments to creeds, even as a means to a self-expressive end, are dismissed), see them enter a period of long-term decline. Numbers of adherents fall rapidly, as older church members are not replaced by younger ones (the losses prompting much debate and discussion in Christian circles as to how to stem and even reverse the decline – see 1970). By the 1980s, such churches have begun to noticeably age (as well as shrink). Into the 21st century, spokesmen for such churches will issue warnings that many congregations will not survive another decade, threatening the future of certain denominations.

*Pope John XXIII establishes the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, marking the first time that the Holy See has set up an office to deal uniquely with ecumenical affairs.

*In the aftermath of the Catholic establishment of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, the Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher (1887 – 1972) visits Pope John XXIII in the first meeting between the heads of the Anglican and Catholic churches since the English church broke away some 400 years before (and the first visit by an Archbishop of Canterbury to Rome since 1397).

*Angst in some sections of the American populace when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, is elected President (as it is felt the Vatican will have undue influence on the White House).

*Evangelist Billy Graham (see 1949) convenes a “select group from around the world to consider greater cooperation in world evangelism” in Montreux, Switzerland. Subsequently, six World Congresses on Evangelism are held between 1966 and 1973 (in West Berlin, West Germany; Bogota, Colombia; Singapore; Minneapolis; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Atlanta) in the lead-up to a major international conference on evangelisation (see 1974).

*The Charismatic Renewal: Californian Episcopalian minister Dennis Bennett (1917 - 1991) suddenly announces to his congregation that he has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and is experiencing the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues (hitherto only encountered by Pentecostals – see 1939). He goes on to run workshops and seminars about the work of the Holy Spirit, which inspire countless Episcopalians (and also Anglicans worldwide). In turn, a renewal movement begins in Orthodox and Catholic churches (see 1967). The movement is also promoted by the mainstream Pentecostal churches. The impact of this movement is threefold. Firstly, it leads to the rise of ecumenism within evangelical and Pentecostal churches (and, later, between these traditions and the Catholic Church), as prevailing denominational walls gradually erode (in the face of unity in the Spirit – especially from the 1980s on [see 1980]). Secondly, while some churches ask ministers and other participants to leave their denominations (e.g. Southern Baptists, Lutherans), others indulge Charismatics (provided their activities do not interfere in established church practice – such as the Catholics and Anglicans). Finally, partly springing from those who leave existing denominations through choice or force, newly established Charismatic church movements evolve, such as Vineyard (in the US) as well as house churches (notably in Britain).

*Sub-Saharan African Christian Revival: The end of colonialism (severing the cultural link between Christianity and colonial rulers) and indigenisation of religious expression (either in favour of syncretism or Evangelicalism/charismatic) contribute to massive growth in new adherents to the Christian faith in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continuing growth to date sees Christianity gain over 50% of the continent’s populace by century’s end, the first time in history an entire continent has seen such a rapid and radical change to its religious make-up in a single century (see also 1946).

 

BUDDHISM

*The Rise of Western Buddhism: Hitherto predominantly comprising devotees from Chinese manual workers, Buddhism gains traction in the US (and from there, attracts significant interest throughout the West) this decade. Its popularity arises through the work of Alan Watts (see 1957), who, this year, hosts the National Educational Television series Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life screening in San Francisco. Watts’ efforts to promote Buddhism through television, books and lectures and his syncretic approach of combining Buddhist thought and Western concepts (e.g. writing in the language of modern science and psychology – such as in Psychotherapy East and West - he finds parallels between mystical experiences and the theories of the material universe proposed by 20th century scientists; later, he equates mystical experience with ecological awareness) help introduce the exotic world of Buddhism to Westerners. Watts later indulges in LSD, explores other Eastern mystic traditions such as Taoism and begins to propose a future for humanity involving the ‘civilising’ or making more humane the post-Christian industrial culture of the modern West, and quickly becomes a counterculture icon. Buddhism proves popular to the younger generation mainly given the perceived failure of social utopias and all-encompassing truths in the wake of WWII (see 1946), which has ushered in an era that has tended to shift the focus of progress towards personal self-realisation, on the material as well as spiritual plane. In this context, Buddhism displays a strong power of attraction, due to its tolerance, its lack of deist authority and determinism, and its focus on understanding reality through self inquiry (see 1970).

*Cambodia holds a Buddhist Congress to combat growing opposition from local communists.

 

ATHEISM, SECULARISM & HUMANISM

*Existentialism, Politics, Environmentalism & Humanism: The emergence of the New Left (see above) and its focus on the individual rather than social class as the basic unit of society (and, later, its embrace of identity politics), as well as the emergence of the civil rights cause (see 1958, 1961), second wave feminism (see 1963), the homosexual rights crusade (see 1969) and the environmental movement (see 1962, 1969), combine to undercut the optimistic humanism that has risen in the West since the post-Darwin Victorian era, eroding faith in humanist visions of social utopias in favour of a pessimistic humanism (predicated on eschewing collectivist dreams as impossible to realise and pursuing individual self-actualisation – hence, promotion of a pluralist vision of socio-political tolerance, a right to equality and the pursuit of lifestyle regardless of one’s race, sex, sexual orientation, et al). Developments this decade (and next) also expand humanist moral concerns beyond the human race (e.g. environmentalism expands it to encompass the biosphere, the animal rights movement – see 1975 – expands it to higher sentient animals, etc). Finally, feminism and the gay rights agenda undermine the Judeo-Christian ethos, attacking the biblical foundations hitherto governing a woman’s social role and the sinfulness of homosexual behaviour.

*Sunday Shopping: Beginning this decade, a steady decline in the number of US states that still impose total bans on Sunday shopping begins so that by 1985, only 22 still prohibit the practise. Other nations follow this trend in the 1980s (such as Canada as New Zealand) and the following decade (e.g. Britain).

 

PARANORMALISM

*The Second Era of Parapsychology: By now, many parapsychologists had become dissatisfied with the forced-choice experiments in ESP devised by J. B. Rhine (see 1940) and, partly because of boredom on the part of test participants after many repetitions of monotonous card-guessing and refusing the suggestion by magicians of adding cards that are totally blank, and partly because of the observed ‘decline effect’ where the accuracy of card guessing  decreases over time for a given participant  (which some parapsychologists attribute to boredom), some researches turn to free response experimental formats. In these, the target is not limited to a small finite predetermined set of responses (e.g. Zener cards), but rather can be any sort of picture, drawing, photograph, movie clip, piece of music, etc. As a result of surveys of spontaneous psi experiences which report that more than half of these occur in the dreaming state, researchers at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, undertake a series of experiments to test for telepathy in the dream state. A ‘receiver’ participant in a soundproof, electronically shielded room is monitored during sleep for EEG patterns and rapid eye movements (REM) indicating dream state. A ‘sender’ in another room then attempts to send an image, randomly selected from a pool of images, to the receiver by focusing on the image during the detected dream states. Near the end of each REM period, the receiver is awakened and asked to describe their dream during that period. The data gathered suggests that sometimes the sent image has been incorporated in some way into the content of a receiver’s dreams. Other researchers look for more streamlined alternatives to the involved dream telepathy tests, such as the so-called ganzfeld experiments (which utilise audio and visual sensory deprivation to test for ESP) and experiments involving the use of random number generators (seeing if subjects can affect the outputs of such devices).

 

 

 

#

Western politics after the New Deal (which established social security, among other things, in the US) and the Attlee Labour government (which set up the British Welfare State) in the 1930s and 1940s followed a liberal path in terms of economics (with social democratic politics in the ascendant on the European continent with exceptions such as Franco’s Spain). The statism that emerged in the Anglo-American / democratic continental European socio-economic spheres became orthodoxy, maintained by conservative administrations when they took office.

By the 1960s, liberalism was ready to move on to the social arena, a move which signalled, it could be argued, ideological exhaustion with socioeconomic theory (stemming from the very successes of liberal politics) as much as logical progression. The ‘end of ideology’ was a concept first significantly propounded by sociologist Daniel Bell (see above) in his book of the same name:

[O]ne finds, at the end of the 1950s, a disconcerting caesura. In the West, among the intellectuals, the old passions are spent. The new generation, with no meaningful memory of these old debates, and no secure tradition to build upon, finds itself seeking new purposes within a framework of political society that has rejected, intellectually speaking, the old apocalyptic and chiliastic visions. In the search for a “cause,” there is a deep, desperate, almost pathetic anger. The theme runs through a remarkable book, Convictions, by a dozen of the sharpest young Left Wing intellectuals in Britain. They cannot define the content of the “cause” they seek, but the yearning is clear. In the US too there is a restless search for a new intellectual radicalism. Richard Chase, in his thoughtful assessment of American society, The Democratic Vista, insists that the greatness of 19th century America for the rest of the world consisted in its radical vision of man (such a vision as [Walt] Whitman’s), and calls for a new radical criticism today. But the problem is that the old politico-economic radicalism (pre-occupied with such matters as the socialisation of industry) has lost its meaning, while the stultifying aspects of contemporary culture (e.g. television) cannot be redressed in political terms. At the same time, American culture has almost completely accepted the avant-garde, particularly in art, and the older academic styles have been driven out completely. The irony, further, for those who seek “causes” is that the workers, whose grievances were once the driving energy for social change, are more satisfied with the society than the intellectuals. The workers have not achieved utopia, but their expectations were less than those of the intellectuals, and the gains correspondingly larger.

The young intellectual is unhappy because the “middle way” is for the middle-aged, not for him; it is without passion and is deadening. Ideology, which by its nature is an all-or-none affair, and temperamentally the thing he wants, is intellectually devitalised, and few issues can be formulated any more, intellectually, in ideological terms. The emotional energies - and needs - exist, and the question of how one mobilizes these energies is a difficult one. Politics offers little excitement. Some of the younger intellectuals have found an outlet in science or university pursuits, but often at the expense of narrowing their talent into mere technique; others have sought self-expression in the arts, but in the wasteland the lack of content has meant, too, the lack of the necessary tension that creates new forms and styles.

Bell’s book sparked much debate within left-liberal circles - particularly in West Germany, where the Social Democratic Party, in the name of a “community of interest,” subsequently renounced “ideology” and opted for a program of pragmatic social reform.

The decade that saw social liberalisation of areas such as abortion, homosexuality, relaxation of censorship, legalisation of pornography, and so on (or setting the stage for their legalisation at the decade’s end and into the 1970s), was presided over by social liberal left-leaning parties (e.g. the Kennedy/Johnson White House administrations and the liberal Warren High Court in the US, the Wilson Labour British government, the Trudeau Liberal Canadian government, the aforementioned Brandt Social Democratic government in West Germany, etc) or else conservative regimes that followed the lead of liberal courts or widespread agitation of social change on the part of liberal activists (e.g. the Baunsgaard conservative Danish government that repealed all pornography laws – including those proscribing child pornography – in 1969). Typifying the absolute liberal dominance of the time was the comment by economist John Kenneth Galbraith after President Johnson had trounced conservative Republican challenger in 1964 (in one of the greatest landslides in US political history) that: “We’re all liberals now.”

The notion of a ‘private morality,’ free from state intervention, long argued by libertarian philosophers (e.g. the Marquis de Sade [1740 - 1814), gained the ascendancy in the 1960s. The pragmatic social reform reflected the fact that this was also an era more conducive to social change, with the younger Baby Boomer generation, the largest generation of adolescents in history to that time, coming of age and desiring to cast off the restrictions of the old world.

So all-encompassing was the Liberal Consensus that the conservative parties largely accepted these changes (perceiving social attitudes had changed and that power would not be gained by challenging the new morality of the post-Permissive Society – see 1959). In the US, the rise of a religious right in US politics in the late 1970s (as a backlash to the social liberal hegemony) placed pressure on the conservative Republican Party to, among other things, ensure that elected presidents appointed conservative judges to the Supreme Court (to overturn such things as the 1972 Supreme Court decision to legalise abortion - see). This pressure intensified in the early 1990s, when the end of the Cold War (see 1991) also saw the centre of political debate in Western nations shift from the economic (the demise of communism ending most argument over the supremacy of capitalism versus socialism) to management of the cultural consequences of the triumph of individualism in economics (see 1991).

 

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By the end of the 1950s, a great debate was brewing in American society about the present and future of the United States. This debate centered around two major focal points:

1) America’s spiritual and cultural malaise, and

2) Cold War politics.

Many looked forward to the 1960 presidential election as the beginning of a new direction for America under new leadership. As it turned out, many Americans identified both candidates - Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat John F. Kennedy - with McCarthyism and the politics of tranquility (status quo).

Thanks to his experience in Congress and his eight years as Eisenhower’s Vice President, Nixon was highly qualified to be President, especially when it came to foreign affairs. However, he also had a reputation as a hatchet man and a red-baiter from his role in the Alger Hiss trial. When Ike had a heart attack in 1956 and people began to express apprehension that Nixon was next in the chain of command, the Republicans unveiled a “New Nixon.” This “New Nixon,” although slightly less menacing than the old version, still exemplified the hollow man of a homogenised society.

On the other side of the aisle stood John F. Kennedy, who many American believed was little more than a Democratic Nixon. Kennedy, then a senator from Massachusetts, had been the lone Democrat to support Joe McCarthy when the Senate voted to censure him. In another demonstration of questionable ethics, Kennedy took credit for writing Profiles in Courage, a book that he signed his name to after his research assistants had written for him. Practically since birth, JFK had been groomed to become President. His father, Joseph Kennedy, who had made a fortune in Hollywood, still felt shunned by elite society because his family was Irish Catholic.

Religion did play a part in the campaign, if only briefly. Before Kennedy, American voters had never elected a Roman Catholic President. The only other serious Catholic contender for the presidency was Al Smith, who lost to Herbert Hoover in 1928. In 1960, however, JFK managed to defuse the Catholic issue when he won the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia, a largely Protestant state.

Kennedy won over many hesitant voters by campaigning strongly on the theme that American foreign policy had begun to drift during Eisenhower’s second term (e.g. Fall of Cuba to Communism, Russian advances in missile technology, etc) and he promised a more vigorous prosecution of the Cold War, declaring an administration run by him would “bear any burden…pay any price.” A result of his more assertive foreign policy was a decided heating up of Cold War tensions, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis (see 1962), the accelerated Russian nuclear arms build-up and the escalation of US intervention in Vietnam.

 

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Throughout the 1950s, the US dominated the world market. With the healthiest major economy to emerge from WWII, the US forged ahead in manufacturing exports and provided the vast majority of goods consumed domestically. In 1960, the US produced more than 25% of the manufactured exports of industrial nations and supplied 98% of goods in the American market. From that point on, the US lost market share both at home and abroad. In the car manufacturing industry, for example, in the early post-war years and into the 1950s, the US was responsible for 76% of the world’s automobile production; in 1960, the US produced only 48% of the world market; in 1970, it was only 28%. Some of this loss of market share resulted from the post-war recovery of nations like West Germany and Japan, which became America’s fiercest competitors. American exporting firms were eager to support any initiatives that would give them greater access to overseas markets. President Kennedy wanted to position the US as a major player in international economic affairs. Under the leadership of Kennedy’s Undersecretary of State George Ball (1909 – 1994), the US supported European economic and political union. One important aspect of this was trade policy and the role of the US in the globalising economy In 1962, Congress passed the Trade Expansion Act. The act gave the president broad authority over American trade policy, especially the authority to reduce tariffs and duties in order to facilitate or stimulate trade. In addition, the act established adjustment assistance to troubled industries. After this, the Kennedy Administration launched a trade liberalisation campaign called the Kennedy Round. An international agreement was not reached until 1967, at which point the US benefitted from major tariff reductions by industrial countries for individual products. An international anti-dumping code was established, bringing about initial reductions in non-tariff barriers. Despite these gains, agricultural tariffs kept American access to the European agricultural market limited.

 

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Geologist Colin Campbell (1931 - ), founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (see 2000), in “Forecasting Global Oil Supply: 2000-2050” (2002) says:

Oil discovery in the US peaked in 1930 with the discovery of the East Texas field. Peak production inexorably followed 40 years later, but no one particularly noticed as cheap imports made up the difference. Since then, the same pattern of peak and decline has been repeated from one country to another, save for the Middle East, and the time lag from peak discovery to peak production is falling thanks to modern technology. Given that peak world discovery was passed in 1964, it should be no surprise that the corresponding peak of global production is now getting close. Exactly when it will come depends on many short-term factors, not least of which would be military intervention in the Middle East. The base-case scenario points to 2010, but it could come sooner if economic recovery should drive up the demand for oil. The question is not whether, but when oil production will peak. Oil, which provides about 40% of global energy needs, and about 90% of transport fuel, is set to start to decline within about ten years. It is evident that the world will have to learn to use less, much less, which should not be difficult given the current waste. There is a great deal at stake as solutions have long lead times and call for difficult adjustments, but much could be done if governments could be alerted in time. Those countries that do plan and prepare will clearly have great advantage over those that simply react to the crisis when it hits them.

 

#####

OPEC’s failure to achieve its goals during the 1960s was due to several factors:

- OPEC’s share of world production in 1960 was only 28% (versus 41% by 1970);

- The oil reserves in the ground belonged to the multinational corporations (except in Iran), limiting the power of the oil producing countries (although this changes as, for instance, Libya nationalises its oil assets – see 1971 - and Saudi Arabia begins to take control of the giant Aramco, which oversees exploitation of Saudi reserves – see 1973);

- The oil glut of the 1950s and 1960s made any threat to raise prices not credible;

- The oil exporting countries were desperate for revenue to fuel economic development (which they are less so by 1973 after another decade of steady income, increasing from 1971 due to better profit deals with major companies – see);

- Important political divisions existed in the Arab world (e.g. Egypt’s Nasser repeatedly clashed with the Saudi monarchy, Iraq regularly threatened to invade its neighbour Kuwait (it was deterred from doing so by the deployment of British forces), Iran and Saudi Arabia vied for leadership of the Middle East, etc). Nasser’s death, the removal of British forces from the region (see 1968) and united Arab anger over US support for Israel somewhat changed this fractious situation by 1973.

 

######

The reasons for the sudden explosion of violence (in addition to those listed above or expanding the above themes) include:

a) Desensitisation towards violence through media, thereby legitimising aggression as a means to solving problems. Despite much talk about television violence (see 1952, 1956, 1969), little is done to actually stem the volume of depictions of violence on the small screen (such that by the 1990s children reaching maturity have witnessed 15,000 murders or acts of violence on television. Also, the Code governing cinema is effectively thrown out  - see 1966 – resulting in more graphic violence appearing on the big screen thereafter (e.g. the slasher and gore films of the 1970s and beyond).

b) The transition of culture from modern to postmodern sees a focus on the novel and deviant in the mass media (given the cultural exhaustion of conventional forms and icons). Hitherto taboos will be given mainstream exposure including the pornography industry (in late 1990s mainstream cinema such as Boogie Nights [1997]) as well as the near-deification of ultra-violent criminality (including serial murderers – notably in films such as Silence of the Lambs – and spree killers – e.g. in Natural Born Killers), whereas previously pop culture junkies fascinated by such murderous mayhem occupied a place firmly at the margins of culture (in the underground).

c) Deinstitutionalisation of the mental health system (see 1961) in numerous Western nations (such that many people hitherto incarcerated will now be let onto the streets – often becoming homeless and frequently proving dangerous to themselves and others, contributing to higher suicide, assault and murder rates). In the US, there are 550,000 people in mental hospitals; by 2000, there are 100,000 - even though the US population is 50% larger.

 

#######

Black Nationalism can be traced back to Jamaican-born black rights crusader Marcus Garvey’s (1887 – 1940) Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League in 1914, which sought to acquire economic power and to infuse among blacks a sense of community and group feeling and unite “all the people of African ancestry of the world into one great body to establish a country and Government absolutely their own.” By the 1960s, many African-American adherents to Black Nationalism assumed the eventual creation of a separate black nation by African Americans (notably the Nation of Islamsee 1952 and the Black Pantherssee 1966). As an alternative to being assimilated by the American nation, which was predominantly white, black nationalists sought to maintain and promote their separate identity as a people of black ancestry. With such slogans as “black power” and “black is beautiful,” they also sought to inculcate a sense of pride among blacks.

 

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The Negritude movement wanes after most African colonies achieve independence, and a new generation of African writers and intellectuals (e.g. Wole Soyinka [1934 - ] in Myth, Literature and the African World [1976]) sharply criticises Negritude concepts, which they feel reinforce racial stereotypes and are largely irrelevant to the new problems facing post-colonial Africa. Negritude poets had “defended the humanity of those whose humanity had been denied on the basis of race, a step that was unquestionably necessary,” but in so doing they had idealised the pre-colonial past and affirmed a racial essence they claimed was “natural” to Africans (e.g. love of nature, rhythm, spirituality).

 

@

Reiss identified four standards for premarital sexual behavior:

- Abstinence: wherein sexual relations are acceptable only after marriage.

- Permissiveness with affection: wherein sexual relations are acceptable in the context of a stable and loving relationship.

- Permissiveness without affection: wherein sexual relations are acceptable based on physical attraction alone.

- The Double Standard: wherein non-marital sexual relations are acceptable for males but not for females (culturally, the notion that promiscuous men were ‘studs’ and women ‘sluts’).

Reiss predicted a coming sexual revolution which would sweep aside the hypocrisy of the double standard (which he proposed was the predominant standard for sexual behavior in Western society).

 

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The World Academy Manifesto reads:

In the Name of Science and the Future of Mankind

The appeal of the International Conference on Science and Human Welfare has been realised – THE WORLD ACADEMY OF ART AND SCIENCE has been established.

This urgently needed forum has been created for distinguished scientists and scholars to discuss the vital problems of mankind, independent of political boundaries or limits – whether spiritual or physical; a forum where these problems will be discussed objectively, scientifically, globally and free from vested interested or regional attachments.

The World Academy of Art and Science will function as an informal “world university” at the highest scientific and ethical level, in which deep human understanding and the fullest sense of responsibility will meet.

The structure of the Academy and its goal are laid down in the first volume of its publications, Science and the Future of Mankind, now in press.

The basic idea which led to the founding of the Academy stems from the following considerations:

  • All existing international organisations which decide on vital problems of mankind are constructed on the principle of national or group representation.

• This forum is international, or more truly trans-national.

• From the dawn of mankind people have worked together to build the tower of knowledge, and no nation has failed to contribute to this marvelous building. The creative power of the human spirit is to be found in the first prehistoric digging stick for agriculture as in the motorised plough of our time. The first canoe is no less original in concept than the Archimedian principle; the first wheel no less than the first airplane – perhaps even more so.

• The true object of all these achievements of the human spirit is to lighten the burden of life, to enrich it – and certainly not to make it more difficult or to destroy it. In the words of Einstein, who is one of the spiritual fathers of this transnational forum: “The creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind.”

This is the fundamental aim of the World Academy: to rediscover the language of mutual understanding. It will work in close collaboration with the institutions of the United Nations.

It will look for the true enemies of peace, and try to fight them:

These enemies are hunger and sickness, waste and destruction; the archenemies intolerance and ignorance, resignation and fear.

In international meetings and conferences, represented by group or nation, the intrinsic merits of the questions discussed have too often to be subordinated to considerations of national prestige or group interests. The World Academy has no pre-established tasks to fulfill and no vested interests to serve. It is free to attack problems in the broad interests of mankind, and to seek solutions leading to hope, happiness and peace.

With the help of science and the support of all cultural and constructive forces of mankind, the World Academy will be able to dedicate itself to its objective – the aim of serving as an impartial and nonpolitical adviser, complementing other organisations, in this difficult transition period, and contributing in leading mankind to an era of true progress, true human welfare, and true happiness.

Supported by the confidence and trust of a great number of spiritual leaders of mankind, we herewith declare the World Academy of Art and Science founded.

 

@@@

Daniel Barringer (1860 – 1929) was one of the first to identify a geological structure as an impact crater, the Barringer Crater in 1902, but at the time his ideas were not widely accepted In the 1920s, the American geologist Walter H. Bucher (1888 – 1965) studied a number of craters in the US. He concluded they had been created by some great explosive event, but believed they were the result of some massive volcanic eruption. However, in 1936, the geologists John D. Boon and Claude C. Albritton Jr. (1913 - ) revisited Bucher’s studies and concluded the craters he studied were probably formed by impacts. But the issue remained more or less speculative until Shoemaker’s work in 1960.

There are 27 craters with a diameter of more than 25kms. Impactors which leave a 100km crater are believed by many scientists to have a significant effect on species extinctions, while those below 50km do not appear to affect normal extinction rates.

 

@@@@

Quine’s example is of the word “gavagai” uttered by a native in the presence of a rabbit. The linguist could translate this as “rabbit,” or “Lo, a rabbit,” or “rabbit-fly” (the name, perhaps, of a kind of insect that always accompanies rabbits), or “food” or “Let’s go hunting,” or “There will be a storm tonight” (if these natives are superstitious), or even “momentary rabbit-stage,” “temporal cross-section of a four-dimensional space-time extension of a rabbit,” “mass of rabbithood,” or “undetached rabbit-part.” Some of these might become less likely - that is, become more unwieldy hypotheses - in the light of subsequent observation. Others can only be ruled out by asking the natives questions: An affirmative answer to “Is this the same gavagai as that earlier one?” will rule out “momentary rabbit stage,” and so forth. But these questions can only be asked once the linguist has mastered a great amount of the natives’ grammar and abstract vocabulary; that in turn can only be done on the basis of hypotheses derived from simpler, observation-connected bits of language; and those sentences, on their own, allow for multiple interpretations, as we have seen.

There is no way to escape this circle. In fact, it holds just as well in interpreting speakers of one’s own language (c.f. What does a speaker really mean by his/her use of a word/words?), and even one’s own past utterances (e.g. Re-reading an old diary entry, what did you really mean by a word/words in the context of the time/events in one’s life when one penned the word/words?). This does not, contrary to a widely-disseminated caricature of Quine, lead to scepticism about meaning - either that meaning is hidden and unknowable, or that words are meaningless. The conclusion is that there is and can be no more to “meaning” than could be learned from a speaker’s behaviour. There is, indeed, no need to countenance such entities as “meanings” at all, since the notion of sameness of meaning cannot be given any workable explanation, but saying there are not “meanings” is not to say that words don't mean. Consequently there is no question of “right” or “wrong” to be raised in translating one language into another. There are only questions of “better” and “worse.” These too are not questions of “accuracy” as that would ordinarily be construed: theories of translation are better or worse as they more or less successfully predict future utterances, and translate according to a more or less simple scheme of rules.



@@@@@

[Adapted from Wikipedia]

Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters, originally by changing something that could be observed from a distance (optical telegraphy). Radiotelegraphy or wireless telegraphy transmits messages using radio.

The first telegraphs came in the form of optical telegraphs, including the use of smoke signals and beacons, which have existed since ancient times. A semaphore (an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, with towers with pivoting blades or paddles, shutters, in a matrix, or hand-held flags, etc) network invented by Claude Chappe (1763 - 1805) operated in France from 1792 through 1846.

After earlier experiments in electrical telegraphs stretching back to the 1770s, Sir William Fothergill Cooke (1806 – 1879) developed the first commercial design in 1837 for use on the British Great Western Railway. An electrical telegraph was independently developed in the US the same year by Samuel Morse (1791 - 1872), who developed Morse code (a series of dots and dashes to signal alphabet characters) to be used with his appartus. Morse's device was widely deployed in succeeding decades and the first transatlantic telegraph cable was completed in 1866, allowing transatlantic telegraph communications for the first time (the first submarine cable transatlantic cables installed in 1857 and 1858 only operated for a few days or weeks before they failed) (see also 1956). Telegraph lines from Britain to India were connected in 1870. The telegraph across the Pacific was completed in 1902, thus linking the entire globe via telegraphy for the first time.

Wireless telegraphy was first demonstrated by inventor Nikolas Tesla (see 1939) in 1893. In 1898, Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov (1859 - 1906) accomplished successful experiments of wireless communication between a naval base and a battle ship. Two years later, the crew of the Russian battle ship General-Admiral Apraksin, as well as stranded Finnish fishermen, were saved in the Gulf of Finland because of an exchange of distress telegrams between two radio stations (located at Gogland island and inside a Russian naval base in Kotka). Both stations of wireless telegraphy had been built under Popov's instructions. In 1904, to the the New York Times received the first on-the-spot wireless transmission from a naval battle, a report of the destruction of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Port Arthur in the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese war.

By the 1930s, message routing was the last great barrier to full automation of telegraphy. It was at this time that telex was developed to address this issue.

 

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[Adapted from The Literary Encyclopedia and Wikipedia]

In Western Europe, the tradition of hermeneutics (from the Greek hermeneia, “interpretation”), had developed as the search for a method of overcoming problems relating to theological interpretation, especially regarding the explication of claims to truth in the Bible. In the work of theorists such as Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768 - 1834), the task of hermeneutics became to formulate methodological principles of textual interpretation in light of the historical influences operant in both the grammatical and the psychological dimensions of the work. Schleiermacher’s biographer, Wilhelm Dilthey (1833 - 1911), saw possibilities for expanding his predecessor’s theological hermeneutics into a general methodology for the Geisteswissenschaften (humanities and social sciences). Interpretation for Dilthey involves a widening circle from the text to the author’s biography and historical situation, and back to the text again.

But Gadamer was critical of this approach to the humanities as well as the other dominant means of his time: approaches to humanities that modelled themselves on the natural sciences (and thus on rigorous scientific methods). In contrast to both of these positions, Gadamer argued that people have a ‘historically effected consciousness’ (wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewußtsein) and that they are embedded in the particular history and culture that shaped them. Thus interpreting a text involves a ‘fusion of horizons’ where the scholar finds the ways that the text’s history articulates with their own background.

Thus, for Gadamer the goal of his predecessors is impossible: hermeneutics cannot be an objective method for recovering an original meaning unchanged from the past. Moreover, he argues that the finite play of disclosure and concealment does not prevent intelligibility; rather it is what allows interpretation in the first place. All understanding is historically situated in a number of ways: for example, interpretations always come out of a way of life that shapes expectations; and interpretations are always configured in relation to some linguistic and conceptual schema; in addition, interpretation always arises in the form of specific hypotheses that relate to the particular events or beings to be understood. It is this situatedness to which Gadamer refers when he claims that any understanding is always already laden with pre-judgments. These pre-judgments are not theoretical positions, but unreflective interests, orientations, and attitudes. Thus,

…history does not belong to us; but we belong to it. Long before we understand ourselves through the process of self-examination, we understand ourselves in a self-evident way in the family, society and state in which we live. The focus of subjectivity is a distorting mirror. The self-awareness of the individual is only a flickering in the closed circuits of historical life. That is why the predjudices of the individual, far more than his judgements, constitute the historical reality of his being.

In the Gadamerian paradigm, then, on the one hand, insofar as the author’s intentions are purely personal, they are irretrievable; they are not part of the matter at issue that guides interpretation of the actual text. On the other hand, more is always expressed by the author’s use of language than was intended. This “more” refers again to the historical, social, and linguistic determinants of the author’s production. But because meaning is always both more and less than the author intended, a text has an ideality of meaning that is in some sense detachable from the particular circumstances of its production: “What is fixed in writing has detached itself from the contingency of its origin and its author and made itself free for new relationships”. For reasons such as these, no interpretation can be definitive; and dialogue - if it is to be reasonable - must possess the attitude of hermeneutical openness to what is utterly foreign. It is only the transformative experience of the shattering of expectations that allows true insight.

 

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The English public school system of the second half of the 19th century had a major influence on many sports. The schools contributed to the rules and influenced the governing bodies of those sports out of all proportion to their size. The public schools had a deep involvement in the development many team sports including all British codes of football as well as cricket and hockey. Moreover, the ethos of English public schools greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin (see 1940). The International Olympic Committee invited a representative of the Headmasters’ Conference (the association of headmasters of the English public schools) to attend their early meetings.

The English public schools subscribed to the Ancient Greek belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying: “a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.” In this ethos, taking part has more importance than winning, because society expected gentlemen to become all-rounders and not the best at everything. Class prejudice against ‘trade’ reinforced this attitude. The house of a typical public schoolboy would have a tradesman's entrance, because tradesmen did not rank as the social equals of gentlemen.

Within this class view it followed that if a person played a sport as a paid ‘professional,’ that would make the person a member of a trade. How could a club function when expectations demanded that some of the players enter through a side entrance? How would the social side of the club flourish if some of the members did not rank as gentlemen? How could a club of gentlemen which played a club of professionals possibly entertain their social inferiors?

Another prejudice which existed amongst late-Victorian and Edwardian gentlemen held that the all-round abilities of British gentlemen allegedly meant that, if they put their minds to something, they would perform better than anyone else.

Hence, the international sports arena was dominated by a code of amateurism. Wages in professional sports such as soccer (introduced in 1885) were managed through collective bargaining.

 

 

 

 

 

1961

 

POPULATION

 

MIGRATION & REFUGEES

*The Cuban Refugee Program handles an influx of immigrants to Miami with 300,000 relocated across the US during the next two decades.

 

 

POLITICS

 

WORLD

*The Non-Aligned Movement is formed by 100 nations (comprising 55% of the world population) who do not wish to align themselves with either of the Cold War superpowers.

*Following UN intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see 1960), Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld makes several trips to the war-torn nation. On the final trip, his plane crashes and Hammarskjöld and 15 others die. Suspicions are soon raised about the crash not being an accident (some alleging the involvement of the CIA, MI5 and South African agents).

 

ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST

*An Arab League ministerial council decides to create a unified Arab military command, at President Nasser’s urging; but the idea never gets off the ground.

*Kuwait gains its independence from Great Britain. Months later, British forces are augmented in the country to stave off annexation threats from Iraq.

*Syria withdraws from the United Arab Republic after what it perceives as domination of the union by Egypt’s President Nasser.

 

EUROPE

*At a European Summit meeting in Bonn, West Germany, the EEC members voice their common wish to set up a political union.

*In line with Premier Khrushchev’s denunciation of Joseph Stalin’s cult of personality (see 1956), Stalin’s body is removed from Lenin’s Tomb. Albanian leader Enver Hoxha (1908 - 1985) publicly breaks with Khrushchev over the Russian’s repudiation of Stalin’s legacy and following the Soviet-Sino split (see 1960), the Albanian hierarchy preferring China’s hardline Stalinist brand of Communism. Diplomatic relations are severed, Albania withdraws from the Warsaw Pact and Soviet aid to Albania ends.

*Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain apply for EEC membership.

*The General’s Putsch: Renegade elements of the French Army (co-ordinated by the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète – Secret Army Organisation [OAS]) – working in concert with militant Algerian French colonists), strongly opposed to President de Gaulle’s policies on Algeria (agreeing, in principle, to independence), lead an insurrection aiming to take control of Algeria and topple de Gaulle’s government. A brief fear of invasion by these elements sweeps Paris but the revolt collapses after four days due to loyal Army and Air Force elements co-ordinating to successfully put down the rebellion.

*Following the General’s Putsch, all official ambivalence toward the question of Algerian independence vanishes. De Gaulle believes public opinion has forever turned and he abandons the French colonists (an action, heretofore, inconceivable in French politics). The Army, now discredited, retreats from any political involvement on the Algeria question, which is finally resolved in the new year (see 1962).

*In line with Premier Khrushchev’s denunciation of Joseph Stalin’s cult of personality (see 1956), Stalin’s body is removed from Lenin’s Tomb.

*Construction of the Berlin Wall begins. Movement between East Berlin and West Berlin remains restricted for the next 28 years (see 1989). East Germany claims it is an “antifascist wall of protection” intended to avoid aggression from the West. The West counters that it has been created to prevent the citizens of East Germany, especially the professionally skilled workers (the majority of who have been leaving), from entering West Berlin and thereby West Germany.

*An East German soldier, Hans Conrad Schuhmann (1942 - 1998), jumps a 3-foot barbed wire barrier (laid as the Wall is being completed) to West Berlin to join his family. His photograph makes international headlines. Schuhmann commits suicide in 1998 (other notable escapes over the years include the eight East Berliners who crash through checkpoint gates in an armour-plated bus in 1962 and the group of 57 who dig a 470-foot tunnel into West Berlin in 1964).

 

NORTH AMERICA

*President Eisenhower announces the US has severed diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba.

*In his final address, President Eisenhower warns that the nation’s economy, government, culture, and education are being reshaped by a

 

conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry that is new in the American experience…We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

 

*Newly-elected President Kennedy attempts to initiate his New Frontier agenda but it is hampered by a hostile Congress.#

*President Kennedy sends his principal military adviser General Maxwell D. Taylor (1901 - 1987) to assess the current situation in South Vietnam. As a result of Taylor’s visit, Kennedy decides to increase military aid to the Diem regime.

*The Vietnam War officially begins as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 US personnel (see below), although full escalation into a major conflict will take place in 1965.

 

SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN

*João Goulart (1918 – 1976) becomes President of Brazil. A noted left-winger, he will embark on a series of economic and social reforms which serve to antagonise the military and the US.

*In British Guyana, the People’s Progressive Party again win elections and Cheddi Jagan is sworn in as chief minister. He vows to achieve independence and install a socialist regime. The CIA subsequently undertakes a destabilisation campaign with organised labour unrest, sabotage and disinformation that leads to race riots between East Indians and blacks (that leave nearly 100 dead).

*Following the accommodation between Colombia’s right- and left-wing forces in 1958, many armed locals (bandoleros) who refused to lay down their arms are targeted in Plan Lazo. Based on a carrot-and-stick approach, US military aid (see above) funds civic construction (e.g. building homes) and other programs (e.g. organising youth camps), although the latter provides intelligence which helps the ‘stick’ aspect of the plan: tracking bandoleros and shooting them on sight (with bodies of slain bandits often strapped to helicopter landing gears and flown from town to town to demonstrate the army’s success). The program ultimately succeeds in re-igniting violent opposition to the government, which had, thus far, been on the wane (see 1964).

*In a nationally broadcast speech, Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism.

 

ASIA

*The Laos Peace Conference in Geneva attended by 14 nations (including the US) sees the Declaration on the Neutrality on Laos signed the following year which provides for a coalition government and the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

*Park Chung Hee (1917 – 1979) topples the civilian government of South Korea (see below). Park’s regime will be largely authoritarian but will be supported by the US and will see strong economic growth (setting the nation up as an Asian economic power from the 1980s onwards) (see below).

*The Vietnam War officially begins as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 US personnel (see above) following the Taylor mission (see above), itself following on from a series of guerrilla attacks on South Vietnamese government and civilian targets by the Viet Cong. Total US military casualties for the period 1955-61 number 25.

 

AFRICA

*The Charter of Casablanca: Following a four-day conference in Casablanca, five African chiefs of state announce plans for a NATO-type African organisation to ensure a common defence. The Charter involves Morocco, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, and Mali.

*Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie unilaterally dissolves the Eritrean parliament and annexes the country, provoking the start of a long war for independence (see below).

*Death of King Muhammad V of Morocco. He is succeeded by his son Hassan II (1929 – 1999).

*South Africa withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations following the upholding of the principle of racial equality by Commonwealth ministers as well as criticism from several member nations over its apartheid policies and becomes an independent republic.

*Sierra Leone gains its independence from Great Britain.

 

 

CONFLICT

 

NATION STATES

*Communist guerrillas launch an insurgency against the government (following a string of human rights abuses of Indian peasants by the Army and supported by powerful business and landholding interests) (200,000 killed; lasts until 1996).

*Angolan War of Independence. Several nationalist groups begin an insurrection against the Portuguese colonial government, eventually attracting overseas aid (e.g. from the newly-independent Algeria in 1962) and linking up to form the FNLA (80,000 killed; lasts until 1975).

*Eritrea launches an armed struggle to secede from Ethiopia (1.5m killed or else die from drought and forced resettlement; lasts until 1992).

 

CIVIL WAR

*Kurdish uprising in Iraq (lasts until 1970, 100,000 killed).

*Rightist forces overthrow the Laotian government. The new regime receives backing from the US. Swept from power, forces of the former government link up with Communist insurgents and attack the new regime (lasts until 1962).

*Insurgents attack government forces in Nepal after political parties are banned (lasts until 1962; 8000 killed).

 

COUPS

*Coup in El Salvador.

*Coup in South Korea (see above).

 

CIVIL UNREST & ETHNIC CLASHES

*Battle of Paris: French police attack 30,000 demonstrators protesting a curfew applied solely to Algerians, killing 200.

 

 

ESPIONAGE & SECURITY

 

NORTH AMERICA

*President Kennedy signs Presidential Determination No. 61-14, which allows US military aid which has been provided for hemispheric defence (i.e. funds to American states with US-backed dictatorial governments to equip them with adequate naval vessels and air forces to defend against Communist aggression) to be used for internal security purposes, so as to remove destablising elements from nations which could inadvertently aid Communist aggression. The first fruits of the change occur with Colombia’s Plan Lazo (see above).

*CIA analyst Richard Lehman (1923 – 2007) initiates a daily President’s Intelligence Checklist (later President’s Daily Brief), a top secret document intended to provide the president with new international intelligence warranting attention and analysis of sensitive international situations.

 

SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN

*The Bay of Pigs Fiasco: A CIA-backed invasion of Cuba by 1500 exiled political opponents of Fidel Castro intent on overthrowing his regime fails. A request for air cover for the faltering invasion is denied by President Kennedy (who has approved the Eisenhower-era plan and modified it). 1100 exiles are captured and sentenced to 30 years in prison, although the US negotiates their freedom in late 1962 (in return for US$53m in food and medicine).

 

ASIA

*Despite the US signing the Declaration on the Neutrality on Laos, the CIA sets up a secret Laotian army comprised of thousands of Hmong civilians Laos to help fight the communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese. Some 50,000 of them die in fighting over the next dozen years. The clandestine operation only comes to light ion 1994.

 

 

ECONOMICS, COMMERCE & CONSUMERISM

 

GENERAL

*The farthing coin, used since the 13th century, ceases to be legal tender in Great Britain.

*Soviet premier Khrushchev predicts the Russian economy will soon surpass that of the US.

*President Kennedy attempts to improve economic growth through a “New Economics,” based on a neo-Keynesian concept of stimulating economic growth by forcing interest rates down, cutting taxes and deficit spending (although Keynes had only proposed deficit spending in times of economic downturns, Kennedy comes to the conclusion the US economy has greatly underperformed for a dozen or so years and favours deficit spending to lift overall performance). “New Economics” will become economic orthodoxy in the years following his death.##

*Kenneth Boulding publishes “Economic Development as an Evolutionary System,” in which he posits parallels between economics and theories of biological evolution and argues that the former cannot be wholly understood or appreciated without reference to the latter:

The systems are different enough to make us beware of inexact analogies but they are, similar enough to suggest that they are both examples of a larger process, which has been at work in this part of the universe for a very long time. This is the process of the development of structures of increasing complexity and improbability. This process starts with the evolution of the elements; helium is less probable than hydrogen. It goes on through biological evolution with increasingly complex and improbable forms culminating in man. The human nervous system then takes up the evolutionary task by developing increasing knowledge and complexity of organizations. What we call economic development is only a single aspect of this cumulative process...The evolutionary process always operates through mutation and selection and has involved some distinction between the genotype which mutates and the phenotype which is selected. In biological evolution this distinction is very clear, in social evolution much less so; nevertheless, it exists. The genotype is propagated by a process which might be called “printing” or simple reproduction of structure. The gene creates another gene exactly like itself by printing itself, as it were, on the matter around it, just as a page of type can print its essential form on innumerable sheets of paper…Economic development manifesto itself largely in the production of commodities, that is, goods and services. It originates, however, in ideas, plans, and attitudes in the human mind. These are the genotypes in economic development. This whole process indeed can be described as a process in the growth of knowledge. What the economist calls “capital” is nothing more than human knowledge imposed on the material world. Knowledge and the growth of knowledge, therefore, is the essential key to economic development. Investment, financial systems and economic organisations and institutions are in a sense only the machinery by which a knowledge process is created and expressed. We see this very clearly by contrasting the post-war history of Japan and Germany where the material capital was largely destroyed but the knowledge was not, and which therefore recovered with great rapidity from the destruction of the war, with the history of many other countries which did not suffer physical destruction but where the knowledge base for economic development did not exist.

*Canadian economist Robert Mundell (1932 - ) publishes “The Theory of Optimum Currency Areas” in The American Economic Review, in which he proposes that there are certain geographical regions in which it would maximise economic efficiency to have the entire region share a single currency. The term for such areas refers to the optimal characteristics for the merger of currencies or the creation of a new currency (e.g. labour mobility across the region – including physical ability to travel [visas, worker's rights, etc], lack of cultural barriers to free movement [such as different languages] and institutional arrangements [such as the ability to have superannuation transferred to the new region]; openness with capital mobility and price and wage flexibility across the region so the market forces of supply and demand automatically distribute money and goods to where they are needed; an automatic fiscal transfer mechanism to redistribute money to areas/sectors which have been adversely affected by the first two characteristics - this usually takes the form of taxation redistribution to less developed areas of a country/region). Mundell's theory soon enters conventional economic wisdom and is used to argue whether or not a certain region is ready to become a monetary union, one of the final stages in economic integration. The theory proves highly influential, notably in helping fuel the debate that emerges in the EEC over the development of a common currency, with the view emerging that the Community is such an optimum currency area (see also 1962, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1999).

 

TRADE

*The Group of Ten: An accelerating decline in gold reserves due to the rapid expansion of world trade (see 1958), indicates the US dollar is now overvalued and gold undervalued (i.e. less gold, meaning more scarcity and so demand and hence value rising). Consequently, it is becoming more and more difficult for European and American Reserve Banks to maintain the gold price at the Bretton Woods peg of US$35 an ounce. As a solution, Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the US and West Germany all agree to sell gold into the market to try and prevent the price from exceeding US$35 an ounce. The London Gold Pool, as it is known, sees the nations sell gold on the open market when prices spike (and buy it back when prices drop in the face of increased supply) (see 1958, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971).

*The first indigenous African stock exchange begins in Nigeria. Initially it deals in only 19 securities but by 1983 the total reaches 168 and the number of shareholders exceeds 700,000.

 

CORPORATISATION & NATIONALISATION

*Egypt nationalises all banks and major industries, initiating a trend towards nationalisation across the Arab world, driven by a desire to right colonial injustices by confiscating properties from foreign owners / companies which had owned them from pre-independence days.

*The new Park Chung Hee regime in South Korea (see above) will preside over the rise of the jaebeol, a family company system similar to the Japanese zaibatsu (see 1939) (e.g. Hyundai, LG, Samsun).

*Italian dairy and food company Parmalat is founded. It diversifies from its initial pasteurisation operations into milk, dairy, beverage, bakery, and other product lines in the 1980s, becoming Europe’s biggest dairy company (with assets of US$5.2bn) (see 2003).

 

MARKETING & CONSUMPTION

*Influential ad campaign: Hertz, “Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat,” sees a driver miraculously lifted through the air and into the front seat of a convertible.

*Influential ad campaign: One of the earliest examples of overtly sexy television advertising has former Miss Sweden Gunilla Knutson (1943- ) eyeing the camera and cooing the double-entendre “Take it off, take it all off” for Noxzema shave cream while the music from “The Stripper” plays.

*The use of a powerful, compact motor and rechargeable battery leads to the introduction of an automatic / electric toothbrush and is the forerunner of the development of other handheld appliances such as hair dryers and an electric slicing knife.

*Bulova Accutron tuning fork watch.

*First frozen carbonated drink machine.

*Teflon-coated frying pans are introduced.

*Boiling Bags (frozen plastic packages of food that can be dropped in boiling water to heat them for serving) are introduced.

*Green Giant frozen vegetables.

*Sprite soft drink.

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

*The thalidomide tragedy (see below) helps galvanise public opinion throughout the West behind demands by advocates from around the world for better consumer protection legislation. Rather than conceiving legislative remedies after the fact, support for preventive lawmaking begins to rise (see 1962).

*The US Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings to investigate whether new federal legislation is necessary to curtail widely reported the packaging and labelling abuses that consumers face (in spite of existing statutes such as the 1938 laws (see 1940, 1963, 1966).

 

ENERGY & RESOURCES

 

---GENERAL

*France and Great Britain connect their electrical grids with a cable submerged in the English Channel. It carries up to 160 megawatts of DC current, allowing the two countries to share power or support each other’s system.

*Physiologist Max Kleiber (1892 – 1976), assuming that 0.027% of Earth mass is carbon, and an average adult male embodies 12kgs of carbon, concludes there is sufficient carbon on the planet to allow for 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 people. But we also have to provide food. If people live on potatoes alone, and 48bn hectares are planted to potatoes (including all 13.3bn hectares of land not under ice and most of Earth’s ocean areas) a population of 800bn can be supported.

 

---AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK & FISHERIES

*A technique for tenderising beef is patented. It involves injecting papain, an enzyme made from papaya, directly into the bloodstream of living animals.

 

---MINERALS & METALS

*Mineral Boom: In Australia, heretofore an agricultural commodities-based economy, iron ore is discovered in the country’s north west, sparking a mining boom. Later in the decade oil and gas are discovered in Bass Strait.

 

---OIL, GAS & FOSSIL FUELS

*Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) - propane and butane - is first processed at Ras Tanura (see 1945) and shipped to customers.

 

POVERTY, AID & CHARITY

*The UN resolves the 1960s will be the First Decade of Development, partly because it is the first decade of independence for much of Africa. The program envisions an age of partnership between the developed and developing worlds and sees the UN promoting such concepts as the rich nations diverting 1% of their GNP to foreign aid for poor countries (an idea first floated by the World Council of Churchessee 1958). Newly-elected US President John F. Kennedy launches the Decade, having earlier declared in his inaugural address: “To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves.”###

*The UN Centre for Industrial Development is set up to promote the world body’s industrial development efforts. Over the next five years, the Centre will organise a series of regional industrialisation symposia wherein detailed reviews of the industrialisation efforts of the countries of the particular region concerned are presented and recommendations are made in the form of comprehensive guidelines for action at the national, subregional or regional and international levels.

*The Marshall Plan expires after having distributed more than US$12b in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

*The US Foreign Assistance Act reorganises US aid programs and sets up the Agency for International Development (aka USAID) as an independent government agency providing economic development and humanitarian assistance to advance U.S. economic and political interests overseas. President Kennedy notes that:

- current foreign aid programs, “America’s unprecedented response to world challenges,” are largely unsatisfactory and ill suited for the needs of the US and developing countries,

- the economic collapse of developing countries “would be disastrous to our national security, harmful to our comparative prosperity, and offensive to our conscience,”

- the 1960s presents an historic opportunity for industrialised nations to move less-developed nations into self-sustained economic growth.

A direct link between US aid to developing nations as contingent on their overt support for America in the Cold War (see 1949) is loosened as raising the standards of living in poor nations generally becomes a central element of US security and foreign policy.

*US President John F. Kennedy resurrects the idea of a food stamp program (see 1939) to help eliminate hunger. The Food Stamp Act of 1964 is subsequently passed into law with the intent to raise the levels of nutrition among low-income households.

*President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps, an independent US federal agency designed to promote mutual understanding between Americans and the outside world (e.g. making available volunteers to work on aid projects in Third World nations). The program is an outgrowth of the Cold War and is designed to oppose the Chinese and Soviet political-ideological challenge to Western influence in the widely open Third World arena of superpower competition.

*President Kennedy announces the start of a major US aid program for Latin American nations, the Alliance for Progress: Latin American nations will be developed and modernised, and their internal security will be strengthened (so as to counter the Communist threat).

*American anthropologist Oscar Lewis (1914 – 1970) publishes The Children of Sanchez, an urban study of the plight of poor, problem-plagued Mexican families, is declared slanderous and obscene by the Mexican government. An investigation by the Mexican Attorney-General subsequently backs the author’s research and the book becomes a social science landmark, defining what later comes to be known as ‘the anthropology of poverty.’ Lewis’ central thesis is that the poor in modern capitalist societies represent an identifiable culture that transcends national differences, and that the social and psychological consequences of poverty are severe and difficult to overcome.

 

 

SOCIOLOGY

 

CRIME, PUNISHMENT & INTERNATIONAL LAW

*Former Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the logistics for the carrying out of Hitler’s Final Solution, is indicted on charges of crimes against humanity and the Jewish people and membership of an outlawed organisation and executed in Israel in the new year.

 

DRUGS, TOBACCO & ALCOHOL

 

---NARCOTICS

*The UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is ratified by 54 nations. A milestone in the history of international drug control, the Convention codifies all existing multilateral treaties on drug control from 1909 to 1953 (see 1941) and extends the existing control systems to include the cultivation of plants that were grown as the raw material of narcotic drugs. Effectively creating a modern prohibitionist international drug control system, the principal objectives of the Convention are to limit the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes and to address drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers. From this point, an international framework seeking to stamp out the illegal drug trade will exist.

 

---NICOTINE

*The presidents of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the National Tuberculosis Association and the American Public Health Association submit a joint letter to President Kennedy, pointing out the increasing evidence of the health hazards of smoking and urging the President to establish a commission. The letter prompts the Surgeon General to establish an Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health (see 1964).

 

GAMBLING

*Betting away from racecourses is legalised in Britain leading to the rise of high street betting shops - dramatically increasing the volume of betting turnover.

*Gambling in Asia: Business tycoon Stanley Ho (1921 - ) receives an exclusive gambling franchise from Portugal to operate Asia’s first legal casino in Macau. In coming decades, Ho builds a small empire of casinos and gambling parlours in the Portuguese colony, which becomes the centre of gambling in Asia (with some 12m visitors annually, most patronising the gaming industry) (see 2002, 2004). Elsewhere, the conservatism of Asian societies (and, in many places, communist regimes) ensure gambling does not get a foothold outside Macau for the rest of this century.

 

ACTIVISM & ADVOCACY

*The Hudson Institute is set up in the US as a hard-right activist think tank the abolition of government-backed Social Security and an end to corporate income taxes. Later, it also campaigns heavily on environmental issues (pro-GM, anti-organic).

*Peter Benenson’s (1921 - ) article “The Forgotten Prisoners” is published in several internationally-read newspapers. Benenson writes the article after hearing of the imprisonment of two Portuguese students whose ‘crime’ is to raise their wine glasses in a toast to freedom. The article’s publication is later considered the genesis of the human rights organisation Amnesty International (see below).

*Amnesty International: Following the groundswell of interest created by Benenson’s article, delegates from Belgium, Great Britain, France, West Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the US subsequently hold a meeting at which it is decided to establish “a permanent international movement in defence of freedom of opinion and religion.” Branches are started in several countries and its ongoing campaign to free political prisoners results in Amnesty International taking up the cause of 1367 prisoners in its first three years (329 of whom are released). By 1992, the organisation has 1m members in 150 countries (with more than 6000 volunteer groups in operation).

*Physicians for Social Responsibility, the first activist organisation for the medical profession, is formed in response to atmospheric nuclear weapons testing and the threat of nuclear war.

*250,000 West Berliners demonstrate against the construction of the Berlin Wall.

 

CENSORSHIP

*Comedian Lenny Bruce (1925 – 1966), whose act includes much satire on ensitive areas of American life as sex, religion, and race relations, arrested after a performance in San Francisco and charged with obscenity. He is acquitted but for the next few years he is frequently in trouble with the law for using raw language on stage. In 1964, he is convicted of obscenity in New York and jailed for a few months. As his legal troubles mount, he performs less and less and uses drugs more and more, dying of an overdose (and considered by many fans and followers as a martyr to the cause of freed speech). His autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People (1965) describes the cynicism at the heart of his comedy:

In the movies...Everett Sloane [1909 - 1965] was a tycoon. He would get his gun off disillusioning Joel McCrea [1905 – 1990], who wanted to publish a newspaper that would make a statement, and telling him: “M’boy, you'll see when you get old that it’s all a game.” And I used to think, “No, it’s not that way, this cynical old bastard is bullshitting, there are the Good Guys and the Bad Guys, the liars and the truth-tellers.” But Everett Sloane was right. There is only what is. The what-should-be never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is only what is.

Bruce proves highly influential, inspiring a 1970s generation of comedians who pull no punches in humour subject matter such as George Carlin (1937 - ) (see 1978) and Richard Pryor (1940 - ).

 

SUICIDE & EUTHANASIA

 

---SUICIDE

*Suicide Act: In Britain, suicide ceases to be an indictable offence (i.e. for those who attempt it and survive – see 1939, 1945) but continues to be an offence for those who aid or abet, counsel or procure the suicide of another (a similar stance taken by most countries).

 

RACE RELATIONS

*Freedom Riders: African American and white college student from the north of the US volunteer to ride interstate buses into the pro-segregationist US South to test the US Supreme Court decision to outlaw segregation of interstate public facilities, including bus stations (see 1960), after the Congress of Racial Equality (see 1942) organises the campaign. They are met with much resistance. A Freedom Riders bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama and the civil rights protestors are beaten by an angry mob. Also, Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for “disturbing the peace” after disembarking from their bus. Nevertheless, the activists gain credibility among rural Southern blacks, who are impressed by the Riders’ determination and heroism in the face of great danger. This credibility helps many of the subsequent Civil Rights campaigns, including drives for voter registration, freedom schools and electoral campaigns.

*Alabama Governor John Patterson (1921 - ), elected with backing from the Ku Klux Klan in 1958, declares martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out. Patterson will continually clash with the civil rights movement during his tenure.

*Monroe, North Carolina NAACP leader Robert F. Williams (see 1958) is charged with kidnapping a white couple (in what he claims is a misunderstanding wherein he was trying to protect them from a black mob). Williams has begun to fall out with national civil rights leadership in the last two years, having begun to advocate armed black resistance to white oppression (a stance which has seen him debate Martin Luther King, Jr. on the merits of non-violent resistance). He has also welcomed the support of Freedom Riders (see above) but refused to take their oath of non-violence. After being charged, Williams, along with his wife, evades a nationwide man hunt and flees to Cuba to avoid arrest, where he pens an influential primer on black power politics (see 1962) and operates Radio Free Dixie, a regular program on Radio Havana broadcast to the US in which he engages in fiery rhetoric lambasting the US government and encouraging African Americans to advance their cause through violent resistance. He returns to the US after post-Cuba stints in China and Tanzania to engage in a legal battle over the kidnapping charges (which are finally dropped in 1976).

*In South Africa, the African National Congress decides, in the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre (see 1960) and the outlawing of the organisation, that armed struggle is now a legitimate means of anti-apartheid resistance. Consequently, the Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”) branch is set up to carry out armed attacks against the government. Nelson Mandela, having argued for the creation of an African National Congress military wing, is appointed its commander. His successful leadership of the branch in carrying out various acts of sabotage and the like and evasion of the authorities sees him earn the moniker ‘the Black Pimpernel’ (alluding to the title character of 1905 novel The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emma Orczy [1865 – 1947]).

*Australian Native Welfare Conference: Australia’s state and federal native welfare ministers agree to strategies to assist assimilation of Aboriginal people (including the removal of discriminatory legislation, welfare measures, education and training and the education of non-Aboriginal Australians about indigenous culture and history).

 

WOMEN, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

*Female suffrage in Burundi, Malawi, Paraguay, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

*President Kennedy establishes the President’s Commission on the Status of Women issues a report two years later documenting substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and making specific recommendations for improvement (including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave and affordable child care).

*President Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell (1901 – 1997) to be his physician, marking the first time a woman has held the position.

*India outlaws the dowry as an institutionalised marital custom to help reduce gender-driven abortions.

*Women Strike for Peace: 50,000 women in 60 US cities and towns protest above ground testing of nuclear bombs and tainted milk (providing something of a template to mass feminist activism in the late 1960s and 1970s).

*Cosmetic Surgery: Dow Corning develops silicone breast implants, which it first implants into a woman the following year and which it begins to market in 1964. Implants will, in the main, be associated either with unsavoury social groups (prostitutes, porn actresses) or vain wealthy women, at least until the late 1990s, when cosmetic surgery generally becomes more widespread (see 1997). Dow Corning itself abandons the implant market after it emerges that its silicone implants are toxic and dangerous and a global class action is mounted against the company (and is forced to file for bankruptcy in 1995 under the weight of litigation).

 

THE AGED

*Ageism: Help the Aged is set up in Britain as one of the first charities to focus on aged people’s issues (poverty alleviation, representing older people’s rights in political and social debates, ensuring proper standards in aged care facilities, etc). The charity also seeks to tackle age discrimination in the workplace.

 

DISABILITIES

*The American National Standard Institute publishes American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped. This landmark document becomes the basis for all subsequent architectural access codes.

 

CHILDREN & YOUTH

*Following more than a decade of focus on child health issues, UNICEF expands its interests to address the needs of the whole child. Thus begins an abiding concern with education, starting with support to teacher training and classroom equipment in newly independent countries.

*Battered Child Syndrome: A phenomenon introduced by Dr. C. Henry Kempe to describe children who are abused by their caretakers is recognised as a medical condition. Kempe exposes the reality that significant numbers of parents and caretakers batter their children, even to death and delineates a pattern of child abuse resulting in certain clinical conditions and establishes a medical and psychiatric model of the cause of child abuse. The work is later regarded as one of the most significant events leading to professional and public awareness of the existence and magnitude of child abuse and neglect in the US and world (see 1962, 1968).

 

EDUCATION

*Egypt begins to focus on mass education (primary and higher) as a means of legitimating authority (a trend again copied in other Arab nations). Foreign schools are largely brought under national control and the result is the Arabisation of education in the Arab world.

*Cuba launches a massive literacy campaign.

*McDonald’s establishes Hamburger University, the first corporate university.

 

SEX & SEXUALITY

 

---GENERAL

*The First American Conference on Church and Family (run by the liberal National Council of Churches) sets up an informal committee to study human sexuality (as a means for the church to come to grips with the issue). From this, the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States is created (which later plays a key role in many US states adopting sex education).

 

---HOMOSEXUALITY, TRANSVESTISM & TRANSGENDERISM

*Czecholovakia decriminalises homosexuality.

*Hungary decriminalises homosexuality.

*The Vatican institutes a policy of formally banning homosexuals from the priesthood. As homosexuality becomes more socially tolerated throughout Western nations (see 1967), thanks mainly to the efforts of the gay rights movement (see 1969), various Christian denominations will grapple with the issue of appointing (non-celibate) gays to the priesthood (see 1987, 1998, 2001) (arguably, it will become an even more controversial issue than women priests – see 1956)

*Illinois is the first US state to abolish its sodomy laws (primarily aimed at outlawing homosexual behaviour). Over the next four decades, another 45 states will repeal their sodomy laws (most in the 1970s) and the US Supreme Court will declare sodomy laws unconstitutional in 2003 (invalidating the laws of the remaining four states).

*Jose Sarria (1923 - ), a drag performer (at a time when ‘female impersonation’ is a crime), becomes the first openly gay person to campaign for public office (the San Francisco City Council).

*The Children’s Hour is the first major Hollywood film to touch upon the issue of homosexuality (see 1970). The same year, Victim appears in Britain (concerning the blackmailing of a bisexual barrister and intended by the filmmakers to help in the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality – see 1957, 1958).

 

 

ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENTALISM

 

GENERAL

*Politicisation of Environmentalism: The creation of the World Wildlife Fund (see below) signals a sea change in the politics of the environment. Hitherto focused on the rational management of natural resources, it becomes more activist and protest-centred in nature because of the climate of the 1960s (even longstanding groups like the Sierra Club become so – e.g. its campaign this decade to stop the building of dams in Grand Canyon National Park): the impact of war technologies (including the use of nuclear energy – the protest movement against which, having formed at a small-scale level after Hiroshima – see 1945 – reaches a critical mass this decade), the use of devastating chemicals (specifically Agent Orange in the Vietnam War), and the impacts of environmental catastrophes (see 1967, 1969) which act as lightning rods for a larger-scale activism directed against big oil and other corporate interests. By 2000, there are 15,000 environmental groups worldwide with an annual income of US$1.5bn (almost wholly raised from donations) and a combined membership equal to 10% of the Western world.On a larger scale, environmentalism (and its mission at protecting the Earth from industrial and consumptive excesses of humanity) will form part of a trifecta of forces that fuel globalisation and the push for a more unified world-level approach to governance of international affairs (along with economic integration and social development issues such as poverty and health concerns like the AIDS pandemic [see 1981]).

*The World Wildlife Fund (later the World Wildlife Fund for Nature): The inaugural UNESCO director Julian Huxley, having returned from East Africa and witnessed the destruction of native flora and fauna on a scale that appals him, is motivated to write a series of newspaper articles warning that the habitat and animals are being eliminated at such a rate that much of the region’s wildlife could disappear within the next 20 years. The articles generate much interest (including from businessmen), leading to the establishment of the Fund with the intention of stopping the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and building a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Fund aims to promote a factual, science-based approach to conservation focusing on six priority issues of global concern: forests, oceans and coasts, fresh water, endangered species, and the insidious threats of toxic chemicals and climate change. It also seeks to raise money to initiate conservation programs across the globe. By the 21st century, the Fund has 5m active supporters operating in 90 nations (and has invested US$1.1bn in more than 11,000 projects in 130 countries after 1985).

 

POLLUTION, DEFORESTATION & DESERTIFICATION

 

---POLLUTION

*An International Clean Air Congress is held in London.

 

WEATHER & CLIMATE

*Hurricane Hattie kills 400 and destroys much of Belize City in British Honduras. The capital is moved inland in response.

*Keeling Curve: Charles Keeling (see 1957, 1960) produces data showing that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising steadily in what later becomes known as the ‘Keeling Curve’ (see 1963).

 

 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT

 

GENERAL 

*US nuclear physicist Alvin M. Weinberg (1915 – 2006) coins the term ‘Big Science’ (see 1945), in an article in Science, to refer to the outsized growth of a new scientific culture in the West following World War Two. Weinberg compares the large-scale enterprise of science in the 20th century to the wonders of earlier civilisations (such as the Pyramids):

When history looks at the 20th century, she will see science and technology as its theme; she will find in the monuments of Big Science - the huge rockets, the high-energy accelerators, the high-flux research reactors - symbols of our time just as surely as she finds in Notre Dame a symbol of the Middle Ages...We build our monuments in the name of scientific truth, they built theirs in the name of religious truth; we use our Big Science to add to our country’s prestige, they used their churches for their cities’ prestige; we build to placate what ex-President Eisenhower suggested could become a dominant scientific caste, they built to please the priests of Isis and Osiris.

The article addresses the criticisms of the way in which the era of Big Science could negatively affect science (e.g. that the excessive money for science will only make science fat and lazy) and encourages, in the end, limiting Big Science only to the national laboratory system (see 1945) and preventing its incursion into the university system.

 

PHYSICS & MATHEMATICS

*US scientists compute π to 100,000 decimal places using an IBM-7090 computer (see 1987).

 

NUCLEAR ENERGY, WEAPONRY & BALLISTIC MISSILES

*The UN General Assembly, in the face of stiff American resistance, adopts the Declaration on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear and Thermonuclear Weapons, which states that use of such weapons is “contrary to the spirit, letter and aims of the United Nations and, as such, a direct violation of the Charter of the United Nations,” “contrary to the rules of international law and to the laws of humanity,” and “a crime against mankind and civilisation” (see 1963, 1968).

*The USSR ends a moratorium on nuclear testing (see 1958) and detonates a 58 megaton yield hydrogen bomb over Novaya Zemlya (which remains the largest nuclear device to ever be detonated).

*A Soviet K-19 nuclear submarine with 139 crew members suffers a nuclear accident - 22 later die from radiation poisoning.

*The US State Department issues a plan to disarm all nations and arm the UN. State Department Document Number 7277 is entitled Freedom From War: The US Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World. It details a three-stage plan to disarm all nations and arm the UN with the final stage in which “no state would have the military power to challenge the progressively strengthened UN Peace Force.”

*President Kennedy makes a speech at the UN stating complete and general disarmament is an official goal of US foreign policy and challenges the Soviets to a “peace race.” The next day he signs a bill establishing the US Disarmament Agency, the first such full-scale, full-time agency in the world.

*As part of a campaign to reduce US vulnerability to nuclear attack, President Kennedy advises Americans to build fallout shelters in an open letter in Life magazine, setting off a wave of ‘shelter-mania’ which lasts for about a year.

*The SL-1 atomic reactor explodes at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls, Idaho, killing three military technicians.

*The US Navy’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise is commissioned.

*China constructs its first nuclear reactor.

*Worldwide stockpile of nuclear warheads: US – 24,111, USSR – 2471, Great Britain – 50.

*American/Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles: US – 57, USSR – 10.

*US military strategist Herman Kahn (1922 – 1983) publishes On Thermonuclear War and, the following year, Thinking about the Unthinkable, which attract a great deal of attention and criticism (the latter due to his assertion that a nuclear conflict is winnable) and bring to public attention such phrases as “massive retaliation,” “overkill,” and “mutual assured destruction.” Kahn becomes the model for the title character (a half crazed pro-nuclear war strategist of Germanic origin) of the film Dr. Strangelove (see 1960).

 

ASTRONOMY & SPACE EXPLORATION

*President Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade. Subsequently, the Apollo program is launched.

*First Man in Space: Vostok is the first manned space mission, as Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (1934 – 1968) becomes the first human in space.

*Soviet probe Venera is the first manmade object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (however the probe has lost contact with Earth a month prior and does not send back any data).

*Alan Shepard (1923 – 1998) is the first American in space.

*Drake Equation: At the first SETI (see 1959) conference Frank Drake (see 1960) unveils a new equation which he asserts gives the SETI project scientific grounding: N= R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L. N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which we might expect to be able to communicate with at any given time; R* is the rate of star formation in our galaxy; fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets; ne is average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets; fl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life; fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life; fc is the fraction of the above that are willing and able to communicate; L is the expected lifetime of such a civilisation. The formula comes under much criticism over the decades as being composed of elements which are all guesses. One critique even asserts that the entry of such a groundless equation into the scientific community began a decline in the quality of modern science and opened it up to use as a propaganda tool by activist power elites (see 2003).

*Total eclipse in Europe and the USSR.

 

ARCHAEOLOGY & PALAEONTOLOGY

*Martin Glaessner (1906 – 1989) determines fossils in the Ediacara Hills of South Australia (Ediacaran fauna) to be Precambrian in age (approximately 600m years old), allegedly making them the oldest-known multi-celled organisms.

*Gene Shoemaker (1928 – 1997) publishes a paper characterising the Ries Basin in Bavaria as the result of a meteorite impact. This will help pave the way for the eventual acceptance of asteroid and comet impacts as potential causes of mass extinction (see 1973).

*Creationism: Henry M. Morris (1918 - ) publishes The Genesis Flood, attracting new support for the hitherto mainly (culturally) insignificant biblical literalist movement. Morris will be a huge influence on the creation science movement, ushering in its modern revival (it will go on to 40+ printings and sell 200,000+ copies). Morris will go on to found several creationist organisations (e.g. the Institute for Creation Research, Deluge Geology Society, Creation-Science Research Center, etc) (see below). However, creationism will remain largely within fundamentalist Christian circles, routinely ridiculed in the mainstream media by the scientific establishment and dismissed as pseudoscience. A radical change in approach by one group of creationists / creationist-sympathisers in the early 1990s will recast the entire creation versus evolution debate, however (see 1991).

 

GEOSCIENCES

*The World-Wide Standardised Seismic Network is established for monitoring both earthquakes and nuclear testing.

*Project Mohole: An ambitious attempt is made by US scientists to drill through to the Earth’s crust (seen as a geoscience equivalent of the Space Race – see 1958). The first phase, drilling through to the Earth’s mantle, is a success, but the project is abandoned before deeper drilling occurs.

 

PSYCHOLOGY

*The Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health (see 1955) releases its report on “Action for Mental Health,” recommending the upgrading of existing psychiatric hospitals, putting limits on the number of admissions once a hospital reached its cap, with a maximum cap of 1000 per facility, more usage of general psychiatric wards, and conversion of state hospitals into centers for the “the long-term and combined care of all chronic diseases including mental illness.” It also calls for the establishment of community-based treatment centres, perhaps one clinic per 50,000 area population. However, most importantly stressed is that “the concept of prevention [is] a chimera [an unrealisable dream].”

*Deinstitutionalisation: President Kennedy, who is personally interested in enacting mental health reform legislation because his sister Rosemary (1918 – 2005) suffers from mental retardation and mental illness, although the latter is not acknowledged at this time (primarily due to the stigma), appoints a committee to review the “Action for Mental Health” (see above) and most of the recommendations are overlooked except for the establishment of community-based treatment centres. Kennedy believes that primary prevention and reduction in state hospitals can be achieved through community mental health centres. In a speech entitled “The Dream,” he promises that “...if we launch a brand new mental health program now, it will be possible within a decade or two to reduce the number of patients now under custodial care by 50% or more.” He also promises that “reliance on the cold mercy of custodial isolation would be supplanted by the open warmth of community concern and capability.”

*In the US, the Community Mental Health Centers Act is passed after President Kennedy’s personal advocacy of reform legislation (see above), beginning the process of deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric hospitals. Remarkably, no attention is given to the question of where released patients will live, especially as there are no existing government programs to finance the returning patients. In the early stages, this is not a problem as the first wave of patients released are highly functional and have maintained some semblance of closeness with their families, so 2/3 of this wave go to live with family members upon discharge. However, eventually, more dysfunctional patients are released with either no place to go or else families incapable of caring for them. The long-term result, given the acceleration of the process of deinstitutionalisation due to civil rights activism (see 1967) and lack of serious attention given to funding programs to help released patients, is that the homeless population increases exponentially in the next two decades as does the overall numbers of mentally ill people going untreated. By the late 1990s, the US has 3.5m people with active symptoms of schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness and the National Advisory Mental Health Council estimates 40% of them are not receiving any treatment in any given year. Similar approaches to mental health are adopted in various Western countries from the late 1960s on (along with the same poor attempts at programs to care for released patients, and a concomitant rise in homeless populations - see 1966, 1980).

*Psychiatrist .D. Laing (1927 – 1989) publishes The Self and Others, a critique of psychoanalytic theory that attempts to create a new definition of madness by positing that many, or even most, psychological problems derive from unsuccessful attempts to adapt to the inherent insanities of normal society and, therefore, the roots of the problems are more likely to be with society and its norms than with maladjusted individuals. On one level then insanity can be viewed as an uncompromising and even honourable stance in the face of an insane society (an idea that partly informs the Black Humour movement in literature – see below). In a time of radical questioning of the assumptions governing social behaviour, Laing’s theories later gain a sizable and enthusiastic following and his books become bestsellers in paperback, primarily on college campuses.

*Thomas Szasz (1920 - ) publishes The Myth of Mental Illness, in which he argues that states of mind described as “mental illness” are not “illness” but actions for which the mentally distressed person must be held responsible. He asserts “mental illness” is in fact a social construct created by doctors and the term can only be used as a metaphor given that an illness must be an objectively demonstrable biological pathology, whereas psychiatric disorders meet none of these criteria. Hence, “mental illness” in such a sense is merely a deviation from the consensus reality or common morality. The book helps give rise to an anti-psychiatry movement lasting through the 1970s (see also 1960 1967).

 

ANTHROPOLOGY & LINGUISTICS

*Systemic Functional Grammar: Michael Halliday (1925 - ) posits his theory of systemic functional grammar, in which he sets out to explain how wordings make meanings (i.e. how words function to construct meaning), noting that such things as context, lexico-grammar, semantics (the study of meaning in words, phrases, sentences and texts), phonology (the study of how sounds of words function) and graphology (how words are written) all play key roles.

 

HEALTH & MEDICINE

*Thalidomide (see 1957) is discovered to be harmful to foetal development. 15,000 fetuses in 46 countries are found to have been affected by the drug, with 12,000 cases of birth defects (see 1970).

*Ethnobiologist Nicole Maxwell (1906 - 1998), a founder of the Ecuadoran Institute of Geography and Ethnology, publishes Witch Doctor’s Apprentice: Hunting for Medicinal Plants in the Amazon, detailing her experience studying the medicinal use of plants by native Indians in the upper Amazon. Although the drug company which funded her trip to the Amazon treated the exercise as a publicity stunt rather than a serious scientific exercise, Maxwell’s work will help popularise the concept of indigenous herbal and traditional cures (alternative remedies) to Western science and medicine.

 

CHEMISTRY, BIOLOGY & GENETICS

*The Genetic Code: Sydney Brenner (1927 - ), Francis Crick and others propose that the genetic code is written in ‘words’ (called ‘codons’) formed of three DNA bases. DNA sequence is built from four different bases, so a total of 64 (4 x 4 x 4) possible codons can be produced. They also propose that a particular set of RNA molecules, subsequently called ‘transfer RNAs’ (tRNAs), act to ‘decode’ the DNA.

*Marshall Nirenberg (1927 - ) builds a strand of messenger RNA comprised only of the nucleotide base uracil (one of the four RNA bases, replacing thymine as found in DNA) in an experiment which sees the creation of the amino acid phenylalanine (which enables him to deduce that the genetic code producing this particular amino acid is UUU – i.e. a triplet base [called a ‘codon’ - see above] of uracil). The breakthrough opens the door to the deciphering of the entire genetic code (see 1966).

*Roger W. Sperry (1913 – 1994) publishes results of his studies of lateralisation in animal brains in which disconnected cerebral hemispheres can be taught in such a way that one hemisphere learns one response while the other hemisphere learns a different response.

 

AVIATION, TRANSPORT & SHIPPING

*TWA exhibits the first in-flight feature film on a regularly-scheduled commercial airline (MGM’s By Love Possessed, starring Lana Turner [1921 – 1995]), shown on airline flights from New York to Los Angeles.

*American ship Icebreaker Glacier makes the furthest penetration into Antarctica by ship.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

*President Kennedy delivers the first live presidential news conference. In it, he announces the USSR has freed the two surviving crewmen of a USAF RB-47 reconnaissance plan shot down by Soviet flyers over the Barents Sea in 1960.

 

COMPUTERISATION & AUTOMATION

*The computer industry has its first billion dollar year. An estimated 9300 systems now exist.

*Robert Noyce (see 1959) completes work on the first planar integrated circuit, incorporating six transistors, which is suitable for mass production.

*John McCarthy develops the Computer Time-Sharing System, the first time-sharing operating system (see 1957). Although not an influential operating system in its technical detail, it is very influential in showing that time-sharing is viable (a concept that greatly helps spread the popularity and usage of computers) (see also 1964).

*IBM completes the 7030 computer for Los Alamos laboratories, where it will be used by scientists from the US Atomic Energy Commission. Containing 169,100 transistors and nicknamed ‘Stretch,’ it is supposed to be 100 times faster than IBM’s 704 mainframe computer, but it falls short and is only about 30 times as fast.

*Robert Moog (1934 - ) invents the Moog synthesiser, one of the first widely-used electronic musical instruments.

 

 

ARTS & CULTURE

 

GENERAL

*UNESCO passes the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, wherein signatories agree to guarantee the copyright rights of artists.

 

PHILOSOPHY, POLITICAL SCIENCE & HISTORY

*Robert Dahl (1915 - ) publishes Who Governs?, a detailed investigation of democracy in New Haven, Connecticut through which he hopes to  reach grand conclusions about the root nature of democracy. To begin, he asks: “In a political system where nearly every adult may vote but where knowledge, wealth, social position, access to officials, and other resources are unequally distributed, who actually governs?” In reaching a valid conclusion, Dahl studies the shift in ruling power over two centuries to demonstrate New Haven’s gradual change from oligarchy to pluralism. He insists that pluralism is alive and well – although social elites tend to occupy positions of power. Though “wage-earners lack social standing, they are not without other resources, including the ballot, and what they lack as individuals, they more than make up in collective resources.” Also, social elites have limited power because of their limited numbers. The average wage earner can collectively bargain for resources by allocating their votes and collective leverage. If this is not democracy in a populist sense, Dahl posits, then it is at least what he calls a ‘polyarchy,’ by which he means governance without a dominant structure of cooperation in which different groupings vie for the support and loyalty of individuals and conflicts need to be resolved primarily on the basis of ad hoc bargaining among combinations of those groups that vary from issue to issue (a concept that is taken up in the 1970s and beyond in discussions about the nature of world politics in the absence of a world government – see 1974). Dahl’s work directly contradicts that of C. Wright Mills (see 1951, 1958, 1960), who asserts that America’s governments are in the grasp of a unitary and demographically narrow power elite, and the two subsequently engage in a landmark dispute over the nature of politics in the US.

*French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926 – 1984) publishes Madness and Civilisation, an historical survey of how the idea of madness has developed through history. He notes how it came to be seen as a malady of the soul and then mental illness, and asserts that the very attempt to help the mentally ill is a form of oppression, by denying them their human difference:

[T]he asylum becomes…an instrument of moral uniformity and social denunciation [that imposes] a social segregation that would guarantee bourgeois morality a universality of fact and permit it to be imposed upon all forms of insanity.

Such oppression he also perceives on a more universal scale. As madness changed from a relatively harmless and accepted state to one of abject terror in the 18th century, it resulted in the confinement of the deranged under conditions of extreme brutality. The madmen came at this time to replace the leper as the pariah of society, the feared ‘Other’ or abnormal. The mad were lumped with the poor, the destitute in a word: marginalized. The mad served no purpose in the mercantile era of production and were a threat to basic social values. They were confined, brutalized, but were also put up for public ridicule. As such, they were beyond morality. There was issued a carte blanche to do with these “madmen” as their keepers pleased. This effect came about only after they had identified them as such. It was the manifestation of a power matrix that allowed man to brutalize man. In the 19th century, society began to take a moral attitude towards the insane, not one of compassionate but one of abject dejection. The changes that took effect during the industrial revolution changed the status of the downtrodden making them the bedrock from which all wealth was cemented. As long as the poor knew their place and remained there, they eventually were established as a class to be identified and utilized. It was from within demoralizing situation that madness evolved its persona. The mad were considered unnatural and disorderly and were now viewed as moral defects. It was with this preparation that the modern definition of madness saw it genesis. Mental illness took on a medical personage. Suddenly, with this classification came the authorization for not only new contact between doctors and patients but an altogether new paradigm between insanity and medical thought. When before the physician played no role in the life of confinement, he I suddenly became the main player in this new game with a new set of rules. According to Foucault, the entry of the doctor onto the scene was not out of some inherent skill but a result of the power he possessed (see 1975). The physician was now validated by a body of “objective knowledge.” However, the medical profession did not stop there. The ultimate sanction of this authorised body of knowledge was the eventual entry into the lives of healthy individuals who were deemed healthy enough to function on their own yet not trusted to make any autonomous judgments. As the medical establishment became more extensive so did the distinction between medical and moral eventually become confused. In effect, Foucault challenges the reader to examine why we have evolved this cherished tenet, why we have placed power in the hands of establishments such as the medical profession.

*Future US Secretary of Health (under President Johnson) John William Gardner (1912 – 2002) publishes Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? in which he argues that while there exist tensions in the American value system, namely between a society in which one’s rewards are strictly related to one’s performance versus a society where equality of results is more valued (the conflict between freedom and equality), society can have both. Gardner predicates this assertion on America eschewing traditional tendencies to value certain jobs (scientists, businessmen, etc) as more prestigious than others (e.g. teachers, plumbers, volunteers) given that there are several examples of people who excel in this latter category and who make important contributions to society.

 

ARCHITECTURE

*In a reaction against Modern Architecture, the Archigram group is formed by a group of architects in London. Their work is delivered in a comic book style and based on the concept that architecture is not meant to last through the ages but is temporary and disposable. They later influence the sense of fun and “chaotic adventure” informing some post-Deconstructivist (see 1988) architecture.

*Jane Jacobs (1916 - ) publishes The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in which she critiques the urban renewal policies of the 1950s (e.g. slum clearance, highway construction, etc) that she asserts are destroying communities and creating isolated, unnatural urban spaces. Instead, she advocates dense, mixed-use neighbourhoods, citing New York’s Greenwich Village as an example of a vibrant urban community. The book eventually creates a sea-change in urban planning, away from post-war philosophies to one placing an emphasis on community (in the US, Europe and elsewhere).

 

VISUAL ARTS & SCULPTURE

*Environmental Art: Christo (Javacheff) (1935 - ), having spontaneously created his first piece of wrapping art three years prviously (an empty paint-tin with acrylic with soaked canvas coloured with glue, sand and car paint), he now covers barrels at the port of Cologne, the first large objects he has wrapped. In 1968, Christo builds a package of 5,600 m³ which is lifted by the two largest cranes in Europe so as to be visible from 25km away. In coming decades, he becomes increasingly notorious for such large-scale outdoor efforts, wrapping coastline in Australia, eleven islands in Miami and eventually the Reichstag building in Berlin).

 

LITERATURE & LANGUAGES

*Black Humour: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1923 - 1999) initiates/popularises a new sub-genre of Black Humour which is, arguably, the first postmodern style: it mocks rationalism itself, which it berates as having become anything but (notably in the film Dr. Strangelove [1964] – for black humour quickly inspires work in other media – which plays with the ironic notion that the world is being kept safe by arsenals of nuclear weapons). Additionally, it engages in a sense of play, self-consciously giving the reader a playful form of experience and also presents somewhat bizarre plot devices which foreground its fictionality (hence, it is self-referential).

 

THEATRE

*Satire Boom & The Culture of Irreverence: The satirical theatre revue Beyond the Fringe, premieres in London, sparking a boom in satire in the arts in the 1960s (and resonating on down to the present day, although its hip, knowing irony comes under the microscope in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks – see 2001). Linking up with the irreverent humour of Private Eye magazine (see below) and the verbal and literary efforts of Beatle John Lennon (1940 – 1980) (see 1963) whose witticisms often contain pointed social commentary (e.g. critiquing the age-old British class system when telling the people in the “cheap seats” at the 1963 Royal Command Variety Performance to clap your hands but the others – i.e. more well-to-do members of the audience – to “rattle your jewellery”), the satire boom erodes any idea of sacred cows (politics, religion, etc) that are exempt from humour. The boom eventually manifests itself in the surreal escapades of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus crew (all Oxbridge graduates) in the 1970s and the highly political humour of the Alternative comedy of the post-punk generation exemplified by Ben Elton (1959 - ) and Alexei Sayle (1952 - ). In the post-60s pop culture, irreverence displaces the deference shown to authority figures and institutions of the mainstream culture that hitherto dominated. In the US, a similar phenomenon occurs in the wake of the Black Humour movement (see above), comedians that emerge following Lenny Bruce (see above) and popular comedy that comes to full flower with Saturday Night Live, which becomes an institution from the middle of the next decade.

*British Theatre Renaissance: English film director Peter Hall (1930 - ) and others establish the modern Royal Shakespeare Company, a company with its roots in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre dating to 1879. It quickly becomes the most renowned classical theatre company in the world with a repertoire that soon widens beyond just Shakespeare’s canon of works. Two years later, the National Theatre (from 1988, ‘Royal National Theatre’) is established, the fruition of a long running campaign to establish a theatre company for the nation dating to the early 20th century. The National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company become the two most prominent publically-subsidised funded theatre companies in Britain, with three generations of notable actors cutting their teeth at both institutions to date.


 

MEDIA

 

---GENERAL

*UNESCO helps establish the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (eventually comprising over 30 news agencies from 28 nations), to promote the exchange of news and information.

 

---PRINT

*The British satirical Private Eye magazine is established, which, along with Beyond the Fringe (see above), touches off a revolution in satire in the arts this decade, laying the foundation for the caustic, ironic humour and wit of the postmodern era (wherein pillars of the establishment – and conventional/traditional mores/customs/conventions are relentlessly lampooned).

 

---RADIO

*FM radio stations begin to broadcast in stereophonic sound. Their increasing popularity into the 1970s eventually sees the decline in AM music stations (see 1970).

 

---TELEVISION

*The USSR broadcasts its first live television transmission.

*President Kennedy delivers the first live presidential news conference. In it, he announces the USSR has freed the two surviving crewmen of a USAF RB-47 reconnaissance plan shot down by Soviet flyers over the Barents Sea in 1960.

*Vast Wasteland Speech: Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton Minow (1926 - ) makes a stunning public indictment of the television medium in a speech entitled “Television and the Public Interest”:

When television is good, nothing - not the theatre, not the magazines or newspapers - nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit-and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you - and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.

In a magazine interview in 1996, Minow also declares: “I think in many ways, sadly, [standards have] deteriorated. We have a much wider choice, with the advent of cable and public television. But I think that the level of stuff thrown at kids, especially, has gone down.”

 

MUSIC & POP SUBCULTURES

 

---POP / ROCK

*The Wall of Sound: New York producer Phil Spector (1940 - ) begins to experiment in the studio wherein he gathers veritable orchestras of musicians (even for instruments not generally used for ensemble playing such as the electric guitar) to play orchestrated parts for a fuller sound in an echo chamber a basement room fitted with microphones and speakers). The natural reverberation and echo from the hard walls of the room gave his productions their distinctive quality and resulted in a full sound when played on AM radio with an impressive depth rarely heard in mono recordings (as all recordings are at this time – as the decade progresses, records are released in both mono and stereophonic sound – first devised in 1937 – and typically stereo only into the 1970s). Spector thus becomes the first person to more fully explore the recording studio in pop music, although it will be the Beatles, whom he inspires with his efforts, that push the limits of four-track recording studios to the limit.

 

SPORTS & HOBBIES

*An airliner crashes in Belgium killing 73, including the entire US figure skating team and several coaches. The World Figure Skating Championships they were travelling to are subsequently cancelled.

*The number of players sent off in British First Division (later Premier Leaguesee 1992) soccer begins to rise markedly. The numbers have risen barely since 1891, with ten sent of in the first season after the war (the numbers changing from 15 in a bad year to seven in a good one). But after this year, sendings-off exponentially increases. By 1979, the number reaches 115. By 1989, 200 are sent off. In 1994, 300. And in 2003, 511.

 

 

RELIGION & BELIEF

 

GENERAL

*The Center for World Thanksgiving: The City Planning Council of Dallas conceives the idea to set aside an acre of prime real estate to celebrate a “value.” After educators and philosophers are consulted, the Council settles on developing a centre to celebrate the concept of thanksgiving. During the long process of buying land and seeing through the centre’s construction, meetings are held with religious leaders from Asia and Europe to explore the universal meaning and importance of thanksgiving. The Center opens in 1976 (and houses all the Presidential Prayer and Thanksgiving Proclamations in US history). The Center later holds a series of Convocations of World Thanksgiving with religious leaders around the globe – see 1981).

 

CHRISTIANITY

*The Third World Council of Churches Assembly is held in New Delhi, India. The theme of the meeting is “Jesus Christ – the Light of the World,” but the gathering will become more remembered as a key development in world ecumenism, with the admission of 23 new member churches, including significant sectors of Eastern Orthodoxy and churches from newly independent nations, and the uniting of the World Council of Churches with the International Missionary Council to become the chief instrument of the Ecumenical Movement (see 1962).

*Pope John XXIII issues Mater et Magistra, in which he proclaims that marriage is “indissoluble” and “subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey.”

*Marian Apparitions: Four Spanish children from the town of Garabandal begin to go into trance-like states and claim to have visions of the Virgin Mary, in which they are given prophecies of the future (of the Church and the world), such as that there would only be two more popes before events begin leading to the end of the world. Although Marian visions have occurred for centuries (a notable one in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, involving three secret prophecies: a vision of hell, a vision of Russia turning away from Communism and, revealed much later, an assassination attempt on the life of the Pope), the number of such visions increases markedly from the Second World War onwards (105 officially designated visions prior to 1939 versus 422 afterwards to date). Another prominent set of apparitions this decade occurs in the Cairo suburb of El-Zeitoun in Egypt, starting in 1968. Up to 14m people, including Christians from all denominations, Muslims (including President Nasser) and secularists witness shimmering lights of various shapes (including dove-like ones) above the Coptic Orthodox Church of Saint Demiana. These apparitions last for three years and are captured on film by newspaper photographers and Egyptian television crews. Supposed healings occur for many sick people who witness the apparitions (two to three appear each week, usually on, or on the eve of, feast days) and extensive investigations by the authorities are unable to discern any rational explanation for the phenomenon (such as projection devices and the like).

*The Age of Syncretism: Writing ahead of the World Council of Churches’ third assembly (see above), James I. McCord (1919 - 1990), president of Princeton Theological Seminary, in an article in Theology Today, asserts that since the establishment of the World Council of Churches (see 1948), a new age has arrived for the human race, an era whose fresh challenges provide big questions for the Christian faith (and which the Council should begin to address). McCord asserts that the first characteristic of the new age is “the dawn of universal history” - a worldwide interdependence which has brought to an end the time when each nation can make its separate history. For the Christian, this raises the question of the uniqueness of Christianity:

Inevitably, the dawn of universal history will be a stimulus to syncretism [the combining of elements from different religions]…[For instance, o]ur most widely read historian, Arnold Toynbee [see 1939], is an apostle of an amalgam of Christianity and Mahayanian Buddhism…[And the syncretist] is an indication of the necessity of a Christian apologetic that will take seriously the new conditions that have emerged and the new context out of which the syncretistic question is asked.

Another mark of McCord's new age is a loss of Christian confidence. The church, he writes,

has begun to wonder openly about her role. She has become introverted, turned in on herself, and has broken off contact with the world that she no longer knows. She was unable to capitalise on the revival of interest in religion after the war, is depressed about her failure in mission, and contents herself with endless surveys and meetings in an effort to knock something together that might get her off centre [see also 1970, 1974, 1975].

*Henry M. Morris (1918 - ) publishes The Genesis Flood, attracting new support for the previously insignificant biblical literalist movement (see above).

*Theologian Gabriel Vahanian (1927 - ) publishes The Death of God: The Culture of our Post-Christian Era, in which he analyses historical elements that contributed to the Western masses accepting atheism not so much as a theory but as a way of life. Although he is not an atheist, Vahanian argues that Christians need to develop a form of their faith that recognises the contemporary loss of God and exert its influence through what is left (see 1965).

 

BUDDHISM

*Poet and Beat luminary Gary Snyder (1930- ) publishes “Buddhist Anarchism” in Journal for the Protection of All Beings, in which he posits that a synthesis of Eastern mysticism and Western progressive politics is the future of humanity. He argues that Buddhist practices (especially meditation) are a tool for individuals to use to resist the dehumanising tendencies of contemporary Western society. Snyder’s piece is one of the first expressions of what later becomes known as ‘socially engaged Buddhism’ (see 1965).####

 

ATHEISM, SECULARISM & HUMANISM

*Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space (see above), famously quips: “I don’t see any God up here.”

*In a dicta attached to a US Supreme Court decision overturning a Maryland law that requires state employees believe in God, Justice Hugo Black notes that: “Among the religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others [emphasis added].”

*The US Supreme Court rules that using religious faith as a prerequisite for holding public office is unconstitutional, rejecting the argument that holding such jobs is a privilege that can be restricted to people of faith.

 

PARANORMALISM

*Ivan T. Sanderson (see 1948) Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come To Life, a lengthy tome that helps popularise the Bigfoot phenomenon (see 1958).

 

 

 

#

Conservative Southern Democrats and Republicans were opposed to much of Kennedy’s “New Frontier” agenda which they perceived as liberal and activist (and between 1938 and 1965, these conservative Democrats effectively controlled the Senate in an informal alliance with Republicans). It was only after JFK’s assassination and the landslide Johnson victory in 1964, carrying with it a large Senate majority on its coat-tails (such that the President, for the two years following, did not have to rely on the Southerners to pass his legislation), that the reforms, repackaged as LBJ’s Great Society, were passed. Overall, the “New Frontier” had three main points:

1) A more sophisticated sense of economics.

2) An emphasis on social welfare programs.

3) Cold War policies and the space program.

Specifically, Kennedy had eight goals in his “New Frontier,” most of which Congress rejected:

1. Increased federal aid for education. Defeated.

2. Medical care for the elderly. Defeated during the Kennedy administration, but eventually enacted as Medicare and Medicaid.

3. Increase in the minimum wage. Passed.

4. Urban reforms. Modest success.

5. Civil rights. None. Despite the lingering myth that JFK was a strong proponent of civil rights, his administration saw no major civil rights legislation. It was actually brother Robert Kennedy, JFK’s Attorney General, who was committed to civil rights. JFK, afraid of losing the always tenuous support of Southern Democrats, put civil rights on the back burner once he was in office.

6. End to poverty. Not achieved.

7. Major tax cuts. Defeated.

8. Cold War goals. Kennedy’s term saw both increased expenditures on defence and money for the new space program.

 

##

Additionally, Kennedy’s “New Economics,” which encompassed economic growth through modest increases in federal spending, expanding trade, stabilising interest rates and major tax cuts (designed to spur more productive capacity, and thus encourage exports to alleviate problems with the Bretton Woods international economic system – see 1958, 1971) did eventually become economic orthodoxy in the US (and elsewhere) but only after his death. His neo-Keynesian ideas were out of fashion under Eisenhower and Truman (who both opposed deficit spending and supported balanced budgets) and even Kennedy had won the Presidency with a reputation as a fiscal conservative, but his economic sense evolved in office (as advisors insisted the economy had underperformed for years, despite small but steady growth, due to a lack of productivity growth stemming from a lack of investment growth). Hence, Kennedy’s attempts at a major tax cut (the largest, some said, since the turn of the century), so as to stimulate the economy (an approach that was later the lynchpin of Reaganomics). Despite the tax cut’s defeat, lesser economic measures that did pass saw production per worker during Kennedy’s tenure rise to 3% per year (from 1% under Eisenhower).

A backdrop to this imperative to stimulate economic growth were the extraordinary growth rates achieved by the Eastern Bloc economies throughout the 1950s. Although those economies were still substantially poorer and smaller than those of the West, the speed with which they had transformed themselves from peasant societies into industrial powerhouses, their continuing ability to achieve growth rates several times higher than the advanced nations, and their increasing ability to challenge or even surpass American and European technology in certain areas seemed to call into question the dominance not only of Western power but of Western ideology. The leaders of those nations did not share the West’s faith in free markets or unlimited civil liberties. They asserted with increasing self-confidence that their system was superior: societies that accepted strong, even authoritarian governments and were willing to limit individual liberties in the interest of the common good, take charge of their economies, and sacrifice short-run consumer interests for the sake of long-run growth would eventually outperform the increasingly chaotic societies of the West. And a growing minority of Western intellectuals agreed.

The gap between Western and Eastern economic performance eventually became a political issue. Kennedy’s election pledge to “get the country moving again,” for him and his closest advisers, meant accelerating America’s economic growth to meet the Eastern challenge.

However, while the growth of Communist economies was the subject of innumerable alarmist books and polemical articles in the 1950s, some economists who looked seriously at the roots of that growth were putting together a picture that differed substantially from most popular assumptions. Communist growth rates were certainly impressive, but not magical. The rapid growth in output could be fully explained by rapid growth in inputs: expansion of employment, increases in education levels, and, above all, massive investment in physical capital. Once those inputs were taken into account, the growth in output was unsurprising - or, to put it differently, the big surprise about Soviet growth was that when closely examined it posed no mystery.

This economic analysis had two crucial implications. First, most of the speculation about the superiority of the Communist system - including the popular view that Western economies could painlessly accelerate their own growth by borrowing some aspects of that system - was off base. Rapid Soviet economic growth was based entirely on one attribute: the willingness to save, to sacrifice current consumption for the sake of future production. The Communist example offered no hint of a free lunch.

Second, the economic analysis of Communist countries’ growth implied some future limits to their industrial expansion (i.e. when reform of the economy had seen it complete its transformation from an agrarian to an industrial one).

The result of ‘New Economics,’ is that while the economy is indeed stimulated and growth speeds up, the ongoing injection of cash into the economy in the 1960s economic boom is that money becomes over-plentiful and its value begins to fall, precipitating inflation (which contributes to the eventual fall of the existing global economic order – see 1972).

 

###

The concept of development as a means to social and cultural progress and improving the lot of the Third World poor emerged due to decolonisation and the Cold War, which saw the emergence of the Soviet-supported radical/pro-communist anti-colonialist movements throughout much of Asia, Africa and South America. Concern was raised about the economic backwardness of the newly-independent developing nations (contrasted with the burgeoning US-led bourgeois West). Hitherto, the focus had been on economic quantifiers (see 1952) but in the new decade the concentration on GNP growth and industrialisation shifted to the desire by development thinkers to change societies socially and culturally rather than just economically (i.e. development along more holistic lines, not merely the material). However, the Decade was mostly a failure and a new approach was sought (see 1969).

 

####

Snyder writes (in a slightly revised version published in 1969):

Buddhism holds that the universe and all creatures in it are intrinsically in a state of complete wisdom, love and compassion; acting in natural response and mutual interdependence. The personal realisation of this from-the-beginning state cannot be had for and by one-”self” - because it is not fully realised unless one has given the self up; and away.

In the Buddhist view, that which obstructs the effortless manifestation of this is Ignorance, which projects into fear and needless craving…No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets. The “free world” has become economically dependent on a fantastic system of stimulation of greed which cannot be fulfilled, sexual desire which cannot be satiated and hatred which has no outlet except against oneself, the persons one is supposed to love, or the revolutionary aspirations of pitiful, poverty-stricken marginal societies like Cuba or Vietnam. The conditions of the Cold War have turned all modern societies — Communist included — into vicious distorters of man’s true potential. They create populations of “preta” — hungry ghosts, with giant appetites and throats no bigger than needles. The soil, the forests and all animal life are being consumed by these cancerous collectivities; the air and water of the planet is being fouled by them…The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila). Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in. Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of “all beings.”

This last aspect means, for me, supporting any cultural and economic revolution that moves clearly toward a free, international, classless world. It means using such means as civil disobedience, outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty and even gentle violence if it comes to a matter of restraining some impetuous redneck. It means affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behaviour — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behaviour and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West. It means respecting intelligence and learning, but not as greed or means to personal power. Working on one’s own responsibility, but willing to work with a group. “Forming the new society within the shell of the old”…

The traditional cultures are in any case doomed, and rather than cling to their good aspects hopelessly it should be remembered that whatever is or ever was in any other culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious, through meditation. In fact, it is my own view that the coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past. If we are lucky we may eventually arrive at a totally integrated world culture with matrilineal descent, free-form marriage, natural-credit communist economy, less industry, far less population and lots more national parks.

 

 

 

 

 

1962

 

POPULATION

 

MIGRATION & REFUGEES

*Growing hostility to immigrants from former colonies in Great Britain sees migration restricted for the first time since the war (further restrictions will be imposed in 1968 and 1971).

 

 

POLITICS

 

WORLD

*The Cuban Missile Crisis: A U-2 flight over Cuba takes photos of Soviet nuclear weapons being installed (see below). A stand-off then ensues between the US and the USSR, putting the entire world under threat of a nuclear war, as American ships blockade Cuba and stare down an advancing Russian flotilla. The situation is defused after the Russians agree to withdraw the missiles if the US guarantees it will not invade Cuba (and withdraw American Jupiter missiles from Turkey).

*U Thant (1909 – 1974) is elected UN Secretary-General, having served as Acting Secretary-General since the death of Dag Hammarskjöld. Thant’s tenure will be marked by a (very Eastern) emphasis on the holistic aspects of world harmony (encompassing the physical, social and spiritual spheres) and the sanctity of human life.#

 

ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST

*Saudi Arabia breaks off diplomatic relations with Egypt following a period of unrest partly caused by the defection of several Saudi princes to Egypt. The Saudis respond to Egypt’s pan-Arabism by developing a rival Pan-Islam, around which it rallies other regimes feeling threatened by the Egyptians (as well as groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood).

 

EUROPE

*The Helsinki Treaty formally regulates co-operation between Nordic countries (setting up a Nordic Council of Ministers). Later attempts to set up a Nordic version of the EEC (NordEk) fail as Finland cannot contemplate entry into such a grouping due to its special relationship with the USSR.

*Following an agreement on a transition period with Algerian rebels, France holds a referendum on independence in Algeria which is passed overwhelmingly (see below). President de Gaulle jubilantly exclaims that France can now cast off the shackles of her imperial and colonial past and “marry her age.”

*Norway applies to join the EEC.

*After backing down over the Cuban Missile Crisis (see above), the USSR embarks on a massive nuclear arms build-up (as overall nuclear weapons/missile strength has favoured the US since the Atomic Age began).

 

NORTH AMERICA

*After a trip to Vietnam at the request of US President John F. Kennedy, US Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (1903 – 2001) becomes the first American official to not make an optimistic public comment on the war’s progress, claiming US aid to the Diem regime is being squandered and the US should avoid further involvement in the conflict.

 

SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN

*The Organisation of American States suspends Cuba’s membership.

*Following the signing of a trade pact (see below), the USSR agrees to send arms to Cuba and it secretly instals nuclear missiles on the island. The tactic is an attempt to shift the nuclear balance away from the US, which has a far greater number of intercontinental ballistic missiles than Russia, as well as defend Cuba against an American invasion, which is seen as inevitable. It is also a response to the US deployment of Jupiter IRBM missiles near Izmir, Turkey, which directly threaten the western sections of the USSR. The deployment sparks the Cuban Missile Crisis (see above).

*Jamaica gains its independence from Great Britain.

*Trinidad & Tobago gains its independence from Great Britain.

 

ASIA

*Burmese Way to Socialism: After corruption and chaos return to Burma following an interim military regime under Ne Win (see 1958), the military leader stages a coup (see below) and institutes a new ruling authority based on elements of extreme nationalism, Marxism and local religions (e.g. following principles of numerology, all banknotes will be divisible by nine, and Win will even bathe in dolphin’s blood after a witch doctor informs him it will enable him to handle his concubines more efficiently). Win’s plan is to almost completely isolate his country from the rest of the world (with lingering suspicions the British had assassinated independence leader Aung San [see 1947], fear of the West remains high). His reforms see the economy nationalised, foreigners expelled, political activists imprisoned and ethnic troubles put down with massive military force.

*The last foreign occupied territories of India, the Portuguese colonies of Daman and Diu and Goa, are annexed by India.

*The UN Security Force (UNSF) is dispatched to West New Guinea (West Irian) in the wake of a dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands over West Irian. Agreement is reached on a UN Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) to assume administrative responsibility for territory, pending transfer to Indonesia. UNTEA, assisted by UNSF, monitors a ceasefire and helps ensure law and order during a transition of the region to Indonesian rule (lasts until 1963).

*Political parties are banned in Nepal.

*After pressure from the Kennedy administration, South Korean President Park Chung Hee restores civilian government. A new constitution, passed by national referendum, enables the president to be elected by direct popular vote and have strong powers (including the authority to appoint the premier and cabinet members without legislative consent and to order emergency financial and economic measures). Park resigns from the military (also in line with US pressure) and narrowly wins the inaugural elections the following year (see 1971).

*North Vietnamese troops remain in Laos despite the signing of the Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos, which sees US continue support of pro-Western forces.

*Start of the Strategic Hamlet program in South Vietnam, wherein rural areas are first secured and then expanded in size. A system of fortified villages is set up to insulate rural Vietnamese from Vietcong intimidation and propaganda (to win over peasant support in the conflict). However, many South Vietnamese perceive the strategic hamlets as government oppression, not protection, because people are forced to leave their ancestral homes for the new settlements.

*US military strength reaches 9000 troops (under the command of the newly-established Military Assistance Command Vietnam) and the first Australian troops arrive. In Operation Chopper, helicopters flown by US Army pilots ferry 1000 South Vietnamese soldiers to sweep a Viet Cong stronghold near Saigon. It marks America’s first combat mission against the Viet Cong.

*Operation Ranchhand begins, aiming to clear vegetation alongside highways, making it more difficult for the Viet Cong to conceal themselves for ambushes. As the war continues, the scope of Ranchhand increases. Vast tracts of forest are sprayed with “Agent Orange,” a herbicide containing the deadly chemical Dioxin. Guerrilla trails and base areas are exposed, and crops that might feed Viet Cong units are destroyed.

 

AFRICA

*The Evian Accords mark the final settlement between France and Algerian rebels. French colonists are allowed equal legal protection with Algerians over a three year period. These rights include respect for property, participation in public affairs and a full range of civil and cultural rights. At the end of this period, however, Europeans will be obliged to become Algerian citizens or be classified as aliens with the attendant loss of rights. The Algerian electorate approves the Accords by an overwhelming 91% vote in a referendum.

*Algeria gains its independence from France. The Provisional Executive declares July 5th independence day, the 132nd anniversary of the French entry into Algeria. Within 12 months, 1.4 million refugees, including almost the entire Jewish community and some pro-French Muslims, leave Algeria for France (less than 30,000 Europeans ultimately remain).

*Burundi gains its independence from Belgium.

*Rwanda gains its independence from Belgium.

*Tanganyika (later Tanzania) gains its independence from Great Britain.

*Uganda gains its independence from Great Britain.

 

AUSTRALASIA & THE PACIFIC

*Western Samoa gains its independence from New Zealand.

 

 

CONFLICT

 

NATION STATES

*An Indonesian-sponsored revolt in Brunei is put down by British forces.

*Sino-Indian War. Unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 3225km-long Himalayan border, China attacks India and gains most of the territory it claims (lasts until 1963, 1000 killed).

*Fighting between Communist and pro-Western forces breaks out in Laos (lasts until 1973, 200,000 killed).

*Pro-independence rebels begin an armed insurgency against Portuguese colonial rule in Guinea-Bissau (lasts until 1974, 15,000 killed).

*Pro-independence rebels begin an armed insurgency against Portuguese colonial rule in Mozambique (lasts until 1975, 60,000 killed).

 

CIVIL WARS

*Fighting erupts between royalist and republican forces in North Yemen following a coup (see below) (lasts until 1970, 100,000 killed).

*Former Tutsi leaders of Rwanda, deposed by Hutu electoral victories, make a failed attempt to seize power in the new Republic of Rwanda.

 

COUPS

*Coup in North Yemen (see above).

*Coup in Argentina (see below).

*Coup in Burma (see above).

 

CIVIL UNREST & ETHNIC CLASHES

*After Peronist candidates are allowed to stand for election in Argentina  for the first time since the ouster of Juan Peron (see 1955) and win a majority of seats, rightist military forces refuse to let them take their seats, prompting a general strike and the ousting of President Arturo Frondizi (1908 - 1995) whose moderation is blamed for the success of the Peronists (see above).

 

 

TERRORISM

 

EUROPE

*After leading a failed army revolt in Algeria, French general Raoul Salan (1899 – 1984) flees abroad and directs OAS attacks in Algeria and France (detonating 100 bombs a day in the month of March alone - with targets including hospitals and schools, in the lead-up to the referendum on Algerian independence – see above). Salan is later captured and sentenced to life imprisonment.

 

 

ESPIONAGE & SECURITY

 

EUROPE

*British spy Kim Philby (1912 – 1988) defects to the USSR.

*In Britain, John Vassal (1925 - 1996), an Admiralty clerk, is arrested for espionage after he was blackmailed into spying as an attaché in Moscow in 1955 with photographs showing him having sex with two men. The scandal helps end the career of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (see 1963).

*Captured American spy pilot Gary Powers is exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (1903 – 1971). On his return to the US, he is criticised for having failed to activate his aircraft’s self-destruct charge to destroy the plane’s camera, photographic film, and related classified parts of his aircraft before capture, as well as deciding not to use an optional CIA-issued suicide pin.

 

NORTH AMERICA

*Operation Northwoods: The US Department of Defense proposes various false flag actions (i.e. covert operations designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities) including domestic terror attacks (such as involving the use of "hijacked" planes) on US soil to generate public support for military action against Cuba. The proposal is presented in a document entitled “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba” although when passed to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, he rejects the concept.

*A CIA memo to the Attorney General’s office reveals that it offered US$150,000 to the Mafia to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro (although the Mob offered to do the job at no charge).

 

 

ECONOMICS, COMMERCE & CONSUMERISM

 

GENERAL

*First Five Year Plan: South Korea institutes sweeping economic reforms emphasising exports and labour-intensive light industries, currency reform, strengthen financial institutions and introduce flexible economic planning. The economy experiences rapid growth such that into the 1970s, fiscal and financial policies will be directed toward the promotion of heavy and chemical industries, as well as consumer electronics and automobiles. Manufacturing underpins even stronger growth into the 1980s and 1990s and the economy is 13 times greater than that of the North (with its closed planned economy and Stalinist state) by the 21st century, vying with fellow tiger economies Japan and Taiwan in the global hi-tech market.

*James M. Buchanan (1919 - ) publishes The Calculus of Consent, which helps establish the concept of public choice theory in economics, a nexus between the discipline and political science. Prior to the emergence of public choice theory, economists have tended to ascribe to the government the role of an infallible controller with perfect information and unlimited power. However, in practice bureaucrats and politicians are only humans, and they often face incentives that draw them to decisions that produce inefficient outcomes. Hence, Buchanan rejects the traditional view that sees political process as one of balancing the private versus public interest in developing public policy. Instead, he sees the public interest as simply the aggregation of private decision makers (i.e. the individual interests of fellow flawed human beings). He also points out that in the political science view, the “public interest” is always the correct choice with the same appeal to all voters, which may or may not be thwarted by “special interests,” when in fact most choices appeal to many different "law consumers" with different strengths. That is to say, given a choice to fund road improvements or not, some voters will have very strong feelings for, some strong feelings against, but many voters may not have strong feelings either way. In a market transaction, the voters strongly desiring the road could purchase the acceptance of the opposition and uninterested voters with concessions, resulting in an efficient allocation of resources (so everyone is happy). The analogy to this in the political realm is that politicians buy the votes of other politicians by promising to vote for their issues. Hence, such log-rolling is to be expected, while in the traditional political science view, it is anomalous.

*Austrian economist Fritz Machlup (1902 – 1983) publishes The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States, in which he asserts that knowledge is an economic resource, a commmodity within the modern economy, and claims that the the “knowledge industry represented 29% of the US gross national product.” He distinguishes five types of knowledge – practical, intellectual (i.e. general culture and the satisfying of intellectual curiosity), pastime (i.e. knowledge satisfying non-intellectual curiosity or the desire for light entertainment and emotional stimulation), spiritual or religious, and unwanted (i.e. accidentally acquired and aimlessly retained). Information theorists later point to Machlup's pioneering work on knowledge as a resource as the true beginning of the Information Age (see also 1958).

*Canadian economist Robert Mundell (see 1961, 1968, 1970, 1971) proposes that it is impossible to have domestic autonomy and price stability and free capital flows; instead, only two, of these objectives can be met at any one time. He also predicts that should the Bretton Woods system (see 1944) break down, Western economies will experience stagflation (simultaneous high unemployment and inflation – see 1973).

 

TRADE

*Customs duties on industrial products between EC member countries are reduced to 50% of their level of 1957.

*The US Trade Expansion Act is passed, authorising the President to negotiate mutual tariff reductions of up to 50% with other countries. It also establishes the post of special representative for trade negotiations in the Executive Office of the President to lead US trade negotiation delegations as well as interagency trade policy committees.

*The US bans all US-related Cuban imports and exports.

*Cuba signs a trade pact with the USSR.

 

CORPORATISATION & NATIONALISATION

*Brazil nationalises US-owned businesses.

*American International Group (founded 1919 and aka AIG) shifts focus from personal insurance to high-margin corporate coverage. Thereafter, it becomes one of the world’s biggest companies (with a market cap of US$143.3bn by 2004).

*US sports footwear company Nike is founded to develop low-priced, high-tech athletic shoes (and challenge the German domination of the market – in the form of Adidas and Puma). It succeeds, gaining the biggest market share (and worth a market cap of US$23.1bn by 2004).

*Reuters (founded 1851 as a pioneer of telegraphy services), sends its first satellite news report to the US via Telstar (see below), making it the first private company to venture into space communications. Two years later, it is in the forefront of using computers to transmit financial data internationally with the launch of its Stockmaster. Its technological innovations see it become one of the world’s leading providers of news and information, providing global access to financial data, news feeds and corporate information though its operations in more than 90 countries. It culls information from more than 250 stock exchanges and gathers information on more than 40,000 companies worldwide. With nearly 200 news bureaus, it also ranks as the world’s largest international news agency, publishing stories in almost 20 languages. Reuters has a market cap of US$9.6bn by 2005.

*Taco Bell is founded. It eventually becomes the biggest Mexican-style fast food chain in the world (with 6500 outlets, mostly in the US) (see 1997).

*The Dayton Company (founded 1902 and later known as the Target Corporation) enters discount merchandising with the opening of its first Target stores (from whence the company draws its later name). Immensely popular, the Target chain (which cultivates a more upmarket image than its rivals such as Wal-Mart – with wider aisles and drop ceilings and signing exclusive deals with various designers [which later prompts a similar approach from competitors]) allows the firm to become the second largest discount retailer in the world (operating 1370 stores and with a market cap of US$48.1bn by 2004).

*US retailer Wal-Mart is founded. Eventually utilising the hypermarket concept (see 1963), opening its first supercenter in 1988, it becomes the largest retailer in the world (and the largest company in the world based on revenue, as well as the largest private employer in the world), operating 5700 stores in Europe, North America (it is the top retailer in the US, Canada and Mexico), South America and Asia. It has a market cap of US$206.3bn by 2004 and would rank 23rd in international rankings of GDP if it was a country.

*Economist Milton Friedman publishes Capitalism and Freedom, in which he argues that, within a democracy, business has a single focus – economic – and the measure of it is profit. “The business of business is business” and corporations have neither the legitimacy nor the interest to consider wider questions of social responsibility.

 

MARKETING & CONSUMPTION

*David Ogilvy (see 1948) publishes Confessions of an Advertising Man, a bestselling tome delineating his corporate mantra (which becomes the Bible of advertising professionals). Ogilvy stresses four main criteria for successful marketing: adequate market research, professional discipline, creative brilliance and delivering results for clients.

*Giant Food introduces the first in-store pharmacy.

*First package terminal air conditioner.

*Fibre tip pen.

*First foamed-in-place urethane insulated refrigerator.

*The pull tab for beverage cans is introduced.

*Powdered butter is invented.

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

*US Congress passes amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (see 1940) in response to the thalidomide tragedy (see 1961). The changes tighten control over prescription drugs, new drugs, and investigational drugs. The new philosophy undergirding the changes now assumes that no drug is truly safe unless it is also effective, and effectiveness is required to be established prior to marketing - a milestone advance in medical history. Drug firms are now also required to send adverse reaction reports to the Food and Drug Administration, and drug advertising in medical journals is required to provide complete information to a doctor - the risks as well as the benefits. In the years since, thousands of prescription drug items will be taken off the US market because they lack evidence of safety and/or effectiveness, or they have had their labelling changed to reflect the known medical facts. Similar legislative approaches are adopted by numerous other nations.

*Consumer Reports, in its first report on auto insurance, finds that rates vary by hundreds of dollars between firms and calls for reforms.

*Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964) publishes Silent Spring, about the detrimental effect pesticides are having on the environment (see below). Consumers Union helps bring the book to public attention by publishing a special edition.

 

CREDIT & DEBT

*Diner’s Club becomes the first major credit card company in Britain following the merger of Finders Services and Credit Card facilities. American Express launches a British charge card the following year (which is usable at 3000 local outlets and 83,000 overseas outlets; the only Bank of England constraint being a £75 limit on a single item for overseas transactions.

 

ENERGY & RESOURCES

 

---GENERAL

*The UN General Assembly passes a resolution recognising that nations must have the authority to control and enjoy the benefits of the development and conservation of their natural resources, giving the principle momentum under international law in the decolonisation process (see 1958, 1969).

 

---OIL, GAS & FOSSIL FUELS

*Oil is discovered in Abu Dhabi. Within three years, it is the sixth largest exporter of oil (its major fields are eventually estimated to hold reserves of over 12bn barrels).

*Soviet oil production gets a boost from a series of discoveries in Western Siberia (which becomes known as the “Russian Core”), culminating with the discovery of the super-giant Samotlor field in 1965, home to recoverable reserves estimated at some 14bn barrels. Production from the Volga-Urals region (see 1950) continues to grow, peaking at 4.5m barrels per day in 1975 but later drops back to less than a third of that level. Consequently, the USSR is able to ramp up overall production at an astounding rate. Growth in West Siberian production underpins an increase in total Soviet production from 7.6m barrels per day in 1971 to 9.9m by 1975. By the middle of the 1970s, West Siberian production is filling the gap being left by the decline in Volga Urals output. Nevertheless, while remaining second in the world after the Middle East, total production growth begins to slow in terms of surplus and exports (and even more significantly after 1965). By the end of the decade, crude production is not expanding fast enough to match the USSR’s own increasing oil needs, those of satellite countries in Eastern Europe or to provide a surplus for sale to the First World (see 1977).

*Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt announces the cessation of oil exploration concessions to private companies.

 

---WATER

*Israel destroys irrigation ditches in the lower Tarfiq in the demilitarised zone. Syria complains to the UN.

*Negotiations between Brazil and Paraguay over the development of the Paraná River are interrupted by a unilateral show of military force by Brazil, which invades the area and claims control over the Guaira Falls site. Military forces are withdrawn in 1967 following an agreement for a joint commission to examine development in the region.

 

EMPLOYMENT

*US federal employee’s unions are given the right to bargain collectively with government agencies as a result of an executive order signed by President Kennedy.

 

POVERTY, AID & CHARITY

*Michael Harrington (1928 – 1989) publishes The Other America, the first notable work to identify the emergence of an underclass in the US economy, Appearing at a time when most politicians and commentators were celebrating the achievements of the postwar American economy, the book uses much statistical analysis to argue that tens of millions of people remain desperately poor and trapped in a culture of poverty. And, despite its capabilities, the US has not solved the problem of poverty; rather, it is turning a blind eye to the large minority of Americans who remain poor. The book greatly inspires the War on Poverty (see 1964).

 

 

SOCIOLOGY

 

CRIME, PUNISHMENT & INTERNATIONAL LAW

*Monaco abolishes the death penalty (last execution was in 1847).

*East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter (1944 – 1962) as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin. Fechter becomes the first, and most famous, victim of the Wall. In 1997, two former East German guards will be convicted of manslaughter charges for the death and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment on probation: 263 people will be killed trying to escape over the Wall over the next 27 years

 

DRUGS, TOBACCO & ALCOHOL

 

---NARCOTICS

*The World Health Organisation advocates treating drug addicts in psychiatric institutions rather than imprisoning them.

*The US Supreme Court rules that drug addiction, in and of itself, is an illness and not a criminal offence.

 

ACTIVISM & ADVOCACY

*Der Spiegel, Germany’s biggest and most influential weekly magazine, publishes an article on a NATO exercise criticising the weakness of the West German army (the offices of the paper are occupied by the police a few days after). A fortnight on, Franz Josef Strauss (1915 - 1988), the West German defence minister, is relieved of his duties over the Spiegel affair because it is alleged that he was involved in the decision by the police to launch the raid. The scandal does not die, however, bringing down Chancelor Konrad Adenauer (see 1963).

*Council for a Liveable World: Eminent nuclear physicist Leo Szilard (see 1945) and other scientists who worked in the pioneer days of atomic weapons form a new advocacy group to warn the public and Congress of the threat of nuclear war and lead the way to rational arms control and nuclear disarmament. The lobby group’s efforts later see such things as nuclear testing moratoriums and the START treaties (see 1991) enacted.

*The Port Huron Statement: The Students for a Democratic Society (see 1959) issues the Port Huron Statement, a seminal document of the New Left (see 1956, 1960) which broadly outlines the agenda and themes for the anti-establishment radical political leftist groups which blossom this decade (in essence, it is a call for more “participatory democracy” based on non-violent civil disobedience inspired by the non-violent campaigns for independence overseen by Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi [1869 – 1948]). In its wake, the Society marshals a coalition of civil rights activists (see 1958, 1961), anti-war protestors (see 1964, 1965, 1966, etc) and those concerned with freedom of speech issues on college campuses (see 1964). As a consequence of bringing together political liberals and more revolutionary leftists (inspired by Maoism), the coalition will come under increasing strain as non-violent protests fail to stop US involvement in Vietnam and increasingly militant and more aggressive protests break out (see 1969). Similar student protest movements, also anti-authoritarian, anti-war and demanding far-reaching reform of society (along anti-conservative, libertarian lines) emerge in other Western nations, notably Germany, the fabled 'Generation of '68' and France (see 1968).##

 

CENSORSHIP

*Stanley Kubrick’s (1928 – 1999) adaptation of the Vladimir Nabokov (1899 – 1977) novel Lolita (about a man sexually obsessed with a prepubescent girl) is denied a Seal of Approval from the US Motion Picture Production Code.

 

SUICIDE & EUTHANASIA

 

---EUTHANASIA

*Japan’s high court technically allows medical euthanasia but very strong cultural taboos on suicide, dying and death mean that its incidence remains extremely rare to date. Although the Japan Society for Dying with Dignity, formed in 1966, later the largest right-to-die group in the world with more than 100,000 paid up members, it will only campaign for passive euthanasia – good advance directives about terminal care and no futile treatment rather than active euthanasia (in the face of the strong societal taboos).

 

RACE RELATIONS

*The UN General Assembly passes a resolution condemning South Africa’s racist apartheid policies and calls for all UN member states to cease military and economic relations with the nation.

*James Meredith (1933 - ) becomes the first black student to successfully enrol at the University of Mississippi (following four others whose admission has been denied). Meredith is initially barred from entering the campus, but the US Supreme Court upholds his right of admission. Secretly escorted onto campus, Meredith’s entry is backed up by a contingent of deputy federal marshals, US border patrolmen, and federal prison guards. Nevertheless, an angry mob of 2000 arrives and in an ensuing riot (which sees federal troops despatched), two people are left dead, 28 marshals are shot and another 160 injured.

*Malcolm X becomes a minister in the Nation of Islam. He rejects the non-violent civil-rights movement and integration, and becomes a champion of African American separatism and black pride. At one point he states that equal rights should be secured “by any means necessary,” a position he later revises.

*In South Africa, Nelson Mandela is captured and charged with crimes against the state – chiefly sabotage (punishable by death) (see 1964).

*The New Zealand Maori Council is established. With the loss of much of their land in the 19th century (seized by colonial governments), the culture and population of Maori has steadily declined. However, despite a high degree of intermingling between Maori and European populations, New Zealand’s indigenous peoples undergo a cultural revival which becomes more stridently militant into the 1970s.

*Robert F. Williams, organiser of armed resistance to white supremacist violence in the US South, while in exile in Cuba (see 1961), publishes Negroes with Guns, in which he advocates armed resistance by African Americans to white oppression, arguing that militant self-defence is a necessity in the civil rights struggle. Williams asserts that the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP which he led only survived in the face of vicious violence due to the fact they were armed. In several cases, police officials who normally ignored or encouraged Klan violence took steps to prevent whites from attacking armed blacks. In other cases, fanatical racists suddenly turned into cowards when they realised their intended victims were armed. The book is the single most important intellectual influence on the Black Panther Party (see 1966).

 

WOMEN, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

*The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, wherein signatory nations agree to ban forced marriage, enshrine in law a minimum age for marriage, and legally register all marriages in an appropriate official register by the competent authority.

*Female suffrage in Algeria, Monaco, Uganda and Zambia.

*In New York, domestic violence cases are transferred from Criminal Court to Family Court where only civil procedures apply. The husband never faces the harsher penalties he would suffer if found guilty in Criminal Court for assaulting a stranger.

*Helen Gurley Brown (1922 - ) publishes Sex and the Single Girl, an autobiographical tome in which she advocates women's sexual freedom and her opinion that women can have it all (love, sex and a career). She later spreads her progressive social gospel as editor of Cosmopolitan (see below, 1965, 1983).

 

DISABILITIES

*A series of sports camps for disabled athletes are held in the US. They eventually evolve into the first Special Olympics (see 1968).

 

CHILDREN & YOUTH

*Child Protection: In response to C. Henry Kempe’s research on battered children (see 1961), a symposium on child abuse is held in the US, which produces a recommendation for a model child abuse reporting law. By 1967, 44 states had adopted mandatory reporting laws (and later all states do).

 

SEX & SEXUALITY

 

---GENERAL

*The Rise of the Singles Culture: Helen Gurley Brown (see above, 1965, 1983) publishes Sex and the Single Girl, the first popular sex manual to appear. Vaguely autobiographical, it denies being either about sex or about single girls. Nevertheless, a bestseller, it champions career women and open sexuality, effectively destroying the notion of the ‘old maid,’ and ultimately opens the door to more risque fare (see 1969, 1972).

*Sex Shops: In Flensburg, West Germany, former Luftwaffe pilot Beate Uhse (1919 – 2001) opens the world’s first sex store. Liberalisation of various obscenity laws in the Western world (and beyond) over the next few decades sees sex stores become ubiquitous across most of the globe (barring, for instance, Islamic states). They are often located in designated ‘red light’ districts and sell products such as sex toys, pornography, erotic lingerie, erotic books, and condoms.

*Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner (see 1953) begins penning a “Playboy Philosophy” series in his editorial, in which he critiques mainstream society’s hypocrisy towards sexuality (c.f. widespread pre-marital and non-connubial sex but social opprobrium towards anyone engaging in intercourse outside marriage). He announces his hope for a sexual revolution to overturn this hypocritical state of affairs (see 1967).

 

---HOMOSEXUALITY, TRANSVESTISM & TRANSGENDERISM

*Gay activist Randy Wicker becomes the first self-identified homosexual on radio (in the US) (see 1964).

 

 

ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENTALISM

 

GENERAL

*A White House Conservation Conference is held (the second ever after one in 1908), opening up more discussion of environmental issues at the highest levels of US government.

 

POLLUTION, DEFORESTATION & DESERTIFICATION

 

---POLLUTION

*A killer smog in London leaves 750 dead.

*The Devil’s Cigarette Lighter: A gas fire in Algeria burns for 6 months until it is put out by famed Texan firefighter Red Adair (1915 - 2004).

*An article in The Washington Post entitled “Oil Slick is Shroud for Birds,” describes oil pollution at sea as a serious issue.  “[T]he dumping of old crankcase oil and the pumping of oily water from bilges” by oil tankers are major causes of the oil pollution. The paper notes that the most widespread cause of death among sea birds is from oil (insulating air pockets are destroyed which is a cause of drowning) and that while it is illegal to dump oil within 50 miles of a coastline, ships continue to do so.

*The First World Conference on National Parks is held in Seattle, Washington, to establish a more effective international understanding of national parks and to encourage further development of the national park movement on a worldwide scale. Further conferences follow every decade.

*Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, about the detrimental effect pesticides are having on the environment, and especially on birds. The book is read widely and, beyond being the impetus for the banning of DDT (see 1968, 1971, 1972), is a landmark publication in kicking off ‘second wave’ environmentalism and helping to create an environmental consciousness in the general public (concern about human pollution, desire to preserve the wilderness and save species from extinction, etc – the general opening up of a much stronger national dialogue about the relationship between people and nature). The criticism of the book most commonly cited today is that its suggestion that the increase in the proportion of deaths in childhood caused by cancer (as a consequence of an increase in the background level of carcinogens) was culpably misleading in ignoring the contribution to the absolute reduction of the childhood death rate of immunisation and antibiotics. Some agronomists at the time also ask whether Carson is intending to starve people by banning pesticides (which have partly enabled vast increases in crops – see 1944, 1945).

 

ANIMAL WELFARE

*Red List: The World Conservation Union produces the first Red Data Book detailing information on such aspects as the status, distribution, breeding rate, causes of decline, and proposed protective measures for all the world’s endangered species. However, it is intended solely for internal use. The first public edition appears four years later (and is later dubbed the ‘Red List’) (see 2004).

 

 

MAJOR DISASTERS

 

NATURAL

*In Peru, Mt. Huascaran erupts, destroying seven villages and killing 4000.

 

 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT

 

GENERAL

*Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, writes that “discovery commences with the awareness of anomaly, i.e. with the recognition that nature has somehow violated the paradigm-induced expectations that govern normal science.” Kuhn proposes that science does not evolve gradually toward truth, but instead undergoes periodic revolutions which he calls “paradigm shifts.” The enormous impact of Kuhn’s work can be measured in the revolution it later brings about even in the vocabulary of the history of science: besides “paradigm shifts,” Kuhn raises the word “paradigm” itself from a linguists’ term to its current broader meaning (i.e. a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalisations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated), coins the term “normal science” to refer to the relatively routine, day-to-day work of scientists working within a paradigm, and is largely responsible for the use of the term “scientific revolutions” in the plural, as against a single “Scientific Revolution” in the late Renaissance. Later, commentators remark that the implication of Kuhn’s work is that there is no such thing as ‘scientific knowledge,’ as every new paradigm is retained by contemporaries of it because it is useful not because it is real (i.e. it is ultimately open to challenge in the future by a new revolutionary paradigm). Also, up to Kuhn’s time, the philosophy of science has concentrated on such questions as how evidence confirms theories and what the difference is between science and pseudo-science, i.e. questions about the logic of science. Kuhn declares logic outmoded and replaces it with history. Hence, the way becomes open for any proponent of any concept (including, hitherto, pseudo-scientific ideas such as UFOs or alternative medicine) to defend their work as a harbinger of a revolutionary new paradigm to come (and opponents of said work or idea as merely the last narrow-minded diehards from a dying and soon-to-be-obsolete scientific paradigm). [Three years later, Kuhn will debate Karl Popper (see 1946), whose more positivistic belief in science’s revolutionary potential to falsify society’s dogmas clashes with Kuhn’s notion that science is just another human activity, like art or philosophy, only more specialised. If measured in book sales, Kuhn’s relativistic vision of shifting paradigms will win out and become the universally-recognised watershed in the philosophy of science, as Popper’s seminal work The Logic of Scientific Discovery, lapses into obscurity.]

 

PHYSICS & MATHEMATICS

*Thomas Gold, in “The Arrow of Time,” argues that the only evidence that time travels in a single direction (forward) is the expansion of the universe (which implies that should the universe contract – as in the Steady State theory of continual expansion and contraction [see 1948] – time’s arrow would reverse).

 

NUCLEAR ENERGY, WEAPONRY & BALLISTIC MISSILES

*France halts nuclear testing in Algeria (with the onset of independence) and, the following year, shifts its testing ground to French Polynesia.

*Against a backdrop of heightening tensions with the Russians (see above), President Kennedy discusses the option of a first strike nuclear attack on the USSR with some senior military officers (who recommend a strike no sooner than late 1963 when there will be sufficient numbers of missiles to allow a successfully strike). Kennedy also asks how much time US citizens will need to remain in shelters following an attack (i.e. to avoid the negative effects of globe-encircling atomic fallout) and is told at least a fortnight. Papers revealing the meeting are only declassified in 1993.

*US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara advocates a Counterforce policy of nuclear engagement, declaring the West will only strike Soviet military targets in a nuclear war and leave civilian population centres alone (a declaration he believes will be incentive enough for the Russians to reciprocate).

*Worldwide stockpile of nuclear warheads: US – 27,297, USSR – 3322, Great Britain – 205.

*American/Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles: US – 203, USSR – 36.

 

ASTRONOMY & SPACE EXPLORATION

*For the first time in 400 years Neptune and Pluto align.

*Ranger 3 space probe flies within 22,000 miles of the Moon.

*Ranger 4 space probe crashes into the Moon.

*Major John Glenn, aboard Friendship 7, becomes the first American to orbit the Earth (which he does three times in 4 hours and 55 minutes).

*Mariner 2 is launched (after the failure of Mariner) and conducts a flyby of Venus.

*An Aerobee rocket, flown by a group led by Riccardo Giacconi (1931 - ), discovers the first source of X-rays outside the Solar System (Scorpius X-1) and, also, the more general X-ray background. X-rays, like gamma rays (an energetic form of electromagnetic radiation produced by radioactivity or other nuclear or subatomic processes) and infrared radiation (electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than visible light, but shorter than microwave radiation), rarely penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere (hence, the discovery by instruments on a rocket).

*Total eclipse in Borneo and Papua New Guinea.

*Grand Conjunction: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun and Moon come within 16° of each other in the night sky.#

 

ARCHAEOLOGY & PALAEONTOLOGY

*New Archaeology: US archaeologist Lewis Binford (1930 – ) publishes “Archaeology as Anthropology” in American Antiquity, in which he challenges the long-held paradigm that archaeology is closely related to both history and anthropology (i.e. cultural history) as developed since the 19th century. Binford instead proposes that the discipline should become more “scientific” and “anthropological,” with hypothesis testing and the scientific method as important parts of the process. In processual archaeology, as it becomes known, an archaeologist should develop one or more hypotheses about a culture under study, and conduct excavations with the intention of testing these hypotheses against fresh evidence. Binford’s critique arises due to frustrations with the older generation’s teachings through which cultures have taken precedence over a people being studied themselves (as it is becoming clear, largely through the evidence of anthropology, that ethnic groups and their development are not always entirely congruent with the cultures in the archaeological record) (see 1986).

*An inscription by Roman Governor Pontius Pilate (who sentences Jesus Christ to death as depicted in the New Testament) is discovered in Caesarea Maritima, confirming the existence of Pilate and the role he played in Judea for over a decade.

 

GEOSCIENCES

*Geologist Harry Hess puts forward a suggestion that convection currents in the Earth’s mantle may be the cause of seafloor spreading.

 

ANTHROPOLOGY & LINGUISTICS

*Italian philosopher Umberto Eco (1932 - ) publishes Opera Aperta, in which he argues that literary texts are fields of meaning, rather than strings of meaning, that they are understood as open, internally dynamic and psychologically engaged fields. Those works of literature that limit potential understanding to a single, unequivocal line are the least rewarding, while those that are most open, most active between mind and society and line, are the most lively.

 

HEALTH & MEDICINE

*Australian scientists develop snake antivenene, capable of counteracting poison from most local snakes.

*The thymus gland is identified as a primary source for the body’s defence mechanisms.

*Michel Jouvet (1925 - ) shows that REM sleep is controlled by the pontine brain stem.

*James W. Black develops Propranolol, a beat-blocker drug for heart disease and allowing alleviation of high blood pressure, angina, cardiac arrhythmias and tremors.

*Ultrasound Diagnostic Testing: A team of US designers invent a compound ultrasonic scanner for use in medical diagnostic testing. Two of their number soon leave to form Physionic Engineering Inc, which launches the first commercial hand-held articulated arm compound contact ultrasonic B-mode scanner the following year (see 1958, 1970, 1980).

 

CHEMISTRY, BIOLOGY & GENETICS

*Molecular biologist Werner Arber (1929 - ) predicts the ultimate discovery of ‘restriction enzymes’ (i.e. bacterial enzymes capable of cleaving viral DNA at (targeted) points where specific nucleotide (organic molecule) sequences occur – thereby allowing human genetic manipulation of DNA sequences - see 1968, 1970). Of course, the usage of such a tool is subject to the cracking of the genetic code (see 1966).

*John B. Gurdon (1933 - ) demonstrates totipotency, wherein a fully differentiated cell still contains the genetic information to direct development of the cells in an entire animal, by removing the nuclei from fertilised frogs’ eggs and replacing them with a cell from a single tadpole’s intestine. The frogs grown in this way have identical genetic constitutions (i.e. they are clones – see 1963).

 

ENGINEERING

*First commercial superconducting (see 1957) wire, a niobium-titanium alloy, is developed by researchers at Westinghouse. Superconductive materials will be used in electromagnets, digital circuits and microwave filters for mobile phone stations.

*Researchers at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, Maryland, discover that a nickel-titanium alloy has so-called ‘shape memory’ properties, meaning that the metal can undergo deformation yet ‘remember’ its original shape, often exerting considerable force in the process. Although the effect was first observed in other materials in the 1930s, research now begins in earnest into the metallurgy and practical uses of these materials; eventually the alloy is used in eyeglass frames that can be bent without sustaining permanent damage, guide wires for steering catheters into blood vessels in the body, and arch wires for orthodontic correction.

*Synthetic Oils: Development of synthetic oils is spurred to meet the special lubricating requirements of military jets. Texaco produces the first such oil, Synthetic Aircraft Turbine Oil. Subsequently, Mobil Oil (which introduces the first synthetic grease in 1965) and AMSOIL become leaders in the field; their synthetics contain such additives as polyalphaolefins, derived from olefin, one of the three primary petrochemical groups. Saturated with hydrogen, olefin-carbon molecules provide excellent thermal stability. Following on the success of synthetic oils in military applications, they are introduced into the commercial market in the 1970s for use in automobiles (in the aftermath of the Oil Shocksee 1973).

 

AVIATION, TRANSPORT & SHIPPING

*An agreement is signed between Great Britain and France to develop the Concorde supersonic airliner.

*New York City introduces a train that operates without a crew on-board.

*An X-15 sets a new record altitude of 96km (or 314,750ft / 59miles).

 

COMMUNICATIONS

*Telstar, the world’s first active communications satellite, is launched into orbit (in what is also the first privately sponsored space launch). It soon relays the first live transatlantic television signal, deals with the first telephone call transmitted through space and successfully transmits faxes, data, and both live and taped television, including the first live transmission of television across an ocean (to Pleumeur-Bodou, in France). President Kennedy, also gives a live transatlantic press conference via Telstar.

*Researchers at General Electric, IBM, and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory find that diode devices based on the semiconductor gallium arsenide convert electrical energy into light. By the 1990s, billions of them are made yearly for use in telecommunications (and CD players).

*Motorola introduces the fully transistorised Handie-Talkie HT200 portable two-way radio.

*On its flight to Venus, Mariner 2 (see above) carries a Motorola radio transponder that provides a radio link spanning 54m miles.

*The Federal Communications Commission approves the ‘Bellboy’ radio paging system on a developmental basis for use at the Century 21 World’s Fair in Seattle. This marks the first commercial application of the paging system. Pagers begin to replace public announcement systems in hospitals and factories.

 

COMPUTERISATION & AUTOMATION

*Paul Baran (1926 - ) proposes breaking data down into “message blocks” prior to transmitting it across a information network (later referred to as “packet switching”) and how such a concept is instrumental to the realisation of a communications network (also see 1964).

*On-Line System: Douglas Engelbart (1925 - ) oversees a project funded by ARPA, NASA and the US Air Force that, over its six years of development, realises the first practical use of hypertext (see 1939, 1945, 1960, 1967) links, a computer mouse (see 1963), raster-scan video monitors (utilising the same method as TV monitors in drawing graphics by sweeping electrons across the entire screen – see also 1979), information organised by relevance, basic screen windowing (what later becomes a graphical user interface – see 1970), computer presentation (in which graphics, movies, and other objects are positioned on individual pages or ‘slides’ - later exemplified by PowerPointsee 1987), and other modern computing concepts.

*The Atlas I, a computer built by Manchester University, incorporates virtual memory (an extension of working memory) and multitasking (the simultaneous running of two or more programs).

*Industrial Robots: Unimation is the first company to produce industrial robots. Using the basic designs of George Devol (see 1954), the robots are called programmable transfer machines since their main use at first is to transfer objects from one point to another, less than a dozen feet or so apart. They used hydraulic actuators and are programmed in joint coordinates (i.e. the angles of the various joints are stored during a teaching phase and replayed in operation). For some time Unimation’s only competitor is Cincinnati Milacron. However, this changes radically in the mid 1970s when several big Japanese conglomerates begin producing similar industrial robots (because Unimation has only obtained patents in the US but not in Japan). Ironically, their designs are not only copied but significantly improved upon as Japan becomes the world leader in industrial robotics (see 1981).

*Cinematographer Morton Heilig (1926 - 1997) patents Sensorama, a simulator game which gives the player the experience of riding a motorcycle on the streets of Brooklyn. The player also feels the wind on their face, the vibration of the motorcycle seat, a 3D view, and even smells of the city. Unfortunately for Heilig and his vision to create a ‘cinema of the future’, the device is too ahead of its time and the business community cannot devise a way to successfully market the invention.

*First influential computer game: A group of students at MIT program a game called Spacewar! on the DEC PDP-1. The game pits two human players against each other, each controlling a spacecraft capable of firing missiles, while a star in the centre of the screen creates a large hazard for the crafts. The game proves highly popular among researchers and rapidly spreads through other computer research centres, inspiring other programmers to develop their own variations on the game (arguably setting the stage for commercial computer gaming – see 1972). A coin-operated commercial arcade version of Spacewar! is later released (see 1971).

 

 

ARTS & CULTURE

 

GENERAL

*Celebrity Tabloid Culture: The decline of the Hollywood studio system (see also 1950) sees less protection of stars’ private lives (hitherto, major studios having had special arrangements with gossip magazines so the latter would not report on more salacious gossip about stars). Actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932 - 2011) and actor Richard Burton (1925 – 1984), during the filming of the historical the epic Cleopatra (see also 1963) begin an affair and paparazzi (see 1950) shots (taken by telephoto lens) of the couple lounging on a yacht in the Mediterranean make world headlines amidst much controversy given they are both married to other people. A convergence of ever more invasive/aggressive paparazzi, the rise of modern women’s magazines (see above) and coverage of the lives of celebrities (especially their foibles) gives rise to a celebrity tabloid culture (itself part of a larger humanist cult of celebrity – see 1966). Taylor’s tumultuous relationship with Burton, her multiple marriages, and her struggles with drug addiction arguably become something of a template for tabloid celebrity fare.

*The Century 21 Exposition is held in Seattle, Washington on the theme of “Science.” Nearly 10m people visit the site, which features the now-familiar Space Needle.

 

PHILOSOPHY, POLITICAL SCIENCE & HISTORY

*Political theorist Bernard Crick (1929 - ) publishes In Defence of Politics, in which he argues that social democratic politics, with all its compromises and power struggles, remains the only tested alternative to government by coercion, making both freedom and order possible in heterogeneous societies. Crick declares that “politics is ethics done in public.” He seeks to arrive at a “politics of action”, as opposed to a “politics of thought” or of ideology, the latter engenders ideologically-driven leaders who practice a form of “anti-politics” in which the goal is the mobilisation of the populace towards a common end on pain of death. Views held by Mao Zedong of China (“Power grows from the barrel of a gun”) and Josef Stalin of Russia (“The Pope? How many battalions does he control?”) are therefore “anti-political” as the speaker seeks to overcome any ethics of his constituency with the threat of violence. Critics counter that Crick, in his praise of the Western system, ignores the seedy underbelly that also exists in politics (which becomes, when taking this into account, more the masking of one’s essential self-interest in order to appeal to the masses - whether by force or by more peaceful means).

*Jacques Ellul publishes Propagandes (Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes), in which he argues that while the most educated in the West believe themselves immune to modern political propaganda due to their proclivity for reading and watching news and other governmental outflow, such ‘intellectuals’ are actually far more vulnerable than the masses who do not receive propaganda as often. The main problem, he asserts, is that, in saturating themselves in the modern media, intellectuals absorb a great deal of second-hand and unverifiable information, which they often feel a need to have an opinion about. In addition, they consider themselves so smart that they can “judge [the information subjectively] for themselves,” and they usually seriously underestimate their susceptibility to propaganda (given that they can see mere “idiots” reject some of it with ease). The author also asserts that propaganda is most useful when it reinforces earlier biases and misconceptions, it becomes extremely powerful once a person makes an active commitment to a cause (that person finds it very tough to recant), it creates a dynamic whereby a person so affected usually resists engaging in dialogue with anyone who disagrees with them, education increases the ingestion of propaganda (and in fact it is a prerequisite), and democracies such as the US are very vulnerable to propaganda (in fact, this form of government makes propaganda all the more necessary, since the powers that be must work on people’s minds more than their bodies as this socio-politico system is not a dictatorship; hence, people in democracies should expect to be heavily and relentlessly propagandised). Ellul proposes that high intelligence, a broad culture, constant use of critical faculties and access to and use of sources of information are the best weapons against propaganda (but they simply aren’t used often enough – by intellectuals or the broader community) (see 1965).

*Objectivism: Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982) begins to forcefully promote her philosophy of  Objectivism (hitherto advanced in novels) in lectures and essays in various periodicals (quickly gathering about her a clique of followers and supporters). She holds that there is an independent reality that human beings are conscious of through their senses, that reason is the only way of gathering knowledge and only the individual rational mind can process this data. It is the proper moral purpose of one’s life to pursue one’s own rational self-interest, and that the only moral social system is full laissez-faire capitalism with a government strictly limited to courts, police, and a military, because it is the only system where humans are barred from initiating the use of physical force upon each other (either within or outside the structure of said government). Rand’s books sell 20m copies and remain in print to date; her libertarian philosophy sees followers found several think tanks (such as the Cato Institutesee 1977)

 

VISUAL ARTS & SCULPTURE

*Fluxus: US artist George Maciunas (1931 – 1978) organises the first Fluxus International Festspiele in Wiesbaden, Germany. Fluxus works are intended to blend different artistic disciplines, primarily visual art but also music and literature and, reacting against formalism (the notion that aesthetic values can stand alone and that judgements of art can be detached from other subjective considerations such as ethical, social or political ones), Fluxus artists attempt to shift the aesthetic emphasis of the art world from what an artist makes to the artist’s personality, actions and opinions (thereby influencing conceptualism – see 1967). Into the 1970s, Fluxus artists stage ‘action’ events engage in politics and public speaking, and produce work exploring media ranging from performance art to poetry to experimental music to film. Notable Fluxus artists include Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986) and Yoko Ono (1933 - ).

 

CINEMA

*The British Cinema Boom: British studios begin to enjoy major success in the international market with a string of films that display a more liberated attitude to sex, eventually capitalising on the ‘Swinging London’ image propagated by TIME magazine (in the wake of the Beatles). Films like Darling (1965), Alfie (1966), Georgy Girl (1966), and The Knack (1966) all explore this phenomenon, while Blow-Up (1966), Repulsion (1965) and later Women in Love (1969), break taboos around the portrayal of sex and nudity on screen. At the same time, producers Harry Saltzman (1915 - 1994) and Albert R. Broccoli (1909 – 1996) combine sex with exotic locations, casual violence and self-referential humour in the phenomenally successful James Bond series. The first film Dr. No is a sleeper hit in Britain in 1962, and the second, From Russia with Love (1963), is a hit worldwide. By the time of the third film, Goldfinger (1964), the series has become a global phenomenon, reaching its commercial peak with Thunderball the following year. The series success leads to a global spy film boom.

*Mondo Film: Mondo Cane is the first quasidocumentary (later known as a ‘shockumentary’), produced for shock value, with sensational topics and scenes. The genre later evolves into notorious fare such as Faces of Death (1978), which guides viewers through explicit scenes depicting a variety of ways to die, and Bumfights (2002), which depicts homeless people fighting and attempting amateur stunts in exchange for money and alcohol.

 

MEDIA

 

---GENERAL

*Marshall McLuhan publishes The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, a pioneering study of Western print culture. He traces the emergence of what he calls Gutenberg Man, the subject produced by the change of consciousness wrought by the advent of the printed book (later rendered as, the “medium is the message” – see 1964). For McLuhan, new technologies (like alphabets and printing presses, and, for that matter, speech itself) exert a gravitational effect on cognition, which in turn affects social organisation: Print technology changed our perceptual habits (“visual homogenizing of experience”), which in turn impacted social interactions (“foster[ing] a mentality that gradually resists all but a...specialist outlook”). According to McLuhan, the advent of print technology created sequential, linear ways of thinking, that made us label, classify, list, become detached; and so it contributed to and made possible most of the salient trends in the Modern period in the West: individualism, democracy, Protestantism, capitalism and nationalism. Similarly, visual, individualistic print culture will soon be brought to an end by “electronic interdependence,” when electronic media (which make people sees the world in more natural, organic, less unitary ways) replace visual culture with aural/oral culture. In this new age, humanity will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a “tribal base.” He likens the situation of an emerging vast network of communications systems to one extended central nervous system, ultimately linking everyone in the world, and dubs it the “global village” (a term which has predominantly negative connotations in this context - a fact lost on its later popularisers):

Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence...Terror is the normal state of any oral society, for in it everything affects everything all the time...In our long striving to recover for the Western world a unity of sensibility and of thought and feeling we have no more been prepared to accept the tribal consequences of such unity than we were ready for the fragmentation of the human psyche by print culture.

 

---PRINT

*Underground / Countercultural Magazines: F*ck You: A Magazine of the Arts begins publication in the US, a deliberately provocative mimeographed journal dedicated to free expression, and especially defying the taboos around sex and drugs, advocating free sex and the use of psychedelics long before such concepts are propagated more widely (see 1965, 1967). Begun by Beat poets, the publication bridges the gap between the Beat movement and the hippie culture (see 1965) and inspires countless imitations in the US, Europe and elsewhere (one, the less radical Rolling Stonesee 1967 – helps spark the rise of special interest magazines and eventually becomes a popular mainstream publication, although early devotees later assert that it ‘sells out’ in the process).

 

---TELEVISION

*The satirical television series That Was the Week That Was begins; popular sketches include a comedian impersonating prime minister Harold McMillan (one of the earliest instances of a public figure being held up to televisual ridicule).

*First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 – 1994) takes television viewers on a tour of the White House.

 

MUSIC & POP SUBCULTURES

 

---GENERAL / TECHNOLOGY

*Marshall Amplification: British music shop proprietor and designer Jim Marshall (1923 - ) develops the Marshall amplifier for electric guitars. Initially, his 45 watt amplifiers are very similar in both design and tone to Fender (see 1941) products of the time, but he gradually develops 100 watt amplifiers in response to guitarists seeking to get more power out of their playing/sound. As the decade progresses, a succession of guitarists exploit the extra amplification, such as Eric Clapton (1945 - ), Jimi Hendrix (1942 - 1970) and Jimmy Page (1944 - ), who become the first generation of guitar ‘heroes’ and help establish rock music as the successor to rock ‘n’ roll.

 

SPORTS & HOBBIES

*Russian newspaper Izvestia reports baseball is an old Russian game.

 

 

RELIGION & BELIEF

 

GENERAL

*In the US, religious leaders from different faith traditions begin exploring the possibilities for organizing a “religious summit” to address the need for believers around the world to take action toward achieving peace. The discussions culminate in two conferences, the first in New York in 1964 and a larger one, the National Inter-Religious Conference on Peace, in Washington two years later. The success of these events encourages the exploration of the possibilities for a worldwide conference of religious leaders (see 1968, 1969, 1970).

 

CHRISTIANITY

*The Church Center for the United Nations is established by the Methodist Church across the road from the UN. It quickly becomes a centre for Christian social activism in the geopolitical sphere.

*Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

*The Second Vatican Council (aka ‘Vatican II’): Pope John XXIII convenes the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years.#### The Council is a landmark event in the life of the world’s largest single religious grouping, its goal being nothing short than delineating the Church’s accommodation with the modern world as well as finding an accommodation between the Catholics and the Ecumenical Movement. Although its reforms don’t have their full impact on parochial life until the 1970s, commentators cite the Council’s changes as directly bringing about an adverse transformation of church life by denuding Catholicism of its sacredness and ceremony (the alterations to devotional practices reducing the cultural markers separating Catholics from non-Catholics and eroding a sense of cultural distinctiveness). Consequently, a long decline in European Catholicism sets in (e.g. 25% of French are practicing Catholics in 1950, 5% in 2005, Germany’s Cologne diocese records one baptism for every three funerals by the 21st century – indicative of the ageing of the church population, and even in ‘committed’ Ireland, rates fall from 90% church attendance in the 1970s to 50% a quarter of a century later).#####

 

ISLAM

*Saudi Arabia, evoking its new Pan-Islam doctrine (see above), sponsors the establishment of the Mecca-based Muslim World League, which builds a worldwide network of Muslim clients. The League not only operates among pilgrims but also assembles many congresses of Muslim activists and teachers from abroad, especially from among the Muslim Brotherhood.

*Splits among Muslim powers and thinkers are evidenced by four separate congresses held this year: one based in Karachi, Pakistan, but held in Baghdad, Iraq (World Islamic Conference), one based in Cairo (Islamic Congress), a breakaway group meeting in Jerusalem (Associates of the General Islamic Congress), and a newly formed group founded at Mecca to act against Egypt’s President Nasser (League of the Islamic World).

 

ATHEISM, SECULARISM & HUMANISM

*The US Supreme Court rules that prayers in public schools are unconstitutional. The plaintiffs successfully argue that opening the school day with such a prayer (even if students are not required to recite it) violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” In the wake of the decision, the ACLU (see 1953) begins to more frequently file lawsuits on the grounds of “separation of church and state.”

 

NEW AGE, SPIRITUALITY & CULTS

*Human Potential Movement: Psychologists Michael Murphy (1930 - ) and Dick Price (1930 – 1985), who share an interest in the integration of Eastern and Western thought (and who have been inspired by writers from the Beat Movement [see 1952] as well as research into comparative religions) establish the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, a retreat centre promoting humanistic alternative education – involving multidisciplinary studies ordinarily neglected or unfavoured by traditional academia in subjects ranging from meditation to massage, yoga, psychology, ecology, spirituality, art, music, et al. The pair see Esalen as an alternative to contemporary mental health practices, especially those of mental hospitals: the Institute is envisioned as a place where inner process can move forward safely and without interruption (this is a particular goal since Price has experienced incarceration in a mental facility against his will after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia in 1956). The Institute soon becomes known for its blend of East/West philosophies, experiential/didactic workshops and for playing host to a wide range of esoteric philosophers, psychologists, artists, and religious thinkers (such as Alan Watts – see 1957, 1960 – who leads the first seminar to be held at Esalen, Abraham Maslow, a signal force in humanistic psychology – see 1943, 1951 – and British writer Aldous Huxley – see 1948 – who gives an early lecture at Esalen on the subject of ‘human potential’). Gradually, an ethos develops out of Esalen concerning the potential of human beings to utilise various techniques and aids (psychological, narcotic, spiritual, etc) to experience an exceptional quality of life filled with happiness, creativity, and fulfillment (and, in turn, invariably going on to direct their actions within society towards assisting others to release their human potential). Adherents of this ethos grow to believe that the net effect of individuals cultivating their potential will bring about positive social change at large (writer George Leonard [1923 – 2010] later coins the term ‘Human Potential movement’ - in his book The Transformation [1972] - to describe devotees/practitioners of such beliefs). The Human Potential Movement will inform much of the spirituality of the counterculture of the 1960s (see 1967) and is also a progenitor of the self-esteem movement and self-help publishing industry (see 1969).

*Findhorn Foundation: A group of Scottish spiritualists that has been practising Eastern practises such as channelling and meditation since the late 1940s (having been influenced by Sheena Govan [1912 - 1967], the American daughter of an evangelist who broke with conventional Christianity to promote a concept of birthing the Christ within and connecting directly to the divine realm), establish a community near Findhorn, Scotland. The settlement is organised around organic gardening as a way of growing food and communing with nature spirits whose guidance purportedly allows the garden to flourish. The Foundation later helps inspire the development of a Green Religion (see 1979, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1994), as many later environmental activists embrace the same values as Findhorn: values of planetary service, co-creation with nature and attuning to the divinity within all beings.

*Fiction-Inspired Religions: The Church of All Worlds is set up as the first fiction-inspired religion (a belief system featured in sci-fi author Robert Heinlen’s [1907 - 1988] Stranger in a Strange Land [1961]). Some four decades later, participants in censuses of a few English-speaking nations record their religion as ‘Jedi’ (in reference to the movie Star Warssee 1977); although little more than a practical joke, the phenomenon does serve to raise new questions about the nature of religion and fiction.

 

 

 

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U Thant’s ascension to the post of UN Secretary-General at the dawn of the 1960s was timely. Eastern religion and a focus on inner tranquillity would come to permeate Western society later in the decade and Thant would prove to be an inspiration to countless thousands of seekers. He would later reveal in his autobiography that before making major decisions he would practice meditation for a few minutes in private, even excusing himself from his VIP visitors and staff.

Drawing from the beliefs of his Buddhist mysticism, with an attendant belief that nurturing the inner aspects of life is equally as important as ensuring a high standard of living, Thant pushed UN efforts in heretofore uncultivated areas such as ecology and population control, as well as give his blessing to religious universalism initiatives by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In line with his idea of a holistic approach to world affairs, NGOs (such as Amnesty International) would gain official UN affiliation during his tenure.

Thant would also prove highly influential in the life of high-ranking UN official Robert Muller (1923 - ), who would go on to champion numerous efforts to achieve world unity politically and religiously (see 1979).

 

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The following excerpt is the beginning of the Port Huron Statement, including the section on Values.

INTRODUCTION:  AGENDA FOR A GENERATION

We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.

When we were kids the United States was the wealthiest and strongest country in the world; the only one with the atom bomb, the least scarred by modern war, an initiator of the United Nations that we thought would distribute Western influence throughout the world. Freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people - these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as men.  Many of us began maturing in complacency.

As we grew, however, our comfort was penetrated by events too troubling to dismiss. First, the permeating and victimizing fact of human degradation, symbolized by the Southern struggle against racial bigotry, compelled most of us from silence to activism. Second, the enclosing fact of the Cold War, symbolized by the presence of the Bomb, brought awareness that we ourselves, and our friends, and millions of abstract “others” we knew more directly because of our common peril, might die at any time.  We might deliberately ignore, or avoid, or fail to feel all other human problems, but not these two, for these were too immediate and crushing in their impact, too challenging in the demand that we as individuals take responsibility for encounter and resolution.

While these and other problems either directly oppressed us or rankled our consciences and became our own subjective concerns, we began to see complicated and disturbing paradoxes in our surrounding America.  The declaration “all men are created equal...” rang hollow before the fact of Negro life in the South and the big cities of the North. The proclaimed peaceful intentions of the United States contradicted its economic and military investments in the Cold War status quo.

We witnessed, and continue to witness, other paradoxes. With nuclear energy whole cities can easily be powered, yet the dominant nation-states seem more likely to unleash destruction greater than that incurred in all wars of human history. Although our own technology is destroying old and creating new forms of social organization, men still tolerate meaningless work and idleness. While two-thirds of mankind suffers under-nourishment, our own upper classes revel amidst superfluous abundance.  Although world population is expected to double in forty years, the nations still tolerate anarchy as a major principle of international conduct and uncontrolled exploitation governs the sapping of the earth’s physical resources. Although mankind desperately needs revolutionary leadership, America rests in national stalemate, its goals ambiguous and tradition-bound instead of Informed and clear, its democratic system apathetic and manipulated rather that “of, by, and for the people.”

Not only did tarnish appear on our image of American virtue, not only did disillusion occur when the hypocrisy of American ideals was discovered, but we began to sense that what we had originally seen as the American Golden Age was actually the decline of an era. The worldwide outbreak of revolution against colonialism and imperialism, the entrenchment of totalitarian states, the menace of war, the over population, international disorder, super-technology - these trends were testing the tenacity of our own commitment to democracy and freedom and our abilities to visualize their application to a world in upheaval.

Our work is guided by the sense that we may be the last generation in the experiment with living. But we are a minority — the vast majority of our people regard the temporary equilibriums of our society and world as eternally-functional parts. In this is perhaps the outstanding paradox:  we ourselves are imbued with urgency, yet the message of our society is that there is no viable alternative to the present.  Beneath the reassuring tones of the politicians, beneath the common opinion that America will “muddle through,” beneath the stagnation of those who have closed their minds to the future, is the pervading feeling that there simply are no alternatives, that our times have witnessed the exhaustion not only of Utopias, but of any new departures as well. Feeling the press of complexity upon the emptiness of life, people are fearful of the thought that at any moment things might be thrust out of control.  They fear change itself, since change might smash whatever invisible framework seems to hold back chaos for them now. For most Americans, all crusades are suspect, threatening. The fact that each individual sees apathy in his fellows perpetuates the common reluctance to organize for change. The dominant institutions are complex enough to blunt the minds of their potential critics, and entrenched enough to swiftly dissipate or entirely repel the energies of protest and reform, thus limiting human expectancies.  Then, too, we are a materially improved society, and by our own improvements we seem to have weakened the case for further change.

Some would have us believe that Americans feel contentment amidst prosperity - but might it not better be called a glaze above deeply felt anxieties about their role in the new world? And if these anxieties produce a developed indifference to human affairs, do they not as well produce a yearning to believe there is an alternative to the present, that something can be done to change circumstances in the school, the workplaces, the bureaucracies, the government?  It is to this latter yearning, at once the spark and engine of change, that we direct our present appeal. The search for truly democratic alternatives to the present and a commitment to social experimentation with them, is a worth and fulfilling human enterprise, one which moves us and, we hope, others today. On such a basis do we offer this document of our convictions and analysis:  as an effort in understanding and changing the conditions of humanity in the late twentieth century, an effort rooted in the ancient, still unfulfilled conception of man attaining determining influence over his circumstances.

 

VALUES

Making values explicit - an initial task in establishing alternatives - is an activity that has been devalued and corrupted. The conventional moral terms of the age, the political moralities - “free world,” “people’s democracies” - reflect realities poorly, if at all, and seem to function more as ruling myths than as descriptive principles. But neither has our experience in the universities brought us moral enlightenment. Our professors and administrators sacrifice controversy to public relations; their curriculum change more slowly than the living events of the world; their skills and silence are purchased by investors in the arms race; passion is called unscholastic. The questions we might want raised - what is really important? can we live in a different and better way? if we wanted to change society, how would we do it? - are not thought to be questions of a “fruitful, empirical nature,” and thus are brushed aside....

In suggesting social goals and values, therefore, we are aware of entering a sphere of some disrepute.  Perhaps matured by the past, we have no sure formulas, no closed theories - but that does not mean values are beyond discussion and tentative determination.  A first task of any social movement is to convince people that the search for orienting theories and the creation of human values is complex, but worthwhile.  We are aware that to avoid platitudes we must analyze the concrete conditions of social order.  But to direct such an analysis we must use the guideposts of basic principles. Our own social values involve conceptions of human beings, human relationships, and social systems.

We regard men as infinitely precious and possessed of unfulfilled capacities for reason, freedom, and love. In affirming these principles we are aware of countering perhaps the dominant conceptions of man in the twentieth century: that he is a thing to be manipulated, and that he is inherently incapable of directing his own affairs. We oppose the depersonalization that reduces human beings to the status of things - if anything, the brutalities of the twentieth century teach that means and ends are intimately related, that vague appeals to “posterity” cannot justify the mutilations of the present. We oppose, too, the doctrine of human incompetence because it rests essentially on the modern fact that men have been “competently” manipulated into incompetence - we see little reason why men cannot meet with increasing skill the complexities and responsibilities of their situation, if society is organized not for minority, but for majority participation in decision-making.

Men have unrealized potential for self-cultivation, self-direction, self-understanding, and creativity. It is this potential that we regard as crucial and to which we appeal, not to the human potential for violence, unreason, and submission to authority. The goal of man and society should be human independence: a concern not with image of popularity but with finding a meaning in life that is personally authentic; a quality of mind not completely driven by a sense of powerlessness, nor one which unthinkingly adopts status values, nor one which represses all threats to its habits, but one which has full, spontaneous access to present and past experiences; one which easily unites the fragmented parts of personal history; one which openly faces problems which are troubling and unresolved; one with an intuitive awareness of possibilities, an active sense of curiosity, an ability and willingness to learn.

This kind of independence does not mean egotistic individualism—the object is not to have one’s way so much as it is to have a way that is one’s own.  Nor do we deify man—we merely have faith in his potential.

Human relationships should involve fraternity and honesty.  Human interdependence is contemporary fact; human brotherhood must be willed, however, as a condition of future survival and as the most appropriate form of social relations...

As a social system we seek the establishment of a democracy of individual participation, governed by two central aims: that the individual share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his life; that society be organized to encourage independence in men and provide the media for their common participation.

In a participatory democracy, the political life would be based on several root principles:

- That decision-making of basic social consequence be carried on by public groupings;

- That politics be seen positively, as the art of collectively creating an acceptable pattern of social relations...

Like the political and economic ones, major social institutions - cultural, educative, rehabilitative, and others - should be generally organized with the well-being and dignity of man as the essential measure of success.

In social change or interchange, we find violence to be abhorrent...It is imperative that the means of violence be abolished and the institutions - local, national, international - that encourage non-violence as a condition of conflict be developed.

These are our central values, in skeletal form. It remains vital to understand their denial or attainment in the context of the modern world.

 

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Conjunctions occur when two celestial bodies observable from Earth (with the naked eye) appear very close to one another (some have posited the biblical Star of Bethlehem was the result of a triple conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn – conjunctions involving these two largest planets are known as Greater Conjunctions and on occasion they appear to merge into one as seen from Earth, an event known as an occultation). While minor conjunctions of two bodies occur several times a year (as do minor solar eclipses), major / grand conjunctions involving four or five of the visible planets (typically separated by 20° or less – separations of greater degrees are more common) are far rarer (often separated by several decades or more: one estimate puts conjunctions where the five naked-eye planets fit within a circle 25° or less in diameter at once every 57 years on average and occasions when the five planets fit within a circle 10° or less in diameter at an average of once every 584 years).

In Eastern mythology, biblical and Western astrological tradition, signs in the heavenlies (such as eclipses, grand conjunctions and comets) were thought to be harbingers of great change or doom.

The rise of scientific astronomy since the 17th century largely relegated astrology to more of a curiosity than a science and planetary conjunctions were no longer accorded much meaning by most people. Conjunctions went largely unnoticed, or noted only as scientific curiosities.

However, in the latter part of the 20th century the fear of conjunctions was again popular, but this time under the guise of ‘science.’ It was claimed by some that the alignment of the gravitational pull of all the planets could wreak great damage on Earth, causing earthquakes, volcanoes and other catastrophes.

Though this view has no scientific basis, it took hold in the popular mind, in part because it resonated with a number of themes that became popular in the late 20th century:

- The rise of New Age beliefs, which revived many ancient mystical and astrological traditions.

- The sense, arising from the ecology movement, that Earth is precariously balanced and therefore any tiny effect can have very large consequences.

- A reduced trust in government, which made it plausible to believe that the supposed danger of planetary conjunctions could be ‘covered up’ by the authorities. This, in turn, made it easier to disbelieve statements by scientists asserting that there is no danger from conjunctions.

 

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[With material from The Sea of Faith online network; written by Fr Michael Morton]

CATHOLIC MODERNISM

Modernism itself is really very hard to define. Even the name was conjured up to embrace a whole array of what were considered unacceptable ideas and subjects of study. Broadly speaking, it can be explained with reference to three areas.

For it was a movement which tried to bring the tradition of Catholic belief into closer relation with modern outlooks in philosophy, history and social science. It was a response on the part of some Catholic scholars to the age of transformation and ideas in society that evolved during the course of the 19th century.

The leading ideas in [this] movement [of religious liberalism] were, firstly, an adoption of the critical view of the scriptures which by the end of the 19th century were generally accepted outside the Catholic Church. The Scriptures were to be understood as the record of an unfolding of divine truth in history. Abandoning artificial attempts to harmonise inconsistencies, scholars recognised that the sacred authors of the scriptures were subject to many of the limitations of other historians. In 1893, Pope Leo XIII’s [1810 - 1903] encyclical Providentissimus Deus seemed to give encouragement to this field of study, although it was really a warning to the more enterprising scholars.

The second broad area of research was to set aside the intellectualism of the revived scholastic theology [which sought to illuminate matters of religious faith through intellectual understanding – such as Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), who attempted to reconcile seeming contradictions in revealed truths by presenting a doctrine with supporting argument, contradicting argument, and a solution] from the Middle Ages, and to find the essence of Christian faith in life and action rather than an intellectual system or creed…

Lastly, there was a serious interest in history and the historical process, in its ending rather than its origins. Scholars wrote that since the growth of the Church takes place under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the essence of the Gospel will lie in its full expansion rather than in its primitive historic kernel. This line of study led to critical examination of the historic origins of the Gospel and the early Church. Of course, to traditionalists the Bible is a divine and holy book, whose author is God himself. Any critical attitude is unsuitable because it is question-begging: assuming in advance that the Bible is not God’s word but human writing.

 

THE CONTROVERSY OF LIBERALISM

During the 19th century, there had been a great deal of controversy on this very issue amongst Lutheran and Anglican scholars. In Germany, D. F. Strauss [1808 - 1874] published a book called The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined [1835]. Essentially he said that the Gospels are strange works whose contents call for interpretation. His understanding was that Jesus was a Jewish teacher and martyr whose life was mythicised by his followers with supernatural ideas from the Old Testament. So the whole of the supernatural in the Gospels is not history but religious symbolism which can be understood by tracing its Old Testament sources.

The book had great success, but it cost Strauss his career. He never taught again, and his book could only be sold in England as an anti-religious work. Some Anglican scholars such as Edward Pusey [1800 - 1882] and Benjamin Jowett [1817 - 1893] from Oxford also got their fingers burned when they tried to introduce ideas similar to those of Strauss. But Strauss’ old University at Tubingen in Wurttemburg, which is one of the chief intellectual centres in Europe, became associated with new, liberal ways of looking at the scriptures.

Meanwhile, in the Catholic Church the orthodox had long had their eye on the historians. The German church historians - especially those from the Catholic faculty at Tubingen - had opposed the infallibility decree at Vatican I [in 1868, which had decreed, in addition to the Pope’s infallibility when defining church dogma, that the Bible was God’s inspired word]. Yet the Church could not abandon biblical studies to the Protestants, and that was the reason for Pope Leo’s encyclical. Unfortunately, few people of importance in Rome or Catholic academia knew enough to understand the premises and methodology of modern biblical exegesis and its related disciplines…

Pope Leo XIII never followed up his warnings by a systematic persecution, but his successor Pope Pius X [1835 - 1914] did[, with many works by Catholic liberals placed on] the Index of Prohibited Books [and, indeed, many liberals excommunicated]…

Pius was determined to prevent the clergy from being contaminated by the [Modernist] errors, as he saw them, of the historical and natural sciences. He wrote:

We will take the greatest care to safeguard our clergy from being caught up in the snares of modern scientific thought - a science that does not breathe the truths of Christ, but by its cunning and subtle arguments defiles the mind of the people with the errors of Rationalism and semi-Rationalism.

…In 1907, Pope Pius published the decree Lamentabili, a sweeping condemnation which distinguished sixty-five propositions of the Modernist Heresy…Broadly speaking, [he saw] Modernism as…the attempt to illuminate the history and teaching of Christianity by the objective use of academic disciplines which had been developed during and since the Enlightenment…The decree was followed two months later by the encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis which imposed a compulsory anti-modernist oath on all Catholic bishops, priests and teachers. It was the beginning of an anti-modernist hunt which damaged many ecclesiastical careers…

The with-hunt (or noble cause, depending on one’s view), came to an end with the succession of Benedict XV(1854 – 1922),who calmed the excesses of the campaign against Modernist scholars and , though his first encyclical condemned errors in modern philosophical systems and no excommunicated scholars were returned to the faith.

 

A DESIRE TO REACH AN ACCOMMODATION WITH THE MODERN WORLD

It took several decades for liberal tendencies to re-emerge in Catholic circles, although when they did, in the 1950s, they were more concerned, in keeping with post-war cosmological developments concerning existentialism, with the experiential rather than the intellectual. ). This liberalism sprang from theologians such as Yves Congar (1904 – 1995) and Karl Rahner (1904 – 1984) who looked to integrate modern human experience with Christian truth.

At the same time the world’s bishops faced tremendous challenges driven by political, social, economic and technical change. Many of these bishops sought changes in church structure and practice to “better” address those challenges, changes they thought long overdue.

Pope Pius XII had considered convening a Council in order to address these issues and to confront Communism, but was advised not to do so because the presence of Modernists threatened to undermine his efforts and revolutionise the Church.

Pope John XXIII had no such qualms, however, and gave notice of his intention to convene the Council less than three months after his election in 1959. While in many messages over the next three years he expressed his intentions in formal detail, one of the best known images is of Pope John, when asked why the Council was needed, opened a window and reportedly said “I want to throw open the windows of the Church so that we can see out and the people can see in.” In order not to offend the Orthodox in Communist countries, he signed the Pact of Metz (wherein the Russian Orthodox Church agreed to send observers to Vatican II as long as there would be no condemnation of Communis), which ensured that the Council would not confront the realities of Marxism (such as the tyranny of dictatorship, etc).

Vatican II was the largest of the twenty-one ecumenical councils held over the past two millennia, with a total of 2600 bishops from all over the world and a total of over 3000 participants (including theologians and other experts). As a comparison, the First Vatican Council had a total of 737 bishops who attended. It is also important to note that the participants really did come from all over the world - whereas Vatican I was dominated by European bishops, fewer than half of the bishops at Vatican II were from European countries.

Other notable facts: this council had more observers from other religions and non-Catholic Christian denominations than any other. It was the first council to have available electric lights, telephones, and other modern amenities. It was the first to receive extensive media coverage from all over the world. This council was also unusual in that it was not called to address some specific heresy or threat to the Church - instead, John XXIII specifically stated that he called it to promote peace and easy discord.

The primary findings of the Council were

*God’s Church includes all “People of God,” not simply the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and Catholics were encouraged to join efforts at ecumenism (achieving unity/solidarity with all Christians).**

*There is a hierarchy of truths - thus, not all official Church teachings are equally binding on all Catholics or essentially to the integrity of Catholic Faith.

*Church liturgy (such as the Mass) was now allowed in the mother tongue of celebrants (and was no longer required to be in Latin).

Although traditionalists managed to limit the changes which progressives wanted to make, this council nevertheless produced the most and widest changes in the Roman Catholic Church since the Council of Trent (1545 - 1563) during the Reformation.

Many liberals hailed the Council as a modernising event that took the Church away from its dogmatic view of Scripture, devotion to Scholasticism, and firm ideas on the “Four Last Things” (i.e., Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell). They saw Vatican II as being the beginning of a “New Springtime,” a source of renewal and revitalisation, for what they believed was a stagnant institution.

And yet, others viewed the Council as having been a negative (or mostly negative) influence for those very same reasons.

For instance, many Catholic laity (especially in the US, but later, in Western Europe too) felt the outcomes of the Council (particularly the article in Gaudium et Spes honouring individual freedom of conscience), allowed them to keep taking the sacraments like communion while privately disregarding teachings such as the ban on birth-control (see 1968). Gleefully celebrated by the liberals and simultaneously a horrifying prospect to traditional Catholics, who, along with numerous casual and scholarly observers tended to see the Council as having changed the practical focus of the Church from the “saving of souls” to man’s temporal well-being (in its emphasis on community over morality). These traditionalists have pointed, as evidence, to the significant decline of measurable aspects of Catholic life in the United States before and after the Second Vatican Council:


Priests in the US:

1930-1965 doubled to 58,000

since 1965: 45,000

Projection: by 2020: 31,000, half over 70

 

Year

Priestless parishes:

Ordinations in the US:

Seminarians:

Seminaries:

Sisters:

1965

1%

1,575

49,000

600

180,000

2002

15%

450

4700 (-90%)

200

75,000 (avge age 68)

 

Year

Teaching nuns:

Christian Brothers seminarians:

Franciscans:

1965

104,000

912

3,379

2002

8,200 (-90%)

7

84

 

Catholic High Schools: -50%

Catholic Parochial Schools: -4000

Catholic marriages: -33%

 

Annulments:

1968: 338

2002: 50,000

 

Mass attendance:

1958: 3 out of 4

2002: 1 out of 4

 

Lay religious teachers who agree with:

contraception: 90%

abortion: 53%

divorce and remarriage: 65%

missing Mass: 77%

 

Catholics aged 18-44 who don’t believe in transubstantiation: 70%


Later Popes such as John Paul II (1920 - ) and Benedict XVI (1927 - ) championed the changes the Council had wrought while ruling out the more radical changes demanded by the church’s liberal wing (e.g. allowing women priests, allowing birth control, etc). Part of their opting for what might be called a centre-right position, as it were, harked back to the disquiet felt by Pius XII over not wishing to hold a Council lest it open the gates to some controversial measures (including official debate on such topics) lest, in this ideologically-fluid post-modern age, anything and everything came through. Indeed, Benedict XVI, as a young theologian and scholar the University of Tubingen (see above) in the 1960s had been among the foremost radical supporters of Vatican II. It was only when he witnessed the West German version of the campus protest movement in 1968 (more stridently Marxist and atheistic than in the US, with some students deriding the Cross as a ‘sadomasochistic artefact,’ and arguably more aggressive, with young radicals grabbing professor’s microphones to disrupt lectures and force ‘dialogue’), that the future Pope decided the necessary conditions for reform did not exist (to the extent that more radical changes would not interrupt God’s ordo – all-inclusive order).

 

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