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1970s History. The Third World Perspective on the Cold War

Introduction

The history of the United States is quite complex and riddled with numerous events and moments that contributed to the growth of the nation. After the end of the Second World War, a new upheaval emerged that would affect the overall economic, military, and social attributes of the U.S. and those of the Soviet Union. This conflict would be given the name “Cold War”. While the 1970-1979 decade presented numerous historical events that compelled the government to consider evidence-based solutions to criminal activities, unprecedented infectious diseases, and possible wars, the environmental movement, the first 747 direct flight to the London, and the new trade agreements with China became new cultural moments that kept the hopes of more Americans alive.

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Cultural Moments

First 747 Commercial Flight

Despite the global tensions recorded after the end of the Second World War due to the ongoing Cold War, the decade of the 1970s presented a number of cultural moments that distracted more people from the existing challenges. The first moment that presented a new form of hope to many individuals across the globe amidst the recorded issues was the first Boeing 747 commercial flight directly to London, United Kingdom (Lombardi 8). In 1970, the global society would witness a new reality when the first flight from New York touched London. This historic 747 flight would have significant implications on future economic pursuits and cultural relations between the United States and Europe. Some of the people who witnessed the event believed that a new era of globalization had come.

Within a few days, the 747 would be a regular mode of transform from Heathrow in Britain to New York. This achievement would compel some of the leading airlines and manufacturers to focus on better ways of connecting more routes that that were believed to be longer. These achievements would transform the manner in which individuals travelled from one location to another (Lombardi 9). Consequently, the wave of globalizing would take a new twist and encourage more people to start thinking of investing in different parts of the world. The development would also set the stage for a new form of innovation and technological pursuit that would make the global community more interconnected than ever before.

Earth Day: Environmental Movement

The environmental movement pursued today emerged in 1970. The involved partners would identify April 22 of every year as Earth Day as a way of informing and sensitizing more people about the challenges of climate change and global warming and their possibilities of affecting the integrity of the global environment (Dietz 307). At the beginning of this new decade, different people came together and stated new strategies to inform the public about the importance of remaining conscious about the natural environment. Before the 1970s, Americans had been blamed for using automobiles that were unsustainable and fuel inefficient. They were releasing toxic gases and carbon dioxide that was resulting in the depletion of the ozone layer. During the same period, many people were convinced that the recorded level of air pollution would have negative implications on the overall integrity and sustainability of the natural environment.

Consequently, Americans would come with Earth Day as one of the best strategies for promoting the environmental movement and making more people conscious at the global level. Some of the primary interests included encouraging more people to engage in activities that would help protect the integrity of the natural environment. Within a few years, new policies and conventions would be recorded at the global level. The intended objective would be to compel corporations, governments, and individuals to engage in activities that would maximize the level of environmental protection (Dietz 308). Such efforts would also support the conservation of the planet for the sake of posterity.

Opening the Door to China

Despite the ongoing tensions between communist states and the United States during the Cold War, a new cultural moment emerged when China revised its economic policy with the aim of supporting economic development. In 1978, the Chinese Communist government decided to open doors for foreign investment in an effort to bolster international trade and promote economic performance (De Freitas 4). This development made it possible for American companies to start identifying some of the opportunities and privileges that the Chinese populous market offered at the time. Such developments would make it possible for the Americans to acquire additional business insights and concepts that would help promote the country’s economy.

With this new moment, Americans would acquire additional lessons that would have far-reaching impacts on their cuisines, medical practices, and economic engagements. The opportunity would also open doors for new innovations and developments that would help the world push the concept of globalization much further (De Freitas 12). These achievements made it possible for the two nations to address most of the challenges affecting their people, such as poverty and disempowerment. More Chinese would find it easier to pursue their goals from the United States.

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Historical Events

Serial Killers

The decade of 1970 to 1979 was characterized by various historical events that would change the world forever. The first outstanding one was the emergence of serial killers who were more dangerous, informed, and capable of disorienting the level of national peace. The first one on the list of the 1970s is Ted Bundy. Historians and scholars in the field of criminology identify him as a deranged criminal who relied on a unique form of modus operandi. He is known for kidnapping most of his women victims and even raping them. He would go further to dismember their bodies while carrying and keeping their heads as forms of souvenirs (Lee and Reid 46). During his execution several years leader, the serial killer confessed that he had killed around 30 victims.

The second famous serial killer who stands out from his missions throughout the 1970s was Rodney James Alcala. He was a rapist who killed around five victims during the decade in question. Analysts and scholars who analyzed his dealings acknowledge that the exact number of his victims was unreported. He is known to have toyed most of his victims before killing them. These malpractices explain why he has been identified as one of the dangerous criminals who have ever lived in the United States. Finally, John Wayne Gacy remains an infamous serial killer who used to attend birthday parties and other charity-related activities and events. He would capture, torture, and eventually rape young boys below the age of 17 (Lee and Reid 48). Some of the methods Gacy used to kill most of the victims included asphyxiation and strangulation.

The End of the Vietnam War

In 1973, the president of the United States, Richard Nixon, made an executive order that resulted in the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam. This decisive move made it possible for the Soviet forces to succeed in taking full control of South Vietnam. This achievement would eventually result in the establishment of a united country by the name the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976 (Dumbrell 4). The involvement of the U.S. in this conflict was intended to stop the Soviet Union from pushing their communist agenda in different parts of the world. The American government was also cautious since the war occurred at a time when it was entangled in a Cold War with the Soviet Union. The end of this war would have significant meanings and implications for the American population.

Historians acknowledge that the impacts of this upheaval would continue to affect the experiences and outcomes of former soldiers and citizens. For instance, Dumbrell indicates that the upheaval compelled the American government to spend over 120 billion US dollars on the conflict alone (5). This huge spending is believed to have resulted in one of the worst economic inflations in the country. Within a few years after the emergence of the war, global prices of oil skyrocketed, thereby affecting many industries.

The upheaval is also associated with psychological effects since many soldiers and civilians lost their lives (Ahmad 123). The Americans would also be blamed for dumping toxic chemicals in Vietnam’s forests. These issues explain why most of the American citizens were against the war and wanted peace at the global level. Its end in the 1970s would have revitalizing effects on many people, both in Vietnam and the US.

Ebola Outbreak

The third memorable historic event of the 1970s was the first global outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD). According to Breman et al., the global community recorded the first case of EVD in the year 1976 (S94). Experts revealed that the disease was dangerous and capable of killing people within a very short period. The first incident of this condition in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) resulted in 318 cases. The fatality rate for EVD during the period was 88 percent since 280 people lost their lives because of this condition (Breman et al., S94). Epidemiologists reported that the first case of this disease occurred in a small DRC community located near the Ebola River. This fact explains where the name of the causal virus came from. Professionals in the field of healthcare and the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that EVD was one of the deadliest viruses in the world.

Within the past few decades, this disease has been reported in more countries across the globe. Some of these nations include Uganda, Congo, Sierra Leone, United States of America, Gabon, Spain, Sudan, and Cote d’Ivoire. DRC is the country whereby more outbreaks have been reported since the disease occurred for the first time in 1976. With this outbreak, the global community realized that it would in the future face serious medical concerns that would require evidence-based measures and solutions to deal with them (Breman et al., S97). Being a viral disease, Ebola remains deadly, highly infectious, and capable of claiming more lives within a very short time.

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Conclusion

The above discussion has identified the emergence of serial killers, the first report of EVD, and the Vietnam War and its subsequent end as some of the unique challenges that ravaged America from 1970 to 1979. Despite these key challenges, the country would experience additional cultural moments that would encourage more citizens to continue pursuing their goals. Some of them included the first 747 flight to London, the opening of trade relationships with China, and the emergence of the Environmental Movement.

Works Cited

Ahmad, Iftikhar. “The Third World Perspective on the Cold War: Making Curriculum and Pedagogy Relevant in History Classrooms.” Journal of International Social Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, 2017, pp. 121-135.

Breman, Joel G., et al. “Discovery and Description of Ebola Zaire Virus in 1976 and Relevance to the West African Epidemic during 2013–2016.” The Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol. 214, no. 3, 2016, pp. S93-S101.

De Freitas, Marcus V. Reform and Opening-Up: Chinese Lessons to the World. Policy Center for the New South, 2019.

Dietz, Thomas. “Earth Day: 50 Years of Continuity and Change in Environmentalism.” One Earth, vol. 2, no. 4, 2020, pp. 306-308.

Dumbrell, John. “Vietnam War.” The Encyclopedia of Diplomacy, vol. 1, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-8.

Lee, Jooyoung, and Sasha Reid. “Serial Killers & their Easy Prey.” Contexts, vol. 17, no. 2, 2018, pp. 46-51.

Lombardi, Michael. “50 Years Ago, Boeing and Pan Am Revolutionized Travel with the 707.” Boeing Frontiers, vol. 1, no. 1, 2008, pp. 8-9.

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