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U.S. History

Key Terms

U.S. HistoryKey Terms

baby boom
a marked increase in the U.S. birthrate during 1946–1964
a list of people suspected of having Communist sympathies who were denied work as a result
Cold War
the prolonged period of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, based on ideological conflicts and competition for military, economic, social, and technological superiority, and marked by surveillance and espionage, political assassinations, an arms race, attempts to secure alliances with developing nations, and proxy wars
the U.S. policy that sought to limit the expansion of Communism abroad
the removal of laws and policies requiring the separation of different racial or ethnic groups
domino theory
the theory that if Communism made inroads in one nation, surrounding nations would also succumb one by one, like a chain of dominos toppling one another
Fair Deal
President Harry Truman’s program of economic and social reform
GI Bill
a program that gave substantial benefits to those who served in World War II
Iron Curtain
a term coined by Winston Churchill to refer to portions of Eastern Europe that the Soviet Union had incorporated into its sphere of influence and that no longer were free to manage their own affairs
suburban housing developments consisting of acres of mass-produced homes
Little Rock Nine
the nickname for the nine African American high school students who first integrated Little Rock’s Central High School
Marshall Plan
a program giving billions of dollars of U.S. aid to European countries to prevent them from turning to Communism
massive retaliation
a defense strategy, sometimes called “mutually assured destruction” or MAD, adopted by Eisenhower that called for launching a large-scale nuclear attack on the Soviet Union in response to a first Soviet strike at the United States
military-industrial complex
the matrix of relationships between officials in the Defense Department and executives in the defense industry who all benefited from increases in defense spending
rock and roll
a musical form popular among the baby boomers that encompassed styles ranging from county to blues, and embraced themes such as youthful rebellion and love
the first manmade orbital satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in October 1957
states’ rights
the political belief that states possess authority beyond federal law, which is usually seen as the supreme law of the land, and thus can act in opposition to federal law
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