Dear Jane and Peter
“Jane is correct on this one; the East German soldier is not gramps and that barbed wire wasn’t from a jail. It was from a wall. The East German soldier was trying to escape from the communist East Germany. At the time, East Berlin was under communist rule while West Berlin was under democratic rule, so East Berliners moved to West Berlin. In 1961 the event of the Berlin Wall occured. The communist government of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) built a wall separating East and West Berlin.
The wall was constructed of barbed wire and concrete. They built the wall because they wanted to stop the flow of citizens moving from East to West Berlin. Everyday hundreds of people would pass through East and West Berlin to visit family and friends and the Berlin Wall prevented it. Many people attempted to climb over or go around. One hundred and seventy one people died trying and over 5,000 East Germans made it past the wall.
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Your grandfather and I never went to Cuba for our honeymoon. There were many problems going on there during that time. The photo refers to the Cuban Missile Crisis where the Soviet Union placed many of there nuclear bombs in Cuba. Previously, President Kennedy had invaded Cuba to try to overthrow their government which failed. Cuban leader Fidel Castro met with leader Nikita Khrushchev (of the Soviet Union) to place nuclear weapons in Cuba as a form of offense towards the U.S.
These weapons were very close in range at 90 miles from Florida but can reach as far as Washington D.C. In response, the U.S. established a blockade around Cuba to prevent it. Later, Khrushchev and Kennedy met secretly to come to an agreement: the Soviet Union would remove the missiles in Cuba if the U.S. would remove their nuclear weapons in Turkey (soviets felt uneasy about how many there were).
The old man you see in the picture is Lyndon B. Johnson. At that time in the photo, Johnson was just becoming the 36th president of the U.S. He looks very unhappy because John F. Kennedy was just assassinated and Lyndon had to immediately take President. His inauguration was held on the plane you see in the picture; that’s why he is holding up his hand. During his presidency, he created a domestic program called the Great Society. The goals of this program was to use social reforms to eliminate racial injustice and poverty. His Great Society addressed: civil rights, health, poverty, education, transportation, consumer protection, immigration, environment, and arts. He was very successful with passing multiple acts which improved the economy. For example, he passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ended segregation.
Earl Warren was a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Warren expanded civil rights, civil liberties, federal power, and judicial power. He was a hardworking man and fought against corruption especially when rejecting the “separate but equal” doctrine from the 1896 case; Plessy v. Ferguson. He expressed this during the Brown v. Board of Education case where he decided that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional and stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
A controversial decision made by the Supreme Court during this time was during the Brown v. Board of Education case. The Supreme Court decided that segregation between whites and blacks was unconstitutional. This caused controversy because many white people were very upset about going to school with the race that they feel are inferior. A billboard saying “Save our Republic! Impeach Earl Warren,” would appear during this time because Warren’s decisions in court created controversy. White racists were upset about African Americans attending school with them, and people who enforced reading Bible verses in public schools were upset that all children of all religions wouldn’t be following in the Christian or Catholic ways.”