WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE
FROM A TO Z
On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel, We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves. It was a history lesson set to music. When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics? I sure didn’t. Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references. This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.
Today is brought to us by the letter T.
1949 – Harry Truman
Harry S. Truman’s inaugural address, known as the Four Point Speech, was delivered by United States president Harry S. Truman, on Thursday, January 20, 1949. In a world only recently emerged from the shadow of World War II, in which freedom and human rights seemed under threat from many sides, this was Truman’s response. He challenged both Democrats and Republicans to assist people around the world struggling for freedom and human rights; to continue programs for world economic recovery; to strengthen international organizations; and to draw on the expertise of the United States to help people across the world help themselves in the struggle against ignorance, illness, and despair.
The four points
- First, “we will continue to give unfaltering support to the United Nations and related agencies, and we will continue to search for ways to strengthen their authority and increase their effectiveness.”
- Second, “we will continue our programs for world economic recovery.”
- Third, “we will strengthen freedom-loving nations against the dangers of aggression.”
- Fourth, “we must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.”
1950 – Television
Perhaps no phenomenon shaped American life in the 1950s more than television. At the end of World War II, the television was a toy for only a few thousand wealthy Americans. Just 10 years later, nearly two-thirds of American households had a television.
1956 – Trouble in the Suez
The Suez Crisis also named the Tripartite Aggression (in the Arab world) and the Kadesh Operation or Sinai War (in Israel), was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by the United Kingdom and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power. After the fighting had started, political pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations led to a withdrawal by the three invaders. The episode humiliated Great Britain and France and strengthened Nasser.