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Высокие технологии The Great Depression and World War II.
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16.2.1.The fun-filled, trouble-free days came to a sudden end. In October 1929 the big trouble began. Stock market prices had been at a record high level. Thou­sands of stocks were for sale at a high price. Because the prices were so high, there were no buyers for them. So the prices fell. Then people began to worry. Tuesday, October 29, 1929, was called Black Tues­day. Stock prices dropped more and more, and billions of dollars were lost on that one day. The stock market crashed. People lost their jobs. As unemployment spread, there were even fewer people who could buy goods. More factories were closed down, and more workers lost their jobs. The United States was in depression.

16.2.2. Franklin Delano Rooseveltwas elected President at that time. He promised the American people a New Deal, a way out of the Great Depression. The New Deal laws had two goals. The first was to give some relief for the suffering which the depression had brought to the people. The second was to help farmers and businesses. The New Deal helped people by giving them work. The government organized building new roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, tunnels and dams. Un­der the New Deal, some young men were sent to camps in rural areas. There they worked at preserv­ing the nation's land, forests and water. The government also set up a system of payments to help people who were too old to work and people who were out of work.

16.2.3.In the meantime, Germany, Italy and Japan formed an alliance called the Axis. Japan was the first nation to use military might when the Japanese army invaded a part of China called Manchuria. On September 1, 1939, the German army invaded Poland. The Polish government asked Great Britain and France for help. Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. That was the beginning of World War II. On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Japanese planes suddenly appeared in the sky over Hawaii. Hundreds of bombs fell on the ships in Pearl Harbour. The next day the United States declared war on Japan. A few days later the United States entered the war against Germany and Italy.

16.2.4. June 6, 1944, went down into history as D-Day. The Allied Army boarded ships in Great Britain. A giant fleet of 600 warships and 4,000 smaller boats carried 176,000 Allied soldiers towards France. The soldiers were from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Poland and many other nations. In the sky, 11,000 Allied planes bombed the German positions in France. Early in the morning, the Allies landed on the French beaches. The invasion of France by Allied forces was the beginning of the end for Germany. In May 1945 Germany sur­rendered.

Japan continued to fight. President Truman decided to drop a newly invented A-bomb on a Japanese city. On August 6, 1945,an American bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. In a few days the United States dropped anoth­er bomb on Nagasaki. Soon after, the Japanese surrendered. World War II was over.

16.3. After of the war: international politics.

16.3.1.The war had ended, but the suffering continued. After the war, much of Europe's farmland and industry was in ruins. It was necessary to rebuild Europe. General George Marshall worked out a plan for rebuilding Europe. Congress approved the Marshall plan. The United States gave 5 billion dollars to European countries.

The Allies decided to set up an organization called the United Nations, which would work for world peace. The UN had the right and power to enforce its decisions with troops. One of the most fundamental acts of the UNO was the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). It was prepared by the Commission on Human Rights chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, social activist and widow of United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

16.3.2.The struggle between the United States and communist countries after World War II was called the Cold War. The war was "cold" be­cause it was fought mainly without guns or bombs. The "weapons" in the Cold War were words, ideas, and economic and military aid. Soviet domination of eastern and central Europe increased, which led to what Winston Churchill called the Iron Curtainin his famous 1946 speech.

The first battle of the Cold War was fought in Berlin. In 1948 Stalin tried to cut off West Berlin from the Allied Zones in Germany by stopping all traffic by road, rail and canal. The Allies continued to supply Berlin by air. The Berlin Airlift lasted for ten and a half months. Finally, Stalin gave up. Yet, in 1961 the notorious Berlin Wall was built. This concrete and wire wall stretched all along the West Berlin – East Berlin border and was guarded by soldiers.

16.3.3.The United States helped create a new military alliance, theNATO.The creation of the organization led to the stationing of US forces in Western Europe. The most important clause in the NATO treaty was that an attack on one country was considered to be an attack on all. In other words, the East could not pick off democratic countries without the risk of a war with NATO. The Soviet Union did not react to NATO until the 1955 admission of West Germany. Then the Warsaw Pact was established.

16.3.4. In Asia, the Cold War in Korea became "hot". Soviet-trained North Koreans invaded the South. In a few weeks they occupied most of South Korea. The US-controlled United Nations sent troops to help South Korea to fight back. TheKorean War lasted more than three years (1950-1953). When Fidel Castrocame to power in Cuba, it became a communist country. Castro's government was receiving help from the Soviet Union. Many Americans thought that the Soviets could easi­ly attack the United States from Cuba in case of war. When the United States learned that the Soviets were planning to install missiles in Cuba, the Cuban missile crisis began. For several days the world was a step away from another world war that could have destroyed the whole planet.

16.4. After of the war: domestic affairs.

16.4.1.In 1946, Doctor Benjamin Spock authored one of the most influential postwar books in America, Baby and Child Care. His child-centered approach emphasized helping children to learn, grow and realize their potential. According to Spock, all other considerations must be subordinated to the needs of the child. In fact, the book reflected the spirit of the times. Post-war America experienced large-scale population growth known as the "baby boom". It lased for almost two decades, and combined with growing prosperity of the average American.

16.4.2.These developments combined with pioneering discoveries in medicine. In the early 1950s, American physician Jonas Salk developed the first successful vaccine against polio, a serious disease affecting thousands of children in the country. The Salk vaccine was tested and more than 650,000 children in 44 states received injections, which proved it was safe and effective. When this news was announced on April 12, 1955, church bells rang in celebration in many towns and cities across the United States. As a result of widespread inoculation programs, the U.S. incidence of polio dropped by 90 percent.

16.4.3.Technological developments were taking place on a large scale. American physicists received the Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor which became the basis for modern electronics, and a primary foundation for microchip technology. Gordon Gould's idea for the laser came to him in 1957. He coined the acronym “laser” in his notebook, but failed to apply for a patent at that time. The device is now widely used in industrial, commercial, and medical applications. In the early 1950s, television began to make a rapid impact on American life. Soon enough, it replaced newspapers, magazines, and radios as the primary informational vehicle.

Among the first to be nationally televised were the court hearings instigated by Senator Joseph McCarthy. He claimed knowledge of hundreds of "communists" in the highest echelons of power. As a result of a new "red scare", thousands of people were blacklisted. The campaign against Communist subversion destroyed the careers of many.

16.4.4.Yet there was something on the brighter side, too. The same period of time produced the school of humanistic psychology in the USA. The leading figures were Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Maslow's theory was the need for "self-actualization" is the highest of all. He also stated that human needs exist in hierarchy; when lower needs, such as food and shelter, are satisfied, then higher needs, such as love and acceptance, become principle motivators. Maslow's study of self-actualizing people revealed they were spontaneous, creative, lacked inhibitions, and were interested in the world rather than being self-centered.

An important bestselling book of the period was The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) by the Reverend Vincent Peale. He offered a message of psychological security and material success. In fact, his own life proves his words. He died in 1993, at the age of 95.