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The 1950s

The 1950s

The 1950s Primary Sources

Historical documents. What clues can you gather about the time, place, players, and culture?


Eisenhower's order to the soldiers, sailors and airmen who were about to land at Normandy, June 6, 1944.

First Inaugural

Eisenhower's first inaugural address, January 20, 1953.

The Eisenhower Doctrine

This doctrine of January 1957 recognized the importance of the U.S. presence in the Middle East and also gave the president the power to act militarily without the specific consent of Congress.

The Interstate System

A message Eisenhower sent to Congress in February 1955 urging the creation of the Interstate highway system.

The Brown v. Board of Education Decision

A copy of the Supreme Court Decision of May 17, 1954, that declared "the fundamental principle that racial discrimination in education is unconstitutional."

The Little Rock Crisis

This is the text of a speech that Eisenhower gave to the nation on September 24, 1957, about the school desegregation crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957

Aimed at guaranteeing voting rights for African-Americans, this law was made ineffectual by amendments added in Congress.

Atoms for Peace

Text of Eisenhower's 1953 address at the U.N. in which he calls for sharing atomic technology for industrial uses and setting up an international atomic control agency.

Reaction to Sputnik

Eisenhower's radio and television address on science in national security,November 7, 1957.

The U-2 Incident

The press release issued by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration after a U-2 spy plane was shot down, May 2, 1960. Not knowing that pilot Gary Powers had been captured, the government thought the lie would be successful.

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