From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

A modern U.S. history podcast about the events that spanned the Baby Boomer generation’s lifespan & that are still relevant to people today, especially to Millennials. Unlike some history podcasts, this podcast follows the national story in a chronological manner, starting in 1946. Most episodes are around a half-hour to 45 minutes in length. Each episode covers one year, possibly going all the way up to the present. You can e-mail the show here, we would love your feedback!: boomertomillennial @t outlook.com

Episodes

September 7, 2022 14 min

This episode debuts a new format of very brief profiles of interesting historical figures that we haven't given sufficient attention to in regular episodes. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. is a prime example of the Northeastern elites who had a disproportionate (albeit declining) amount of power in mid-20th Century America. Both of Lodge Junior's parents were descended from Republican Senators, so you could say politics was in their ...

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Season 3 of our podcast begins with the next chapter of the Kennedy saga, as Rep. John F. Kennedy manages to knock off powerful incumbent Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in the 1952 Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. The secret ingredient in that victory was  JFK's tenacious & combative younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy (often known as "RFK" or "Bobby"), who served as his campaign manager. RFK had gro...

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February 22, 2022 32 min

In January 1961, new President John F. Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address that the American people were ready to "bear any burden" and "pay any price" in order to fight for global freedom, which he argued was being threatened by the Communist bloc. That price soon turned out to include a new taxpayer-funded military buildup when Congress approved increased government spending upon nuclear missile production. It a...

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This episode examines the origins of John F. Kennedy's political career, considering his youthful health problems & his sibling rivalry with his older brother Joe Junior. JFK was a charming, irreverent, & popular young man, although he struggled with chronic pain & health difficulties that prevented him from matching the accomplishments of his older brother, who was a standout student & athlete. Both brothers gr...

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This supplemental series examines the continued obsessions many Americans have with the Kennedy political dynasty, ranging from Oliver Stone's 1991 hit movie "JFK" to the current QAnon conspiracy theorists' preoccupation with the idea that certain Kennedys faked their deaths. This episode provides background to the rise of Kennedy political family by focusing on the controversial career of Joseph P. Kennedy, Senior ...

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A new wave of civil rights activism during the year 1960 indicated that social activist movements would be more aggressive during the Sixties than they had been during the previous decade. A sit-in at a lunch counter by four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina gained national attention, & the nonviolent protest tactic spread around the country in the months that followed, successfully pushing many private busin...

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In May 1960, the USSR shot down a US spy plane trespassing in their airspace, & the Soviets captured its American pilot, Francis Gary Powers. This international incident increased tensions between the superpowers, & it spoiled peace negotiations between President Dwight Eisenhower & Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. However, the Americans did eventually succeed in negotiations to get the Soviets to release the imprisone...

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This episode begins with a few stray observations exploring topics mentioned in recent episodes, including the Cuban Revolution, neoliberalism, the Capitol Riot, & the popularity of conspiracy theories. The main narrative of the program explores the early history of rock 'n roll. We discuss how rock music became big business by the late 50s, despite accusations from conservative forces that the new sound was an immoral &...

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This show summarizes all of our past episodes so far, providing our listeners with a refresher course on life in the USA during the Truman & Eisenhower Administrations (from 1946 to 1959). This episode will be a good resource for anyone who just wants a "Cliff Notes" or "Spark Notes" version of this mid-century era of Modern US History. By listening to this episode, you will get all the general backstory & h...

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April 30, 2021 37 min

This episode first examines the Great Leap Forward in China, an instance of bad Maoist policies creating mass starvation. We then discuss diplomatic exchanges between the superpowers in 1959, including the Kitchen Debate between Khrushchev & Nixon, as well as the Soviet Premier's cordial visit to the USA later that same year. But the main portion of our program explores the causes, consequences, & legacy of a dramatic p...

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After spending our last episode discussing the rise of Cold War Liberalism, we take time out from our historical narrative during this special supplemental episode to explain the origins of the "liberal" political label, to identify why it became widely popular during the mid-20th-Century US, & to track how the term became so stigmatized by the American Right (& also the Far Left) that it has declined in popularity ...

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In 1958, Pres. Eisenhower grew fearful that Middle Eastern revolutions were posing a threat to America's military & economic interests, so he flexed US muscles by sending troops to Lebanon in what turned out to be an uneventful beachside deployment. Vice-President Nixon received a menacing reception while on tour in South America. In domestic politics, the big story of the late 50s was the rise of Cold War Era Liberalism, w...

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After a brief reflection on troubling recent events in the USA, this episode looks back at a seemingly simpler time - Dwight D. Eisenhower's second term as President. By the late 1950s, Cold War pressures led the US government to build major defense & infrastructure projects, to invest heavily in education & scientific research, & to undertake modest steps in the direction of greater racial equality.  The Interstate...

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The key events of 1956 include a civil rights milestone, a presidential election, & an international crisis. The 1955 lynching of black teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi was just one manifestation of Southern resistance to the challenge to white supremacy posed by desegregation. More organized defenses of Jim Crow also formed, ranging from the plebeian (Ku Klux Klan) to the patrician (White Citizens' Councils; US Senate S...

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On Halloween 2020, our show returns from hiatus to preview Season 2 of the podcast, & to discuss the frightening topic of conspiracy theories in world history. We recount the dark history of pandemic-stricken societies seeking to blame alleged conspirators & scapegoats. Far-fetched conspiracy theories have had a wide appeal during troubled times throughout history, despite the fact that they often paint a bleak picture of a...

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The year 1955 was chock-full of events of economic, social, medical, & cultural importance. Perhaps the year's biggest story was Dr. Jonas Salk's development of a successful vaccine to prevent the terrifying childhood disease known as polio. The economy remained strong, overcoming a scare from Pres. Eisenhower's heart attack. The AFL-CIO merger marked a landmark in labor history. Commercial enterprises like McDonald...

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To help listeners understand the origins of the social unrest of May & June 2020, we created this special supplemental episode that provides historical background & context for turbulent current events. The large turnout & enthusiasm for the current Black Lives Matter protests occurred because of social developments that have been festering for decades: growing police militarization, continuing racial inequities, failin...

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This week’s episode considers the fate of social reform movements during the Cold War Era, giving an overview of long-term cultural trajectories. The Red Scare of the early Cold War years cast reformers who challenged existing institutions as potential subversives. After World War II, US society valued traditional gender roles; the “happy American housewife” was regarded as freer than the Soviet woman who was required to work. Sout...

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This wide-ranging & globe-trotting episode begins with a brief look at the successful 1953 expedition to summit Mount Everest, then pivots to some less inspiring international intrigue, as Cold War fears led the USA to meddle in the internal politics of Iran, Guatemala, & Vietnam, among other nations. John Foster Dulles's leadership of the State Department & his brother Allen Dulles's direction of the Central In...

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Throughout US history, many Americans have been reluctant to get involved in international affairs, hoping to avoid the wars & problems of the Old World. After the Pearl Harbor attacks brought the USA into World War II, the isolationist mentality quickly changed, & the Americans co-founded & joined the United Nations to preserve world peace after the war. But isolationist sentiments soon re-emerged in the form of suspic...

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