|Contemporary speeches, reportage, etc.|
|Speech to Congress on
the Atomic Bomb (October 3, 1945)
President Truman explains the implications of the Atomic Age to Congress, calling for a U.S. agency to manage atomic energy.
|Harry S Truman Inaugural
Address (January 20, 1949)
President Truman's Inaugural Address.
|Harry S Truman at the
United Nations Site (October 3, 1949)
President Truman's speech on the occasion of laying the cornerstone for the United Nations buiding in New York City.
Acceptance Speech (July 26, 1952)
Adlai Stevenson accepts the Democratic Nomination for President.
|Richard M. Nixon Defends
His Record (September 23, 1952)
Nixon's famous "Checkers" speech defending his place on the Republican ticket.
|Dwight D. Eisenhower
Inaugural Address (January 20, 1953)
President Eisenhower's first Inaugural Address.
|Atoms for Peace (December
President Eisenhower's speech before the United Nations.
|A Report on Senator
Joseph R. McCarthy (See it Now, CBS-TV March 9, 1954)
Edward R. Murrow devotes a half-hour to exposing the antics of "the junior Senator from Wisconsin." (Transcript)
|Senator McCarthy's Reply
(See it Now, CBS-TV April 6, 1954)
McCarthy's filmed response to Murrow's report. (Transcript)
|Edward R. Murrow's Reply
(See it Now, CBS-TV April 13, 1954)
Murrow's response to McCarthy's accusations. (Transcript) (Audio)
|Dwight D. Eisenhower
Inaugural Address (January 21, 1957)
President Eisenhower's second Inaugural Address.
|Farewell Address (January
Departing President Eisenhower's final speech, in which he warns of the danger of the "military-industrial complex" for American liberties and democratic processes.
|John F. Kennedy Speech (September 12, 1960)
Candidate Kennedy's Explains to a gathering of religious leaders why his Roman Catholicism should not be an issue.
Address (January 20, 1961)
President Kennedy's Inaugural Address.
|Message to the Congress on
Urgent National Needs (May 25, 1961)
President Kennedy's speech before the Congress.
|Report to the American
People on the Berlin Crisis (July 25, 1961)
President Kennedy mourns Dag Hammarskjold and talks about obstacles to peace.
|Address Before the General
Assembly of the United Nations (September 25, 1961)
President Kennedy's Address before the General Assembly of the United Nations.
|Report to the American
People on the Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba (October 22, 1962)
President Kennedy's Address discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis.
American University (June 10, 1963)
President Kennedy outlines his vision for peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, concluding by insisting, "The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war."
|National Security, etc.|
|George Kennan's "Long
Telegram" (February 22, 1946)
An 8,000-word telegram from Moscow to Secretary of State James Byrnes outlining a new strategy for diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. The basis for much of the hard-line, get-tough-with-the-Soviets foreign policy in the early Cold War.
|Report on United States
Objectives and Programs for National Security (NSC 68) (April 14, 1950)
A classified National Security Council report written in soon after the U.S. decision to pursue the hydrogen bomb. The report outlines the U.S. national security strategy and analyzes the capabilities of the Soviet Union and of the United States of America from military, economic, political, and psychological standpoints.
10450 (April 27, 1953)
President Eisenhower's executive order concerning "Security Requirements for Government Employment."
Survival in the Nuclear Age (The Gaither Report) (November 7, 1957)
PDF (1.2 MB): This report to President Eisenhower warned of the danger of Soviet advances in weapons technology and ushered in the era of fears about a "missile gap."
|Space Exploration, etc.|
to Outer Space (March 26, 1958)
Text of a pamphlet prepared by President Eisenhower's Science Advisory Committee and widely distributed in the wake of the Sputnik launches. There is also a PDF version if you want to see the original.
|National Aeronautics and
Space Act (July 29, 1958)
The legislation that created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
|Sputnik III at
the Soviet Industrial Exhibition (1958)
A movie short (5.0 MB MPEG) illustrating the propaganda value of Soviet successes in space.
|Atomic Energy, etc.|
|The First Atomic Pile: An
Eyewitness Account Revealed by Some of the Participants and Narratively
Corbin Allardice and Edward R. Trapnell, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, describe the first successful attempt at nuclear fission in December 1942. (PDF)
|Los Alamos: The
Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945
PDF (1.2 MB): A brief account published in Los Alamos Science (Winter/Spring 1983) commemorating the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
|The Los Alamos
PDF (2.1 MB): The technical summary of Los Alamos A-Bomb theory and construction.
|The Franck Report (June
A prescient report of the Committee on Political and Social Problems at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory (James Franck, Chairman), concluding that "we cannot hope to avoid a nuclear armament race either by keeping secret from the competing nations the basic scientific facts of nuclear power or by cornering the raw materials required for such a race."
Oppenheimer's Farewell Address at Los Alamos (November 2, 1945)
An informal address given to the Association of Los Alamos Scientists just before Oppenheimer and his family left Los Alamos. The germs of many of his ideas about issues of openness and international control are already apparent.
Acheson-Lilienthal Report (March 16, 1946)
A widely discussed (but ultimately not very influential) report on the international control of atomic energy. The Baruch Plan (see previous item) was based on this report but included several provisions that made the plan unacceptable to the Soviets. See also the Press Release of April 9.
|The Baruch Plan (June 14,
A speech before the first session of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission in which the U.S. proposes international control of atomic energy, with authority residing in a new body, the United Nations Atomic Development Authority. The Plan was decisively rejected by the Soviet Union within a week.
Energy Act of 1946 (Public Law 585, 79th Congress; passed August 1, 1946)
Sometimes called the McMahon Bill, this act of Congress created the Atomic Energy Commission and outlined U.S. policies regarding atomic energy, nuclear weapons research, etc.
|Statement Announcing the
First Atomic Explosion in the U.S.S.R. (September 23, 1949)
President Truman breaks the news to America that "within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the U.S.S.R."
|Majority and Minority
Reports on Building the H-Bomb (October 30, 1949)
The General Advisory Committee to the United States Atomic Energy Commission advises against an "all-out" program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
|Letter to the President
on the Hydrogen Bomb (November 25, 1949)
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis L. Strauss writes to President Truman asking that "the President should direct the Atomic Energy Commission to proceed with all possible expedition to develop the thermonuclear weapon."
|Statement by the
President on the Hydrogen Bomb (January 31, 1950)
President Truman announces to the world that he has "directed the Atomic Energy Commission to continue its work on all forms of atomic weapons, including the so-called hydrogen or super bomb."
|Open Letter to the
United Nations (June 9, 1950)
Physicist Niels Bohr calls for openness and candor in re-establishing international cooperation and control of atomic energy and nuclear weapons.
|Survival Under Atomic
Attack (January 1951)
Published by the Office of Civil Defense within the National Security Resources Board. Lesson: "your chances of living through an atomic attack are much better than you may have thought."
|Comments on the History
of the H-Bomb (Hans A. Bethe)
PDF (300 KB): An article written in 1954 but only published (in Los Alamos Science) in Fall 1982 in which Bethe sets the record straight on the development of the hydrogen bomb.
|A Short Account of
Los Alamos Theoretical Work on Thermonuclear Weapons, 1946-1950
PDF (1.2 MB): An unclassified report (issued in 1974) briefly describing Los Alamos theoretical work on the super.
|Spy's Role in Soviet
H-Bomb Now Discounted
A 1990 article from the New York Times disputing the damage of Klaus Fuchs' spying at Los Alamos, and pointing to new research on the genesis of the hydrogen bomb.
|In the Matter of J.
Robert Oppenheimer (May-August 1954)
Some of the fallout from the Oppeheimer Personnel Security Board hearings held in in April-May 1954.
Robert Oppenheimer obituary
(February 19, 1967)
The New York Times obituary, a good summary of Oppenheimer's life.
|Essays on Texts and Authors we Read|
|FBI Tracked David
Halberstam for More Than Two Decades
Associated Press, November 8, 2008.
|Arthur Miller, "Why I
Wrote The Crucible"
Miller reflects on the context in which he wrote The Crucible (The New Yorker, October 21, 1996).
|Irving Howe, Review of
Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
The Nation, May 10, 1952.
|Irving Howe, "Black Boys
and Native Sons"
Dissent, Autumn 1963.
|The Playboy Interview:
Miles Davis (September 1962)
Alex Haley interviews Miles Davis.
|A Jazz Glossary
By Barry Ulanov, from his A Handbook of Jazz (New York: Viking, 1959).
|Jane Russell (March 1, 2011)
Three obituaries for the 1950s actress: Chicago Sun-Times, CNN, and Washington Post.
Bettie Page Obituaries (December 13, 2008)
Two obituaries for the 1950s pin-up queen: Washington Post and New York Times. See also bettiepage.com
|Harold Green Obituary (July 19, 2008)
An obituary for the former AEC attorney who drew up the charges against Robert Oppenheimer: Washington Post.
|David Halberstam Obituaries (April 23, 2007)
Three obituaries on the author of our central text: New York Times, The Guardian, and CNN.
|Betty Friedan Obituaries (February 4, 2006)
Three obituaries on feminist Betty Friedan: New York Times, Washington Post, and The Age.
|Candy Barr Obituaries (December 30, 2005)
Two obituaries on exotic dancer Candy Barr: Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.
|Rosa Parks Obituaries (October 25, 2005)
Two obituaries on civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks: New York Times, and Washington Post.
|Hans Bethe Obituaries (March 8, 2005)
Two obituaries on physicist Hans Bethe's death at age 98: New York Times, and Washington Post.
|Arthur Miller Obituaries (February 11, 2005)
Three obituaries on playwright Miller's death at age 98: New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN.
|Paul Nitze Obituary (October 21, 2004)
An article by Fred Kaplan, "The Man Who Brought Us the Cold War", describing Nitze's important role in coldwar U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union.
|Gordon Cooper Obituaries (October 4, 2004)
Two obituaries on Mercury astronaut Cooper's death at age 77: CNN, Washington Post.
|Edward Teller Obituaries (September 10, 2003)
Three obituaries on Teller's death at age 95: Washington Post, New York Times, Associated Press.
|Daniel Q. Posin Obituaries (May 2003)
Two obituaries for the popular science educator: Chicago Tribune, alt.obituaries Newsgroup.
|Mamie Till Obituaries (January 2003)
Two obituaries for the civil rights activist and mother of Emmett Till: The NorthStar Network (Walter Fields) and thepublicsquare.com (Barbara Ransby).
|Allen Ginsberg Obituaries (April 1997)
Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies (AP), Allen Ginsberg, 70, Master Poet of Beat Generation (Wilborn Hampton).
|Willis Conover Obituary (New York Times, May 19,
Obituary by Robert McG. Thomas, Jr. Here is some overseas testimony to Conover's influence.
|Sidney "Symphony Sid" Torin Obituaries (September 1984)
Associated Press, Miami Herald
|Sounds, films, etc.|
|Duck and Cover
A .mp3 file (270 KB) of the children's civil defense ditty.
starring Steve Allen
A .avi file (5.2 MB) with about a minute of the first opening monologue (September 27, 1954).