Europe is an ever-changing landscape of culture and society. Many major advances in technology and knowledge were introduced to this scene in the nineteen-sixties. Political transformation took place in this decade as well as social and ethnic changes. The beginning of the Space Age marked scientific enhancements just as the second Vatican Council meeting was a sign of cultural attempts to bring a group up to date with the times. The building of the Berlin Wall signaled feuding between governments and their differences. The Space Age was inaugurated with the launching of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957.
Yet astronautics originated in the early nineteenth century. As early as 1819 Konstantine E. Ziolkovsky, the founding father of Russian space science, predicted the of a space rocket employing liquid fuel and liquid oxygen capable of thrusting man into space. From 1957 to 1961, Russian spaceships were the first top carry live animals, to reach the vicinity of the moon and orbit the sun, and to photograph the far side of the moon. While America was reaching significant scientific progress, Russia clearly dominated the excitement of space exploration.
In March of 1961, Premier Nikita Khrushchev announced that the Soviet Union would soon place a man in space. Within a few weeks, on April 12, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. The spaceship Vostok I weighed 10,395 pounds, orbited the globe in eighty-nine minutes at a top speed of seventeen thousand miles per hour. Gagarins journey was incredibly smooth. He reported writing a note, drinking, and eating. Reentry into Earths atmosphere, more rapid than anticipated marred his capsule, but Gagarin landed safely four hundred miles southeast of Moscow.
The United States and Russia were both struggling for world prestige. This advance in exploration sparked the fire that would launch every spaceship following. It created a bloodless battle between capable nations to reach above and beyond its competitors successes in astronautical progress. The United States planned to land a man on the moon by 1970. John F. Kennedy promised the American public that he would close the spaceship gap. After World War II, Berlin became a place that was occupied by Russia, the United States, France, and Great Britain.
The territory that the land fell in was Russian according to agreements of the conquering nations, but since it was the capitol of Germany, it was jointly occupied by all of the nations. The Russians guaranteed access to the city from the Western zones, but only the air corridors were specifically mentioned in writing. The entire city was to be ruled by the Four-Power Control Commission with unanimous consent necessary for all decisions. The difficulties of governing under these conditions became apparent as eth Cold War intensified after 1945.
The Russians wanted to incorporate Berlin into their zone, and in 1948 they blockaded the land approaches to the city in an effort to force out the Western powers. After nine months of a successful Allied airlift, the Russians lifted the blockade, but the Control Commission was not restored. The Eastern and Western sectors of the city were ruled separately, by unspoken agreement. The Western Allies agreed to allow a West German government in their zones, and the Federal Republic of German Democratic Republic under Walter Ulbricht.
The Western Allies and the Russians, however, still maintained troops in their respective areas, including eth city of Berlin. By 1957, Khrushchev had established himself as leader in Russia after the power struggle after Stalins death. In 1958, he delivered an ultimatum stating that if the German problems were not solved by mutual agreement within six months, he would turn over control of the city and its approaches to the East Germans. The West agreed to a conference, but this produced no results. By 1961, the problem of Berlin became apparent.
Large numbers of refugees from Communist Europe and particularly East Germany were using the city as an escape route to the West. Ulbricht was losing most of his skilled workers and productive people. John F. Kennedy became president in January of 1962. East Germany was losing thousands of people a day. On August 13, the East Germans began closing the checkpoints between eth two sectors of the city and started construction of a barbed wire barrier along the entire border between east and West Berlin.
This barrier was soon replaced with a concrete wall. Khrushchev then announced that he was giving over control of eth city to the East Germans. Although West Germans were denied the right to cross into East Berlin, the crisis soon eased. The flow of refugees was stopped and East Germany began a period of extraordinary economic growth. The West accepted the Berlin Wall as eth best solution to a bad situation, with the realization that both Khrushchev and Ulbricht had been forced into this action by circumstances that might have led to war.
This rare occurrence of negations and action taken by nations proved two points; that the United States still had rights in all of Berlin under agreements, and that the Russians, despite their claims of turning over control of Berlin to East Germany, were still the power in East Germany and East Berlin. In the Roman Catholic Church, certain reformist movements began to surface visibly after World War II. The movements varied, but they included such aims as harmonizing theology with science and modern philosophy, greater social action on the part of Catholics, and reforms in the official worship of the church.
In 1958, Pope John XXIII was elected to his seat as leader of eth Catholic Church. His time as Pope proved to be perhaps the most eventful for eth Church in nearly four hundred years. From the first day of his reign, he was not aloof like many of the Popes before him. He was jovial, informal, and apparently open-minded. He visited the slums and prisons of Rome, raised wages for workers at the Vatican, and told jokes about himself. According to the Popes later account, the idea of summoning a general council of the Church occurred to him in late 1958.
Pondering a way of showing an example of peace and hope to the world. He proposed his idea of a council to a group of eighteen cardinals in Rome. Their response was stunned silence. They began making objections to the idea and insisted that it would take at least ten years to organize such a thing. The general, council is an institution dating back officially to Biblical times, the first recognized council being that of Jerusalem reported in Acts 1:5.
Prior to Pope John XXIIIs reign, the only two councils in modern times were the Council of Trent, which reformed the Roman Catholic Church following the Protestant Council, and the First Vatican Council, whose principal work was the proclamation of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Over eight hundred Catholic theologians, researchers of religious ideas, and other experts were called to Rome to prepare for the event. Thousands of documents were reviewed, topics for discussion were looked at and an agenda was made. The Pope declared that he hoped the council would be an updating of the Church. The Council met on October 11, 1962.
There were over twenty-five hundred bishops and heads of religious orders present. Each man brought an expert in religion with him. In his opening speech, the Pope condemned the attitude of some of his advisors, who regarded eth modern world as corrupt and degenerating, and saw little hope for eth future. He proclaimed that the purpose of the council was to explore eth meaning of Christianity for the modern world. He also proclaimed a spirit of charity toward non-Catholics and even non-Christians, thus in effect endorsing the Ecumenical Movement which had been doubtful in the Church before his speech.
Throughout the council, eth strength of eth Church was questioned and many controversial issues were addressed. The definition of the Church as the People of God, not primarily a hierarchical structure but a community of individuals sharing the same beliefs was changed. This council changed eth face of the Catholic Church too much of what it is today. The Church was modernized in many ways and became much more approachable by doubtful individuals. There were many other major historical events in the nineteen sixtys. These major affairs are as follows;
In 1960, France became the fourth nation to acquire atomic capability. The United States, Great Britain, and the U. S. S. R. already had this advantage. France exploded a nuclear device in the Sahara Desert. In 1961, the Berlin wall was built to prevent war from breaking out between Russia and the other inhibitors of Berlin. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first man to travel into space. He was a Russian Astronaut. In 1961, Bob Dylan, originally Robert Zimmerman, was discovered singing in Greenwhich Village by Columbia Records and produces his first album.
His songs become symbolic of the civil rights movement and the hippie culture. In 1962, American surveillance discovers Soviet missiles installed in Cuba, a stones throw away from the Florida coast. In the brief, tense standoff known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the possibility of a nuclear war raises its head. In 1962, Algeria won its freedom from France. It had been an integral part of France since 1945. In 1962, the United Nations sends troops to control civil war in the Congo, after Katanga governor Tshombe rejects a peace plan and attempts to secede.
In 1963, scandal breaks out when Britains war minister, Lord John Dennis Profumo, is discovered to be sleeping with a call girl, Christine Keeler, who happens to also be intimate with a known Soviet spy. In 1963, The Beatles get their first U. S. rocknroll hit with I Wanna Hold Your Hand. In 1964, Khrushchevs agricultural reforms fail and he is ousted from Soviet power and replaced as a premier by Aleksei Kosygin. In 1965, in fashion, the miniskirt, designed by Mary Quant, appears in London and will soon be all the rage.
In 1966, France withdraws its troops from NATO and French President Charles De Gaulle advocates a Europeanized Europe free from American and Soviet intervention. In 1968, at age 29, Ralph Lauren founds what will become a fashion empire. In 1968, on August 20th to the 21st, Russia invades Czechoslovakia in attempts to squash encouragement of other groups to revolt. Alexander Dubek had reformed the Czech government to an open-minded society. In 1969, French President Charles De Gaulle resigns from office after his proposal for regional reform was rejected by voters. 1969, the Woodstock Arts and Music Festival reigns for four days in the Catskill Mountains.
Recreational drugs are widespread. There were some major historical figures in the sixties in Europe. They are as follows; Charles De Gaulle was the President of France from 1958 to 1969. He led France in their atomic advances as well as removing troops from NATO. He strived fro a Europe independent from American and Soviet influence. He resigned from office in 1969. Nikita Khrushchev was eth Premier of the Soviet Union throughout the majority of eth sixties.
He held office during the Cuban Missile Crisis and during the building of eth Berlin Wall. Konrad Adenauer was the Chancellor of eth Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) during the issue of eth Berlin Wall. Walter Ulbricht was the Chairman of the Council of State of the German Democratic Republic (Head of East Germany). He is responsible for decisions concerning the Berlin Wall and Russias invasion of Czechoslovakia. Willy Brandt was the Mayor of West Berlin during the issue of the Berlin Wall construction and the events leading up to it. Youssef Ben Khedda was the Prime minister of the Provisional Government.
He was leader of Algeria when it revolted against France. John F. Kennedy was the thirty-fifth President of the United States. He dealt with advancing the space age and refused Khrushchevs first attempts to deal with the issue of fleeing East Germans that led up to the construction of the Berlin Wall. Pope John XXIII, whos real name was Angelo Roncalli, was the Patriarch of Venice before being elected to position of Pope. He reformed the Roman Catholic Church drastically through the holding of the Second Vatican Council. Alexander Dubek was the leader of Czechoslovakia when it was invaded by Russia.
He reformed the nations government into liberalism. He was afterwards arrested and taken to Moscow. Gustav Husk replaced him. The major idea that remained throughout the sixties in Europe was of a greater focus on culture and society. The perfect example of this is the results of the Second Vatican Council concerning the Roman Catholic Church. Communism was the opposition to this reformation. When Dubek attempted to make his nation liberal and broadminded, he had plans for the creation of socialism with a human face. This feeling was reflected all over the nations of Europe and in the culture of America as well.
Experimentation and new social practices entered the world of individuals. The fleeing East Germans wanted to escape to a place they could be free from social oppression. Other movements that had great influence on the decade were that of Space exploration, an increase in social focus on music and recreational drugs, and the liberalism of different groups and organizations. The ideas and feelings expressed in the sixties had a strong influence on culture of today and todays society. The decade left a deep impression in history and brought about the sparks that lit fires in nations everywhere.