Modern America

Iran-Contra Affairs

The Iran-Contra Affairs of the 1980s stemmed from the Reagan Administration’s foreign policies toward two seemingly unrelated countries, Nicaragua and Iran. The Administration believed that changes to these countries that occurred in the 1970s threatened U.S. national interests. Iran-contra affair, in U.S. history, secret arrangement in the 1980s to provide funds to the Nicaraguan contra rebels from profits gained by selling arms to Iran. The Iran-contra affair was the product of two separate initiatives during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The first was a commitment to aid the contras who were conducting a guerrilla war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The second was to placate "moderates" within the Iranian government in order to secure the release of American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon and to influence Iranian foreign policy in a pro-Western direction. In early Nov., 1986, the scandal broke when reports in Lebanese newspapers forced the Reagan administration to disclose the arms deals.

USS Vincennes

The USS Vincennes (CG-49) was a Ticonderoga-class Aegis guided missile cruiser in service with the United States Navy from July 1985 to June 2005. Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian passenger jetliner, Iran Air Flight 655, over the Persian Gulf on 3 July 1988, killing all 290 civilians on board (including 38 non-Iranians and 66 children), sparking an international incident between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America. During the Iran-Iraq War the United States took active measures in the Persian Gulf to protect shipping, mainly oil tankers, that were being threatened by both countries.
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Space Shuttle Challenger

Space Shuttle Challenger was the second orbiter of NASA's space shuttle program to be put into service following Columbia. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California. Its maiden flight, started on April 4, 1983. It launched and landed nine times before breaking apart 73 seconds into its tenth mission, on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members. It was the first of two shuttles to be destroyed in flight. The accident led to a two-and-a-half year grounding of the shuttle fleet. Endeavour was launched for the first time in May 1992. The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. The exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown; several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. The shuttle had no escape system, and the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable. The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident.

Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989, constructed by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off, by land, West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin until it was opened in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses.

Desert Storm

Operation Desert Storm, popularly known as the first Gulf War, was the successful U.S.-Allied response to Iraq's attempt to overwhelm neighboring Kuwait. Kuwait's liberation in 1991 brought to the battlefield a new era of military technology. Nearly all battles were aerial and ground combat within Iraq, Kuwait, and outlying areas of Saudi Arabia. Iraq inflicted little damage on the American coalition; however, they fired missiles on Israeli citizens. On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein had been making threats against Kuwait for some time, but his actual invasion caught most of the world by surprise. The magnitude of the invasion also was a surprise. Those who had expected an attack, such as the commander of U.S. Central Command, Norman Schwarzkopf, expected a limited attack to seize Kuwaiti oil fields. Instead, within a number of hours, Iraqi forces had seized downtown Kuwait City and were headed south toward the Saudi Arabia border. The Pentagon had plans in place to aid the Saudis, and U.S. forces went on standby for the Saudis' request. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and General Schwarzkopf met with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to brief him on the plans, which he approved. Within minutes of the meeting, orders were issued, and thus began the largest buildup of American forces since the Vietnam War.

Bill Clinton Impeachment

In November 1995, Clinton began an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old unpaid intern. The president and Lewinsky had nearly a dozen sexual encounters in the White House. In April 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. That summer, she first confided in Pentagon co-worker Linda Tripp about her sexual relationship with the president. In 1997, with the relationship over, Tripp began secretly to record conversations with Lewinsky, in which Lewinsky gave Tripp details about the affair. Five days later, Tripp contacted the office of Kenneth Starr to talk about Lewinsky and the tapes she made of their conversations. A few days later Clinton publicly denied the allegations, saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” On August 17 President Clinton testified. Contrary to his testimony President Clinton acknowledged to prosecutors from the office of the independent counsel that he had had an extramarital affair with Ms. Lewinsky. Released to the public two days later, the Starr Report outlined a case for impeaching Clinton on 11 grounds, including perjury, obstruction of justice, witness-tampering, and abuse of power, and also provided explicit details of the sexual relationship between the president and Ms. Lewinsky. Five weeks later the Senate voted on whether to remove Clinton from office. The president was acquitted on both articles of impeachment. The prosecution needed a two-thirds majority to convict but failed to achieve even a bare majority. Rejecting the first charge of perjury, 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted “not guilty,” and on the charge of obstruction of justice the Senate was split 50-50. After the trial concluded, President Clinton said he was “profoundly sorry” for the burden his behavior imposed on Congress and the American people.

Dotcoms

In the late 1990s many businesses were interested in investing in the Internet to expand their market. The Internet has the ability to reach out to consumers globally as well as providing more convenient shopping to the consumer. If planned and executed correctly, the Internet can greatly improve sales. However, there were many businesses that did not plan correctly and that cost them their business. During the late 20th century, the Internet created an attitude toward business and inspired many hopes for the future of online commerce. For this reason, many Internet companies ,known as “dot-coms”, were launched, and investors assumed that a company that operated online was going to be worth millions.

90's culture

The 90's saw the growth of the World Wide Web and the Personal Computer PC, In 1991 when the WWW first became available for the public it grew dramatically with users multiplying at the rate of about 3500 times a year. The 1990s was an important decade in the history of television. Many programs that defined the decade are still popular even years after the last episodes were aired. The musical era of the 1990s was one filled with a variety of pop, rap, and alternative music artists. It was a time when musical taste was as varied as the events that were happening at the time. Many of the most popular acts that emerged in the 1990's were bands and artists who enjoyed a type of resurgence in the mainstream music scene after their popularity had dwindled for a decade or so. Snow washed jeans, which retained more of the original blue dye, remained popular among grunge fans during the mid 1990s, until they were eventually supplanted by darker shades of denim associated with hardcore punk and hip hop fashion. Acid washed jeans made a comeback in the late 2000s among teenage girls, due to a revival of 1980s and 1990's fashion that continued into the 2010s. Pagers were really popular in the 90's but they were replaced by mobile phones by the early 2000s.