Modern America

Reel History Final

Cold War

In the Cold War unit, we watched The Good Shepherd, 13 Days, and Dr. Strangelove, and later, and Miracle and Charlie Wilson's War. The Cold War was a time in American history where the U.S. and the Soviet Union competed for the production of nuclear weapons. Known as the Cold War, the competition did not lead to any actual physical damage, but the threat of communist world-domination was not acceptable. Through the policy of containment, the CIA was established to gather information on the Soviets and their dangerous amount of nuclear weapons. The Cuban Missile Crisis, demonstrated through 13 Days, was the main threat to American soil through the addition of nuclear weapons to Cuba. In result, the United States agreed to remove missiles in Turkey and vowed not to invade Fidel Castro if the Soviet Union removed missiles from Cuba.

Civil Rights

In the Civil Rights unit, we watched Mississippi Burning and Malcolm X. The Civil Rights Movement was a series of political movements for equality among all men regardless of race. Through various techniques, such as violent, Malcolm X, and non-violent, Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Movement was spread throughout America and stressed the importance of White and African American equality. Civil Rights led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and nation-wide integration. In the movie Malcolm X, we are shown Malcolm X's life and his impact on America through violent uprisings and the spread of the Islamic Nation. After Malcolm X was assassinated, equality for African Americans was in the near future.

Vietnam War

In the Vietnam War unit, we watched We Were Soldiers, Vietnam in HD, and the Green Berets. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, communist rebels, invaded South Vietnam, a democratic, anit-communist country supported by the United States. The U.S.'s policy of containment, or anti-communist movement, was involved in the Vietnam War. However, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong managed to overtake South Vietnam. Along with the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War with the Soviets, the Vietnam War added much more tension in the homefront, leading to violent protests. The Vietnam War was a devastating loss for the United States, and after years of escalated violence, President Nixon withdrew American troops from Vietnam. We Were Soldiers was an incredible movie that expressed the military tactic of using helicopters to transport troops inside the enemy's borders to invade their outposts. However, many platoons were overrun and failed.

Watergate Scandal

The Watergate Scandal was the covering up of break-ins on the Democratic Party HeadQuarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. Nixon's administration illegally used the CIA and FBI to "cover-up" the crime, which was eventually spread throughout the nation. The deep controversy of this executive crime led to the resignition of President Richard Nixon. In the film Frost/Nixon, a British talk show host, David Frost, hosted a series of interviews in order to convey the truth to the American public. In the film, Frost successfully convinced Nixon to tell the truth, which led to the exile of Nixon to the west coast.

Post 9/11 United States

In this unit, we watched United 93, 102 Minutes, Lions for Lambs, and the Hurtlocker. After the tragedy of 9/11, President Bush issued a "war on terror". Determined to capture Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Bush ordered troops to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. After many years of searching, the United States finally defeated the terrorist responsible for the bombings of 9/11. In the Hurtlocker, a team of U.S. bomb specialists search out the grounds of Iraq for IED's, or Improvised Explosive Devices. The Hurtlocker expresses that war is a drug and the impact it had on the American soldiers. Through high divorce, suicide, and drug rates, the United States after 9/11 dealt with anxiety.

Impression on "Modern America"

Favorite Movie: We Were Soldiers; this film was an amazing demonstration of the Vietnam War. We Were Soldiers showed how the United States used helicopters to transport troops in and out of the battlefield. Although the ending was historically inaccurate, this movie was interesting, suspenseful, and intense.


Least Favorite Movie: Green Berets; the Green Berets played an important role in the Vietnam War to strategically capture North Vietnamese officers. However, this film was boring and I was hardly able to keep my eyes open. Made in the 60's, the effects in the movie were not attracting to me at all.


Most Interesting Unit: Cold War; the Cold War was an interesting unit because of amazing films, such as 13 Days and Miracle. These films showed the importance of the CIA, the dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the impact the 1980 Hockey Olympic team had on the country. The Cold War was the best unit of the class.


Least Interesting Unit: Civil Rights Movement; although important to American history, the Civil Rights unit was very boring and confusing. I did not completely understand Malcolm X's life and his role as a civil rights activist, or the situation shown in Mississippi Burning.


Biggest Impression: Miracle; the film, Miracle, was very appealing to me because of my love of sports. Watching the film was an excellent ending to the Cold War era because it gave me a sense of nationalism due to the victory over the Soviet Union. After all of the tension and anger expresses throughout the nation, the 1980 U.S. Hockey Olympic team changed America's view on the Cold War and the public turned optimistic.

Reaction to the Class

After watching these films and expanding my knowledge of American history, the United States went through a tough time in the past. In this era, the united States had to deal with foreign intervention, domestic protests, and the war on terrorism. The time period of 1945-2011 has shaped the United States of today and has led to civil rights, the destruction of the Soviet Union, and the entrance to war in Iraq. These films have changed the way I view Modern America because in AP Us history, we only learn up until the 1980's. The Post 9/11 unit was very interesting and expanded my knowledge.


I believe the United States is in a better position after this time period because this time period placed a lot of stress on the country. In dealing with the Cold War, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and post 9/11, we have secured the threat of communism from the Western Hemisphere, given equality to ALL citizens of the nation, and have captured the attacker of 9/11. Although we are still at war, the United States' homefront in is a better position and have experienced a great sense of nationalism.