Sixties A Time of Change Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

The change was not all positive, however. Bailey notes that the social and psychological transformation that followed women working outside the home "mounted to tidal-wave proportions" (1020). While women working outside the home in the urban age were not too terribly different from women working outside the home in the agricultural age, the movement raised questions about women's roles, family, and the workplace. The feminist movement was born from a mentality that women did not need to sty at home. Once they were in the workplace, however, they complained that they were expected to bring home the bacon and cook it as well. Feminists protested against sexism and even went up against historic giants like Yale and West Point. It was not long before women were seen flying airplanes and traveling in space. Feminists also railed against tradition organizations that judged women for their looks such as beauty pageants. They burned their bras and attacked advertisers that demeaned women in any way. Feminists formed the National Organization of Women to work for the civil rights of women.

Inspired by the student protests in the America, students in German universities were organizing protests against traditional administrations in the country. Sit-ins were very popular as well as attacks. For example, the Axel Springer Group was attacked by students in a protest. Some of these groups had Marist ties. The student claimed that opposition was necessary to ensure that the people were being represented fairly. Thomas Streissguth maintains that the students "organized small groups to press their demands for change" (Streissguth). There were many "left-wing" (Streissguth) West German magazines that "openly favored the Communist governments of eastern Europe . . . To attain a Communist society like that of the Soviet Union and East Germany, the leftist students -- and a few journalists -- called for the violent overthrow of non-Communist governments" (Streissguth). The Baader-Meinhof Gang is a case of how prolific the student protests became. The gang was responsible for several robberies and bombs protesting the communist control of East Germany. In Eastern Europe, students were also inspired by the protests they were seeing. In Poland, for example, student protested for free speech rights, which were restricted by communist power. Nikita Khrushchev was removed from power because of such protests.

The sixties was a time of unrest and turmoil. Reading about them in history makes the decade seem one that is littered with tension and strife. While this may be true, it would not be fair to look at the decade without looking at the changes that emerged from it. While the civil rights movement was bubbling under the surface, one of the most prolific leaders emerged with a calming voice. While the world lost this leader, his impact will never be forgotten. He showed a group of people how to fight for what they believed in without risking their lives or their safety. The student protests, too, seem like such a time of tension but they demonstrated how a collective group of people could make a difference. Their refusal to give up gave these protesters a reason to go on. They were also not simply protesting to protest; they were speaking out against something for which they had a passion. They were watching their fellow students die and they thought it was wrong because so little was known about the war. Their influence can be felt across the globe as protesters in Germany did the same thing. Suddenly, people realized that they had a voice and they could be heard. The sixties was a time of change for women as they began to work away from the confines of the home. This was a good thing but it brought with it a world of change and trouble. Equal pay and equal rights are just two of the things that the feminist movement stood up for in a time of very unequal benefits.

Works Cited

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Morris, Aldon D. "A Retrospective on the Civil Rights Movement: Political and Intellectual

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Streissguth, Thomas. "The Baader-Meinhof Gang." International Terrorists. 1993. EBSCO

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Farber, David. "Vietnam as a Cultural Crisis." Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History. GALE History Resource Center. Site Accessed August 24, 2009.

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