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Orientation on Early Cold War (1960) Veterans – Lesson Plan

How old were the veteran's you are about to interview when they entered the service?
Probably between 18 and 21—they could have been your older brothers, and some of you could
have enlisted--with your parent's permission. Much has changed since then, and I will use the
next 20 minutes to orient you to the veterans then and now.

I will start by briefly introducing myself and my organization's role with Cumberland Valley
School District and the Army Heritage Center Foundation, the 3 sponsors of this program. I'll
next reveal the life of a teen ager as these veterans saw it, and then what you can expect of
them seventy years later. I hope this will help you get started with the oral history process.

America in 1960 - What was America like when these veterans were 10-25 years old?
- Population – Depression era Silent Generation 1929-1945
-- 179,000,000 Americans in 1960 – in 2012 over 313,000,000 – almost doubled
--- PA 3rd largest (11.3 mil), # 1 NY (16.8), CA (15.8), IL (10.1) – 2010 # 6 12.3 mil
-- Urban, USA only 59% live in cities, PA 67% -- 2012 82% live in cities
-- life expectancy 69 years, 2012 79 years old , collect 4 years of Social Security
--- IMR all deaths under age 1, 26/1000 – 2012 6/1000
--- Polio vaccine first tested – crippling scourge of youth

- Economics – US economy dominates the world

-- GDP $2.4 trillion, in 2012 15.3 trillion – 6 times larger or $13,414 or 49,000 per capita
--- European recovery thru Marshall Plan and German and Japanese economic miracles
-- 11% men in agriculture or mining, 33% industry, 54% services – 2012 1%, 19%, 80%
--- women were 30% of labor force, limited opportunities, eve of women’s lib
--- unemployment at 6.1%, 2012 8.2%
-- High school graduates in 1960: 43%, college: 8% -- 2010 80%, 27%
--- teachers earned $4,800, spent $334/student –2010, 49K per teacher, 11K/student yearly
-- new car $2100, gas 17c/gl, new house $13,450, milk $1/gl, bread 20c
-- 2000 computers used throughout the US economy – your school district has more

- Entertainment: no internet, no smart phones, no iPods, no music videos right???

- communications: mail, newspapers, television (9 out of 10 homes, or 52 million sets)
- Chubby Checker’s #9, The Twist
- 1964 Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, GC Scott
--, Stanley Kubrick, Peter Seller
- 1960 Olympics held in Rome and Squaw Valley, first TV Olympics; Pirates beat Yankees
- Doninos Pizza starts, Flintstones and My Three Sons on TV

- Politics – time of change and anxiety

-- Alaska and Hawaii states in 1959
-- JFK barely beats Nixon to become youngest elected president
...-- Cold War starts with Korean War in 1950, WW2 era draft continues for all men
--- Soviets shoot down US U-2 with Gary Powers on 1 May
--- Sputnik satellite launched by Soviets in 1957, US lags in space race and missiles
--- Communist Castro in power in Cuba 1959, 1961 Berlin Wall, African independence
--- 1960 800 adivsors in SVN, 63 16,000 US military advisors to stop communism
-- Civil Rights: Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, NC

That was then, this is now. What about these early Cold War and Vietnam War veterans?
- 7 early Cold War, 4 Vietnam (a major battle in the larger and longer Cold War)
-- 6 Army, 4 AF, 1 Navy – 6 make a career of the military (much more than WW2 veterans)
-- only 10% of WWII veterans saw combat, still served in USA, training, maintenance
--- only 1 saw combat, others in support stationed in Germany, Korea, at sea or USA (draft)
-- 1 fighter pilot, 1 submariner, airborne parachutist, VN casualty officer, 1 female officer
- This generation exercise; saw wars become small, limited, many, but global involvement
-- military service went from prestigious (WW2) to despised (hippy generation)
-- transition to civil rights, women’s liberation, distrust of government (Watergate), free love
-- much more training and exercises, conflicts are small, many, limited, but world-wide

- Today a 19 year old soldier in 1960 is 71 - veterans you’ll meet were junior to mid level
-- gone from post mail and newspapers to digital age – not as technologically savvy as you
-- age related physical ailments – poor eye sight, hard of hearing, poor mobility
-- some have ailments from their service –scars, burns, broken bones, Agent Orange
-- may be curmudgeonly – irritated that they are not as strong as once was or as independent

- Some have not talked about their experiences, and bottled them up
-- raw emotional experiences – outbursts, crying, suppressed memories
-- memory loss, remember events wrong after 50 years — not according to history books
--- be respectful, ask for clarification, gently ask about what you think is the right answer
--- accept answer and research later. With facts seek clarification, but do not confront

- What does all of this mean for you?

-- be patient, work with veterans to overcome their problems
-- ask about war reaction, basic training, duties, transport, home coming, what it meant
-- call ahead, be punctual, be prepared, be respectful, get in their shoes (old and young)
-- they'll complain some – feeling pains, feeling forgotten, feeling lonely, feeling mortality
--- complaints against the military or veterans administration – be sympathetic
-- be flexible in contacting them. May not hear telephone ring
--- all of this means you need to accommodate, use telephone and mail, go to their home
-- be creative in helping them remember
--- use AHEC survey questions provided to start conversation, send to them beforehand
--- research on internet – some have given interviews, in books, AHEC survey
--- play ipod loaded with music from that era before interview, link to first question - LIST
--- after first questions if stalled, ask to see memorabilia and ask for stories about it
--- after interview research what you learn, confirm names and spelling and events, equip

- Some may get sick or die during this year

-- natural process for elderly, we can expect at least one veteran to drop out this school year
-- if it happens be respectful and sympathetic to his family
--- send a sympathy card expressing your condolences or get well
--- if you connected with the veteran, other things to consider:
---- call the family to express condolences, share notes already taken with veteran
---- CVSD grief counselor, talk to your own family members and friends
--- if sufficiently advanced (after first interview), complete project as memorial to veteran

- To help you get a better perspective of this period from the view of the veteran, posted on web
site are lists of movies to watch, books to read, or music to listen to
-- I hope I put in perspective your project and how your veterans saw and see the world

1960 Census:

cost, labor, pop, school
2012 Data: CIA Fact Book
1960-1998 GDP and GDP per capita

Top 10 music 1950-1969

Top 10 movies 1950