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Essay Questions: (Choose one theme only and answer all of the prompts)

Theme 1: Civil Rights
• How did World War II affect race relations in the United States? Why was there a renewed spirit for civil rights movements after the war?
• In the decades following World War II, in what ways did judicial system affect the struggle for civil rights? (specifically cite court cases in your answer)
• In what ways did the other two branches of the federal government (excluding the Supreme Court) affect the struggle for civil rights in the decades following World War II?
• Explain the roles of the grassroots civil rights groups and of those focused on the court system? Why were both important to the major civil rights successes of the 1950s and 1960s?
• How and why did many civil rights groups “radicalize” in the second half of the 1960s, and in what ways did that radicalization affect the success of the broader civil rights movement?
• How has the Federal government continued to struggle with civil rights/equality since the 1970’s? Identify relevant court cases and policy programs.

Theme 2: Foreign Policy
• How and why did World War II destabilize geopolitics?
• Identify and discuss the events leading into the Cold War. What was the Cold War (1945-1991) and why was it given that title?
• What is the political significance of a bipolar international environment where the United States and the Soviet Union were considered to be the only remaining super powers?
• Compare and contrast the implementation of Cold War policies by the Truman administration and the Eisenhower administration.
• What are the major lessons of the Cold War? How are those lessons impacting foreign policy decisions today? Provide a few examples citing current events.
• What lessons have not been taken into account in modern American foreign policy decisions? What risks are associated with repeating the mistakes of the past?

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The end of the Second World War witnessed the victory of the Allied Powers over the Axis powers and realigned the global geopolitics in several ways. Five main consequences of the World War II were: First, it led to the collapse of the European powers (Britain and France); Second, nationalist struggles gained strength and led to the rise of the third world; third, the neutral foreign policy stand of the United States was eroded; fourth, the rise of communist Soviet Union, and the rivalry with America, leading to Cold War; and finally, the emergence of the nuclear weapons of colossal destruction.

The end of the World War, thus, reshaped the world order in several ways. British Empire had a stronghold on the world for several centuries, but, it was economically devastated after the end of the war. With the weakening of the European powers there was a great wave of decolonization leading to a spurt of freedom movements in Asia and Africa. The countries which became independent set on the path of development and were called Developing countries or the Third World. These countries though free from the imperialist tangles, but, became financially dependent on the U.S. and world financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF. The most significant development at the end of the World War II was the rise of the U.S. as a technologically advanced global power. It also became the first ever country to use nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a bid to end the War....
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