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Americans

Blessed with unquenchable spirit, the Americans are a young, ambitious culture who plan to leave their mark on everything from running tracks to outer space.

Its industrial capacity untouched by conflict, the United States was able to assert itself as a major military power in the Second World War during which, as part of the Allies, it overcame the Axis troops in all the theaters of operation in which it fought. Well before the ultimate surrender of the German and Japanese forces, the United States and the Soviet Union were already involved in a race for influence in the newly liberated territories. Eventually these territories constituted two rival blocs that embodied the diplomatic and cultural wishes of the two superpowers.

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US-Soviet relations went through several phases between 1945 and 1989. From containment to the Cold War by way of a period of détente following the Cuba Missile Crisis in 1962, the United States positioned itself as leader of the “free world” and gathered around it a bloc of nations bound by a series of economic aid measures, trade agreements, and military pacts. For nearly fifty years the US pursued a proactive agenda within the bloc, aimed at permanently steering these nations' public, economic, and diplomatic policies. Although the fight against communism was the dominant theme in politics, several protest movements within America also had a profound effect on its political culture. The movements questioned the economic model of mass consumption, racial segregation, and the nuclear arms race, and were united in a common protest against America's involvement in the Vietnam War that sent shockwaves through the Western bloc. The powerful counterculture that emerged was reinforced by this social and political context and fed America’s cultural and creative industries from the 1960s onward. Radio stations, televisions, and movie theaters broadcast groundbreaking, critical productions all over the world, but nonetheless strengthened the country's influence and global appeal.

Did you know?

Initiated by John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Apollo space program succeeded in sending men to the moon and bringing them home again using very limited computer technology. It has been estimated that today a simple search engine request requires more processing power than was used to complete all 17 missions from 1961 until 1972.