HIST 1302 – Final Exam Project [Online Version]


In 1989, Billy Joel released his hit Grammy-nominated single, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”; a song which, by Joel’s own admission, was inspired by Sean Lennon’s (John Lennon’s son) ignorance of the recent past. This song’s lyrics are comprised a mostly chronological list of important people and events from 1949 to 1989 (40 years). It covers everything from politics, world events to even pop culture with each stanza covering roughly one year.






This project tasks you with researching and writing a short statement about the terms in three (3) of the following listed years. Keep in mind that each listed year has a mix of people, places, events, films and songs. You can use any materials or information at your disposal to compose this exam.


Each statement should be a couple of sentences long and should explain what the term is, and why it is important.


The project is due on Blackboard on July 2 at NOON

These are the “following listed years.” Note that 1964-89 is divided into 4 separate entries.


“We didn’t Start the Fire” events Lyrics by Billy Joel  1949 Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio  1950 Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television, North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe 1951 Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom, Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”  1952 Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new Queen, Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye  1953 Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev, Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc 1954 Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron  Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock” 1955 Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team, Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland  1956 Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez  1957 Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge on the River Kwai




1958 Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball, Starkweather homicide, children of thalidomide

1959 Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, space monkey, Mafia, Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go  1960 U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy, Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo  1961 Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion  1962 “Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania , Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson  1963 Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex, JFK-blown away

1964-89 1. Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again, Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock

2. Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline, Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

3. “Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide, Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz

4. Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law, Rock and roller, cola wars