Home Random Page




Focus Writing about possible developments in your career

Level Elementary Advanced

Preparation Write on the board, or photocopy and distribute, the text in Box 5.

Box 5 Career plans

Over the next few years I intend to . . .

And Im going to try to . . .

If possible, Id also like to . . .

And I hope to . . . , although I know it wont be easy.


1 Establish a clear business/professional context: students are writing

about how they can develop their careers, not about their personal lives.

2 Ask students to write 12 sentences to complete each sentence beginning.


Students read out their sentences, explaining in more detail and answering questions.


2.3 Logos

Focus Discussing company image

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Draw 23 well-known logos on the board. For example

the London Underground logo:

Other logos that are easy to draw include McDonalds

golden arches, the Nike swoosh and the Shell seashell.

2 For each logo, ask the students: Why is it effective? What does it

represent? What image does it give of the organization?


Ask a few volunteers to draw their company logo on the board and explain it.

2.4 SWOT analysis

Focus Identifying strong and weak points of your company

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Draw on the board the diagram in Box 7.

Note SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats


1 Check the students understand the vocabulary (strengths = strong points;

weaknesses = weak points; opportunities = future chances; threats = future

dangers). Explain to students that a SWOTanalysis is a common way in

business to get a very quick snapshot of a company and its market.

2 Ask the students to think of one item for each box for their own

company. Then, as they are ready, they come to the board and write up

their idea. Make sure you have several board markers available so that

several students can write at the same time. You will finish with a list of

items in each box. (If some students havent written anything for

weaknesses, then dont force them to they may feel it is disloyal.)



Note: Some items to feed in if the students cant get started are given in Box 8.



Students discuss and compare their ideas.


Students can do a personal SWOT analysis for learning English:

What are your strengths in English?

What are your weaknesses in English?

What are your opportunities for practicing English?

What stops you getting better (e.g. using L1 in class too much)?


3.1 Product profiles

Focus Describing products

Level Elementary Advanced

Preparation Write on the board, or photocopy and distribute, the text in Box 10.

Box 10 Product profiles

Its made in . . . (country of origin) . . .

Its sold . . . (distribution channel) . . .

Its advertised . . . (media) . . .

Its in the . . . (40 to 50) price range.

I bought it because . . . (your own reason) . . .


1 Ask the students to pick a personal possession they have with them which

they can describe, e.g. a mobile phone, a laptop, a watch, a jacket, a bag.

The object needs to be in view, but the students should keep their choice secret.

2 Tell them to write a brief description of the object, using the sentence

beginnings on the board. They should be careful not to include

information that makes it too easy to identify the object.

3 Collect in the pieces of paper. Read out one or two at random and ask the

class to guess which (and whose) object is being described.


Ask students to write a fuller description of their object, using their

dictionaries to help them. They should focus on the vocabulary needed for

size, shape, materials, design, function, features, etc.


3.2 USP

Focus Discussing the main feature of a product or service

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Write up on the board the letters USP and elicit or give what they stand

for: Unique Selling Point (also Unique Selling Proposition).

2 Check the students understand this phrase: a USP is some feature of a

product or service that no other competitor product has; it is therefore

one of the main reasons that a customer would buy or use it.

3 Ask students to write down the name of their main product or service and one of its USPs.

4 A few students explain their USPs.


The students answer questions from the group.

Other students explain their USPs in later lessons.



4.4 Brand associations

Focus Exploring brands and brand images

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Write a well-known brand name on the board (e.g. Coca-Cola,

Microsoft, Gucci, Disneyworld, Toyota) and ask students to brainstorm

the feelings, ideas and images that they associate with it. Encourage them

to do this as quickly as they can without much thinking.

2 Explore with students where these associations come from. How much

are they to do with the companys advertising?

3 Repeat for another, contrasting brand.


The above activity can be used to set up a lesson on marketing or advertising.


4.5 Magazine pictures

Focus Discussing advertising images

Level Elementary Advanced

Preparation Bring in a selection of magazine pictures without any text (you can

have them already pasted onto A4 paper).

Note The pictures should be general, non-commercial ones, not

already used as adverts and not clearly featuring a particular product.


1 Give each pair of students a picture and ask them to decide on a product

it could be used to advertise.

2 Students discuss in pairs how the picture could be used and then hold up

their picture and tell the group which product it could advertise.


Students explain why they chose that product for that image. Then they vote on the best idea.

Look at some pictures that are already used as adverts. Explore in a class

discussion how the picture represents the image of the brand.


5.2 Describing trends

Focus Describing and explaining changes

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Prepare the board work in Box 14, with because written more boldly

or in a different colour. Include the sketch graph as part of the

board work. Alternatively, photocopy and distribute Box 14.


1 Ask the students to choose one of the topics in the list on the left-hand

side of the board, and then draw a very simple graph to show its

fluctuations. Refer to the graph on the board as an example. Numbers on

the vertical axis are not needed, but the horizontal axis should show the

timescale (months/quarters/years). One minute should be enough to sketch the graph.

2 Divide the class into pairs. Tell the students that they should use their

graph to describe and explain the movements up and down to their

partner. They should try to use expressions from the board.




Regroup the students into new pairs. They repeat the exercise, but this time

their partner should ask questions to force them to explain in more detail

(and there is no time limit). You might want to elicit some phrases to the board first:

Can you explain that in a little more detail?

What were the reasons for that?

Can you be a little more specific?

Im sorry, I dont understand. Can you go over that again?


5.3 Pelmanism

Focus Describing financial trends

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Make a set of cards of synonyms using useful terms from business (an

example of one set is shown in Box 15, which you could photocopy

onto card and cut up). You will need one set for every four students.

Note It is important to use card, not paper, as the words must not show through.




Shuffle the cards so that they are in a random order and lay them face down

on a table. Students take it in turns to turn over two cards. If the words are

exact synonyms (as in the pairs on the same line above), the person who

turned them over keeps them. If not, they turn them back, and the next

person turns over two cards. The aim of the game is to pick up as many matching pairs as possible.


You might explore the many other synonyms of these words.


5.4 Spending, wasting, saving

Focus Writing about costs and budgets

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Write on the board, or photocopy and distribute, the text in Box 16.


1 Establish a clear context for each student. For example, some might

prefer to write about their department or their functional area

(sales, marketing, production) rather than the company as a whole.

2 Ask students to write 12 alternatives to complete each sentence.


Students read out their sentences, explaining in more detail and answering questions.

Students use their ideas (including any clarifications and further ideas

from the follow-up discussion) to write a short report on budget control in their company.


Substitute time for money in Box 16.


5.6 Financial statements

Focus Looking at the profit and loss account and balance sheet

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Write on the board in random order, or photocopy and distribute, the words in Box 17.


1 Ask the students to sort the words into profit and loss account and balance sheet.

2 Check the answers, then for the remaining time ask the students to put

the items in the profit and loss account into order. See answers in Box 18.


Note: Stockholders equity refers to share capital and retained profit.


5.7 Investment portfolio

Focus Discussing investment strategies

Level Intermediate Advanced


1 Tell students they have just won 5 million in a lottery and have to decide

how to invest it. In order to spread the risk they will need at least three

ideas, and will need to decide the percentage spread between these.

2 Brainstorm and write on the board some ideas for investments. (Likely

suggestions are: domestic equities, international equities, government

bonds, corporate bonds, and cash in a bank deposit.) According to the

level of financial knowledge of the group, you may want to set some

other criteria, such as whether they are investing for growth or income,

which international markets, other financial instruments like gold and currencies, etc.

3 Students decide on and write down their ideas.



Write up all the ideas on the board for comparison.

The class discusses which is the safest, the riskiest, and the most creative investment.

You might discuss recent movements on the financial markets and the

best strategies for investing wisely.


6.3 E-commerce

Focus Discussing doing business on the Internet

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Write up on the board:

How often do you buy things online?

Does your company sell directly to customers online?

2 Discuss the different ideas with the class.


8.6 Noisy telephone conversations

Focus Checking, repeating and summarizing information over the phone

Level Elementary Intermediate


1 Tell students they are going to practise a telephone conversation under

difficult conditions. Divide them into pairs, and then ask all the A

students to stand with their backs against one wall, and all the B students

to stand with their backs against the opposite wall. Make sure that they know who their partner is.

2 Explain the activity: student A is going to call student B to arrange to

meet one evening the following week. They will need to discuss the day,

time, place, and what they want to do. All the pairs will be talking at the

same time, so they will need to check carefully what the other person said

and confirm the details at the end. (You can introduce an element of fun

by asking the students to use real or imaginary mobile phones and hold

them up as if they were really calling.)

3 Remind the students how to begin: student B picks up the phone and says

Hello, X speaking. Go over to the A students wall, look at the B students,

and start the activity by making the sound of a phone.

4 Give the students a minute at the end of the process to get together quietly

and check they understood each other!


You will almost certainly need to look at expressions for checking

understanding, e.g. Sorry, did you say . . . ?

9.1 Opening the meeting

Focus Thinking about how to open a formal meeting

Level Intermediate Advanced


1 Write on the board:

Opening a formal meeting: what does the chairperson have to do and say?

2 Brainstorm ideas with the class for a few minutes, and write them

randomly on the board. In Box 34 are some ideas.

Box 34 The chairpersons role at the start of a


Getting everybodys attention

Welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming

Checking everyone has a copy of the agenda and other documents

Mentioning when the meeting has to finish

Mentioning any coffee breaks, where the toilets are, etc.

Introducing new colleagues

Reviewing any tasks done since the previous meeting

Giving background information

Explaining the objectives of the meeting

Referring to the agenda

Asking somebody to introduce the first item

3 Ask students to put the ideas on the board into a possible sequence.

(Note: The ideas in Box 34 are in a possible sequence, although of course variations are possible.)


9.3 The clarification game

Focus Checking and clarifying information

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Brainstorm and write on the board a few questions to check or clarify

information. For example:

Im sorry, I dont understand, could you explain that again?

Can you be a little more specific?

What exactly do you mean by xxx?

Are you saying that . . . ?

2 Ask students to write down a one-line statement about their company or

business, or a one-line description of their job.

3 Divide students into pairs. Student A reads their statement, then student

B asks for clarification, using a question from the board. Student B

continues asking for clarification for another five or six turns, forcing

student A to explain in more detail and be more specific.

4 Students change roles.


Other topics for student As initial one-line statement could be: recent

company news, a recent market development, a description of a candidate

for a job, a one-line summary of an important decision, or a one-line

summary of a recent meeting.



9.5 Diplomatic language

Focus Using language that is careful and indirect

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Write on the board, or photocopy and distribute, the text in Box 38.

Box 38 Diplomatic language

Theres a problem.

I think there may be a problem with that.

There seems to be a small problem.

Actually, thats not going to be so easy.


1 Refer to the boardwork. Ask the students what the difference is between

the first sentence and the three below. Elicit that the sentences below are

more diplomatic/careful/indirect.

2 Tell students that you are going to write up some more short, direct

statements. You want them to choose one, and then think of different

ways to change it so that it has the same meaning but is more

diplomatic/careful/indirect. They have three minutes and can work individually or in pairs.

3 Write up a few sentences like those in Box 39, then students do the activity.

Box 39 Direct statements for reformulating in a more

diplomatic way

I want to make a change to the agenda.

We cant do that.

Your estimate for the cost is too low.

The project is running late.

Thats a stupid thing to say.

The transport costs are very high.

Theres a misunderstanding.

There will be a delay.

Youre wrong.

4 Go round the group and ask them to read out their new sentences.


Do language feedback on the students use of indirect/diplomatic language.


9.9 Negotiation areas

Focus Preparing for a negotiation

Level Intermediate Advanced


1 Divide the class into small groups. Tell them that they have just two

minutes to brainstorm as many items as possible that a customer and

supplier can negotiate about (e.g. price). Start the activity.

2 As a round-up, write up all the items on the board. Which group got the most items?

Typical items are: price, discounts, minimum order, terms of payment,

delivery time, transport costs, guarantee/warranty, after-sales service,

training, installation, maintenance, who pays for advertising, exclusivity

in a particular market, specific clauses in the contract such as a penalty clause for late delivery, etc.


Students explain for their own companies which items are usually

negotiable and which non-negotiable (i.e. on which they cannot give a concession).

For each item, the students say what the typical details or outcomes are

for one main product that they sell.

10.1 Mini-presentations

Focus Giving a demonstration of a presentation

Level Elementary Advanced

Preparation Choose a topic from Box 43 for a very short presentation of 23

minutes that you will give to the students.

Box 43

My country/city

Sales presentation of an article in the room

My current/previous job


1 Give the presentation to the students, following the standard structure of

a presentation:


2 or 3 points


inviting questions

The presentation does not have to be particularly good, or funny just

whatever comes. The idea is to show them that youre willing to have a

go and so encourage them to, and to show them the standard

presentation structure. This is the same whether the talk is three minutes or thirty.

2 Answer a few questions briefly in the remaining two minutes.


Students prepare and give their own short mini-presentations in future

lessons. Write up the list of topics above to give them some ideas, but they

can choose another topic. Also remind them of the simple structure given above.


10.2 Persuasion

Focus Giving a mini-sales presentation

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Choose an everyday object in the classroom, perhaps something

belonging to a student. It needs to be something with a few features or

things to talk about, such as size, colour, packaging, quality. Some

suggestions: a bottle of water, a watch, a mobile phone, a dictionary.


1 Hold up the object. Tell the students that you want one or two of them to

be sales representatives, and the rest of the class will be potential

customers. They have to sell the object, i.e. they have to persuade the

others that it is the best one on the market, much better than all the

competitors. They will have 30 seconds to give their presentations.

2 Allow the students a minute to think of some ideas and make one or two

notes, but emphasize that their presentation should be heads-up and without a script.

3 Ask one or two students to give their 30-second presentations. They pass

on the object to the next student when they finish.


At the end, the students can discuss what they liked about their

colleagues presentations style as well as content.

In a later lesson, students can present any object of their choice that they have with them.

10.3 Presentation structure

Focus Discussing the different parts of a presentation

Level Intermediate Advanced


1 Write up randomly on the board these words:

Examples Recap Bang! Bang! Bridge Message Opening

2 Tell the students that these are different parts of a presentation. Ask them

what they think the words mean in this context. Answers (mostly obvious) are given in Box 44.

Box 44 Parts of a presentation

Examples examples to make your points clear

Recap short for recapitulation, a summary of your main points

Bang! something that you say or do that has a lot of impact and gets the

attention of the audience, e.g. a surprising fact, a reference to here and now, a

story or joke, audience participation, a visual aid

Bridge an explanation of how your message connects to the needs of the audience

Message main points of your presentation (three main points is a good number)

Opening thanking the organisers for inviting you, a few words about yourself,


Ask the students to work in pairs or threes to put the different parts of the

presentation into a possible order. There is of course no correct answer and it

is interesting for the students to think about, for example, where to put the

two Bang!s, where to recap, etc. However, one likely answer is:

Bang! Opening Message Bridge Examples Recap Bang!

This makes an easy-to-remember mnemonic using the first letters of the

words: Bomber B. Giving this mnemonic to the students will help them when

they are planning their presentations in the future.


10.4 Signposts

Focus Eliciting signpost language for a presentation

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Draw a signpost on the board and label it as shown.


1 Say to the students:

When you are on a journey, signposts show the direction you are going,

where you are now, and where you have been. What do you think

signposts are in the context of a presentation?

Elicit the answer, which is that signposts are short phrases that help the

audience to follow the direction and structure of what you are saying.

3 Elicit a few examples of signpost phrases and write them on the board.

Some typical phrases are given in Box 45.

Box 45 Examples of signpost phrases

Im going to talk to you today about . . . The point here is . . .

Lets start by looking at . . . Any questions?

Have a look at this next slide. As I said previously, . . .

Lets move on to . . . Finally, . . .

Ill return to this in a moment. So, to sum up, . . .


Photocopy and cut up the individual phrases in Box 46, one set per

student. There are several ways to use the slips: putting into a possible

order (the order in the box is one amongst many answers), or making a

game whereby students have them on the desk and have to use them all

during a mini-presentation.

Remind the students to use some signpost language the next time they

give a presentation.

Five-Minute Activities for Business English


Box 46 Signpost phrases to put onto slips of paper

Before I begin Id like to thank . . . for giving me the chance to talk to you today.

Im going to talk to you this morning about . . .

Ive divided my presentation into three main parts. First . . ., second . . ., and

finally . . .

Lets start by looking at . . .

Okay, thats all I want to say about . . .

Any questions so far?

Lets move on to . . .

If you take a look at this next slide, you will see that . . .

Before going on, Id just like to mention . . .

So, to come back to my main point, . . .

Finally, Id like to deal with the question of . . .

So, to sum up, I have talked about . . .

Right, lets stop there.

If you have any questions, Id be pleased to answer them.



12.5 My goldfish just died

Focus Discussing excuses for being late

Level Intermediate Advanced


1 Write on the board:

My goldfish just died.

Ask students to imagine why somebody might say this at work. Then tell

them that it has been used (apparently) as an excuse for being late for work.

2 Ask students to relate other excuses for being late that they have heard or

used themselves. Which do they think are and arent acceptable?


This activity could introduce a discussion about how the company treats

(unavoidable) lateness, personal needs, problems, ill-health, etc.


If you want to feed in some ideas at stage 2, you can find examples on the

websites in Box 55.

Box 55 Websites with excuses for being late



http://www.keepersoflists.org/ (type late into search box)


13.1 Email tips

Focus Discussing how to write an effective email

Level Intermediate Advanced


1 Write on the board:

What advice can you give on how to write an effective email?

2 Brainstorm ideas with the class and write them on the board. In Box 57 are some ideas.

Box 57 Tips for writing effective emails

Use a short, clear subject line.

Use short, simple sentences.

Include just one main subject per email the other person can reply and delete it.

Dont use jokes, personal comments, etc, in business emails.

Consider using numbered points instead of continuous text.

End with an action point.

Dont ignore capital letters, spelling and basic grammar when writing to people

outside the company a careless email creates a bad impression.

Tailor your email to the reader: level of formality, buzzwords, etc.


This activity would be a good warmer at the start of a series of lessons on

email writing. Students can then be encouraged to refer back to the list of

tips when they write emails in later lessons, and make any changes necessary

as part of the editing process.


13.3 Quick email responses

Focus Writing a short email

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Write on the board, or dictate, the following email:

Still havent received the goods. Please contact urgently!

2 Ask the students to write an appropriate response to this. They have just three minutes.

3 Students read their responses aloud to the class.


Discuss with the class which response is best, and why.

Do language feedback on any phrases or expressions the students needed.

Box 61 Answers to email abbreviations in Box 60

am in the morning (ante meridiem) pcs pieces

asap as soon as possible Pls please

btw by the way pm in the afternoon (post meridiem)

Bw Best wishes PS postscript

cc copy to (carbon copy) qty quantity

e.g. for example (exemplii gratia) re regarding

etc. etcetera ref reference

FYI for your information RSVP please reply (répondez sil vous

i.e. that is to say (id est) plaît)

IMO in my opinion tbc to be confirmed

NB please note (nota bene)


15.1 Response to a text

Focus Giving a quick personal response to a reading text

Level Intermediate Advanced

Preparation Start with any completed reading activity coursebook or authentic

source where you want students to move into a discussion of the

main issues rather than doing comprehension exercises or checking unknown vocabulary.

Note This activity works particularly well after students have read an article for homework.


1 Write on the board, or photocopy and distribute, the headings in Box 66.

Box 66 Response to a text

Something that surprised me

Something that interested me

Something Im not sure about

Something Id like to ask the other members of the class

2 Ask students to write a sentence for each heading with their own

responses to the text.

3 Ask one student to read out their four completed sentences and move into a short class discussion.


Continue with other students responses and more discussion.


15.2 Questioning the text

Focus Introducing a short text by asking questions

Level Elementary Advanced


1 Before a reading or listening activity, tell students the topic of the text. If

it has a headline or title, write it on the board.

2 Ask students what questions they hope the text will answer. Take a

minute to brainstorm the questions and write them on the board.

3 Students read or listen to the text to check which questions are and arent answered.


Ask students what words they think will come up in the text. Brainstorm and

write them on the board, then check with the text, as above.


17.4 Lexical dominoes

Focus Reviewing collocations and expressions of marketing (or any other topic)

Level Elementary Advanced

Preparation Before the lesson, select 1520 collocations or phrases that have come

up in recent lessons, and write them in a grid as shown. Examples for

the topic marketing are shown in Boxes 72 and 73. The beginning of

the collocation or phrase is written on the right of one domino, the

end is written on the left of the next domino. Copy the grid and cut it

into horizontal strips to make one set of dominoes for each group of students.


Hand out the sets of dominoes to small groups. Students play the game: they

try to lay out the dominoes end to end on the table.






In 1937 China was invaded by Japanese military forces. Two years later, Hitler sent his army into Poland and went on to attack other European countries.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States in 1940. The United States was staying neutral. On December 7, 1941, Japanese airplanes attacked an American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the American battleships and airplanes were destroyed in the Pearl Harbor attack. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,388 persons, sank 8 ships, and damaged nearly 350 airplanes. This was the largest single-day loss in U.S. Navy history. During the attack the USA Arizona sank in less than nine minutes, killing 1,177 crew members. This attack brought the United States into World War II, and Congress declared war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. The fighting went on in North America, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and on islands in the Pacific Ocean. The American fighting forces used airplanes to bomb enemy bases. Boats landed troops and tanks on Pacific islands held by the Japanese.

Although Roosevelt and Churchill decided that the main theatre of the war should be Europe, providing all possible help to Great Britain and the allies, the American Navy obtained several victories against the Japanese in 1942 and gradually reconquered one island after another in the Pacific.

After the victory of the Soviet Union over Hitler's troops in Europe (the Nazi Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945), the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet people was finished. But the Japanese rulers did not surrender. In the summer of 1945, American airplanes dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. One destroyed the city of Hiroshima, and the other wiped out the city of Nagasaki. This military bombing of the two Japanese cities caused a heavy loss of peaceful people's lives, and it led to Emperor Hirohito's formal surrender on 2 September 1945.

While the United States had lost almost 300,000 members of its armed services in World War II, there had been no fighting or bombing in North America. So the United States was in much better shape than the war-torn countries.

The United Nations, the UN for short, had been formed at the end of WW II. Most of the world nations joined. The United Nations Charter had been drafted at the Potsdam peace conference in July 1945.

A cold war started between the United States and the Soviet almost as soon as WW II ended. The two countries had been allies in fighting Nazi Germany. But they bitterly disagreed over what should happen to the countries of eastern Europe after Germany was defeated.

After the war, new types of weapons and new forms of using them were invented, and both the United States and the Soviet Union built up a tremendous supply of powerful armaments. This contest became known as the arms race.

This persistent hostility between the Western and Communist nations defined the life of the post-war world. The cold war landmarks were the policy of the iron curtain, i.e. of the Soviet Union; control over the countries of the Warsaw Treaty; the Truman Doctrine (Harry S. Truman - U.S. President in 1945-1953) of helping 'all free people' to resist Communist influence; the Marshal Plan, devised by US Secretary of State George Marshall in 1947, in which the United States gave or loaned billions of dollars to various European countries, particularly Germany, to assist in postwar reconstruction of their industries. The widespread fear of Communism was one of the reasons behind the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in April 1949. The same fear, during the 1950s, brought to life the political phenomenon of McCarthyism (the most famous anti-Communist, Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, branded anyone opposing him as a Communist or "Communist sympathizer', and used this method of discrediting people without proof. Communists usually lost their jobs and found it very difficult or impossible to get new ones.

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) was the axis of political and war strategies machine of the United States. The Bureau's first director, J. Edgar Hoover, built the new agency into a law enforcement empire and became enormously powerful in the process, running his fief with scant interference through the tenures of eight presidents (1924-1972). By the time he died in 1972, Hoover was feared and hated by millions for his agency's habit of bending civil liberties laws, especially when gathering information on suspected "subversives" - nonconformists of any stripe.

Numerous political and armed incidents and war actions throughout the post-war world for spheres of influence increased international tension and the possibility of another global conflict; the wars in North Korea (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1960-1973), the support of France in their Indochina War (1946-1954), the Soviet-American conflict in Cuba (1962).

By 1965 the United States was spending huge amounts of money on the war, and large numbers of American soldiers were fighting in Vietnam. The Vietnam War became the subject of heated argument among the American people. Feeling about this war grew so strong that some people held big demonstrations to protest the war. Finally, in 1973 the United States withdrew from the Vietnam War. It had been the longest war in their history.

While Americans were still recovering from the shock of their first-ever defeat in war, their belief in the nation's political institutions was shaken by a series of scandals. The most serious of these became known as the Watergate scandal, when prominent members of the Republican party were found guilty of 'bugging' the Democratic party's campaign headquarters (at the Watergate building). The scandal forced President Nixon to resign the Presidency, thus completely overshadowing his achievements while in office, such as the normalization of relations with China and the signing of the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) with the Soviet Union in 1972. Facing sure impeachment for reasons of perjury, misuse of federal funds, and politicization of federal agencies, Nixon resigned in 1974.

When the Iran-Contra scandal began to break in November 1986, it was as deeply disturbing as any revelation from Washington since Watergate. The Reagan administration, in its zeal to topple the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, had illegally sold arms to Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran to fund a ragtag army if "freedom fighters" in Nicaragua known as the "Contras".

The issue that dominated American politics in the 1950s and 1960s was civil rights. Numerous Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson) attempted to improve the situation of black people and other minorities in American society. Some progress was made, despite congressional opposition.

Although the civil rights movement - the struggle for equal rights for blacks - had long been in existence, it gained strength in the 1950s. Blacks had fought in WW II, and after the war many blacks had migrated from farms to cities. They were less willing to put up with unequal conditions.

The equal rights movement suffered a great loss in 1968, which Martin Luther King, Jr., who had done much for outlawing segregation and who had called for the observance of principles of non-violence, nonviolent protest - sit-ins, marches, etc. - was assassinated. King is buried in Atlanta, Georgia. Carved on his tombstone are famous words from one of his speeches: "Free at last free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."

Although many civil rights efforts were non-violent, they often met with violent responses on the part of mobs and the police. Civil rights workers were jailed, beaten, and even murdered. In the mid-1960s these mass demonstrations often degenerated into violent clashes, as the militant Black Power movements replaced the non-violent organizations.

America has made great progress - Congress has passed laws making segregation illegal, making job discrimination illegal, and strengthening voting rights. Still much remains to be done for King's dream of true equality for all. He said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character".

wipe out , ; draft ; contest ; arms race ; hostility ; law enforcement ; fief ; scant , ; with scant interference ; tenure ; subversive , ; of any stripe ; bugging ; perjury ; revelation , ; zeal , ; topple , ; ragtag , ; put up ; sit-in .


1) What did the Second World War mean for the United States? What was the general attitude toward the country's participation in it in 1949? How did the war start for the USA?

2) Where did the fighting of American military forces go on? What territories were included into the theater of the war for America?

3) What was the role of the United States for the general outcome of the war?

4) What caused the so-called cold war and arms race between the former allies in WW II in post-war period? What were the cold war landmarks in international policies?

5) Why are the 1950s -1970s characterized as a period of growing international tension?

6) Why is the FBI compared with a fief and an empire? What functions was it designed to carry out?

7) How was social and political awareness of Americans influenced by the Vietnam War?

8) What issues in the social and political life of America received a pronounced response from the world community?

9) Who opposed the post-war Presidents in their attempts to lessen racial discrimination?

10) How did the Black Power movement differ from Dr. King's and his followers' ideas?

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1943

<== previous page | next page ==>
Career plans | The SECOND PART of the 20th CENTURY
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2024 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.066 sec.)