1948: West Berlin, Germany, is blockaded by the Soviets. The Americans begin an airlift to help the stranded Berliners. 1984: The Berlin wall, built in 1961 to keep East Germans from defecting to the West, remains in place. Today: East and West Germany are reunified, after the Berlin wall was taken down in 1990.
1948-1949: Mao Tse-tung battles Chiang Kai-shek and his nationalist forces, finally defeating them in 1949 and establishing a totalitarian communist regime. 1984: China has survived the severe cultural purging of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Opened to the West in the 1970s because of President Nixon’s visit in 1972, China is now trading with the West and incorporating some small democratic and economic reforms. Today: In 1989, students demanding greater economic and civil rights reforms protested in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and were gunned down by Chinese troops. China continues to trade with the West, but its democratic movement has been slowed considerably.
1948-1949: In September, 1949, President Truman announces that Russia, too, has the atom bomb, having developed the technology on its own. 1984: The Cold War continues as the arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States escalates. Today: On December 8, 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign an agreement to dismantle all 1,752 U.S. and 859 Soviet nuclear missiles within a 300 to 3,400-mile range. In 1991 the former Soviet Republic breaks up. American investors are helping the Soviets establish new businesses as the Soviets concentrate their attention on revamping their economy.
1949: There are one million television sets in the United States and two dozen TV stations. There will be ten million TV sets by 1951, fifty million by 1959. 1984: Eighty-five million U.S. households own a television set. Cable television reaches almost half of those households. Computers start to become a household product in the United States. Today: Ninety-eight percent of U.S. households (95 million homes) own a color television set, 28 percent own three or more televisions, 65 percent have cable access. In 1995, over three million people owned a personal computer. Use of a vast computer network, called the Internet, which originated in the 1960s and connects users from over 160 countries to each other via electronic mail, exploded during the 1990s with an estimated count of 20 to 30 million users in mid-1995.