1950s: Mao Zedong starts the Great Leap Forward in the People’s Republic of China, placing more than half a billion peasants into “people communes.” They are guaranteed food, clothing, shelter, and child care, but deprived of all private property. Today: China is one of the few nations in the world whose government is still modeled on Marxist ideology.
1950s: The Treaty of Rome removes mutual tariff barriers, uniting Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands into the European Economic Community. The EEC is planned to promote the European economy and make it more competitive with Britain and the United States. Today: The EEC has become the European Union (EU), with many additional members. The Euro is the shared monetary unit of this market.
1950s: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I, the world’s first human-made Earth satellite. A month later, Sputnik II is launched with a live dog on board. The New York Times correspondent in Moscow hears a Russian say, “Better to learn to feed your people at home before starting to explore the moon.” Today: The United States is exploring the possibility of water on the moon in order to support colonization. Probes have been launched to observe asteroids in order to gain knowledge about how to deflect one should it head towards Earth.