Multiple dates and places
There were many conflicts between westward-expanding settlers and the many Indian
tribes throughout this entire period, such as Custer’s Last Stand during the Battle of the
Little Bighorn (1876), and the devastating final incident at Wounded Knee (1890).
America became involved in nearby Cuba’s attempt to win independence from Spain,
especially when it was thought that Spain sank an American ship (“Remember the
Maine”) there. The conflict spread to the Philippines, where the Spanish fleet was moored;
after winning, and with payment, America gained Spanish possessions, such as Puerto
Rico and Guam.
World War I
(1914–1918, in Europe)
The “Great War” involved millions of troops from competing empires and their colonies
and was fought throughout Europe and the Middle East (including release of the
Holy Land from Ottoman Muslims); the U.S. entered in 1917. As the first war to use
industrialized weapons (without equally developed defenses), the death and destruction
shocked all; they hoped it was the “War to End All Wars.” The “new” ideas of Socialism,
Marxism/Leninism/communism, and Progressivism all promised peace through mere
human wisdom and power. But, just twenty years later came worse—World War II—
causing the “Great War” to become “World War I.”
World War II
(1938–1945, in Europe)
“This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” This French leader’s comment on
the treaty ending World War I proved true: Its devastating effect on Germany gave Adolf
Hitler opportunity to gain power by promising dignity through his National-Socialist
(Nazi) ideas. In rejecting God, he made himself a god, seeking to remake the world in
his own image, and debasing humans at will: the Jews and the disabled in his own land,
as well as populations he wished to conquer. His tanks rolled east and west, north and
south—and England quickly realized that Winston Churchill was correct. They led the
Allied defense, but scores of nations fought on both sides in Europe, Africa, Asia, and
on Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The United States joined the Allies after Germany’s Axis
confederate, Japan, bombed Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) in 1941, causing the Japanese naval
commander to rightly realize they’d awakened a “sleeping giant.”
Communism (revolutionary socialism) still enslaved millions around the world,
especially in Russia and China, and they wanted more. The constant American/Western
European resistance was known as the Cold War. It became a “hot war” when communist
North Korea attacked free South Korea in 1950; the U.S. led the United Nations coalition
in the South’s defense.
The U.S. helped “free” South Vietnam resist its communist North Vietnam. American
ground troops began their work in 1965. Vocal opponents back in the States greatly
complicated the military’s efforts. U.S. forces were gradually withdrawn; after their last
battle in 1973, South Vietnam slowly fell to the Communists, but the U.S. helped evacuate
the southern capital, Saigon, in 1975.
First and Second Gulf Wars &
War in Afghanistan
The First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm, 1990–1991), the Second Gulf War
(Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003–2011), and War in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring
Freedom, 2001–present) are all related to aggressive Islam and its attacks on U.S./U.N.
allies such as Kuwait and the dreadful terrorist attack of September 11, 2011, on the United
States itself. Rather than allowing al-Qaeda (and nourishing regimes) to strengthen and
bring more attacks on the U.S., the American military and allies have sought to weaken
them on their own turf. The struggle is ongoing . . .
Michelle Miller’s probing “Big 2 Beliefs” help students find spiritual truths in her award-winning curriculum, TruthQuest History, one
of Cathy Duffy’s “Top 101 Picks.” She has also founded a library of 20,000 living books; she helps others start such libraries too. Michelle
is in her twentieth year of homeschooling, with two younger children still at home. Two older sons are successful adults.