|Timeline of the Nuclear Age 1960s|
The 1960s began with France joining the nuclear weapons "club," testing an atomic weapon on February 13, 1960. President Eisenhower left office in January 1961, warning of the threat of unwarranted influence by the military industrial complex.The Cold War continued under President Kennedy, with an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba, the "Bay of Pigs," and the East Germans constructing the Berlin Wall.
In 1962 the world stood poised on the brink of nuclear warfare during the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, described in Robert Kennedy's insider account, Thirteen Days , which ended in Premier Khruschev agreeing to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba.
A hot line agreement between the U.S. and Soviet Union went into effect in June, 1963. In August, a Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, was signed. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas less than six weeks later. and Lyndon Johnson became the next U.S. President.
In 1964 China became the fifth nation to possess nuclear weapons, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for opposing apartheid, and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize. The next year U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced that the United States would rely upon the threat of "mutually assured destruction" to deter Soviet attack.
In 1966 two important international treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, were signed. The U.S., however did not ratify the first treaty until 1992, and has not ratified the second. In February 1967 the Treaty of Tlateloclo, creating a Latin American Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, was signed. In June the Six-Day War in the Middle East took place, and China conducted its first thermonuclear weapons test. Perhaps the most notable event of 1967 was the first full photograph of the Earth taken from outer space showing one planet without boundaries.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed in July 1968. The U.S.S.R. invaded Czechoslovakia, France tested its first thermonuclear weapon, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.
Neil Armstong became the first person to walk on the moon in July 1969. In August two million persons across the United States engaged in protests in the first Moratorium Against the Vietnam War.
During the 1960s some six and a half million persons died in warfare. Civilians accounted for 56 percent of the deaths.