Theme: US Foreign Policy

US Foreign Policy

Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson

Book — Non-fiction. By Barbara Ransby. 2013. 373 pages.
This biography of cosmopolitan anthropologist Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson explores her influence on her husband's early career, their open marriage, and her life as a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women's rights, and an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist.
Continue reading

IDA Treaties Explorer

Digital collection. View digitized historic treaties between Indigenous tribes and the U.S. government alongside key historic works that provide context to the agreements made and the histories of shared lands.
Continue reading

More than McCarthyism: The Attack on Activism Students Don’t Learn About from Their Textbooks

By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca
In legislatures across the country, Republican lawmakers are introducing bills to curtail what educators — in public schools and universities — can say and teach about racism and sexism. This latest moral panic from the Right comes on the heels of recent legislation dangerously curtailing the rights of transgender people — especially young people — and enacting another round of voter suppression. It is paramount that we organize to defeat these threats to the health and safety of LGBTQ people, voting rights, and the freedom of educators to tell the truth. It is also worth reminding ourselves — and our students — of other times in U.S. history when powerful politicians manufactured threats and whipped up fear to neutralize progressive challenges to the status quo — the McCarthy Era being a well-known high-water mark of state repression.
Continue reading
Fireworks over New York | Zinn Education Project

Rethinking the 4th of July

By Bill Bigelow
Apart from the noise pollution, air pollution, and flying debris pollution, there is something profoundly inappropriate about blowing off fireworks at a time when the United States is waging war with real fireworks around the world. To cite just one example, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London found recently that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan alone have killed more than 200 people, including at least 60 children.
Continue reading

Fighting for Okinawa — My Home, Not a Military Base

By Moé Yonamine
My family moved to the United States from Okinawa when I was 7. But Okinawa is still home — and I’m hurt and angered at how the United States and Japan continue to treat Okinawa as little more than a colonial outpost. As a teacher, I’m even more dismayed at how the conventional school curriculum keeps young people in this country ignorant about the abuse, but also about the resistance, in my home islands.
Continue reading

The Forgotten Fight Against Fascism

By William Loren Katz
Anyone who has gone through school in the United States knows that history textbooks devote a lot of attention to the so-called “Good War”: World War II. A typical textbook, Holt McDougal’s The Americans, includes 61 pages covering the buildup to World War II and the war itself. Today’s texts acknowledge “blemishes” like the internment of Japanese Americans, but the texts either ignore or gloss over the fact that for almost a decade, during the earliest fascist invasions of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Western democracies encouraged rather than fought Hitler and Mussolini, and sometimes gave them material aid.
Continue reading
Pentagon Papers collage | Zinn Education Project

Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers a Secret

By Bill Bigelow
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam: Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson “lied and lied and lied.” Nixon lied.

Ellsberg concludes: “The American public was lied to month by month by each of these five administrations. As I say, it’s a tribute to the American public that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to; it’s no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public.”

In June of 1971, Ellsberg surrendered to federal authorities at Post Office Square in Boston. Forty-two years later, few of the historical secrets that Ellsberg revealed — especially those that focus on the immediate post-World War II origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam — appear in the school curriculum.
Continue reading

Ten Years After: How Not to Teach About the Iraq War

By Bill Bigelow
In 2006, with U.S. troops occupying Iraq, the great historian and humanitarian Howard Zinn expressed his desire for the end of the war: “My hope is that the memory of death and disgrace will be so intense that the people of the United States will be able to listen to a message that the rest of the world, sobered by wars without end, can also understand: that war itself is the enemy of the human race.”

At least in a formal sense, our country’s memories of war are to be found in school history textbooks. Exactly a decade after the U.S. invasion, those texts are indeed sending “messages” to young people about the meaning of the U.S. war in Iraq. But they are not the messages of peace that Howard Zinn proposed. Not even close.
Continue reading

‘Repeat After Me: The United States Is Not an Imperialist Country — Oh, and Don’t Get Emotional About War’

By Bill Bigelow
You may have seen that an administrative law judge in Arizona, Lewis Kowal, just upheld the decree by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction that Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program violates state law. Judge Kowal found that the Tucson program was teaching Latino history and culture “in a biased, political, and emotionally charged manner.” According to CNN, one lesson that the judge objected to taught that the historic treatment of Mexican Americans was “marked by the use of force, fraud and exploitation.”

Try this “history detective” experiment. Ask the next person you encounter to tell you what they know about the U.S. war with Mexico. More than likely, this will be a short conversation, because that war (1846-48) merits barely a footnote in U.S. history textbooks.
Continue reading
Grenada education poster| Zinn Education Project

Grenada: ‘A Lovely Little War’

By Bill Bigelow
Anti-bullying curricula are the rage these days. But the official history curriculum teachers are provided often celebrates, or at least excuses, bullying among nations. Well, at least when the United States is the bully.

A good example is the U.S. invasion of Grenada — Operation Urgent Fury, as it was called by the Reagan administration — launched on Oct. 25, 1983. Grenada made an unlikely target of U.S. military might. Its main product was not oil but nutmeg. Its naval fleet consisted of about 10 fishing trawlers. Grenada’s population of 110,000 was smaller than Peoria, Illinois. At the time of the invasion, there was not a single stoplight in the entire country. So what put Grenada in the crosshairs of the Reagan administration?
Continue reading

Oct. 2, 1937: Parsley Massacre

Under the orders of U.S.-backed Dominican dictator President Rafael Trujillo, the execution of more than 20,000 Haitians began in what is now known as the Parsley Massacre at Massacre River.
Continue reading