J. Edgar Hoover
Aug. 11, 1950
The Korean War had started, and Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy was charging that the State Department was infiltrated by "205 card-carrying Communists." Alger Hiss had been convicted of perjury after denying that he turned over secret documents to Soviet agents. In 1950, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had been in office for 26 years; he would serve another 22, despite continued criticism that he abused his authority by investigating people because of their political beliefs. Later, he became so frustrated by limits on the prosecutions of suspected communists that he used wiretaps, infiltration, and false rumors to discredit them.
H. J. Muller
May 13, 1955
During the Cold War, the fallout from a nuclear attack was much on the minds of Americans. Bombs were being tested in the western desert, and arguments persisted over the effects of atomic testing on humans and unborn children. The issue was discussed with H. J. Muller, professor of zoology at Indiana University and winner of a Nobel Prize in genetics.
It is entirely fallacious—that you are going to ruin the world just as a result of test explosions in the manner and at the rate at which they have been carried on in the past three years. I don't say that you might not ruin a race—I wouldn't be a bit surprised—you can actually kill people off outright with what they call "patterned bombing." But I don't think you could ruin the race by an amount of radiation that would leave people able to reproduce, when given only to one generation. You can cause a great deal of harm, as you did at Hiroshima, but after all at Hiroshima there were survivors who got as much as they could stand and then reproduced, and we say that their offspring looked about normal. It doesn't mean that they were, but they were enough normal to get by.
Mohammed Reza Pahlevi
March 23, 1959
In the early 1950s, the CIA and British intelligence covertly organized a coup that toppled Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, and strengthened the pro-American shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. In 1959, the shah expressed appreciation for U.S. support against a menacing Soviet Union, but his comments take on a larger meaning in light of what eventually became known about the CIA's Operation Ajax. Pahlevi was ousted by domestic opponents in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He was asked about the state of Iran'srelationship with the United States.
June 20, 1960
In the 1960s, America was in the midst of an "urban renewal" that was reshaping the nation's cities, and not always for the better. Historic properties were being razed to make way for wider streets, government buildings, and parking lots. Highways sometimes cut through vibrant neighborhoods, killing them in the process. The Viennese architect Victor Gruen, a city planner who designed the nation's first indoor shopping mall, talked about the scourge of the automobile.