Spring 2020 Postponed until Autumn 2020


Eight classes on Monday evenings, 18:30-19:50.

Dates to be announced.

In this year 2020 it has been sixty years since John F. Kennedy won the presidential election in 1960. His historic victory came at a time of great change and great conflict in the world. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world were hoping that the nuclear arms race could be stopped and further wars in the developing world could be avoided. The assassination of JKF is seen by many as the loss of this hope and the reason the following years, led by Presidents Johnson and Nixon, were a period of chaos and crisis. In this course we will study the United States’ “age of assassinations” (1963-68) and its effects on American and world history.

1.    The 1950s: Anti-communism, nuclear weapons, and the rise of JFK and Richard Nixon

2.    JFK’s presidency before the Cuban Missile Crisis (1961-62)

3.    JFK as peacemaker, after the Cuban Missile Crisis (1963)

4.    The JFK assassination (1963/11/22)

5.    The aftermath of the assassination (1963-1969)

6.    The other assassinations: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy

7.    The decline of the Democratic Party and the comeback and fall of Richard Nixon (1968-1974)

8.    The legacy of other uncanny events: Watergate, Iran-Contra, September 11, 2001

Advice to Students: 

The subject matter is somewhat difficult, but a very high degree of English proficiency is not required. Students should be capable of participating actively in a course conducted in English and doing some reading before each class. Recommended viewing and reading (but not required): The Untold History of the United States, by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick (2013) (available as a book or documentary video, in English and Japanese).