Jul 16, 2011

The 20th Century (B813)

Scenes from the View-Master Bicentennial packet The 20th Century (B 813).


View-Master The 20th Century (B813), Packet Cover

Packet cover


From the 16-page booklet:

(This is the last of a series of four View-Master packets covering 200 years of U.S. history. The other three packets are entitled The Revolutionary War, Forging a Nation, and Westward Expansion.)

If an American of the 1970’s could journey back in time to the America of the year 1900, he would experience an acute case of culture shock. He would find himself in a world so radically different from everything he was used to that he would feel lost.

That is how much America has changed in just three-quarters of a century—one human lifetime.

Technology, of course, has leaped ahead at an amazing rate in that span of time. Along with it, sophistication has leaped ahead too: we are no longer surprised at anything for very long. Pre-World-War-II Americans were, by our standards, naïve, optimistic, impressionable. They could go wild with adulation of one young man who flew the Atlantic alone; we quickly forget the names of men who have walked on the Moon.


Scene A3

New York Skyscrapers, 1901

View-Master The 20th Century (B813), Scene A-3: New York Skyscrapers, 1901

Flatiron Bldg. was first of many New York skyscrapers


From the 16-page booklet:


The pretty girls in the long dresses of 1901, and the young “sports” who gathered at the windy corner of 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue to ogle the girls, began craning their necks upward that year to watch construction progress on New York’s first “skyscraper”—the 21-story Fuller Building. Because of its sharp-angled floor plan, it was nicknamed the Flatiron.

Few New Yorkers then could have foreseen the great buildings that would follow, a few of which are visible in the background of this picture: the 77-story Chrysler; the United Nations Secretariat; the 102-story Empire State; the 60-story Woolworth, world’s tallest when it was erected in 1913; and (not shown) the 110-story, twin-tower World Trade Center, finished in 1972.


Scene B3

World War 1 Action, 1918

View-Master The 20th Century (B813), Scene B-3: World War I Action, 1918

World War I action centered in trenches and in the air


From the 16-page booklet:


The United States entered World War I in 1917. Before American “doughboys” reached France, both the Allies and the Germans had built elaborate networks of trenches that zigzagged for 600 miles along the Western Front. Between the opposing trenches lay the undefended “no-man’s-land.”

Life in the vermin-infested trenches was miserable; plunging through the barbed-wire entanglements of no-man’s-land into enemy machinegun fire was worse.

By contrast, the fighter pilots who shot enemy planes from the skies were the war’s glamour heroes.


Scene C6

First Man on the Moon, 1969

View-Master The 20th Century (B813), Scene C-6: First Man on the Moon, 1969

Neil Armstrong was first man to set foot on the Moon


From the 16-page booklet:


JULY 20, 1969

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Thus spoke Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong as he became the first man to set foot on the Moon.

Inside the Lunar Module “Eagle,” his companion, Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., waited his turn to climb down the ladder to the surface. The wildest tales of the pioneer science fiction writers had become reality.


Scene C7

Taking the 1970 Census

View-Master The 20th Century (B813), Scene C-7: Taking the 1970 Census

1970 census showed amazing U.S. growth since 1790


From the 16-page booklet:


When the first U.S. census was taken in 1790 (see the companion View-Master packet, Forging a Nation), the population was a mere 4 million. All but about 100,000 resided along the Atlantic seacoast, and only 5% lived in cities. Just six generations later—in 1970—census takers counted a population of 203 million, of whom 73% lived in cities.

This amounts to a growth of 5,075% in 180 years! No other nation in the world has expanded so fast.

Growth brings problems. But the American people always seem to have the ingenuity to cope with problems.

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