In the early 60s, the Cold War between West and East dominated the political landscape. While America relied on South Vietnam to resist the draw of Communism spreading down from the north, South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem, a Roman Catholic, carried out a policy of repression against the Buddhist majority of the state. As time went on, the Diem administration met Buddhist protests with increasing levels of force, even as American President John F. Kennedy prepared to pull roughly 16,000 US soldiers out of South Vietnam and strike a treaty with the North. Soon, Diem's own generals plotted to overthrow him, to which Diem responded by declaring martial law.
In 1969, a cost-cutting measure by the US Congress threatened to slash the funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Congress called for hearings on the matter and the issue rested on the testimony by children's television host Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers discarded the idea of simply reading the printed material and instead spent about six minutes speaking openly and honestly about the benefits of educational children's television to the US Senate Subcommittee on Communications headed by Sen. John Pastore (D-R.I.), who was, until that point, unfamiliar with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
In January of 1961, the Russian research base called Novolazarevskaya Station opened deep in the isolated regions of the frozen Antarctic ice cap. By the end of April, one of the 13 crewmen displayed unmistakable signs of appendicitis, so the base doctor, Leonid Rogozov, decided that he would have to conduct an emergency appendectomy on the patient, despite the poor conditions under which the surgery would be held. The main problem with this plan was besides being the only qualified medic on the base, the doctor was also the patient.
By 1969, in the midst of the American Civil Rights movement, two separate groups of American Indians from the San Francisco bay area contemplated the idea of seizing the rocky island of Alcatraz. The prison which made the island famous had shut down more than six years earlier, and local officials debated what to do with the iconic island. When the San Francisco American Indian Center in San Francisco burned down in October of that year, the Indian activists galvanized and, citing the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, they formed the multi-tribal group Indians of All Nations, and developed plans to occupy The Rock.