Video: The Bush Legacy

The BBC evaluate some of the accomplishments and failures of George Bush during his eight years in office.

Web resource

BBC Video (part 1) . . .

BBC Video (part 2) . . .

Audo/Slides: An ambush and a comrade lost

An American platoon patrolling the Korangal Valley in Afghanistan found themselves pinned in a riverbed, which had blossomed into a kill zone. 

Web resource

The New York Times . . .

Fast Facts: The USA

Capital:  Washington D.C.
Major cities:  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago
Size:  9,629,091 square km (30 times as large as Norway)
Currency: American dollar ($)
Administrative divisions:  50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.)
Population: 295,734,134 (2005)
Ethnic groups: White 69%, Hispanic 13.5%, Black 13%, Asian and Pacific Islanders 4%, Native American and Alaska Natives 1%
Religions: Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10% (2002 est.)
Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
Political system: Federal republic, the president is both chief of state and head of government. Congress consists of two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives
Working life: The US has the largest and most powerful economy in the world.
Occupations: farming, forestry, and fishing 1%, industry, transportation, and crafts 23%, sales and office 26%, other services 50%

From July 4 to September 11: US History


Mount Rushmore. Copyright: Getty ImagesMount Rushmore. Copyright: Getty Images

In 1733 there were 13 British colonies on the east coast. After a while they didn’t want to be part of Britain anymore. Therefore, the colonists went to war against Britain in 1775.

The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776, and the war ended in 1783. George Washington became the first president of the United States.

Large numbers of immigrants came to the USA from western and northern Europe around 1820. Towards the end of the 19th century, many southern and eastern Europeans came.

The Civil War
The North was against slavery, partly because they didn’t need slaves. In the South, the large plantations needed slaves, so the white southerners didn’t want slavery to end.
In 1860 the southern states broke out of the US. To save the union, President Abraham Lincoln decided to go to war against the South. The Civil War broke out in 1861.
The North won the war in 1865. Slavery was ended. Five days after the war was over, Lincoln was shot dead.

Go west!
Gold was found in California in 1848 and adventurers went west to get rich. In 1862 the government decided to give settlers 160 acres of land. Therefore, a lot of people moved to become farmers on the prairie. The Native Americans lost more and more of their land.

The USA at war
In 1917 the USA entered World War I and fought together with Great Britain and its allies. They won the war, and the 1920s was a time of optimism in the USA. Therefore, the crash on the Wall Street Stock Exchange in New York in 1929 was a great shock. Millions lost their jobs.
The Depression lasted until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Now the USA made a lot of money because they produced weapons and other war material.

In 1941 Japan attacked US territory. This forced the USA into the war. In August 1945, the war ended when the Americans dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The end of World War II was the beginning of a “cold war” between the communist Soviet Union and the USA.

Modern history
In the period after the war, refrigerators, washing machines and television sets were common in American homes. In the 1960s, a lot of people protested against the Vietnam War. The USA went to war to fight communism. Surprisingly, the USA could not defeat the Vietnamese, and the troops returned home in the early 70s.
In the 1960s three great leaders were killed: President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert Kennedy, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. A positive event was the successful moon landing in 1969.

When the Soviet Union fell apart in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the USA became the only superpower in the world. During the 1990s, the USA took part in different military actions. The  USA is both loved and hated. That many people hate the USA was most clearly seen by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” and the USA went to war in Afghanistan and later Iraq.

American cultural influence
The influence of American culture is strong in the world today. American clothes, music, movies and television programs are found everywhere.

Shortcut activiy

Choose the right word(s)/year:

a) The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1726/ 1776/1846.
b) Abraham Lincoln / John F. Kennedy / George Washington became the first president of the USA.
c) The Civil War started in 1801 / 1851 / 1861.
d) The South / The North /The West was against slavery.
e) Gold/ Diamonds/ Iron was found in California in 1848.
f) The Crash on the Wall Street Stock Exchange was in 1909/1919/1929.
g) A lot of people protested against the Korean War / World War II / the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
h) In the 1990s Russia/ the USA/ China became the only superpower in the world.

Web resource

Country Profile: United States of America (BBC)

The World Factbook: The USA

The USA (Fact Monster)

American Topics (US Embassy in Norway)