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A Year of Revolutions

What the Times noticed, and missed.

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January 1: Old Year, New Year
Editorial
If we look carefully at 1963 for evidence of what it may portend for 1964, one thing we may note is at least a moderate easing of international tension. The most important evidence of this is, of course, the successful negotiation and ratification of the nuclear test-ban treaty, but there are other encouraging items also … Would it be too much to say that such easing of international tensions as occurred in 1963 was accompanied, to a similar degree, by an easing of familiar tensions here at home? Probably we cannot say that much, but at least there are signs of progress.

January 2: Castro Says He Is Hopeful of Good U.S. Relations
Premier Fidel Castro said yesterday in a telephone interview from Havana that he was hopeful that good relations with the United States might be restored this year. He added that the “next move” was up to Washington. He said that until President Kennedy’s “tragic death,” he believed that “an eventual normalization of relations with the Kennedy Administration was possible.”

February 10: Quartet Continues to Agitate the Faithful
Review by Jack Gould
The cyclical turnover in teen-age trauma received recognition last night in the businesslike appearance of the Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show” over the Columbia Broadcasting System. The boys hardly did for daughter what Elvis Presley did for her older sister or Frank Sinatra did for mother. … In their sophisticated understanding that the life of a fad depends on the performance of the audience and not on the stage, the Beatles were decidedly effective. In their two sets of numbers, they allowed the healing effect of group therapy to run its course … Televised Beatlemania appeared to be a fine mass placebo.

February 10: Negro Bitterness Said to Increase
White college students participating in a seminar at a weekend conference on “The Negro Revolt” were given an unexpected glimpse of how an increasing number of Negroes privately view “white America.” The white students, earnestly committed to supporting the civil rights movement, were deeply disturbed and shocked by the discussion.

April 21: Syria’s Foes Say Revolt Spreads
Enemies of the Baathist regime in Syria maintained today that a revolt there was out of control despite Syrian Government assertions to the contrary.

July 3: President Signs Civil Rights Bill; Bids All Back It
President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 tonight. It is the most far-reaching civil rights law since Reconstruction days. The President announced steps to implement it and called on all Americans to help “eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in America.”… Louis G. Wyman, Republican of New Hampshire, who is a supporter of Senator Goldwater’s candidacy, said he would have no fear “if we had a Supreme Court worthy of the name,” because then the unconstitutional aspects of bill “would soon be struck down.”

“Of this we could be confident,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is otherwise, and has been virtually ever since the incumbency of the present Chief Justice [Earl Warren].”

The Southerners gave him a rousing ovation.

July 19: Thousands Riot in Harlem Area; Scores Are Hurt
Thousands of rioting Negroes raced through the center of Harlem last night and early today, shouting at policemen and white people, pulling fire alarms, breaking windows and looting stores. … The riot grew out of a demonstration in front of the West 123rd Street police station protesting the slaying of a Negro youth by a white police lieutenant last Thursday. … When the police sealed off the block in front of the station house, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, the shouting, keyed-up crowd spread out in angry groups in the surrounding neighborhood. Shots fired into the air by policemen to disperse the milling crowds echoed through streets littered with overturned garbage cans and broken glass. … By 10 o’clock, the street had been cleared and barricades set up at the avenues. Policemen in riot helmets roamed the roofs and stood shoulder to shoulder at the barricades.

“Killer cops must go,” shouted the crowd. “Police brutality must go.”

August 2: U.S. Bolsters Vietnam
The United States let South Vietnam reveal this week—and then quietly confirmed—that more American troops would soon be sent to help manage the antiguerrilla war. “More” was eventually defined as about 5,000 men to augment a force of more than 16,000. “Soon” was explained to mean three to six months.

Most important, the move was officially described here as “more of the same”—that is to say, the troops will lead, guide and advise the South Vietnamese inside the borders of South Vietnam; they will not themselves be formally committed to combat or be used to mount a direct attack against Communist North Vietnam.

October 18: China’s Bomb: Grave Problems Posed for West
The detonation last week of China’s first nuclear device sent a shock wave around the world; even the anticipation of the event helped to blow Premier Khruschev out of the Kremlin. Perhaps of even more long-range importance to the future of mankind than the immediate political, psychological and military consequences was what Peking’s first test signified to the world’s nuclear club. Put in a nutshell, the explosion in Western China, evidently in Sinkiang Province, meant that the exclusiveness of the club had been breached, and that the long predicted era of nuclear proliferation was at hand. … There is not much doubt that last week’s events, taken in toto, spell a turning point in the atomic age and in the history of the Twentieth Century, but where the new road will take us, no man knows.

November 4: What Goldwater Lost
Column by James Reston
Barry Goldwater not only lost the Presidential election yesterday but the conservative cause as well. He has wrecked his party for a long time to come and is not even likely to control the wreckage. … The only theory he proved is that part of the Deep South, particularly the rural South, favors his policies of leaving the Negro revolution to the judgment of the States. His gamble that the North would put its prejudices against the Negro ahead of its conscience was disproved. His belief that the American people would turn against the principles of social security at home and collective security abroad was rejected. Even the Middle Western Bible Belt on which he centered his moral yearnings, turned against him.

November 23: Rightists Buoyed by the Election
After a brief period of post-election mourning, the extreme right wing of the American political spectrum has assessed its position and found cause for elation. And some of its sturdiest foes concede the joy is not unwarranted. Despite the crushing defeat suffered by the candidate they labored for, Senator Barry Goldwater, ultraconservative groups are claiming a “thrilling” victory.

The apparent paradox is easily explained. Never before has a candidate favored by the far right polled more than a tiny fraction of the 26 million votes Mr. Goldwater received.

“26,000,000 American Can’t Be Wrong!” shouts a bright orange bumper sticker being distributed by the Conservative Society of America in New Orleans.

A coast-to-coast survey by the New York Times shows that most spokesmen for the far right feel the entire Goldwater vote reflects agreement with their views … The survey also shows that the right wing, proud of its participation in the Goldwater campaign, intends to redouble its efforts in “grass roots” organizing aimed at the 1966 and 1968 elections … they intend to marshal all the forces they can to see that there is a next time for a right-wing Presidential candidate.

December 31: Old Year, New Year
Editorial
A year that began with high hope has made good on part of its promise. We can thank 1964 for its gift—despite the new bang in China—of twelve months of peace between the major atomic powers … At home we can be proud of the enactment of a really worthwhile civil rights bill; gratified for the business boom that still runs on; thankful that the country did not decide on Nov. 3 to turn back to McKinley.

There is another side of the story? There is indeed. All over the world there are wide areas of distress and conflict. The situation inherited in Vietnam seems to grow worse instead of better. The U.N. is semi-paralyzed by disagreement. There is chaos in the Congo. Other young African states are in deep trouble. These are some of the problems. There are more.

It will do us no good to hope for the millennium in 1965. The next twelve months are not likely to bring a settlement of the Berlin question or a solution in Kashmir or agreement between Peking and Taiwan of the departure of Castro or many other desirable denouements. What one can hope for, and work for, is that where a good beginning has been made it will not falter.


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