You are on page 1of 8

Zach Whitten 2/15/13 HONR 332: The American Worldview

Historical Context

The team rushed onto the ice with wide smiles on their faces, hugging each other and releasing shouts of pure joy. Every single member of the team was euphoric. This American team had accomplished the unthinkable, they had defeated the Soviet hockey team. The teams victory was an inspiration for all Americans and a turning point in the cold war. The game became known as the Miracle on Ice. The Miracle on Ice was an astonishing victory for the United States which inspired a pessimistic American public. By the end of the 1970s many Americans were disillusioned with their nation. Americans were not confident or proud about their government and despaired over its perceived weakness and ineffectiveness. ―This sense of despair reflected the obvious disappointments of the era – the frustration of the apocalyptic dreams of the 60s, the failure of government and business to stabilize the economic order, the decline of American leadership in the world, the belief that major social problems remained forever insolvable.‖1 The first of these disappointments was the Watergate scandal and the resulting resignation of President Richard Nixon. The Watergate scandal began with a break in at the democratic national committee headquarters in the watergate complex and developed into a story of political corruption with the direct involvement of President Richard Nixon. Nixon had abused his powers as president and then attempted to cover up his abuses. President Nixon's attempts to retain
1

Carroll, Peter N. It Seemed Like Nothing Happened. (New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1982), xxi

Another reason is the United States' acceptance of the Shah to undergo medical treatment. As late as 1977. The Cambridge History of the Cold War. Rather they strongly opposed the United States which is one of the reasons for the seizure of the American Embassy. Nixon denied committing any illegal acts stating: ―Well." The Guardian http://www. Gasolene became more expensive and in shorter supply as well. The United States was unable to pressure Iran into releasing the hostages and after 100 days. when the president does it. These feelings would only be exacerbated as the decade continued." The New York Times (New York City). The Iranian Revolution also led to the 1979 oil crisis. the new government was not pro American. Unlike the Shah. where the Shah of Iran was overthrown and replaced by a religiously conservative government.edu/docview/121409497?accountid=10100 (accessed February 15.power and his refusal to admit any wrong doing made the scandal truly devastating for the American people. But the rescue mission was a failure and the hostages continued to be held.uk/theguardian/2007/sep/07/greatinterviews1 (accessed February 15. " Great interviews of the 20th century: Richard Nixon interviewed by David Frost . President Carter attempted a rescue mission of the hostages. The hostages would continue to be held until 1981. that means it is not illegal. helpless and confused … the United States seemed incompetent to influence events‖3 The take over of the American Embassy was complemented by the Iranian Revolution. The new government of Iran drastically decreased oil production. "The Year Of The Hostage. 2013). November 2. as Washington stood by.. 2013). ―Iranian militants seized the American Embassy in Teheran and captured 66 hostages.guardian. 4 Leffler.‖2 The watergate scandal and Nixon's reaction to it left the American people with feelings of distrust and anger towards their government. 3 Roberts.com.cnu. The failure ―seemed to illustrate the absolute collapse of US power and prowess‖4.co. Another disappointment which occurred in the '70s was the Iran hostage crisis. With Iran being a significant supplier of the worlds oil. 1980. 66 .read. http://0search.proquest. this decrease in production led to a drop in supply and an increase in price. Steven V. The oil crisis impacted Americans in the form of gas 2 The Guardian.

known as the Miracle on Ice. Americans craved for an inspiring event which they could be proud of." 7 Coffey. 6 ""Crisis of Confidence" Speech (July 15.‖Miller Center.‖Miller Center. The Boys of Winter The Untold Story of a Coach. 1979) . He addressed the nation about this matter and described this negativity as ―a crisis of confidence‖5. 1979) . This event would be found in the United States' olympic hockey teams upset victory over the Soviet Union. President Carter recognized that a negativity towards the American government existed within the nation. 2005.org/scripps/archive/speeches/detail/3402 (accessed February 15. the Olympic hockey teams for the United States and the Soviet Union were drastically different. These economic factors further disheartened the American people.shortages. New York: Crown Publishers." Miller Center. one tie. a Dream. 5 ""Crisis of Confidence" Speech (July 15. His speech became known as the malaise speech and was symbolic of a president without any solutions to his nations problems. The increased price of oil and shortages of gasolene led to a recession with high unemployment and inflation. 2013).S. By the end of the 1970s the hardships faced by the American people in the past decade culminated into a disappointed and pessimistic population disillusioned with the United States. At the start of 1980 Americans were eager to begin a new decade. Olympic Hockey Team. speaking about how ―[t]he erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America. . the Soviet team had a record of 27 wins. In 1980.7 The team was constructed of veteran players who were perceived by Americans as ―a bunch of weird. he was unable to restore any confidence to the American people. In the past four Olympics. http://millercenter. The Soviet Union was a dominating force in international hockey.‖6 But although President Carter recognized the ―crisis of confidence‖ within America. Long lines of cars would line up outside of gas stations to buy what gasolene was available. hoping it would be better than the last. and the 1980 U. and one loss. He continued on. Wayne R.

most of whom had only played college level hockey. S1. 2010. New York." Sports Illustrated. 1980. E. 2005. Joe.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1980/orw1980v2.‖12 Also. In the United States. ." Sports Illustrated. The expectations of the American team were minimal and the team was given the seventh seed in the eight team field. which included shutting out Japan 16-0 and defeating Poland 8-1. 13 Swift. Then. shot. Last modified April. "A Reminder Of What We Can Be. In the third 8 9 Swift. a large number of the United States population watched the game. 1980. Anderson. the American team managed four victories and one tie before their match with the Soviets. and scored. Due to the technological limitations in 1980. E.M. February 22. the American team was a collection of young amateur players.la84foundation. E.‖8 The Soviets dominance in hockey was so great that ―before the hockey tournament began.org. with three seconds left in the first period. "A Reminder Of What We Can Be. February 22." la84foundation. The only goal in the second period was scored by the Soviets which gave them a three to two lead. The Americans then tied the game but the Soviets quickly regained the lead. Dave.freaky commando types. The Miracle on Ice game began at 5pm on Friday. "Sports 1980 The Big 'Doolies' Of the Year." Sports Illustrated. December 22. In the first period of the game. "10 interesting facts you may not know about the Miracle on Ice.M. the Soviet Union was virtually conceded the gold medal.11 Heading into the American-Soviet match. In contrast.pdf. ―most of the people who watched the game on television did not know the outcome. "The Golden Goal. tying the game. 10 Swift. March 3. 12 Posnanski." 11 "Official results of the XIII olympic winter games –lake placid 1980. December 28. 1980." The New York Times. the Soviets were heavily favored to win.M. http://www. the Soviets had won all of their games handily.10 Although the expectations were low. the Soviets scored first. 1980 in Lake Placid. because the game aired during prime time. the game was not broadcast live and was shown during prime time later that evening.‖9 In contrast. the puck rebounded off the Soviet goalie and the American Mark Johnson found it. the results of the game did not immediately spread after it ended and consequently.13 After Johnson's score the starting Soviet goalie was pulled and replaced by the backup goalie.

M. up to Silk. saying: ―11 seconds.' The old grocer looked at him. 10 other drivers yelling their fool heads off in the rain. The crowd in the arena began to count down the final seconds of the game. ―No one remembers much about those final 10 minutes except that they took forever.com/watch?v=8gfD134ED54. Sportscaster Al Michaels' commentary ran high with emotion in the games last moments. the Soviets began taking wild shots at the goal in desperation. snarling bus traffic‖ (golden goal). December 24. Americans across the nation were overcome by euphoria. Best Quality. 17 Swift.nwsource." Youtube. http://www. 'No kidding?' Then he started to cry. 'No kidding?'‖17 After the American victory.M. the crowd became ecstatic.youtube. There were 10 other cars pulled off to the side of the road. No one breathed‖14.period.seattletimes. As the remaining time dwindled down." . chanting and singing. 1990. http://community. "Remembering The Miracle On Ice. They made a huddle. With one minute remaining. Do you believe in miracles?! YES!‖15 When the game ended. E. E. one man listening to the game in his car ―got out and started to scream in the rain.' he said. and then they hollered together—WE BEAT THE RUSSIANS!‖18 Americans across the nation were filled with a sense of pride and 14 15 Swift. 2009. The festivities quickly became so large they ―choked the streets outside the Olympic Ice Center. Like the crowd in Lake Placid. 16 Dorr. "A Reminder Of What We Can Be. "A Reminder Of What We Can Be. "A Reminder Of What We Can Be. Dave. the Americans first tied the game then soon afterwards they took the lead for the first time with exactly ten minutes left to play. Video File. February 25." The Seattle Times. … 'Guess what." 18 Swift. the countdown going on right now! Morrow. you've got 10 seconds.com/archive/?date=19900225&slug=1057846. 'Our boys beat the Russians." "1980 USA Miracle on Ice. Five seconds left in the game. ―In Santa Monica a photographer heard the outcome of the game and went into his local grocery store. E. the Americans defended against the Soviets. ―The arena was shaking to screams of 'USA!'‖16 People flooded into the streets in celebration.M.

The troubles of the '70s divided Americans because they argued amongst themselves about how to fix the many problems the nations possessed. The victory showed American's that the United States could still be victorious and it helped to renew the American people's faith in the nation. The game also created a positive shared experience that brought American's together. and unpopular war along with the Soviet invasion of 19 Anderson. Everyone in the United States knew what happened. It also meant the United States could not obtain any direct and unifying victories over the Soviets. The Miracle on Ice game lifted the nations spirit and inspired millions of Americans. American's craved for good news about the nation and the United States's victory over the Soviets fulfilled that desire. The fall of Vietnam to communism after a long. the United States continued their attempts to contain communism throughout the world while promoting democracy. "Sports 1980 The Big 'Doolies' Of the Year. costly. news of the game quickly spread across the nation. it even transcended the olympics. The victory led to a resurgence of nationalism and national unity. One of the reasons the victory was such an inspirational moment is that it was a victory for the United States.‖19 The victory over the Soviets lifted the spirits of Americans across the nation. But even though relations improved. The previous decade had been a disappointment for American's because it contained a large amount of failure and a small amount of success. Dave. The '70s were a period of relaxed relations with the Soviets. The relaxed relations prevented any Space Race like conflicts with the two nations directly competing against each other.accomplishment. Due to the inspiring and uplifting nature of the victory. It had become commonplace to hear negative news about the United States. The Miracle on Ice game created a positive experience which all American's could celebrate together." . The resurgence of nationalism brought on by the Miracle on Ice was a turning point in the Cold War. ―The gold medal transcended hockey.

At the beginning of 1980. American's saw their nations prestige waning and did not expect this to change. unexpected to defeat the dominate Soviet team. After the 1970's. The Miracle on Ice astonished and inspired a pessimistic American public.Afghanistan demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the United States to contain communism. and allowed American's to believe the United States could still be successful. Many American's felt the United States was loosing the fight against communism. . These disappointments included Watergate. renewed feelings of nationalism and unity. In 1980. the 1979 oil crisis. Many American's believed that if the nations hockey team could overcome the odds and be successful. American's wished to leave the disappointments of the '70s in the past. The victory inspired the nation. the Miracle on Ice was the win the United States needed. The Miracle on Ice became that event when the young American hockey team defeated the dominate Soviets. Americans perceived both the United States and its hockey team as underdogs. The Miracle on Ice game also inspired America because the United States team possessed strong parallels with the United States itself. But the hockey team overcame the odds and defeated the Soviets. The victory renewed American confidence in the nations superiority over the Soviets and communism. Ultimately. American's looked for a positive event which they could be proud of. The Miracle on Ice proved to American's that the United States could still beat the Soviets. The hockey team consisted of young and inexperienced players. then so could the United States. The United States had failed to fix domestic problems or successfully exert influence abroad in the '70s. American's did not expect the nation or its hockey team to be successful. and the ineffective leadership of Jimmy Carter. many American's were disillusioned with their country because of its many disappointments in the decade. the Iran Hostage Crisis.