We Didn't Start the Fire Harley Slack


-Harry S Truman became U.S. President when President Roosevelt died in 1945. He was responsible for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan and ending World War II. Truman initiated the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the war. He started his second term in 1949, defeating Thomas Dewey. A famous picture shows him smiling and holding up the Chicago Tribune newspaper with the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman”. During his second term, he brought the United States into the Korean War. I believe he was put into the song because he brought the US into the Korean War.

1949- Red China- Communists took control of China after a struggle that started before World War II and renamed the country the People's Republic of China. It was called Red China by the United States to indicate they were Communists. Red China entered the Korean War in the 1950s, when it looked like the U.N. forces would defeat Communist North Korea. Also put in the song because of the inclusion in the Korean war


-JOE McCarthy- Joe McCarthy was a Senator from Wisconsin. He was best known for his work chairing the Senate Committee on Government Operations, which focused on suspected communists in the government. He even investigated the Voice of America, He was known for his brutal interrogations of suspects, resulting in ruining the lives of both guilty and innocent people. It was later noted that McCarthy would be careful not to interrogate suspects who might resist his efforts. Usually, he picked on people with weak personalities.
-RICHARD NIXON- Richard Milhous Nixon was an American politician who served as the 37th President of the United States from 1969 until 1974, when he became the only U.S. president to resign from office. I believe he included it in his song because it was something that went wrong in the US. I believe Billy Joel put him in the song because he was the only president to resign and being involved in the trial of Alger Hiss, who was accused of being a Communist and a spy.
-MARILYN MONROE-Marilyn Monroe was a popular "sex symbol" movie star. She was married to baseball hero Joe Dimaggio and later author Arthur Miller. She also was rumored to have relationships with President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, as well as mafia boss Joe Gianconna. She died under suspicious circumstances.

1951-H-BOMB-The hydrogen bomb was developed under the guidance of Dr. Edward Teller. It was many times more powerful than an atomic bomb and in fact required an atomic bomb to detonate. The United States exploded the first H-bomb and a few years later the Soviet Union then exploded their version of the bomb.


EISENHOWER-Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower ("Ike") had been Supreme Commander in the World War II fight against the Nazis. He later became a popular president of the United States. "I like Ike" was the motto of his followers.


Joseph Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union. He was a harsh leader who had millions of his people executed or sent to labor camps in Siberia. On his way to political power, he changed his name to Stalin, which means "steel" in Russian.

1954-Juan Perón was a popular leader in Argentina, elected first in 1946 and then again in 1952. Perón pursued social policies aimed at empowering the working class. His wife Evita was known for helping the poor. He was strongly anti-American and anti-British, confiscating much of the British and American-owned assets in Argentina. In 1955, he was overthrown by a military coup. It wasn't until 1973 that he returned to power. He died shortly afterward in 1974.


officials banned his songs, which only made them more popular. He later went on to be Singer Elvis Presley became a national phenomenon with such number-one hit songs as Heartbreak Hotel, Don't Be Cruel and Hound Dog. He was called "Elvis the Pelvis" because of the way he shook his hips while dancing. Many religious leaders and school nicknamed "The King" as the most popular singer ever.

1956-After Britain and the USA withdrew their financial support for the Egyptian Aswan dam project, General Nasser nationalized the important Suez Canal. Egypt was then invaded by British, French and Israeli forces. Under pressure from the United States the invaders left Egypt and a UN emergency force was sent to Egypt.

1957-Nine African-American students enrolled at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Governor Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School to keep the nine students from entering the school, because he believed black and whites should be segregated, despite Federal laws on integration. President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to insure the safety of the students. The crisis gained world-wide attention.


Created with images by WikiImages - "harry s truman president usa" • DonkeyHotey - "Joe McCarthy - Colorized" • Ninian Reid - "Tricky Dicky" • classic film scans - "Marilyn Monroe" • Hoshi_sae - "Eisenhower" • JBrazito - "Stalin" • leighblackall - "king-is-dead2" • Steve Snodgrass - "Little Rock Nine"

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