10 topics and pieces of trivia everyone needs to know upon graduating high school.
Both of my daughters are now in college and I have this dark feeling that their education is lacking on topics and trivia which I think are important to be known. Here's a list of things I will teach them to help them be well rounded. For each, I'll write an essay of about 300 words.
1. The Cold War
The first thing I want them to know about the cold war is that it wasn't so cold. It was a hot war in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan (the Soviets backed the Taliban). And there were many instances of the US and USSR almost starting WWIII. For instance, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Or when a Soviet jet was accidentally shot down by an American jet fighter in Germany and almost started WWIII. Or when a Soviet submarine commander decided to test if he could launch a nuclear strike on Washington DC without authorization from Moscow.
2. The Korean War
During the Korean War, China entered the war on North Korea's side. And they did it because they had a deal with Stalin that if any country tries to invade North Korea then China will enter and help them. So... Stalin invades Czechoslovakia in 1968. Mao says, "Hey! That violates our deal!" So he sends his army into North Korea to back up their deal. But then Truman sends troops into South Korea to defend against communist expansionism (sound familiar?). And China has now committed itself to war against America. They have no chance of winning but they send their best soldiers over the border into South Korea with one order: kill as many Americans as possible so we can humiliate America and stop this war before we lose too many of our best soldiers.. This is called "human wave" strategy because you send your best people even though you know they will be slaughtered because you have too many people willing to die for your country anyway. The Chinese human wave is stopped at a place called "The Pusan Perimeter". After this battle, the Chinese realize that all their soldiers are dead or injured and they withdraw back across the border again humiliated but also with another message sent to America: "We can hurt you."
4. Afghan women
When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2001 they forced all women out of work or school if they were not covered head-to-toe in public. But there was one woman who refused: Malala Yousafzai . She lived in Pakistan but grew up in Afghanistan until she was 11 years old when her family moved away from Afghanistan due to threats against her life after she wrote an anonymous blog for BBC about what it was like being a girl under Taliban rule . When she turned 17 she started campaigning for girls education around the world, including going back into Afghanistan where she spoke out against Taliban rule . On October 9th 2012 , while she was riding home from school on a bus with other girls, two men got on board and asked which girl was Malala . They shot her twice in the face , wounding her severely enough that doctors thought she might die . Her story spread around the world (including some tweets from President Obama) and she survived multiple surgeries at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital where doctors used microsurgery techniques normally used on faces damaged by accidents or burns to repair nerves damaged by bullets .
5. Iran Contra Affair
In 1979 Iran overthrew its dictator Shah Reza Pahlavi who had been installed by America decades earlier after deposing democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh who nationalized Iranian oil industry . In response, America cut off all aid to Iran even though we were allies during WWII when we helped depose Mossadegh (and then helped install Shah Pahlavi). So...in retaliation for US aid cutoffs due to hostage taking after overthrow of Shah Pahlavi...Iranian revolutionaries take 52 Americans hostage for 444 days starting November 4th 1979 , coincidentally only 10 days before my birthday (yes!) and end