Select what you consider to be the most significant challenge of the years from 1945 to 1974 and discuss its historical significance.

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I think that rebuilding the world economy and political stability after Word War II was the most significant challenge from this time period. The second world war led directly to The Cold War, especially with the production and use of the atomic bomb super weapon.
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One thing you definitely should consider in thinking about this topic is what kinds of "challenges" you are interested in pursuing/discussing/exploring.  Sure, you can discuss the global political challenges associated with the Cold War, but you might also look at social and cultural historical factors that had an impact on the post-World War II world (in this case, I am thinking most specifically about the United States).  One way or another, you need to narrow your focus.  One thought that I have is about the rise of modern civil rights movements of various kinds and how they had a deep and dramatic impact on American society between 1946-1974, including but not limited to:

--the Women's Rights Movement

--the Civil Rights Movement (African Americans)

--the Gay/Lesbian Rights Movement

--the Latino Rights Movement

--the Native American Rights Movement

And the list goes on.

Another important factor to consider when looking at the years you have outlined--1946 through 1974--is the emergence of the "Baby Boom" generation and their resultant enormous impact on American society and culture.  They, the Baby Boomers, were directly involved with and in many cases responsible for the seismic shifts that occurred in American society through the many movements listed above.  This generation has had (and continues to have) tremendous influence on American society--socially, culturally, economically, and politically.

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The years you selected are those which followed the Second World War and that saw the countries in the world build a new equilibrium afrter the demise of Fascism and of European colonialism. For this reason, I would say that the Cold War represented the most significant challenge of those years. The division of the world in two spheres of influece, the Western and the Soviet one, was the catalyst for a lot of historical events. This division influenced the history of European countries, not only of those in the Eastern bloc, but also of countries such as Italy and France whose popular Communist Parties were kept out of government. It also caused escalations into hot moments such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well as revolutions or coups that were either supported or directly orchstrated by two superpowers (see the CIA role in the assassination of the elected Chilean Socialist President Salvador Allende). Probably, the most dangerous of these confrontations was the Cuban Missiles Crisis in 1962 when the decision of the Soviet Union to install nuclear missiles in Cuba led to the American threat of direct intervention against the Soviet ships to prevent the installation. The crisis could have led to a military clash between the two superpowers and a Third (Nuclear) World War. Had the Soviets not turned around their ships, we might not be here to discuss the most challenging moment of the postwar years.

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