Historical Dictionary of the 1960s

By Samuel Freeman; James S. Olson | Go to book overview

L

LAIRD, MELVIN. Melvin Laird was born September 1, 1922. After eight terms as a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin, Laird became secretary of defense in the Richard Nixon* administration. He kept the post until 1972. Laird was the chief architect of Nixon's ''Vietnamization"* program of phased troop withdrawals beginning in the spring of 1969. He often reminded Nixon of the campaign promise to bring the war to an honorable conclusion. Otherwise, Nixon would lose all of his goodwill with Congress and the American people, who were anxious to put an end to the Vietnam War.* Frequently, Laird found himself debating the issue with national security adviser Henry Kissinger,* who feared that rapid troop withdrawals would undermine his negotiating position with North Vietnam. Laird also opposed widespread bombing* of North Vietnam. Laird retired from public life after Nixon's reelection in 1972.

REFERENCE: John S. Lieby, "Melvin Laird," in James S. Olson, ed., Dictionary of the Vietnam War, 1988.

LASER. The first operational laser appeared in 1960. Theodore Maiman was a physicist with the Hughes Research Laboratories in Miami, Florida. Maiman managed to stimulate the chromium atoms within a ruby crystal, from which a narrow beam of light emerged with a temperature equal to that of the sun. It was a scientific development of extraordinary significance, because it opened up a technological world that would eventually include fiberoptic cable, compact discs, radar detectors, bar-code scanners, and a host of other technologies.

REFERENCE: Lorraine Glennon, ed., Our Times: The Illustrated History of the 20th Century, 1995.

LASSIE. Lassie was one of television's* longest-running and most successful regular series. CBS first broadcast the show on September 12, 1954, with Lassie, a male collie, starring as the female Lassie and Tommy Rettig as Jeff Miller,

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Historical Dictionary of the 1960s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 35
  • C 83
  • D 125
  • E 145
  • F 161
  • G 184
  • H 212
  • I 239
  • J 246
  • K 254
  • L 272
  • M 284
  • N 317
  • O 347
  • P 359
  • Q 378
  • R 379
  • S 402
  • T 437
  • U 455
  • V 460
  • W 470
  • X 487
  • Y 488
  • Z 490
  • Chronology of the 1960s 493
  • Selected Bibliography 507
  • Index 527
  • About the Contributors 545
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