Plus: Boss Tweed's lesson for the Trump trials |


By Made by History / Produced by Olivia B. Waxman

It took months of acrimonious debate for the U.S. Congress to pass a bill with military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. But as Kaete O’Connell explains in Made by History, history suggests that it didn’t have to be such a struggle. Policymakers today are failing to learn the crucial lesson from one of the most successful humanitarian efforts in American history: the Berlin Airlift, which successfully ended the Soviet blockade of West Berlin 75 years ago this month. 

While the Airlift represented a masterful logistical undertaking by the Air Force, it was only possible because of a massive publicity blitz in the U.S., which explained to Americans why it was necessary and beneficial for the U.S. Through efforts ranging from Hollywood films to donation centers, American officials overcame war weariness and public reluctance to help a former enemy. This enabled the U.S. to help bring West Germany into an American-led world order, and painted the U.S. as a benevolent superpower. It was a win-win. Today, a similar publicity effort is necessary, O’Connell argues, to sell the need for increasing aid around the globe. The U.S. is best positioned to deliver such help, and it could pay crucial dividends—but only if policymakers explain to Americans why it’s necessary.

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This week in 1970: Sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson

Masters and Johnson, who inspired the TV show Masters of Sex, on the cover of TIME magazine in 1970
Arthur Shay
The May 25, 1970, cover of TIME

“In a new book called Human Sexual Inadequacy (Little, Brown; $12.50), Dr. Masters and Mrs. Johnson summarize their therapeutic approach to the problem of what they call sexual ‘dysfunction.’...the work is already a bestseller, and with some reason. In the underdeveloped field of sex research, the authors are pioneers; they are the most important explorers since Alfred Kinsey into the most mysterious, misunderstood and rewarding of human functions.”

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This week in 2002: Spider-Man

The 2002 TIME magazine cover on the Spider-Man movie
The May 20, 2002, cover of TIME

“Sony was clever to wrangle a can't-miss property in Spider-Man, but the movie is teaching the rest of Hollywood some important rules about creating a modern blockbuster…Why should you pay $10 to have a meditative, contemplative experience with strangers when you have a DVD player with surround sound at home? Films are held at coliseums like the new giant theaters with stadium seating built for laughing, crying and screaming at grand heroics. Sophocles wrote about killing your kids and having sex with your mom and gods descending at the last second to save the day. He knew how to pull off a decent opening weekend.”

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This week in 2013: Millennials

The 2013 TIME magazine cover on millennials
The May 20, 2013, cover of TIME

“They are the most threatening and exciting generation since the baby boomers brought about social revolution, not because they're trying to take over the Establishment but because they're growing up without one. The Industrial Revolution made individuals far more powerful--they could move to a city, start a business, read and form organizations. The information revolution has further empowered individuals by handing them the technology to compete against huge organizations: hackers vs. corporations, bloggers vs. newspapers, terrorists vs. nation-states, YouTube directors vs. studios, app-makers vs. entire industries. Millennials don't need us. That's why we're scared of them.”

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