With the end of World War II, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated. The absorption of Eastern European countries into the Soviet block revealed Stalin's expansionist ambitions; tensions were further increased by the Korean War. The proliferation of nuclear weapons added to the general climate of fear. Elsewhere the world was being reshaped: India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Burma achieved independence; the state of Israel was created; and a Communist government took power in China. The Treaty of Rome marked the first steps towards European unity. In Africa black nationalism accelerated decolonization, finding an echo in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement in the United States. The 1970s witnessed the growth of international terrorism on the one hand and the American withdrawal from Vietnam on the other, it was also a time when environmental issues gained importance throughout the Western world. In the 1980s, while Islamic fundamentalism grew steadily, Soviet Communism collapsed, transforming the map of Eastern Europe, and awakening ancient antagonisms, particularly in Yugoslavia. The Middle East remained a source of potential conflict.
The world made giant strides in technology, notably space exploration and miniaturization. In the 1960s computers came into regular use. Wealthy consume6st society inspired the images of Pop Art in the work of Lichtenstein and Warhol. It was the age of a new youth culture; the rebellion of the young against their parents' values was reflected in literature, fashion and popular music.
In music it was a time of experimentation. The principles of serialism were extended in the work of Boulez and Stockhausen,
while Cage focused on the random element in music. Other developments included
electronic music and minimalism; a more orthodox tradition survived in the
mainly operatic work of Britten, Tippett and Henze.
Aaron Copland Joaquin Rodrigo Leonard Bernstein Benjamin