On November 1979, when 66 Americans were taken hostage in Iran, Jimmy Carter confronted a difficult decision. From the first days of the crisis he rejected all military options. He chose Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's plan to use diplomatic pressure and patient negotiation. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and others urged him to take tougher action.
Carter biographer Douglas Brinkley sees it as a moral issue for Carter. "You see the moralism of Carter, the Christianity affecting his foreign policy making... His belief in each human life having a great sanctity to it."
But it was more than a moral question. On the eve of a failed rescue mission, Carter told Vance, "my greatest fear all along is that this crisis could lead us into direct confrontation with the Soviets."
"It is hard to remember that it was the Cold War. The possibility of a superpower confrontation in and about Iran had always been there. And now, under these circumstances, it was much higher," Jody Powell says. Historian Roger Wilkins says, "it was the first time that the United States really was demonstrated to be vulnerable to the kinds of people that [Osama] bin Laden ultimately became."
Do you think Carter should have launched a military attack against Iran during the hostage crisis?
Yes (Blue): 45%
No (Pink): 54%
Total number of poll participants: 1919
Of the participants polled, 839 watched at least half of the film; of those, 332 said the film influenced their vote.
Richard Sears and Alva Curtis Roebuck brought consumer goods to the hands of every American with their Sears and Roebuck catalogue.
An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers.
The trial of Charles Julius Guiteau, who assassinated President James A. Garfield, turned into a public battle over the meaning of insanity.
Lyndon Johnson pushed progressive programs before the Vietnam War eroded his support. Part of the award-winning Presidents Collection.
Insurmountable odds. Unforgiving conditions. Unyielding courage.
President Woodrow Wilson lead America during World War I, created the Federal Reserve, and helped create the League of Nations. Part of the award-winning The Presidents collection.
A saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger garnered the admiration of many struggling Americans, but FBI took him down with a message: crime doesn't pay.