The postwar years at home 1945 1960
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The Postwar Years at Home (1945-1960). Section 1 The Postwar Economy PW years, US embarks on period of economic expansion. Per Capita income increase $1,223 per year to $2,219. c. Corp exp accompanied economic growth. Conglomerates develop to protect from downturns.

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Section 1 The Postwar Economy

  • PW years, US embarks on period of economic expansion.

  • Per Capita income increase

    $1,223 per year to $2,219.

    c. Corp exp accompanied economic growth.



Technology Transforms Life

  • Tech aimed at saving consumers time and money

    Ex. Dishwashers, vacuums, lawnmowers, etc.

    B. TV popularity grows.


Advances in Medicine

  • Vaccine for Polio developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

  • Advances in anti-bacterial med such as penicillin.

  • WWII docs lead to adv surgical techniques.


Change in the Workforce

  • After war machines performed many of previous jobs.

  • Led to decline in blue-collar worker.

  • Many soldiers w/ new degrees gravitate to WC work.


Suburbs and Highways

  • Baby boom of 1940’s leads to population growth.

  • Growing families look to retreat from the cities.

  • GI Bill of Rights made this possible.



Cars and Highways

  • Stores from cities follow their customers.

  • Out of reach of public trans they need cars.

  • Led to explosion in auto industry.



Growth of Consumer Credit

A. Lending agencies pick up on the credit card idea.

B. American’s use credit cards to purchase items considered “needs”

Ex. Washing machines, TV, vacuums.


Section 2 Mood of the 1950’s

Comfort and Security

  • Americans no longer cherish individuality now value conformity.


Men’s and Women’s Roles

  • Roles were clearly defined in the 1950’s.

  • Men were to get educated, get a job, and support/take care of a family and home.

  • Lived in a public sphere, away from home.



Youth culture

  • Often referred to as the ‘Silent Generation’

  • Economy allowed more young to stay in school.

  • Leisure time leads to young enjoying more entertainment.



Resurgence in Religion

  • By 1950’s found renewed interest in religion.

  • 1954 “under God” added to pledge and “In God We Trust” on currency.


Challenges to Conformity

  • Such conformity made differences noticeable.

  • Not all Americans fit into the exact mold.


Women At Work

  • Many women did not want to give up jobs filled during WWII.

  • In 1950 only 24% of married women had jobs.



Youthful Rebellions nurses.

  • Many young rejected values of parents. Led to isolation.

  • Reflected in movies and books

    Ex. Rebel Without A Cause

    Catcher in the Rye






Beat Generation (Beatniks) nurses.

  • Stressed need for release from money and property.

  • Shocked people with openness towards sex and illegal drugs.



Section 3 through his novels

Domestic Politics and Policy

Truman’s Domestic Policies

  • 1st priority was reconversion of the economy.

  • Men wanted rewards for their sacrifices—now.



Truman’s Fair Deal go on strike.

  • Truman extended upon FDR’s New Deal.

  • Worked to secure economic justice for all citizens.

  • Much opposition to this by Conservatives in Congress.



Truman on Civil Rights go on strike.

  • Recognized as president he had to take action on CR.

  • 1946 met w/ AA leader to discuss goals.

  • Congress refused to address concerns.


The Election of 1948 go on strike.

  • Truman had little reason to expect victory in 1948.

  • Support was diminishing even within his own party.

  • Both Southern and liberal Democrats give up support.




Eisenhower and the Republican Approach go on strike.

  • Eisenhower had a lot of public support from his role as Allied Commander in WWII.


B. Eisenhower promised to end Korean War, and strong approach to Communism.

K1 C2- Korea, Communism, Corruption.

c. His VP mate hammered on corruption in government, CA senator Richard Nixon.


Nixon’s Checkers Speech approach to Communism.

  • Although popular Eisenhower’s campaign hit a snag.

  • Newspapers accused Nixon of having a secret fund.

  • Cries arose to dump Nixon from the ticket.



Modern Republicanism approach to Communism.

  • Ike intended to be: “Conservative when it comes to money; liberal when it comes to human beings.”

  • Like traditional Republicans Ike favored big business.



Meeting the Technology Challenge approach to Communism.

  • SU launched Sputnik in 1957 led to fear of Americans

  • 1958 US created NASA (Nat’l Aeronautics and Space Adm)


C. The same year Congress also passed the National Defense Education Act.

  • Designed to improve math and science among students.

  • Keep up with Soviet Union.


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