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Chapter 26. Postwar Confidence and Anxiety 1945-1960. Section 1. An Economic Boom. U.S. after WWII. August 1945 – 12 million Americans in military No longer a need for military implements Millions of defense workers lost jobs Wartime industries had to convert to meet peacetime needs

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chapter 26

Chapter 26

Postwar Confidence and Anxiety

1945-1960

section 1

Section 1

An Economic Boom

u s after wwii
U.S. after WWII
  • August 1945 – 12 million Americans in military
  • No longer a need for military implements
  • Millions of defense workers lost jobs
  • Wartime industries had to convert to meet peacetime needs
  • Fear of joblessness & a return to depression
demobilization
Demobilization
  • Process of bringing home troops from former war situation
  • Pres. Truman began by the end of 1945
gi bill of rights
GI Bill of Rights
  • Congressional act granting veterans benefits including: a year of unemployment payments to those unable to find jobs ($20.00/week); financial aid to those attending college; loans to build homes & businesses; veteran’s hospitals
baby boom
Baby boom
  • Intense population increase following WWII (1946-1964)
economic changes
Economic Changes
  • Skyrocketing prices – too much money to spend on too few goods
  • Business cycle increased – demand increased; businesses hired more & produced more; people bought more
slide8

U.S. produced about 50% of world’s total output leading to higher standard of living than anywhere in the world

  • Increased productivity (rate at which goods are produced or services performed) – due to technology improvements
taft hartley act
Taft-Hartley Act
  • Outlawed the closed shop – a workplace in which only union members can be hired
  • Prompted by continuous strikes
  • Vetoed by Truman but overridden by Congress
election of 1948
Election of 1948
  • South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond – States’ Rights Party
  • Former VP Henry Wallace – Progressive Party
  • New York Gov. Thomas Dewey – Republican
  • Pres. Harry Truman - Democrat
slide12

Dewey was predicted to win but Truman made a “whistle stop” train tour of 30 speeches & 31,000 miles to win by a narrow victory

fair deal
Fair Deal
  • Truman’s plan to strengthen existing New Deal reforms & establish new programs (national health insurance)
  • Congress did not support
election of 1952
Election of 1952
  • WWII Gen. Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower – Republican (had never held political office)
  • Illinois Sen. Adlai Stevenson - Democrat
section 2

Section 2

A Society on the Move

suburban migration
Suburban Migration
  • 40 million moved to the suburbs between 1940 & 1960
  • Why? – shortage of urban housing (baby boom families)
william levitt
William Levitt
  • Mass produced suburban homes using the same plan
  • Built in weeks rather than months
  • Paid for on an installment plan
federal housing administration fha
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • Provided low-interest loans allowing home buyers to make a down payment of 5-10% & pay out 30-year mortgage
car culture
“Car culture”
  • Registered automobiles rose from 26M to 60M from 1945 to 1960
  • Due to growth of suburbs
  • Big engines, enormous horsepower, newest technology
  • Resulted in fast-food restaurants & drive-in movies
interstate highway act
Interstate Highway Act
  • 1956 law authorizing funds to build 41,000 miles of highways – multilane expressways to connect the nation’s major cities
slide24

Highways were renamed in 1990 to recognize Eisenhower’s role – became known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways

  • Boosted travel & vacation industries
sunbelt
Sunbelt
  • Name given to the southern & western states which saw an increase in population following WWII
  • Appealing climate
  • Jobs in defense industries including aerospace & electronics
impact of migration
Impact of Migration
  • Political power shifted with population shift: Suburbs & Sunbelt gained representation;

Northeast & Midwest lost

  • Environmental concerns: traffic jams, smog & water shortages
service sector
Service sector
  • Businesses that provide services, such as healthcare, law, retail, banking, or insurance
  • Outnumbered jobs in the manufacturing sector
  • Included those in information industries
information industries
Information industries
  • Businesses that provide informational services
  • Built & operated first computers
  • Hotel reservations; bank accounts
eniac
ENIAC
  • Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer
  • Took up 18,000 square feet (3 basketball courts)
  • Less powerful than today’s desktop computers
franchise businesses
Franchise businesses
  • Allow a company to distribute its products or services through retail outlets owned by independent operators
  • Stressed quality & sameness
kemmons wilson
Kemmons Wilson
  • Homebuilder who established the Holiday Inn franchise after a family vacation on which hotels were difficult to locate, overpriced & lacked adequate parking facilities
multinational corporations
Multinational corporations
  • Companies that produced & sold their goods & services all over the world & established branches worldwide
  • General Motors, General Electric, IBM, Coca Cola
education expansion
Education Expansion
  • More educated workforce boosted economic productivity
  • Percentage college attendees rose from 15% to 40% between 1940 & 1960
  • High school graduations increased
slide35

Federal funding for schools increased after the launch of Sputnik – National Defense Education Act: $1B program to produce more scientists & science teachers

california master plan
California Master Plan
  • Called for 3 tiers of higher education: research universities, state colleges, & community colleges – to be accessible to all of the state’s citizens
brown v board of education of topeka
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
  • 1954 Supreme Court ruling to desegregate schools on the basis that segregation in schools was unconstitutional
section 3

Section 3

Mass Culture & Family Life

consumerism
Consumerism
  • Large scale buying, mostly on credit
  • Why? – 1). Rise in median family income (average family income); 2). Consumer-oriented companies encouraged buying on credit
  • Shopping became a pastime (Supermarkets & shopping centers)
nuclear family
Nuclear family
  • A household consisting of a mother and father and their children
  • Seen as the backbone of society in the 1950’s
  • Traditional family values returned
dr benjamin spock
Dr. Benjamin Spock
  • Author of Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
  • Emphasized the importance of nurturing children; children could not get too much comfort & love
religious revival
Religious Revival
  • Organized religious groups became popular
  • Church attendance rose
  • Increased number of churches strengthened community ties
  • Religious services were shown on TV
dr jonas salk
Dr. Jonas Salk
  • 1954 – developed a vaccine against polio which along with an oral vaccine developed by Alfred Sabin almost eliminated the disease
  • Contributed to longer life expectancies for children
television
Television
  • Bought by Americans at a faster rate than radios or cars in the 1920’s
  • Popularity threatened he movie industry
  • Attracted children
rock and roll
Rock-and-roll
  • Name given by disc jockey Alan Freed to music that had commonly been known as “race” music
  • Originated in the rhythm & blues traditions of African Americans
section 4

Section 4

Dissent and Discontent

betty friedan
Betty Friedan
  • Author of The Feminine Mystique which described the plight of the suburban housewife during the 1950’s
  • Later became instrumental to the women’s rights movement
beatniks
Beatniks
  • Writers and artists who openly criticized American society
  • Refused to conform to accepted ways of dressing, thinking or acting
rural urban poverty
Rural & Urban poverty
  • Urban slums, rural poverty & discrimination dominated American society despite appearances of wealth & prosperity
  • 1962 book claimed ¼ of population lived in poverty
inner city
Inner city
  • The older, central part of a city with crowded neighborhoods in which low-income, usually minority groups, live
  • Usually have increased crime rates
urban renewal
Urban Renewal
  • Projects developed by federal, state & local governments to “revitalize” the older parts of town
injustices
Injustices
  • Puerto Ricans: migrants to New York City clustered together in poor neighborhoods with few economic opportunities; discrimination; lack of political power due to language differences
slide55

Mexicans: Braceros (Mexican migrant farm workers) had been given temporary visas during WWII; often exploited & cheated by employers

  • Ernesto Galarza – organized unions for Mexican farm workers
slide56

Native Americans: 1953 – Termination policy enacted to end tribal government & relocate Native Americans to the nation’s cities; also terminated federal health & welfare