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The Postwar Boom. Chapter 19. The Postwar Boom. Postwar America The American Dream in the Fifties Popular Culture The Other America. GI Bill of Rights. Summer of 46’ – 10 million men & women return home GI Bill of Rights – Servicemen’s Readjustment Act

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The Postwar Boom

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the postwar boom1
The Postwar Boom
  • Postwar America
  • The American Dream in the Fifties
  • Popular Culture
  • The Other America
gi bill of rights
GI Bill of Rights
  • Summer of 46’ – 10 million men & women return home
  • GI Bill of Rights – Servicemen’s Readjustment Act
    • Returning veterans receive financial aid ( low-interest loans, no down payments) for
      • College
      • Trade School
      • Start business or farm
      • Buy a home
      • Unemployment benefits
redefining the family
Redefining the Family
  • Tension between men and women and their roles
  • This contributed to rise in divorce rates
  • Many women did not want to give up their independence
  • More than 1 million war marriages ended in divorce
economic readjustment
Economic Readjustment
  • Converted from wartime to peacetime economy
  • Unemployment increased
    • Veterans & laid-off workers
    • 3 million seeking work
  • OPA – ended control on max. price of goods
    • Price of goods skyrocket
    • Increased 25%
  • Many workers earned less now than during war
  • What problems did Americans face after war?
  • Doesn’t stay like this for too long…
economic recovery
Economic Recovery
  • Americans suddenly had money to spend, automobiles to houses
  • American economy boomed!
  • Demand for goods and services exceed supply and increase production
  • “The Affluent Society”
housing crisis
Housing Crisis
  • William Levitt and Henry Kaiser – create assembly line methods to mass-produce houses
  • Suburbs = homes in small residential communities surrounding cities
  • People move from places like Detroit to places like Troy
  • By 1960 – 1/3 of Americans lived in suburbs
  • “Cookie Cutter” houses – all look the same – Levittown
  • More people can afford homes
harry truman the buck stops here
Harry Truman – “The Buck Stops Here”
  • Viewed as honorable, down-to-earth, and self-confident.
  • Truman had to address strikes – 4.5 million
  • Truman supports Civil Rights
  • Created President’s Commission on Civil Rights – Requests for….
    • Federal anti-lynching law
    • Ban on poll tax as voting requirement
    • Permanent civil rights commission
    • July 1948 – issued executive order for integration of the armed forces
1948 election
1948 Election
  • Truman elected – Democratic party
  • Dixiecrats – group formed who protested Truman’s emphasis on civil rights (Southern Democrats)
  • Fair Deal –
    • proposal for nationwide health insurance
    • Promote full employment
    • Increase minimum wage
  • Does not run for re-election due to all time low rating.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans oppose to Fair Deal
1952 i like ike
1952 – I like Ike
  • Eisenhower wins on promise to end Korean War
  • Nixon’s “Checkers” Speech
  • “Modern Republicanism”
    • Conservative policies – cut spending, reduce taxes, balance budget
    • Liberal approach to meeting peoples needs
    • Raised minimum wage , extended social security and unemployment benefits, increased funding for public housing
  • Supported Civil Rights
    • Civil Rights Act of 1957
    • Civil Rights Act of 1960
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
    • 1957 Supreme Court Ruling that public schools must be racially integrated.
working for the man
Working for the “Man”
  • Factory work more automated – machines
  • Growth in “white collar” jobs
    • 1940 – 45%
    • 1960 – 56%
  • Better working conditions but
    • Heavy pressure to conform
    • “Company man” or “Organization Man”
      • Described how new large organizations created “company people”
      • Disadvantage – conformity replaced individuality!
  • Unions continue to push for “blue collar” workers rights
working for the man1
Working for the “Man”
  • Conglomerates – major corporation including smaller companies in unrelated industries
    • Security against failure
  • Franchise businesses begin to develop
    • Offered similar products/services in multiple locations
    • McDonald’s – Ray Kroc
baby boom
Baby Boom
  • 1957 – 1 baby born every 7 seconds
baby boom1
Baby Boom
  • Population explosion
  • Baby Boom generation is born – 1940’s to 1960’s
  • 1957 – 4,308,000 babies born
  • Largest generation in nations history
  • Why?
    • Reunion of husbands and wives after war
    • Decreasing marriage age
    • Desire for large families
    • Advances in medicine
    • Confidence in economic prosperity
  • Baby Boom led to rapid growth in schools
  • Toy sales reach $1.25 billion
  • Medicine…
  • Dr. Jonas Salk – developed a vaccine for polio
    • Killed 20,000 kids annually
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock – “Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care”
    • Says mothers should stay home with children
  • Women’s Roles…
  • Role of home-maker and mother glorified in TV, movies, & magazines
  • On the contrary…some felt their roles were boring, felt isolated, unfulfilled
    • Betty Friedan – “The Feminine Mystique”
leisure in the fifties
Leisure in the Fifties
  • Time saving devices
    • Washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, power lawn mowers
  • This allowed for more time for leisure activities
  • Americans spent more than $30 billion on leisure goods and activities
    • Fishing, bowling, hunting, boating, golfing, baseball games, reading, etc
the automobile culture
The Automobile Culture
  • Americans buying cars break record numbers
    • 6.7 million in 1950 to 7.9 million in 1955
    • Suburban living –
      • People needed to drive to their jobs in the cities
      • Churches, synagogues, doctors’ and dentists not in waking distance
  • Stores, gas stations, shopping malls, drive-ins spring up
  • Automakers introduce new car design every year
  • New Highways are built
    • Interstate Highway Act 1956 – cost $32 billion
    • Unified country
    • More Americans vacationed, road trips to national parks, lakes, mountains and more
  • Problems..
    • Noise and exhaust pollution
    • Automobile accidents claiming lives
    • Traffic jam = stress
    • Damaging roads
the culture of the car
The Culture of the Car

1958 Pink Cadillac

1959 Chevy Corvette

consumerism buying material goods
Consumerism – buying material goods
  • New products in the marketplace
    • House appliances, blenders, freezers
    • Leisure – TVs, tape recorders, record players, swimming pools
  • Planned obsolescence - marketing strategy, purposely manufactured products to become obsolete – to wear out or become outdated
    • People wanted up to date items – “keeping up with the Joneses”
  • Credit Cards: Diners Club 1950, Amex 1958
  • Installment plans
  • Consumer debt increased from $73 billion to $179 billion
  • TV advertising becomes HUGE!
mass media
Mass Media
  • Mass media – communication reaching large audiences
  • TV developed the fastest
    • Primary source of entertainment and information
    • By 1960 – 90% of Americans had TV sets
    • Black and white
    • Brought families together
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – govt agency that regulates and licenses TV, telephone, radio, and other communications
  • Radio & Movies – both survive with the TV set taking over.
    • Movie goers decreased by nearly half, but still had its advantages
    • Radio turned to local programming of news

“Father Knows Best”

“I Love Lucy”

“Leave it to Beaver”

the beat movement
The Beat Movement
  • Who: Beatniks ( followers of the movement
  • Where: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City’s Greenwich Village
  • What: Expressed social and literary nonconformity of artists, poets, and writers
  • “Beat” originally meant weary
    • Came to refer to musical beat later
  • Beatniks counter-culture
    • Did not like regular work
    • Little structure
    • Expressed themselves through poetry, music, and literature
      • Jack Kerouac wrote a novel describing Beatnik culture entitled On the Road
    • Beatniks, Elvis, Beatles are seen as rebellion against conservatism
rock n roll s beginning
Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Beginning
  • Alan Freed, a disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio started to play music in 1951 that was a mixture of rhythm and blues, country, and pop
  • He called this music
    • Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Music for both African Americans and white people
what was rock n roll all about
What was Rock ‘n’ Roll all about?
  • Heavy Rhythm
  • Simple melodies
  • Lyrics that discussed
    • Love
    • Heartache
    • Cars
    • Problems of being young

Jazz – style of music composed by use of improvisation

adults view on rock n roll
Adults view on Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Thought it would…
    • Produce a decline in morals
    • Increase delinquency
    • Create deviant citizens
rock n roll artists
Rock ‘n’ Roll Artists
  • Elvis Presley
    • King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
    • Original dance style
    • Famous for songs like
      • “Don’t be Cruel”
      • “Hound Dog”
      • “Jailhouse Rock”
      • “Can’t Help Falling In Love”
  • Richard Penniman
    • “Little Richard”
  • Chuck Berry
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Bill Haley
the other america
The Other America
  • Millions of white Americans left the cities for the suburbs
  • Meantime, rural poor migrated to inner cities
    • 5 million African Americans moved into urban areas
  • Cities lost people, businesses, property, and income taxes
  • Poverty grew rapidly and suburban Americans were unaware
urban renewal or urban removal
Urban Renewal or Urban Removal?
  • Urban renewal was a proposed solution to the housing problem in inner cities
  • Solution – tear out rundown neighborhoods and reconstruct low-income housing
  • Only half way successful
    • Areas were torn down, but instead…
    • Factories, shopping centers, parking lots and parks were built on some of the new clear land.

Most affected were African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos – lived in dirty crowded slums

termination policy
Termination Policy
  • Eliminated federal economic support
  • Discontinued the reservation system
  • Distributed tribal lands among individual Native Americans
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs helped to relocation Native Americans resettle in cities
  • Policy was a depressing FAILURE
    • Unable to find jobs
    • Poor training
    • Racial prejudice
    • No access to medical care
  • Policy abandoned in 1963