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Postwar America 1945-1960 Chapter 22. Click the Speaker button to listen to the audio again. Intro 1. Why It Matters Post-WWII: * Economic prosperity * Stronger middle class * House in the suburbs * More leisure time * Television - favorite entertainment

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Postwar America


Chapter 22

intro 7

Why It Matters


* Economic prosperity

* Stronger middle class

* House in the suburbs

* More leisure time

* Television - favorite entertainment

* BUT... general prosperity did not extend to some minority groups!


Intro 7

Return to a Peacetime Economy

  • The U.S. economy continued to grow after World War II because of increased consumer spending.
gi bill

The GI Billprovided loans to veterans to help them establish businesses, buy homes, and attend college.

But...a greater demand for goods led to inflation and triggered labor unrest!

GI Bill
section 1 6

Workers went on strike for increased wages.

  • President Truman, fearing an energy shortage, forced miners to return to work after a month-long strike.
  • In 1946 Americans interested in change elected Republicans in both houses of Congress.
Section 1-6

Congresswanted to cut the power of organized labor; proposed Taft-Hartley Act.

  • Act outlawed the closed shop. (Where business owners could hire only union members.)
  • States could pass right-to-work laws outlawing shops where workers were required to join unions.
  • Bottom line….Union power was weakened!
  • Truman vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act, but Congress voted to override the veto and passed it in 1947.
section 1 9

Truman’s Domestic Program

  • President Truman tried to push many domestic measures through Congress.
  • Included expansion of Social Security benefits; raising the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour; and a broad civil rights bill protecting African Americans.
  • His proposals met with little success with Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats.
Section 1-9
section 1 10

As the election of 1948 neared, it looked as if Truman would not be reelected.

  • Truman criticized the “Do-Nothing Congress.”
  • Truman won the election; Democratic Party made a comeback, regaining control of both houses of Congress.
Section 1-10
truman dewey

The press was so certain that Dewey would win in 1948, they printed the headline which turned out to be wrong!!!

Truman & Dewey
section 1 11

Truman’s domestic agenda was coined the Fair Deal.

  • Congress did not support all of Truman’s ideas. While the minimum wage was increased and the Social Security system expanded, Congress refused to pass national health insurance or to enact civil rights legislation.
Section 1-11
section 1 14

The Eisenhower Years

  • With the US at war in Korea, Truman’s approval rating dropped. He chose not to run again in 1952.
  • The GOP candidate, DwightEisenhower ran with the slogan, “It’s time for a change!”
  • He promised to end the Korean War.


Eisenhowerwon in a landslide with his running mate, Richard Nixon.


Section 1-14

Eisenhower described his political beliefs as midway between conservative and liberal.

  • He pushed for passage of the Federal Highway Act, which provided $25 billion for a 10-year project to construct 40,000 miles of interstate highways.

Ike easily won his second run for the presidency in 1956 as America transitioned from a wartime to a peacetime economy.

  • Americans focused their energy on a decade of tremendous prosperity.

American Abundance

  • In 1958 economist John Kenneth Galbraithpublished The Affluent Society; claimed that the US and some other industrialized nations had created an “economy of abundance.”
  • New business techniques and improved technology = a standard of living never before thought possible.
section 2 6

As the mechanization of farms and factories increased, many Americans began working in white-collarjobs, such as sales and management.

  • In 1956, for the first time, white-collar workers outnumbered blue-collarworkers – people who perform physical labor in industry.
Section 2-6

The rise in luxury products led to the growth of more sophisticated advertising.

  • The advertising industry became the fastest-growing industry in the United States, using new marketing techniques to sell products.

Levittown, NY - one of the earliest suburbs; mass-produced.

  • Between 1947 and 1951, other Levittown-type suburbs were built all over the US.
  • To some, suburbs symbolized the American dream; others saw them as an example of American conformity.

The 1950s Family

  • Larger families
  • More women in the workforce.
  • 1945-1961 known as the baby boom; more than 65 million babies born in the United States.
  • Post-war couples ready to marry and start families.

Technological Breakthroughs

  • In 1946 scientists working for the U.S. Army developed one of the earliest computers.
  • Was called ENIAC(Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer); it made military calculations.
  • Newer model called UNIVAC(Universal Automatic Computer) could handle business data; led to a computer revolution.
section 2 15

Medical breakthroughs: development of antibiotics; new drugs for arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease; and advances in surgical techniques.

  • Polio epidemics swept the nation in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Jonas Salk developed an injectable vaccine that prevented polio.
Section 2-15

New cases of polio declined dramatically.

  • Albert Sabinlater developed an oral vaccine for polio.
  • Threat of polio disappeared in the United States.

The Soviet Union launched the world’s first space satellite, Sputnik, in October 1957.

  • The United States launched its own satellite in January 1958.
section 3 5

The New Mass Media

  • Television became more affordable.
  • 1946 - 7,000 to 8,000 TV sets in the U.S.
  • By 1957 - 40 million sets.
  • TV news became an important source of information.
  • Advertising and sporting events became more common.
Section 3-5
section 3 6

Categories of TV shows: comedy, action-adventure, variety-style entertainment, and quiz shows.

  • EdSullivan’svariety show Toast of the Town provided a mix of comedy, popular song, dance, and acrobatics.
Section 3-6

I Love Lucy

Father Knows Best

Leave It To Beaver

The Lone Ranger

section 3 7

The movie industry lost viewers.

  • Moviemakers tried to lure people away from TV sets. Ex: use of 3-D glasses and cinemascope.
  • Movie roles for women were stereotypical, often as wives or girlfriends.
  • Roles for African Americans were often stereotypical or one-dimensional.
Section 3-7
section 3 71

Radio had to find ways to get television viewers to listen again.

  • Recorded music, news, talk shows, weather, public-service programs, and shows for specific audiences were all used to encourage people to turn on their radios.
Section 3-7
section 3 9

The New Youth Culture

  • Young Americans rebelled against the conformist ideals of adult society; looked to controversial styles in music and literature.
  • 1951 - radio DJ Alan Freed played African American rhythm and blues on the radio.
  • Soon white artists were copying the sound to form a new style of music called rock ’n’ roll.
Section 3-9
section 3 10

In 1956 ElvisPresley became a rock ’n’ roll hero for many teenagers.

  • He eventually became known as the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll.”
Section 3-10

The music was popular with teens, but parents disliked this new music.

  • Several cities banned rock ’n’ roll.
  • Led to what became known as a generation gap, or cultural separation between children and their parents.
section 3 11

A group of artists, who called themselves the beats, highlighted the values gap that existed in the U.S. in the 1950s.


Section 3-11
section 3 13

African American Entertainers

  • African American entertainers tried to find a way to fit in.
  • Most were shut out by television.
  • African American rock ’n’ roll singers had an easier time gaining acceptance.
  • Chuck Berry,Ray Charles, and Little Richardrecorded hit songs.
Section 3-13

Ray Charles

Chuck Berry

Little Richard

section 3 14

African American women’s recording groups, including the Crystals, the Chiffons, and the Shirelles, paved the way for future women’s groups.

The Crystals The ChiffonsThe Shirelles

Section 3-14
section 4 5

Poverty Amidst Prosperity

  • 1959 - 30 million Americans lived below the poverty line.
  • Writer Michael Harrington chronicled poverty in the U.S. during the 1950s in his book The Other America.
  • He described how some Americans lived in the run-down and hidden communities of America.
Section 4-5
section 4 6

The poor included single mothers, elderly, minority immigrants, etc.

  • The wealthy moved to suburbs; urban areas became home to poorer, less educated minority groups.
  • 1950s: government began urban renewal programs, in which they tore down slums and built high-rise projects.
Section 4-6
section 4 7

In 1958 African American salaries were only 51 percent of what whites earned.

  • NAACP and the Congress of Racial Equality pushed for equality and economic opportunities for African Americans.
  • They had little success.
Section 4-7
section 4 71

Through the Braceroprogram, some five million Mexican immigrants came to the US to help with agricultural needs.

  • They struggled with poverty and worked in unbearable conditions for very little pay.
Section 4-7
section 4 72

Native Americans - poorest group in the nation.

  • Through the termination policy, the federal government took away all official recognition of Native American groups as legal entities and made them follow the same laws as white citizens.
Section 4-7
section 4 9

Juvenile Delinquency

  • Social problem in the U.S. during the 1950s - a rise in juveniledelinquency – antisocial or criminal behavior of youths.
  • Delinquency in the 1950s cut across class and racial lines.
  • Teens were stereotyped, especially if they had long hair and dressed in an unconventional manner.
Section 4-9
section 4 10

As baby boomers started school, enrollments increased greatly.

  • Shortage of buildings and teachers.
  • Because the USSR had launched the first space satellites, the U.S. schools were criticized for a lackof technical education.
  • Response: efforts made to improve math and scientific education in U.S. schools.
Section 4-10
chapter assessment 1

Reviewing Key Terms

Define Match the terms on the right with their definitions on the left.


__ 1. jobs in fields not requiring work clothes or protective clothing, such as sales

__ 2. the right to license and to market a company’s goods or services in an area, such as a store of a chain operation

__ 3. a business that requires employees to join a union

__ 4. an agreement in which a company agrees to hire only union members

A. closed shop

B. union shop

C. featherbedding

D. white-collar

E. blue-collar

F. franchise

G. baby boom

H. generation gap

I. urban renewal

J. termination policy




Chapter Assessment 1
chapter assessment 2

Reviewing Key Terms (cont.)

Define Match the terms on the right with their definitions on the left.


__ 5. government programs that attempt to eliminate poverty and revitalize urban areas

__ 6. a cultural separation between parents and their children

__ 7. jobs in the manual labor field, particularly those requiring protective clothing

__ 8. practice of limiting work output in order to create more jobs

A. closed shop

B. union shop

C. featherbedding

D. white-collar

E. blue-collar

F. franchise

G. baby boom

H. generation gap

I. urban renewal

J. termination policy




Chapter Assessment 2
chapter assessment 21

Reviewing Key Terms (cont.)

Define Match the terms on the right with their definitions on the left.


__ 9. a government policy to bring Native Americans into mainstream society by withdrawing recognition of Native American groups as legal entities

__ 10. a marked rise in birthrate, such as occurred in the United States following World War II

A. closed shop

B. union shop

C. featherbedding

D. white-collar

E. blue-collar

F. franchise

G. baby boom

H. generation gap

I. urban renewal

J. termination policy


Chapter Assessment 2