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Postwar Confidence and Anxiety

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1 Postwar Confidence and Anxiety 1945-60
Chapter 17 Postwar Confidence and Anxiety

2 Post War Changes Fear of continued Depression (12 million GIs returning home) Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (GI Bill) 1944 “the American Dream” 1 year unemployment pay College tuition Home and business loans Baby Boom- 27% increase in population Boomers created structural problems at every stage of development (hospitals, schools, jobs, Social Security) 1948=GNP ↑ for 20 years, income doubled 1952 election= Dwight D. Eisenhower (moderate Republican)


4 America on the Move Growth of the suburbs (40 million moved between )- home loans from Federal Housing Administration and VA Baby Boom= new families! Levittown on Long Island 1947 Mass produced housing to meet demand Interstate Highway Act 1956= 41,000 miles America= car culture in the suburbs! Growth of the Sunbelt after war (southern/western states) Climate (air conditioners), defense industry jobs


6 Levittowns


8 Distribution of Population Increase, 1950–2005

9 New Economy Movement to a post industrial society (service and information related businesses)= white collar jobs Growth of middle class aided by GI Bill! Growth of agribusiness (less farmers, but big business used new technology to grow food) Higher standard of living Culture of consumerism Living on credit (median income doubled in 1950s) Wanted modern conveniences

10 Advertising Prosperity, 1956

11 Coca-Colonizing the World American consumerism—and American products—flooded over the globe after World War II, as this 1950 cover from Time magazine illustrates.

12 1950 Cars


14 Consumer Culture

15 Changes in Culture Pressure on women to become homemakers again
Media pushed image (I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver) New focus on child rearing (Baby Boom) Dr. Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care Rock and Roll African American music sung by whites= new market Elvis Presley Symbol of youth culture

16 Opposition to 1950s The Lonely Crowd : US has traded individualism for sameness! Franchise businesses, media’s pressure to be a certain way The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and The Feminine Mystique: pressure on men and women is stifling! Beatniks: writers and artists who rejected traditional values and conformity (Allen Ginsburg) Predecessors to the Hippies in 1960s The Other America 1962: widespread poverty in America (50 million) Blacks in inner city, whites in rural areas, migrant Hispanics Poverty is ignored by middle class Need social change!

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