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CH 41: Post WWII Domestic Prosperity

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1 CH 41: Post WWII Domestic Prosperity

2 GI Bill of Rights As the men came home the Congress approved the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act Low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend college, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. Available to every veteran who had been on active duty during the war years for at least ninety days and had not been dishonorably discharged; combat was not required. By 1956, roughly 2.2 million veterans attend colleges or universities, and an additional 6.6 million used these benefits for some kind of training program

3 Truman’s Fair Deal As World War II ended Truman announced a group of reforms called the Fair Deal increase the minimum wage increase spending on education and agriculture enact a national health insurance program These reforms came in the wake of the government cancelling millions in war contract, and 5 million people lost their job

4 1948 Election Truman had become President after FDR’s death
Congress had attempted to stall many of Truman’s Fair Deal proposals (since most Republicans never liked the New Deal) In 1948 Truman also desegregated the military, a move that was not popular with everyone (Executive Order 9981) Truman went on an aggressive campaign tour and blasted Congress for “doing nothing.” He would in in a shocking up set victory

5 Blue & White Collar Workers
As the 1950s arrived the economy started to change Blue-Collar Workers: Large part of the work force. Made up of factory workers or skilled tradesmen (Hourly Workers) White-Collar Workers: For the first White-Collar workers outnumbered Blue-Collar. Made up of Doctors, lawyers, engineers, office staff, teachers Both groups would help to make up the NEW middle class Blue & White Collar Workers

6 Women in the workforce (or not)
Women’s roles in 1950s would change from the 1940s Women would move out of factories The idea of the “stay at home mom” became more common and actually was pushed by famous child psychologist Dr. Spock College attendance by women would drop as women would skip college or leave college early to start a family

7 Baby Boomers During the 1930 & 40s birth rates dropped (Depression/War) After WWII ended, the men came home, and life changed In 1946 there were 2.3 million marriages People were marrying younger and more often Average marriage age: Men-22, Women-20

8 Maternity wards overflowed
1950s Math: Men + Women + Marriage = Babies  Maternity wards overflowed During the 1950s California would (on average) open a school per week to handle enrolment In 1957, the Baby Boom Peak, there were 4.3 million births By 1964, four in ten Americans were under the age of 20


10 Suburbs All these new families needed someplace to live (and the GI Bill would help pay for it) The Levitt brothers saw a fantastic economic opportunity In 1947 they created, Levittown, the first planed community in the nation Built 20 miles outside New York City By 1951 they had built almost 17,500 homes The homes were small, boxy, and identical The Levitt’s built 36 houses a day, at $8,000 a piece

11 People also moved from the cold snowy North, to the warm sunny South
This area became known as the Sunbelt The two main reasons people could move South: Reservoir systems (so you could have water to drink and grow things), and Air Conditioning (because, be honest, would you live in Florida if it wasn’t for AC???) Sunbelt

12 Interstate Highway System
In 1956 Congress approved the construction of an interstate highway system (inspired by Germany’s autobahn) The goal was to link major cities, make movement easier, (and provide nuclear escape routes) Also called the Eisenhower Highway System By 1960 there were 10,000 miles of highway, today there are over 45,000 miles This also made it a status symbol to own a car

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