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Postwar Confidence and Anxiety Domestic Issues and Politics of the 1950s Chapter 17.

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Presentation on theme: "Postwar Confidence and Anxiety Domestic Issues and Politics of the 1950s Chapter 17."— Presentation transcript:

1 Postwar Confidence and Anxiety Domestic Issues and Politics of the 1950s Chapter 17

2 An Economic Boom (17.1) “The American soldiers is…worried sick about post-war joblessness.” – Fortune Magazine ◦ 60% of Americans thoughts their earning would fall 12,000,000 WWII troops were returning ◦ SERVICEMAN’S READJUSTMENT ACT (GI Bill) – granted veterans aid for homes, college, or businesses

3 The Baby Boom Soldiers happy to come home, want normalcy, and family life Americans feeling more secure because of the good economy and peace in the world ◦ 1957 – one baby born every 7 seconds; 4,300,000/year

4 Converting from a Wartime Economy Unemployment did not come back but… There were problems: ◦ Prices soar because returning soldiers pushed up demand ◦ Rationing and price controls were ended (had helped keep inflation in check…)

5 US Economy Dominates the World More Production More Demand (buying) More hiring US Economy After WWII Lower Prices Lower Inflation Profits create new technology which leads to increased productivity

6 The Growth of the Suburbs 40,000,000 between 1940-1960 ◦ Rural regions suffered the most dramatic decline in population Urban construction halted during Depression Returning veterans needed a place to raise kids

7 Levittown – “The American Dream” Developers figured out how to build affordable housing in a hurry ◦ William Levitt – became a leader in mass production  Produced 150 houses per week $7,990 or $60 per month with no down payment

8 Growth of Suburban Living SHIFTS IN POPULATION DISTRIBUTION, 1940-1970 1940 1950 1960 1970 Cities 31.6% 32.3% 32.6% 32.0% Burbs 19.5% 23.8% 30.7% 41.6% Rural 48.9% 43.9% 36.7% 26.4% 1940 1950 1960 1970 Cities 31.6% 32.3% 32.6% 32.0% Burbs 19.5% 23.8% 30.7% 41.6% Rural 48.9% 43.9% 36.7% 26.4% U. S. Bureau of the Census.

9 The Government Fosters Growth FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION – provided low interest loans The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System – 1956 Developed for military preparedness and economic development ◦ Rise of trucking over rr in the US

10 Car Culture and Shopping Malls 26,000,000 to 60,000,000 car owners from 1945-1960 ◦ Newest technology – power steering, brakes, automatic transmission ◦ Designed cars with lots of chrome to remind people of jet planes  Futuristic  Drive in theaters Without cities, new shopping and entertainment patterns emerged ◦ Fast food, drive-in movies

11 The Birth of Franchises Ray Kroc – McD’s Kemmons Wilson – Holiday Inn ◦ Quality and sameness ◦ Critique – all US lives in same homes, listens to same music, drives same cars, etc…  Conformity?

12 Vacations Autos, highways, and middle class spending money (leisure time) lead to hotels and vacations ◦ Death of Route 66, Mom & Pop Motels and restaurants ◦ Disneyland

13 The Dawning of the Sunbelt SUNBELT – name given to the southern and western states ◦ Explosion of aerospace, electronics, and petrochemical industries boomed ◦ Birth of air conditioning made TX, CA, AZ, NM, etc…pleasant ◦ Mid-1960s CA passes NY as largest US state  Political shift…

14 The Post-Industrial Society SERVICE SECTOR – businesses that provide services, like healthcare, law, retail, banking, or insurance ◦ Farmers disappear Birth of computers Women start to work (often part time) to keep middle class status Computers  Mark I (1944). First IBM mainframe computer (1951)

15 A Changing Workplace Automation & Corporate Consolidation: *1947-1957  factory workers decreased by 4.3%, lost 1.5 mil. blue-collar jobs. *By 1956  more white-collar than blue-collar jobs in U.S. *By 1960  600 corporations (1/2% of all U. S. companies) accounted for 53% of total corporate income!!!

16 The Multinationals US businesses began to sell their products globally (Marshall Plan) US businesses synonymous with “American” ◦ GM, GE, IBM, Coke, Pepsi, etc

17 A Political Split Blue collared workers support Democrats ◦ Less educated, poorer, minorities White collared workers support Republicans ◦ More educated, wealthier

18 Blue Collar Issues Blue collar workers couldn’t keep up wit post-war inflation – Strikes! ◦ Congress passes TAFT- HARTLEY ACT – outlaws a closed shop – a workplace in which only union members can be hired 1955 – AFL-CIO form a massive union ◦ Became associate with Democratic Party (the tail that wags the dog)

19 Minorities after the War African Americans ◦ Executive Order 9981 integrated military – 1948 ◦ 1954 – Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, KS integrates schools Hispanic Veterans ◦ Felix Longoria Affair ◦ 1 st Non-white buried at Arlington after denied burial in Texas

20 Politics of the 1950’s: 1948 Presidential Election Truman not popular even with Democrats ◦ Expansion of Communism aboard & at home ◦ Support of Civil Rights Legislation angered the South ◦ Soaring inflation Republican Thomas Dewey sure to win...

21 Truman Campaigns Hard & Wins 1948 Election UPSET OF THE CENTURY!!!

22 Truman’s 2 nd Term THE FAIR DEAL – tried to create National Health Care Program ◦ Extension of the New Deal Political Failure ◦ Congress wouldn’t pass his reforms ◦ Impact of the Korean War ◦ Unpopular Truman won’t run in 1952

23 1952 – Charting A New Course (D) Stevenson vs. (R) Eisenhower ◦ Ike so popular Both parties wanted him to run ◦ His platform, a “Middle Road”  Stop Korean War  Cont. popular New Deal  Stop growth of gov’t  Highway system  Invest in sciences  Peace and Security

24 The Rise of the VP Nixon Reporters found that Nixon had $18,000 worth of political gifts from supporters ◦ At the time it wasn’t legal (lobbyists…)  Stricter rules today Nixon goes on TV and defends his actions ◦ People love it

25 Truman vs. Eisenhower 1.Marshall Plan 2.Truman Doctrine 3.Berlin Airlift 4.NATO 5.NSC #68 - Global concept of containment & boosting military- industrial complex 6.Korean War “Containment” [George Kennan] 1.Mutual security agreements. 2.Massive retaliation. 3.M. A. D. 4.“Domino Theory” 5.CIA & covert operations 6.Eisenhower Doctrine 7.“$ Diplomacy” – Part II 8.Warned of Military- Industrial Complex “Brinksmanship” [John Foster Dulles]


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