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Returning Home. Come on back boys At the height of WWII, the US had a military size of over 12 million By 1947, reduced to 1.566 million draft eliminated.

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Presentation on theme: "Returning Home. Come on back boys At the height of WWII, the US had a military size of over 12 million By 1947, reduced to 1.566 million draft eliminated."— Presentation transcript:

1 Returning Home

2 Come on back boys At the height of WWII, the US had a military size of over 12 million By 1947, reduced to million draft eliminated in 1948 The question: What to do with all these people? WWII had ended the depression War = jobs + population decline through death the fear was: by returning home would there be enough jobs to go around?

3 Yes! US untouched from the war (unlike most of Europe… and Japan…) Investment through the Marshall Plan created plenty of opportunities for jobs Food, raw materials, finished goods; all needed in Europe with no way to produce for themselves! Also, Muricans returning home wanted to forget the war, the result? Spend spend spend!

4 Cha-ching! Conservatism from the Great Depression made way for consumerism in the post war world Not to mention, returning soldiers and locals had more of a… yolo attitude because of the horrors of the war Most money went towards recreation and luxury goods. 75% of families now owned a car, even more owned a TV. Per capita income increased from $1,223 to $2219 from

5 Business is good With higher demand for goods, comes more supply of businesses (which = more jobs) Large corporations begin to develop known as conglomerates. Made up of three or more businesses that are unrelated. The result? More insulated from economic downturns. If one business fails, others can pick up the slack

6 The rise of the franchise People continue to want more goods, more quickly Franchises present consistency across a large scale Big Mac in California = to Big Mac in New York Not just food; clothing stores, auto companies, movie theatres, convenient stores, etc. The result? Less emphasis on locally made things: nationalization of products (common culture too?)

7 Inventions take over More demand for convenience and time leads to industry obliging Gas lawnmowers, dishwashers, automatic washing machines invented Of course… television. The smartphone of By 1955, the average family watched four to five hours a day Advertising explodes (leeches…)

8 Other inventions Computers Transistors Nuclear power Polio vaccine (20,000 children died a year before) Penicillin Credit cards ($56 billion combined consumer debt in 1960)

9 Times are a changin’ Job industry shifts – blue collar to white collar People move out of cities and into the suburbs house cost $22,000 Gas cost $.23 a gallon Need a way to get back INTO the city, so highways are created People reproduce… A LOT in the ‘Baby Boom’ Returning soldiers really missed their gals… College more affordable through the GI Bill Housing more affordable too

10 The Interstate System, a modern marvel Birth of the 1950’s car culture emerges Demand for movement, over 8 million new cars a year More time for vacation? Cars becoming more accessible also pushed the government to provide infrastructure 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act - $25 billion to build the interstate 47,000 miles long, not finished until the 90’s. In mid-2000 dollars, cost was $425 billion

11 Setting the ‘mood’ of the 50’s People felt comfortable during the 50’s Security > adventure The result? Big push on conformity amongst young people. Youth of the generation often referred to as the ‘silent generation’ As in ‘everything is fine, lets just ignore the problems’ Big emphasis on staying school (thanks 50’s…) By the end of the 1950’s, more than half of teenage girls were employed as babysitters

12 God makes a comeback 1950’s also so a resurgence of religion in society Part because of communism, which enforces atheism Pledge of Allegiance added ‘under God’ during the 1950’s, same thing with ‘In God We Trust’ on money Religion also became much easier to advertise with the new inventions as well

13 Squeaky clean 50’s… Gender roles arise much stronger after the war During the 20’s, women rise up through the ‘Flapper Movement’, but after WWII we see a drop in this attitude Attitudes more reflected: Men expected to be in the public sphere: find jobs, provide for family, and be the bread winner Women expected to be the private sphere: raise the children, cook dinner, and keep the home tidy. Why do these roles reemerge now?

14 Not all is what it seems Every decade has a rebellious streak Not all women stayed at home 1950 – 24% of women worked 1960 – 31% 2010 – 47% of women make up the entire work force The 50’s also had Rock and Roll! Adults hated it (go figure, get off my lawn!) Beatles, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly all famous examples Beatniks also make their appearance in the 50’s Name comes from the ‘beat generation’, people who challenged the conformity of the 1950’s


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