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Presentation on theme: "DOMESTIC POLICY TRUMAN The 50s. POST WAR ECONOMY."— Presentation transcript:



3 Americans feared a return of the Depression but… long economic boom from World War II to the 1970s was fueled primarily by –low energy costs –colossal military budgets several years of serious inflation

4 POST WAR ECONOMY to forestall an economic downturn, the Truman administration –created the President’s Council of Economic Advisers –sold war factories and other government installations to private businesses at very low prices –passed the Employment Act, which made it government policy to promote maximum employment, production and purchasing power –passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act,known as the GI Bill of Rights workers made spectacular gains in productivity due to their rising education levels

5 POST WAR ECONOMY After the end of World War II and the return of demobilized forces to the work force, women –left the work force in large numbers –shifted to jobs in other areas of the economy –wanted to remain in their wartime positions The post-war prosperity was most beneficial to women

6 POST WAR ECONOMY labor unrest and a reshuffling of the labor force = an epidemic of labor strikes –strikes by the United Mine Workers and the nation’s railroads in 1946 were settled when Truman either ordered or threatened government control The growth of organized labor in the post-WWII era was slowed by –the rapidly growing number of service –sector workers –the failure of Operation Dixie (CIO failed attempt to unionize so. Textile and steel workers because of racism) –the growing number of part-time workers –the Taft-Hartley Act

7 POST WAR ECONOMY Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 –the “closed shop” was declared illegal Required union membership before hired –Allowed “all-union” shops Required union membership after being hired –States were permitted to pass “right – to –work” laws major blow to labor by outlawing the all – union shops – the president was allowed to call for a “cooling off” period if any work stoppage threatened national safety or health –was supported by conservative Republicans in Congress passed to check the growing power of leftists and communists


9 1948 Presidential Election many southern conservative Democrats split from the party because Truman –took a strong stand in favor of civil rights by proposing a strong civil rights bill 1948 presidential candidates: –Harry S. Truman : Democratic –Thomas E. Dewey : Republican –J. Strom Thurmond : States’ Rights –Henry Wallace : Progressive

10 1948 Presidential Election Truman’s campaign tactics included : –aggressive attacks on his opponent –telling the public that the Republicans had abandoned the common people –recreating much of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition Truman won the presidency and the Democrats also won both houses of Congress

11 The Fair Deal President Truman’s domestic welfare legislative plan

12 Fair Deal Fair Deal legislation –a new minimum wage law to increase rates –an expansion of the Social Security system to increase benefits and extend coverage to additional people –a National Housing Act to provide construction flow income housing Truman managed to begin dismantling segregation within the armed forces

13 Another RED SCARE 1950s Go to QUIZ pp

14 HUAC & Alger Hiss

15 1947 : HUAC House Committee on Un-American Activities –“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party ?” Hollywood Ten –Movie industry under investigation –Actors blacklisted if suspected –Ten arrested for refusal to testify

16 1935-1946 – State department official 1948 – Hiss publicly accused by Wittaker Chambers 1948-49 – HUAC / Nixon investigations 1949-50 – 1 st trial hung jury / 2 nd trial convicted of perjury The conviction of Alger Hiss resulted in – linking liberal Democrats with communist subversion – elevating Richard Nixon to national prominence – encouraging the public’s fear that communists had infiltrated the government Alger Hiss

17 Movies on the topic: Guilty by Suspicion Concealed Enemies

18 The Federal Loyalty Program and the Rosenberg Case

19 1947 : Loyalty Review Board Established by President Harry Truman an effort to detect communists within the government (investigations of government employees) Gov. employees had to sign loyalty oaths the campaign against domestic communism in the United States resulted from – the Soviet deployment of the atomic bomb – the fall of China to communism – the stalemate in Korea

20 Internal Security Act of 1950 Often called the McCarren Act Required communist organizations to register with the government Provide for the investigation of any group suspected of being un-American and permitted arrest without proof of people suspected of disloyalty passed over Truman veto FBI director,J.Edgar Hoover - est. “the list” of suspected subversive organizations earlier –McCarren Act just legitimizes Hoover’s harassment of alleged radicals

21 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg 1945 – Accused by Klaus Fuchs (British scientist at Los Alamos) (many of these “spies” at the time viewed themselves as aiding the communists to fight the fascists; communist sympathizers were prevalent in the US during the 30s and 40s; in the 40s the Soviet Union was our ally against Hitler) 1950 – Rosenberg's arrested & charged with espionage 1951 – Tried, convicted & sentenced to death 1953 – Rosenberg’s executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, accused of transferring atomic secrets to the Soviets, were convicted, sentenced to death, and executed, despite two years of appeals and public protests

22 McCarthyism

23 Senator Joseph McCarthy most prominent leader of the crusade against domestic subversion rose by charging that dozens of known communists were working within the U.S. State Department –claiming that the Democrats had been responsible for “twenty years of treason” President Eisenhower (R) allowed him to control personnel policy at the State Department –State Department lost a number of Asian specialists who might have counseled a wiser course in Vietnam Used intimidation on people opposing him

24 The End of McCarthyism lost most of his power and popularity when he –alleged that there were communists in the army –failed to prove any of his charges in the hearings involving the army –Attacked Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens –employed cruel methods against his opponents while on television –he was condemned by the Senate for “conduct unbecoming a senator.”


26 1952 Presidential Election Prospects for a Democratic victory were poor because : –inflation –a scandal in the White House ????? – the Republicans’ choice of popular Dwight Eisenhower the public liked the geniality and statesmanlike quality of Eisenhower –the military deadlock in Korea Eisenhower declared that he would personally go to Korea to help to end the Korean War

27 1952 Presidential Election Richard Nixon was selected as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice-presidential running mate in 1952 as a concession to the hard-line anticommunists In terms of politics, television –threatened the traditional role of political parties –applied the standards of show business and commercialism to political messages –allowed lone-wolf politicians to address voters directly –encouraged reliance on short slogans and sound bites


29 President Eisenhower leadership style –delegated authority to subordinates appointed wealthy corporate lawyers and businessmen to his cabinet –limited federal activities and to encourage private enterprise defined the domestic philosophy of his administration as “dynamic conservatism”

30 The 1950s Economy

31 booming national prosperity –standard of living increased substantially –caused by continued government spending an increase in the national birth rate the rapid expansion of the suburbs –blinded many Americans to the fact that more than 30 million Americans continued to live in poverty

32 The 1950s Economy many Americans came to believe that the government should –regulate and stabilize the economy without intruding directly in the private sector –Use the economic tool of cutting taxes to stimulate growth Republican businessmen –accepted the Keynesian welfare state to help maintain social order stabilize labor relations maintain consumers’ purchasing power

33 The 1950s Economy –great numbers of corporate mergers –a shift of many corporations from single-industry firms to diversified conglomerates the development of large-scale organizations and bureaucracies resulted in an increase in the number of white-collar workers –outnumbered blue-collar laborers for the first time –increasing mechanization on farms –farmers received less money for crops as farm prices fell

34 The 1950s Economy expansion of the service sector –majority of jobs in the clerical and service fields were held by women women working outside the home increased –many families needed a second income to maintain their desired standard of living – many affluent women experienced –external and internal demand to concentrate on their domestic duties –a clash between the demands of the traditional role of women as wives and mothers and the realties of employment

35 The 1950s Economy Sunbelt population shift –Caused by Increased federal spending on highways and dams for the region the growth of the petroleum industry in the area the appeal of the warm, dry climate to many easterners –reflected in sports when baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moved to California

36 The 1950s Economy labor victory – “escalator clauses” in some union contracts Automatic cost of living increases in line w/inflation (CPI) George Meany - the first leader of the combined AFL-CIO

37 The 1950s Economy the key to economic growth rested in electronics the new technology Television –stimulated the affluent life-style –replaced radio, newspapers, and magazines as the most important vehicle of information –Types of programs soap operas news programs situation comedies

38 The 1950s Economy A consumer culture appeared because of: –credit cards and easy payment plans –increased ability of advertisers to create demand for new products –the appearance of new and varied products the majority of the Americans seemed to value –buying consumer goods –being a part of the middle class –participating in the capitalist culture critics of the new consumerism of the 1950s charged that the American people had developed into a generation of conformists

39 The 1950s Economy Emerging new life-style of leisure and affluence –easy credit –fast-food production –new forms of recreation –a franker treatment of sexuality

40 50s Culture THE SUBURBS

41 The Suburbs By 1960 one-third to one-fourth (25%) population lived in metropolitan suburbs perceived advantages of the suburbs over urban living –had few or no blacks (“white flight”) the desire to escape the integration of urban neighborhoods and school s –helped provide a sense of community –provided security from the noise and dangers of urban living

42 The Suburbs resulted from –the baby boom –renewed emphasis on family life following the war during which families had often been separated or disrupted –inexpensive homes mass production techniques home-loan guarantees from the Federal Housing Authority and the Veterans’ Administration (Government mortgage guarantees) tax deduction for interest payments on home mortgages –government-built highways

43 The Suburbs led to –an increase in urban poverty –a pattern of an urban-suburban segregation of blacks and whites in major cities developed The refusal of FHA administrators to grant home loans to blacks resulted in driving many blacks into public housing –Women experiencing increased isolation from the workplace The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan – discusses the stifling boredom of suburban housewifery –government-built highways

44 Interstate Highway System The largest public works project during Eisenhower’s presidency

45 50s Culture THE BABY BOOM

46 The Baby Boom crested in the late 1950s / declined ever since will place an enormous strain on the Social Security system –Eisenhower extended the benefits of the Social Security system popularity of advice books on child –rearing –Dr. Benjamin Spock –sign of the stress on American families


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