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US History II Chapter 27 The Postwar Boom Section 1 Postwar America

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1 US History II Chapter 27 The Postwar Boom Section 1 Postwar America

2 Readjustment and recovery
By the summer of 1946, 10 million men and women had been released from the armed forces. The Impact of the GI Bill To ease service men’s return to civilian life, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act or the GI Bill of Rights, in 1944. The GI Bill offered partial tuition payments for their education, one year of unemployment benefits

3 GI Bill also offered low-interest, federally guaranteed loans.
Millions of young families used these benefits to purchase farms or to establish businesses. Housing Crisis 1945 & 1946, severe housing shortage faced by returning veterans. Many lived in cramped apartments or moved in with relatives.

4 Responding to the housing crisis, developers such as William Levitt, used efficient, assembly-line methods to mass-produce homes. Levitt said his company could build a house in 16 minutes. Levitt offered homes in small residential communities surrounding cities. These communities became known as suburbs. These homes cost $8000.

5 Levitt’s first postwar development was built on New York’s Long Island and was named Levittown
Aerial shot of Levittown

6 Economic Readjustment
Redefining the Family Tensions created by changes in men’s and women’s roles after the war contributed to a high divorce rate. 1950, more than 1 million war marriages ended in divorce. Economic Readjustment After WWII, US changes back to a peacetime economy. 10 days after Japan’s surrender, 1 million defense workers are laidoff.

7 During the war, the Office of Price Administration, (OPA) set maximum prices for goods.
June 30, 1946, price controls ended, and prices skyrocketed. As prices spiraled upwards, post war salaries were less. To stop inflation, Congress re-instituted controls on prices and wages to easily convert to the peacetime economy.

8 Truman’s Inheritance Harry S. Truman suddenly becomes president after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945. Truman had the ability to make difficult decisions and to accept full responsibility for them. A sign on his desk read “The Buck Stops Here”. Truman’s two challenges; the rising threat of communism and restoring the American economy.

9 Truman Faces Strikes Facing higher prices and lower wages, 4.5 million discontented workers went on strike in After 750,000 steelworkers returned to work after an 80-day strike, 400,000 coal miners went on strike. 18 days later two railroad unions announced they would strike and stop rail traffic throughout the nation. Truman asked Congress for authority to draft the striking workers and order them back to work.

10 Before Truman could finish his speech to Congress, the railroad unions gave in.
“Had Enough?” Americans were ready for a change after dealing with shortages, rising inflation and labor strikes. Republicans asked, “Had enough?” Voters replied in the congressional elections of 1946 as the Republican Party won control of both the Senate and the House for the first time since 1928.

11 Truman Supports Civil Rights
September 1946; Truman meets with African -American leaders to get their top priorities. Those were: federal anti-lynching law abolition of the poll tax as a voting requirement establishment of a permanent body to prevent racial discrimination When Congress didn’t pass these measures, Truman established a biracial Committee on Civil Rights.

12 July 1948, Truman issued an executive order for the integration of the armed forces, calling for “equality of treatment and opportunity without regard to color, race, religion or national origin. In addition, he ordered and end to discrimination in the hiring of government employees. At the same time, the US Supreme Court ruled that courts could not bar African Americans from residential neighborhoods.

13 Republicans Take the Middle Road
1951 Truman’s approval rating sunk to 23 percent. 1952 Presidential election, Truman doesn’t run. Democrats nominate Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. Republicans nominate General Dwight D. Eisenhower. “I Like Ike” Eisenhower took the lead, but hit a snag when his running mate, Richard M. Nixon was accused of profiting from a secret fund.

14 Walking The Middle of the Road
Nixon, using the new medium of television, made his “checkers speech”. He denied any wrong doing, but did admit to taking a gift from a political supporter. Nixon’s speech saved the Republicans. They won 55 percent of the popular vote and the Republicans narrowly captured Congress. Walking The Middle of the Road Eisenhower’s presidential style was to keep a low public profile and to work behind the scenes to accomplish things.

15 Although he followed a middle of the road course, he could not side step the issue of civil rights.
1954, US Supreme Court ruled in “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka”, that public schools should be racially integrated. Eisenhower felt the federal government should not be involved in desegregation and he privately disagreed with the Brown ruling.

16 However, in 1957 when the Arkansas governor tried to keep black kids out of an all-white high school, Eisenhower sent federal troops to ensure that the students arrived safely in the school.

17 The mid 1950’s were a time of “peace , progress and prosperity
The mid 1950’s were a time of “peace , progress and prosperity.” Americans returned to normalcy and a higher standard of living. Please that “everything’s booming but the guns,” voters flocked to the polls in 1956 to re-elect Eisenhower by the greatest majority since FDR’s win in 1936. To many of the nation’s citizen’s, the American Dream had finally come within reach.

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