Presentation on theme: "The 1950s: the Fearful, the Fabulous, the Forgotten The not so Happy Days."— Presentation transcript:
The 1950s: the Fearful, the Fabulous, the Forgotten The not so Happy Days
The Fearful The Fearful The Fabulous The Fabulous The Forgotten The Forgotten
The Fearful Fifties Containment Atomic Bomb The Space Race The Cold War was a sustained state of political and military tension between the powers of the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, and the communist world, led by the Soviet Union, its satellite states and allies. This began after the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. Red Scare Abroad The Close The Cold War
Containment In 1946, in his famous “Long Telegram,” the diplomat George Kennan ( ) explained this policy: The Soviet Union, he wrote, was “a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with the U.S. there can be no permanent modus vivendi [agreement between parties that disagree]”; as a result, America’s only choice was the “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” By the time World War II ended, most American officials agreed that the best defense against the Soviet threat was a strategy called “containment.”
Containment President Harry Truman ( ) agreed. “It must be the policy of the United States,” he declared before Congress in 1947, “to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation…by outside pressures.” This way of thinking would shape American foreign policy for the next four decades. President Harry S. Truman
Atomic Bomb The containment strategy also provided the rationale for an unprecedented arms buildup in the United States. In 1950, a National Security Council Report known as NSC–68 had echoed Truman’s recommendation that the country use military force to "contain" communist expansionism anywhere it seemed to be occurring. To that end, the report called for a four-fold increase in defense spending. In particular, American officials encouraged the development of atomic weapons like the ones that had ended World War II. Thus began a deadly "arms race." In 1949, the Soviets tested an atom bomb of their own. In response, President Truman announced that the United States would build an even more destructive atomic weapon: the hydrogen bomb, or "superbomb." Stalin followed suit.
Atomic Bomb As a result, the stakes of the Cold War were perilously high. The first H-bomb test, in the Eniwetok atoll in the Marshall Islands, showed just how fearsome the nuclear age could be. It created a 25-square-mile fireball that vaporized an island, blew a huge hole in the ocean floor and had the power to destroy half of Manhattan. Subsequent American and Soviet tests spewed poisonous radioactive waste into the atmosphere. The ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation had a great impact on American domestic life as well. People built bomb shelters in their backyards. They practiced attack drills in schools and other public places. The 1950s and 1960s saw an epidemic of popular films that horrified moviegoers with depictions of nuclear devastation and mutant creatures. In these and other ways, the Cold War was a constant presence in Americans’ everyday lives. Manhattan Project Bomb Drills
The Space Race Space exploration served as another dramatic arena for Cold War competition. On October 4, 1957, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile launched Sputnik (Russian for "traveler"), the world's first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth's orbit. Sputnik's launch came as a surprise, and not a pleasant one, to most Americans. In the United States, space was seen as the next frontier, a logical extension of the grand American tradition of exploration, and it was crucial not to lose too much ground to the Soviets. In addition, this demonstration of the overwhelming power of the R-7 missile–seemingly capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into U.S. air space–made gathering intelligence about Soviet military activities particularly urgent.
The Space Race In 1958, the U.S. launched its own satellite, Explorer I, designed by the U.S. Army under the direction of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, and what came to be known as the Space Race was underway. That same year, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a public order creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a federal agency dedicated to space exploration, as well as several programs seeking to exploit the military potential of space. Still, the Soviets were one step ahead, launching the first man into space in April President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Space Race That May, after Alan Shepard become the first American man in space, President John F. Kennedy ( ) made the bold public claim that the U.S. would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. His prediction came true on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, became the first man to set food on the moon, effectively winning the Space Race for the Americans. U.S. astronauts came to be seen as the ultimate American heroes, and earth-bound men and women seemed to enjoy living vicariously through them. Soviets, in turn, were pictured as the ultimate villains, with their massive, relentless efforts to surpass America and prove the power of the communist system. President John F. Kennedy Neil Armstrong The Space Race
Red Scare Meanwhile, beginning in 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) brought the Cold War home in another way. The committee began a series of hearings designed to show that communist subversion in the United States was alive and well. In Hollywood, HUAC forced hundreds of people who worked in the movie industry to renounce left- wing political beliefs and testify against one another. More than 500 people lost their jobs. Many of these "blacklisted" writers, directors, actors and others were unable to work again for more than a decade. The Hollywood Blacklist: The Hollywood Ten
Red Scare HUAC also accused State Department workers of engaging in subversive activities. Soon, other anticommunist politicians, most notably Senator Joseph McCarthy ( ), expanded this probe to include anyone who worked in the federal government. Thousands of federal employees were investigated, fired and even prosecuted. As this anticommunist hysteria spread throughout the 1950s, liberal college professors lost their jobs, people were asked to testify against colleagues and "loyalty oaths" became commonplace. Senator Joseph McCarthy Edward Murrow
Abroad The fight against subversion at home mirrored a growing concern with the Soviet threat abroad. In June 1950, the first military action of the Cold War began when the Soviet- backed North Korean People’s Army invaded its pro-Western neighbor to the south. Many American officials feared this was the first step in a communist campaign to take over the world and deemed that nonintervention was not an option. Truman sent the American military into Korea, but the war dragged to a stalemate and ended in Overview of the Korean War
Abroad In the early 1960s, President Kennedy faced a number of troubling situations in his own hemisphere. The Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban missile crisis the following year seemed to prove that the real communist threat now lay in the unstable, postcolonial "Third World"Cuban missile crisis Nowhere was this more apparent than in Vietnam, where the collapse of the French colonial regime had led to a struggle between the American-backed nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem in the south and the communist nationalist Ho Chi Minh in the north.Vietnam Since the 1950s, the United States had been committed to the survival of an anticommunist government in the region, and by the early 1960s it seemed clear to American leaders that if they were to successfully "contain" communist expansionism there, they would have to intervene more actively on Diem’s behalf. However, what was intended to be a brief military action spiraled into a 10- year conflict. Other international disputes followed.
The Close Instead of viewing the world as a hostile, "bi- polar" place, he suggested, why not use diplomacy instead of military action to create more poles? To that end, he encouraged the United Nations to recognize the communist Chinese government and, after a trip there in 1972, began to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing. At the same time, he adopted a policy of "détente"– "relaxation"–toward the Soviet Union. In 1972, he and Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev ( ) signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), which prohibited the manufacture of nuclear missiles by both sides and took a step toward reducing the decades-old threat of nuclear war. Almost as soon as he took office, President Richard Nixon ( ) began to implement a new approach to international relations. President Richard Nixon
The Close Like many leaders of his generation, Reagan believed that the spread of communism anywhere threatened freedom everywhere. As a result, he worked to provide financial and military aid to anticommunist governments and insurgencies around the world. This policy, particularly as it was applied in the developing world in places like Grenada and El Salvador, was known as the Reagan Doctrine. President Ronald Reagan Despite Nixon’s efforts, the Cold War heated up again under President Ronald Reagan ( ).
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.“ President Reagan Even as Reagan fought communism in Central America, however, the Soviet Union was disintegrating. In response to severe economic problems and growing political ferment in the USSR, Premier Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-) took office in 1985 and introduced two policies that redefined Russia's relationship to the rest of the world: "glasnost," or political openness, and "perestroika," or economic reform. Soviet influence in Eastern Europe waned. In 1989, every other communist state in the region replaced its government with a noncommunist one. In November of that year, the Berlin Wall–the most visible symbol of the decades-long Cold War–was finally destroyed, just over two years after Reagan had challenged the Soviet premier in a speech at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." By 1991, the Soviet Union itself had fallen apart. The Cold War was over.
Assignment The Butter Battle Book Part 1 The Butter Battle Book Part 2 During the film list tools each power used to encourage and discourage war. The Yooks believe firmly that bread should only ever be eaten with the butter side up while the Zooks believe just as strongly that bread should only ever be eaten with the butter side down. A grandfather gives an account to his grandson of how the two societies segregated themselves by increasingly threatening means until the present day has come when the grandfather and his Zook rival VanItch come to an ultimate standoff over how far their mounting aggressions will go.
The Fabulous Fifties We tend to imagine the Fifties as a tranquil decade, but in fact Americans spent the years moving and searching. They moved physically, from the Northeast to the South and West—California's population grew by 49% during the Fifties, Florida's by 79%. They moved from rural areas to cities and from cities to suburbs. By 1960, a third of the country's population lived in the “burbs.” Many people were content, but many others felt ill at ease because of the speed at which the world was changing. Searching for new ways of coping, they embraced religion and visited psychiatrists in unprecedented numbers. If one word could describe American society during the Eisenhower era, it would be "restless." The Automobile Revolution The Interstate Highway System The Impact of the Auto A More Religious Nation? The Critics Teenagers Take the Stage
The Automobile Revolution Americans were well on the way to becoming a motorized society before the 1950s, but the Depression and the halt in auto production during World War II slowed the growth of America's car culture. During the Fifties, though, the number of cars in the US nearly doubled from 39 million to 74 million. By 1960, 80% of American families had at least one car and 15% had two or more. By making radical year-to-year design changes, Detroit automakers encouraged consumers to scrap older cars to buy the latest models, even as often as once a year. On average, 4.5 million cars were junked every year during the 1950s. By 1960, Americans owned more cars than all the rest of the world put together. General Motors: The Inside Story
The Interstate Highway System Eisenhower was an opponent of extravagant federal spending, yet one of his most enduring legacies is the Interstate Highway System, which his Secretary of Commerce called "the greatest public works program in the history of the world.“ The idea had entered Eisenhower's head in 1919 when, as a young army officer, he had accompanied a cross-country military convoy to test the quality of the nation's roads. The journey of 81 trucks and autos took two months to cross the United States—at an average of only 50 miles a day. Roads were "from average to non-existent," Second Lieutenant Eisenhower noted. When he saw the modern autobahns of Germany after World War II, he again grew enthusiastic about the possibility of a new high-speed US highway system. Highway Construction
The Interstate Highway System The new freeway system, officially known as the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, had a military as well as civilian purpose: it could be used to rapidly evacuate cities in case of a Soviet missile attack. It was a monumental undertaking to build 41,000 miles of four-lane roads. The nationwide construction project, which involved building more than 16,000 entrance ramps and 55,000 bridges, would not be fully completed until the early 1990s. The roads, whose wide shoulders and easy curves were designed for high-speed driving, would end up costing a grand total of some $129 billion. To satisfy urban interests, sections of highway were constructed into and around cities. The New Interstate Highway
The Interstate Highway System The historian Lewis Mumford predicted that Americans would regret "all the damage to our cities and our countryside... that this ill conceived and preposterously unbalanced program will have wrought.“ No one listened. Lewis Mumford Americans were delighted with the ability to drive from place to place at high speed, with no stoplights or intersections to worry about.
The Impact of the Auto Mumford's warnings began to resonate with more Americans by the 1970s, when oil shortages left Americans waiting in long lines to fill up at the gas station. The nation's growing dependence on the automobile proved to be a mixed blessing. Many Americans wanted to escape the cities and live in surrounding suburbs, and the automobile allowed them to do so. Of the 12 largest cities in the United States, 11 lost population during the 1950s. (The one exception was Los Angeles, which became a kind of car- culture mecca.) The cities suffered economically and culturally as a result.
The Impact of the Auto While enormous public investment went into accommodating automobiles, much less was devoted to mass transit. Buses and subways accounted for 35% of urban passenger miles in 1945; by 1965 they made up only 5%. Highway construction near cities displaced residents and divided neighborhoods, further hastening urban deterioration. Let’s Go to Town
The Impact of the Auto Drive-in movie theaters boomed—there were 3,000 in operation nationwide by Motels became common, led by chains like Holiday Inn. Shopping malls, offering new shopping convenience, began to appear everywhere. By the middle of the decade, 1,800 shopping centers had appeared in the United States. Fewer and fewer people went to the inner city to shop, leaving the streets of many cities largely deserted at night. On the other hand, new businesses catering to car owners flourished.
The Impact of the Auto In 1954, businessman Ray Kroc purchased the franchise rights to an assembly-line hamburger operation that had been started in San Bernardino, California by Maurice and Richard McDonald. Kroc standardized the concept, took it national, and by 1959 had opened his 100th McDonald's restaurant. By then he had sold 50 million burgers for 15¢ each and fast food was becoming part of the American way of life. Ray Kroc
A More Religious Nation? President Eisenhower was not a religious man; he officially joined the Presbyterian Church only in 1953, because he thought some form of piety was appropriate for a president. But during the Fifties, religion made a big resurgence in America. In 1950, 49% of Americans were church members; by 1960, the figure had jumped to 69%.
A More Religious Nation? The first was the type of public religion typified by Eisenhower's stance. This was a reaction to the "godless" Communism of America's enemies. The president said, "Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith—and I don't care what it is." Eisenhower was worried about citizens "deadened in mind and soul by a materialistic philosophy of life." In 1954, he signed a bill to add "one nation under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Two years later, Congress made "In God We Trust" the national motto of the United States. In keeping with the split personality of the decade, there were really two separate religious revivals.
A More Religious Nation? Related to this generic, public religion was the success of Norman Vincent Peale. He was an author and preacher who merged religion and the growing self- help movement. In 1952, Peale published The Power of Positive Thinking, one of the most successful inspirational books of all time. In it, he argued that a combination of faith and self-confidence could allow anyone to surmount any obstacle. The Power of Positive Thinking clip: Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
A More Religious Nation? A different kind of religious impulse motivated evangelical Christians, typified by the Reverend Billy Graham. Graham founded his Evangelistic Association in 1950 in a small office with a single secretary. Eight years later, he employed 200 people, had a weekly television show, and was taking in $2 million a year. Graham promoted a traditional type of religion that saw the materialism, hedonism, and secularism of the modern world as evils to be avoided. His followers wanted to cleanse themselves of sin, not to improve themselves through "positive thinking." Though Graham's revivals drew huge crowds, evangelicals of the day did not have a much political impact at the time. But the movement continued to grow until it became a major social and political force in later decades. Reverend Billy Graham
The Critics They listened to experts and critics like sociologist David Riesman, who published The Lonely Crowd in The American character was changing, Riesman asserted. Citizens were substituting conformity for individualism. Riesman's critique was the first in a series of books, many of them bestsellers, that analyzed perceived problems in the American society. They included The Organization Man by William H. Whyte Jr., which criticized the growing bureaucracies of many corporations for encouraging uncreative group thinking. C. Wright Mills, another critic, wrote in The Power Elite that Americans had lost autonomy to a small number of powerful decision-makers in business and government. After two difficult and tumultuous decades, Americans in the Fifties had enough leisure and material comfort to step back and reflect.
The Critics Critics were especially hard on the suburbs. This was the heartland of conformity, critics charged, a wasteland of ticky-tack houses, bored men commuting to work, unhappy housewives popping tranquilizers, and greedy, demanding children. Citizens had become consumers, purchasing goods in an endless attempt to keep up with their neighbors. It may seem odd that during an era often remembered as the "good old days," Americans were so bothered by self-doubt… but it's just another paradox of the Fifties.
The Critics Conformity is a feature of every society; the Fifties had no monopoly on it. The suburbs let city dwellers escape crowded urban neighborhoods and gave many their first opportunity to own a home. For those who could afford the suburban dream, suburbanization was an opportunity, not a curse. As one suburbanite put it, "It was exhilarating to own my own home. I felt like I had finally achieved something.“ Americans in the 1950s were just as hardworking, ambitious, and entrepreneurial as they had ever been. As their basic needs for food and shelter were met, it was natural for them to look further and grab for even more material goods. It wasn't conformity that drove them, but a desire for comfort and security and status. Were the critics right? Certainly there were elements of truth in their opinions. But later analysts have dismissed many of these criticisms.
Women’s Roles Redefined American society in the 1950s was geared toward the family. Marriage and children were part of the national agenda. And the Cold War was in part a culture war, with the American family at the center of the struggle. Embedded in the propaganda of the time was the idea that the nuclear family was what made Americans superior to the Communists. American propaganda showed the horrors of Communism in the lives of Russian women. They were shown dressed in gunnysacks, as they toiled in drab factories while their children were placed in cold, anonymous day care centers. In contrast to the "evils" of Communism, an image was promoted of American women, with their feminine hairdos and delicate dresses, tending to the hearth and home as they enjoyed the fruits of capitalism, democracy, and freedom.
Women’s Roles Redefined The U.S. marriage rate was at an all-time high and couples were tying the knot, on average, younger than ever before. Getting married right out of high school or while in college was considered the norm. A common stereotype was that women went to college to get a "Mrs." (pronounced M.R.S.) degree, meaning a husband. In the 1950s, women felt tremendous societal pressure to focus their aspirations on a wedding ring.
Women’s Roles Redefined Although women had other aspirations in life, the dominant theme promoted in the culture and media at the time was that a husband was far more important for a young woman than a college degree. Despite the fact that employment rates also rose for women during this period, the media tended to focus on a woman's role in the home. If a woman wasn't engaged or married by her early twenties, she was in danger of becoming an "old maid." Can a Monkey Do My Job? The Trouble with Women Women and Education
Job Switching After Ricky and Fred get upset about the girls' spending, Lucy and Ethel go to work in a candy factory while the boys do the housework. In this episode of I Love Lucy, Ricky and Fred trade places with Lucy and Ethel. The story satirizes the idea of women going to work and men filling the domestic role at home in the 1950s. It is simply absurd and hysterical and the stereotypes are concrete: women who work are militant, masculine and undesirable. Lucy and Ethel, demonstrate their femininity and frailty at the candy factory while Ricky and Fred destroy the kitchen, but stay determined to iron well and to have the dinner meal prepared when the “girls” get home from work. Fifties television does an excellent job of communicating the social expectations placed on women in the 1950s.
Assignment 1.Read the list of helpful hints for young women wanting to please their potential husband from a 1950s Home Economics Text. 2.Watch the video clip The Good Wife’s GuideThe Good Wife’s Guide 3.Rewrite five of the rules applying society’s expectations of women today.
We Didn’t Start the Fire In 1989, singer Billy Joel released a popular song entitled We Didn't Start the Fire. The song simply lists historical personalities and events from 1949 until The lyrics of the song proved to be a good summary of the history of that era. The chorus of the song is interesting in saying that "we (that generation) didn't light the fire (cause the problems), but we tried to fight them." What he is saying that the generation of young people in each era were not responsible for the problems and culture of the times, but many tried to rebel or even fought to solve the problems. We Didn’t Start the Fire with Lyrics
Sources “Cold War.” The History Channel website. Aug , 8:05 ‘"We Didn't Start the Fire" (Lyrics) History Summary from ” School for Champions website. August 15, 2012, champions.com/history/start_fire_lyrics.htm “Cold War.” Wikipedia website. August 15, Shmoop Editorial Team. Society in The 1950s Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov Web. 16 Aug About 20 th Century History Segregation Ruled Illegal in U.S. About. Com website.2012 ”http://history1900s.about.com/od/1950s/qt/segregationends.htm
Sources CliffsNotes.com. Segregation in the United States. 16 Aug American Experience. People & Events: Mrs. America: Women's Roles in the 1950s. The Pill. 16 Aug 2012 PBS website: