Chapter 17 Postwar Confidence and Anxiety 1945-60 Post War Changes • Fear of continued Depression (12 million GIs returning home) • Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (GI Bill) 1944 “the American Dream” ▫ 1 year unemployment pay ▫ College tuition ▫ Home and business loans • Baby Boom- 27% increase in population 1945-60 ▫ Boomers created structural problems at every stage of development (hospitals, schools, jobs, Social Security) • 1948=GNP ↑ for 20 years, income doubled • 1952 election= Dwight D. Eisenhower (moderate Republican) America on the Move • Growth of the suburbs (40 million moved between 1940-60)- home loans from Federal Housing Administration and VA ▫ Baby Boom= new families! • Levittown on Long Island 1947 ▫ Mass produced housing to meet demand • Interstate Highway Act 1956= 41,000 miles ▫ America= car culture in the suburbs! • Growth of the Sunbelt after war (southern/western states) ▫ Climate (air conditioners), defense industry jobs Levittowns Distribution of Population Increase, 1950–2005 New Economy • Movement to a post industrial society (service and information related businesses)= white collar jobs ▫ Growth of middle class aided by GI Bill! ▫ Growth of agribusiness (less farmers, but big business used new technology to grow food) ▫ Higher standard of living • Culture of consumerism ▫ Living on credit (median income doubled in 1950s) ▫ Wanted modern conveniences Advertising Prosperity, 1956 Coca-Colonizing the World American consumerism—and American products—flooded over the globe after World War II, as this 1950 cover from Time magazine illustrates. 1950 Cars Consumer Culture Changes in Culture • Pressure on women to become homemakers again ▫ Media pushed image (I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver) • New focus on child rearing (Baby Boom) Dr. Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care • Rock and Roll African American music sung by whites= new market ▫ Elvis Presley ▫ Symbol of youth culture Opposition to 1950s • The Lonely Crowd : US has traded individualism for sameness! ▫ Franchise businesses, media’s pressure to be a certain way • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and The Feminine Mystique: pressure on men and women is stifling! • Beatniks: writers and artists who rejected traditional values and conformity (Allen Ginsburg) ▫ Predecessors to the Hippies in 1960s • The Other America 1962: widespread poverty in America (50 million) ▫ Blacks in inner city, whites in rural areas, migrant Hispanics ▫ Poverty is ignored by middle class ▫ Need social change!