Chapter 17 Notes - Twinsburg Schools

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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!
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