Postwar America at Home, 1945 1960


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Postwar America at Home, 1945 1960

  1. 1. 1950S: AMERICA AT HOME United States Studies
  2. 2. The Ideal wife???
  3. 3. Economic Boom
  4. 4. The Thriving Peacetime Economy <ul><li>1950s—one of the longest sustained economic expansions in US history (no war depression—many entered Middle Class) </li></ul><ul><li>G.I. Bill helped ($500/year for college; low-interest home loans) </li></ul><ul><li>Car industry played a key role: many produced; interstate system built </li></ul>
  5. 6. Car Culture <ul><li>1945-60: From 26 to 60 million cars </li></ul><ul><li>Led to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Suburbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drive-In Movies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Car Hops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Malls </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. Changing Work Patterns <ul><li>United States stopped being primarily a goods producer and began a new path as a service provider (examples) </li></ul><ul><li>People enjoyed the leisure resulting from work which was characterized by conformity and “belongingness.” </li></ul><ul><li>White-collar and blue-collar workers enjoyed a higher standard of living than ever before </li></ul>
  7. 10. Franchises Franchise: Company distributes a business model through local retailers owned by independent operators
  8. 11. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items <ul><li>The Arch Deluxe: supposed to appeal to adult tastes with a secret mustard-mayonnaise sauce </li></ul>
  9. 12. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items <ul><li>The “McLean Deluxe“: Designed for people watching their weight. It contained Seaweed and water as a replacement for the fat content </li></ul>
  10. 13. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items <ul><li>McPizza </li></ul>
  11. 14. Failed McDonald’s Menu Items <ul><li>The “Hula Burger&quot; -- grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun </li></ul>
  12. 15. Demographic & Technology Shifts
  13. 16. Population Growth <ul><li>During the Great Depression, the birthrate had dropped to an all-time low </li></ul><ul><li>The birth rate exploded as millions of postwar Americans began families (Baby Boom—peak: baby born every 7 seconds) </li></ul><ul><li>From 1940 to 1955: U.S. population went from 130 to 165 million </li></ul><ul><li>The death rate was also declining due to peacetime and new medical breakthroughs (Dr. Salk—polio vaccine) </li></ul>
  14. 18. Movement West <ul><li>More mobile than ever before; most headed west and south </li></ul><ul><li>Cities throughout the Sunbelt South and West coast saw enormous growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Air conditioning allowed living in these areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Areas are still growing today </li></ul><ul><li>Population also shifted away from the traditional city centers to outlying suburbs where housing was cheaper </li></ul>
  15. 22. Suburbs—Why? <ul><li>Urban housing shortage </li></ul><ul><li>Cities became crowded </li></ul><ul><li>Cheaper, mass-produced housing (Levittown: $52.00 month </li></ul><ul><li>FHA Loans </li></ul><ul><li>Interstates—could live farther away from work </li></ul>
  16. 23. Levittown
  17. 24. American Dream
  18. 25. Technology <ul><li>The WWII research efforts of the Atomic Commission turned to creating consumer goods (improve transportation, satellites, radios, TVs) </li></ul><ul><li>New field of computers also reflected the technology of the era; tiny transistors would help miniaturize computers for use in many items from ovens to vacuum cleaners </li></ul>
  19. 27. Consensus and Conformity
  20. 28. Traditional Roles for Men &Women <ul><li>The necessities of World War II had interrupted the natural progression of social roles for men and women </li></ul><ul><li>Postwar, men and women had different expectations: education and business for men and homemaking and childrearing for women </li></ul><ul><li>Slow change during the decade reestablished the working patterns of the war: women found more entry points into corporate America </li></ul>
  21. 29. Youth Culture
  22. 30. Teenagers <ul><li>A new concept </li></ul><ul><li>No longer have to work </li></ul><ul><li>High school became the norm </li></ul><ul><li>Youth “culture” develops </li></ul><ul><li>Media targeted to teens </li></ul><ul><li>Music: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New: Elvis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New: Ray Charles </li></ul></ul>
  23. 31. Politics
  24. 32. Truman’s Presidency <ul><li>Lots of strikes (RR strike—seized them; threatened to draft workers) </li></ul><ul><li>Taft-Hartley Act (outlawed closed shop—Truman veto) </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated military—helped Civil Rights Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Fair Deal (extension of New Deal—not passed because of Republican Congress) </li></ul>
  25. 33. Eisenhower Administration <ul><li>Courted by both Dems & Reps </li></ul><ul><li>Was a moderate (neither Liberal or Conservative) </li></ul><ul><li>Interstate Highway System </li></ul><ul><li>1957 Civil Rights Act </li></ul><ul><li>Little Rock 9 </li></ul>