I. The Economic “Miracle” A. Economic Growth Between 1945 and 1960 economic boom occurred nearly uninterrupted, GNP went increased 250% from 200 bill to 500. Unemployment and inflation remained low. Gov smpending which started during depression continued, public housing, schools, vets etc. Economic growth was at peak during early 50 during Korean war, military spending also peaked. Birth rate went up… baby boom peaked during war in 1957. Increase 20% 150 to 179 million, caused economic expansion. Suburbs also expanded helped expand some sectors of economy.
Privately owned cars doubled, new homes, housing industry. Economy grew 10x faster than population, but not evenly distributed. Americans had increased purchasing power and highest standard of living than any other civilization in world. B. The Rise of the Modern West West saw greatest changes as result of economic growth. Population, cities flourished, no longer appendage of east. By 60’s parts of west were important cultural, industrial centers. West saw most of government spending, dams, powerstations… military contracts to California and Texas.
Automobiles caused increase in oil fields which made cities in Texas grow. States gov invested in state universities for research, made them among the best in the nation. Dry warm climate attracted people. Los Angeles had increase in new businesses, population increase 50 % from 1940 – 1960. C. Capital and Labor Labor unions increased so much that they were no longer intimidated by large corporations, leader made important concession to them, $80 week salary. AFL and Coingress of Industrial Organization merged under leadership of George Meany.
Many Unions would gain so much power that they became corrupt, i. e. Teamster Union under David Beck, would be charged by gov. United Mine workers also had charges of corruption. II The Explosion of Science and Technology A. Medical Breakthroughs 20th century so more medical breakthroughs than any other, especially in antibacterial drugs. Antibiotics stemmed from Louis Pasteur and Jules Joubert in 1870’s France, thenJ Joseph Lister who proved antiseptic solutions prevent infection in surgery. Then sulfa drugs in the 1930’s used in France, Britain, and Germany against blood diseases.
In 1928 Alexander Flemming accidentally found antibacterial props of penicillin. Oxford refined the potency of it but availability would not reach all of England till after WWII, mass production would start around 1948 around world. Vaccines against viruses also increased. Tenetanus vaccines… Tuberculosis. Progress on viruses were slow except small pox. 1954 Jonas Salk introduced vaccine against polio, gov offered to public for free. By 60’s vaccines had been virtually eliminated. Death rate in kid decline and average life expectancy increased to 71 years. B. Pesticides
In 1939 Swiss chemist, Paul Muller discovered DDT, harmless to humans, toxic to insects. Americans learn about this in 1942 as soldiers were coming down with insect borne diseases like malaria and typhus. DDT became widely used first in Italy, people thought it was miracle chemical. Later on pacific islands where US was fighting Japs. Cases of malaria decline sharpley, it wasn’t for a while that they realized it was toxic to humans and animals. C. Post war electronic Research Researchers in the 40’s developed first commercially sound televison. RCA developed first color TV which became available in early 60’s.
IN 1948 Bell labs developed the transistor which would replace the vacuum tubes which were in most electronic devices. TV’s, radios, avaiation equipment were all smaller. Also developed integrate circuitry which made it possible to combine diodes, resistors, transistors into microscopic device. Led to development of computer. D. Postwar Computer Technology First computer were meant for complex mathmatics like those used to break military codes. Then began use in commercial business area. The UNIVAC was able to handle numbers and letters and had tape storage, could do functions faster than predecessor.
To gain publicity for computer outside census market, makers of UNIVAC predicted results of 1952 election for CBS. That night was first time that many Americans became aware of computers. Remington Rand could not market the UNIVAC but new company, IBM marketed successfully computer to US business and abroad. Invested heavily on research and development. E. Bomb, Rockets, and Missiles In 1952 US detonated fist Hydrogen bomb 1 year later soviets did same, H- bomb used fusion rather than fission, and were more destructive. Development of these bombs led to rocket development, to launch bomb with out use of airplane.
US benefited from the emigration of many German scientists who helped develop rockets in Germany. Soviets and US struggled to build long range missiles that could cross continents, ICBM’s. Fuel was a problem, they would eventually switch to solid rather than volatile liquid fuel. Miniature guidance systems also helped guid to more precise targets, and known as minutemen. They could travel several thousand miles. US also developed the Polaris submarine missile, which after launched turned on engines after it left water, it was first launched in 1960. F. The Space Program.
American space program mainly developed to rival to soviet one. When news came that the Sputnick had been lauched in 1957, people and gov. were alarmed, thought of it as an American failure. Gov. started investing in scientific education in schools and more research in labs, US launched Explorer I in January. US attention then shifted to manner exploration and created NASA. First efforts was the Mercury project, sent Alan Shepard in 1961 into space, but this came months after Yuri Gagarin, a Russian who orbited the earth. In 1962 John Glenn woukd become first American to orbit earth.
NASA would later develop Gemini program, 2 seater space craft. These programs were followed bu Apollo, program to land men on moon. After catastrophic setback in 1967, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin were first men on moon in 1969. Last mission was in 1972 after which funding and enthusiasm dropped. Focus shifted from exploration to easy access into near space, out of this came the space shuttle, first launched in 1982. After explosion in 86′ resumed in 88′. Used to send satellites, telescope, service labs. Helped the aeronautic industry and led to developments in other technologies. II. People of Plenty A.
The Consumer Culture Middle class during 1950’s became more aware of consumer goods. This was due to consumer credit increasing 800%, because of credit cards, and easy payment plans. Products like TVS, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and dishwashers became more common. Automobiles were becoming more stylish. Consumer goods craze was fueled by advertising. Disney tv show, Mickey Mouse Club gained popularity and promoted success of Disney land. Disney used entertainment for marketing consumer goods. B. The Suburban Nation By 1960 1/3 of population lived in suburbs, as single family houses were becoming more affordable.
William Levitt was most famous of the developers and had large scale construction in Long Island, homes sold for under $10g’s. Americans placed higher value on family after war, when families were reunited. Homes outside of city were larger and cheaper… more privacy, scurity… space for goods and appliances. Suburbs were mostly white as most blacks could not afford the homes. Whites fled to escape integration. C. Suburban Family Professional men had division in work world and family life. Increased emphasis on family life reduced women role in work place, they were encouraged to stay at home with children by popular books.
Despite this for many families to enjoy the goods they craved, a second income was necessary, causing working women to increase in post war years. 1960 1/3 of married women had jobs. D. The Birth of Television The television was a scientific breakthrough but became more of a cultural one. After WWII it’s growth was phenonmenal, 40 million set in us, more people had tvs than refrigerators. TV programming based on attraction of advertisers. Many shows were written and produced by the company itself. TV new replaced radio, newspapers and magazines as the major news source.
Professional sports and college sports became very popular and largest businesses in the country. TV shows reinforced concept of Gender roles in family. Shows created idealized image for Americans. E. Organized Society and Its Detractors White collar workers out numbered blue collar workers. American reacted with hostility to large scale beuracracies. Many books were published by sociologists analyzing the role of men in society and how their thinking has changed F. The Beats and the Restless Culture of Youth A group of young poets and writers emerged known as the beats who criticized the conformity and sterility of American culture.
Jack Kerouac most famous out of the movement wrote popular novel called, On the Road. Beats had ideas stemming from limitless possibilities, and decline of traditional values of thrift. Young Americans were being raised in a new type of culture to expect fulfilling lives. 1960’s saw a major increase in juvenile delinquency. Adults were alarmed at how teenager were dressing more like the image of the delinquent teen, adopting hobbies in fast cars and more sexually active due to birth control. James Dean an actor portrayed this image in real life and in film, was an icon for many teenagers in America.
G. Rock n Roll Elvis Presley became a symbol of youthful determination to push boarders of acceptance. Had rebellious style which imitated the biker look. Presley’s music was derived from rhythm of black R&B which appealed to young whites. Rock n roll also pulled from country music, gospel, and jazz. The rise of musicians like Pres;ey could have come from the public’s lack of acceptance of black artists. But the 50’s did see increase in balck musicians also, Temptations, Little Richard, BB King. Popularity of new music style came from change in radio and television programming.
Radio Hired DJ’s for stations dedicated to music programming. TV shows, showcased the new music and spread its popularity, and made Dick Clark famous. Radio and tv encouraged record sales. Juke boxes, and 45s promoted rock n roll as well. Music promoters were caught in a scandal when new hit public that they would pay dj’s to play music. III The Other America A. On the Margins of the Affluent Society In 1962 Michael Harrington brought attention to poverty in America with his novel, The Other America. After expansion in post war years, 1/5 of Americans were below line of poverty, many million more just above.
80% who were poor experienced poverty intermittingly, included 1/2 elderly population, black, Hispanic… natives were pooerest group. Many believed the general increase in prosperity would bring all people out of poverty, this was wrong. B. Rural Poverty Farmers were receiving less and less percentage of the national income. Though not all farmers were poor most had impovershied life style. All ethic groups, blacks, migrant Mexican workers, Asians, all suffered an subject to malnutrition and starvation. C. The Inner Cities As white gained wealth they moved to outer city.
As cotton economy became mechanized blacks moved into inner city ghettoes. Not all were poor, but it was harder due to historical patterns of racial discrimination towards them. 3 million blacks move from rural south to industrial north b/w 1940 -60. Puerto Ricans and Mexican migrated heavily, Puerto Ricans mainly to new york, Mexicans to texas and California. Factory owners moved to places where labor was cheaper, making it hard for people to find jobs of unskilled labor. With inner city poverty came more juvenile delinquency. IV The Rise of the Civil Right Movement A. The Brown Decision and “Massive Resistance”.
In 1954 in Supreme court made decision that segregated schools was unconstitutional, over turned the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision. The following years they set forth rules for implementing the decision. Southern members of congress came up with the manifesto in defiance to the supreme court decision. By 1957 only 684 of 3,000 school were in compliance. Eisenhower at first was reluctant to join the desegragation movement but when Central High School of Little Rock was in direct defiance of federal order, Eisenhower sent federal troops to keep peace. Even governor Orval Faubus neglected Eisenhower’s decision.
B. The Expanding Movement The Brown decision sparked challenges to other form of segregation. Rosa Parks in 1955 refused togive up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery bus. She was arrested but the incident inspire other blacks who started a boycott. The Boycott put economic pressure on bus companies and downtown stores as black would shop in their own neighborhoods. A 1957 supreme court decision made segregation in public transoort illegal. From the boycott emerged Dr. MLK who was a powerful orator and new leader of nonviolent movement against segregation. C. Causes of the Civil Right Movement.
Millions of blacks fought in the war or worked in war factories. From this they gained a better knowledge of the world and their place in it. The urban black middle class also began to grow, as did enrollment in black universities and schools. They became more aware of the obstacle to their advancement from poverty and oppression. Television made blacks more aware of the life style they were excluded from and spread inspriration for protests. The cold war made whites realize that they could not be model nation if their was segregation. Blacks in north also had power in democratic votes which made politicians listen to their needs.
Black labor unions also helped support for movement. V. Eisenhower Republicanism A. “What was good for… General Motors Eisenhower’s administration was staffed with business leaders of the community. Many of which reconciled themselves to the New Deal. He appointed wealthy lawyers andbusiness exec. To his cabinet. Charles Wilson president of General Motors vauched for a sec. Of defense by saying what was good of the country was good for g. e. Eisenhower reduced federal spending and encouraged private enterprise. Discouraged programs of national health insurance.
By end of his term had $1 billion in surplus. B. The Survival of Welfare System Eisenhower resisted efforts by right wingers to dismantle manypolicies of the new deal. He extended social securityto 10 million more people and unemployment compensation to 4 million more. Raised minimum wage to $1. Built 40,000 miles of highway. In 1956 election would beat Stevenson in another landslide, one year after heart attack. C. The Decline of McCarthyism Eisenhower admin. did little to discourage the anticommunist movement, but by 1954 it started to die down as senator Joseph McCarthy went into political demise.
McCarthy would attack the arm services in a nationally televise investigation. The investigation flopped and made him look like a villan, senate would vote him out and would die 3 years later. VI. Eisenhower, Dulles, and the Cold War A. Dulles and Massive Retaliation Sec. Of Defense Dulles was against Truman’s containment policy, he wanted to liberate communist countries. However had to cool his ideas to the president’s view. The massive retaliation policy was to repond to communist threats by relying on nuclear weapons. The reliance on atomic weapons would bring more bang to the buck as many advocates put it.
B. France America and Vietnam In 1953 a treaty was signed to end hostilities, each country would withdraw troops 1. 5 miles from 38th parallel the original boarder of the 2 countries. A conference was to be held in Geneva to discuss how the two countries would be reunited but no agreement was reached. During the same time France was trying to restore authority in vietname which was taken during WWII by Japs. They were opposed by the Ho Chi Minh who wanted indpendance and thought US would help, however were nationalistic and communist. France was a major Cold War allie and US would stick with them.
Ho was getting aid from soviets and Chinese. US was paying for French military operations. In 1954 12,000 troops were surrounded, despite Nixon and Dulles advice Eisenhower did not want to intervene yet. France agreed to settlement in Geneva conference. North of 17th parallel was controlled by Ho Chi Minh, below was pro democratic/ US government led by Dinh Diem. US promised support against attacks from the north. C. Cold War Crisis IN 1950’s the US foreign policy rested on revised containment policy, Eisenhower would react to many imagined and far flung crises.
He became involved in Middle East after Isreal proclaimed independace, he acknowledged them the next day. Palestinian Arabs still inside country thought of as their and would fight in frist of several wars in 1948. US had major investment in Middle East because of its oil. When prime minister of Iran began resisting presence of Western corporations, US was alarmed, they would help stage coup and elevate the Shah of Iran. When Egypt began trade with soviets, Dulles reacted by saying US would not help build Dam across Nile. Nasser, leader of Egypt reacted by taking control of suez canal from Britain.
France and Britain landed forces to drive out Egypt as Israel attacked Egypt. US fearing another world war denounced the situation with the UN. US controlled much of the island of Cuba. In 1957 a resistance movement against leader Batista led by Castro made him leave country as Castro marched in and established his own government. Castro would begin taking assistance from soviet union, US would react by cutting diplomatic relations. D. Europe and the Soviet Union Eisenhower admin would meet with Soviet foreign relations in Geneva but nothing good would come out of it.
Relations b/w countries would worsen when a pro-democratic Hungarian Revolution was crushed by soviets. US did not want to intervene. E. The U-2 Crisis Nikita Khrushchev, new soviet premier would suggest that they visit each other country and then in Paris to discuss Berlin. Eisenhower agreed. During the conference in Paris, new came the Soviets shot down and held the captain of a U-2 plane flying over Russian air space. Khrushchev would call off the conference. At the end of his term tensions with Soviets were even higher. In his farewell speech he warned of unwarranted influlece andand cautioned against domestic and foreign affairs.
And said US should act more boldly. VII. Conclusion The 1950’s was prosperous time for most of America, as people moved in larger home in the suburbs and families had more children in a post war baby boom. After Korean War, the Eisenhower administration brought calmness to the white house. Television was the largest medium of mass culture, spreading middle class images and traditional values. A resistive youth culture also emerged. Blacks escalated their efforts remove segregation with emergence of new powerful leaders and help from supreme court.