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A1 1950s Hedges

Page history last edited by Shirley Y. 10 years, 3 months ago

Fifties in Flux

By: Claire Barna, Olivia Man, Michelle Sierant, Shirley Ye




MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?




Business & the Economy 


     With no question, America was at its height as a world power during the 1950s after the world war. In 1950, the U.S. gross national product (GNP) was $284.6 billion, and later in the decade it rose to $482.7 billion. The value of exports exceeded the imports as foreign countries were eager to buy American products including cars, electronics, furniture, chemicals, glass, metals, “anything bearing a tag that read ‘Made in the U.S.A.- were respected internationally for their quality and reliability” (American).

     During the 1950s, inflation was on the rise as credit caused an increase in money circulating in the economy. “With the onset of the Korean War in June 1950, the government's determination to control inflation increased, and price ceilings were established for war goods and many necessities” (American). The government tried to help by raising bank reserve requirements in 1951 “to slow banking's newfound enthusiasm for consumer lending” (American). Accordingly interest rates rose.

     In addition, the car industry sold around 7.9 million cars in one year and 70% of families had a car (American). To run the automobiles and produce electricity in power plants, United States continued to use crude oil. Because of the increase in population and automobiles, the United States exported less oil than imported oil in 1953, the first time in history. In solving this problem, Congress initiated a quota on the amount of oil imports in 1959.

     The American aviation industry increased dramatically in the 1950s after the costs of fares decreased. American airline companies adopted technological improvements from World War II into their civilian planes making them faster and more comfortable. After airlines started offering “air coach class” seating, passengers were able to afford a plane ticket and pay only around 100 dollars to fly anywhere in the country. This was a third of what a passenger had to pay in the 1940s. 




     During the 1950’s, education became more in depth since social controversies began to shape the American ideals. Reading, writing, and arithmetic became rigorous as the event on the decade impacted the way in which Americans defined education. Specific questions were brought up such as, who should teach the children, how should these teachers perform their jobs, and what were the initial goals of education. Since school enrollments continued to increase, because of the baby boomers,  the teacher supply began to decrease. This baby boom occurred because couples were ready to start families after the men
finished working in World War II. Statistics display that more than 1.5 million elementary and secondary-school students occurred in 1952, 1953, 1955, and 1958. Plus, a record 2 million new students entered during the 1959-1960 school year. Due to the increase of enrollment, the shortage of teacher and school resources increased.

        Culture was affected after World War II through schools and education as well. Desegregation was the biggest event in education during the 1950’s. The government made it legal for black students to send their children to public school where white children attended. This court decision could not have been reached without the Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case helped Americans understand that segregation was declared unconstitutional in schools as well as
in other public institutions. Even though schools were slow to integrate their schools (especially in the southern states), the idea was completed, but unfortunately took almost 20 years.

          In schools, children would perform fire drills, just as students do today, but they would also perform atom bomb drills. Since the United States had just me out with the atomic bomb, and other countries were quickly developing this idea of a weapon, these drills were practiced frequently. One would be instructed duck into the nearest doorway, hide behind the sofa, crouch under your desk at school or get into the hallway whenever a person saw a bright flash of light! The light could mean that an atom bomb had been set off, and precautions needed to be made. The government also made service announcements or commercials on the television during the 1950s and 1960s. These drills were taken seriously, especially in schools.





American Fashion was altered in the 1950s after post-WWII fashions. Simplicity and individualism was the new thing. Everything from clothing to architecture and interior designing included an aspect of simplicity. Before WWII American fashion did not have a distinct style and individuality since international trends were mostly set by Paris. However, during the 1950s "more than two dozen" designers set to work in building America's own identity ("American"). 


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  • Women


In the previous decade, women worked in factories during WWII but those times are over now and women returned to the homes. The two simple aspects became domesticity and femininity. From 1947, Christian Dior’s “new look” influenced the fashion industry with its curvy shape, and skintight tailoring, and by the 1950s, they were regarded as supreme. This hourglass figure included a slender waist, or “wasp,” and padded hips with skirts that reached mid-calf. In the 1950s,  the ideal silhouette for working women was curvy with long legs. Women during the day wore wool suits with slim sheath skirts with a short, straight jacket. Gloves were a must for when a woman wore a suit and hats added a nice touch. In contrast from the simple clothing during the day, evening dresses were another story. Evening dresses were “either full-skirted, ethereal, and romantic – in exotic hues and materials such as silk and taffeta – or they were narrow, clinging sheaths, often slathered with the shimmering sequins popularized by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell” (”Women’s”). Make up was also very important to complete the look with fire-red lips and arched eyebrows, in addition to accessories including fur stoles, capes, matching handbags, and sometimes a clutch coat. The popular "cat-eye" glasses were a fad too.


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  • Men

Men were less interested in fashion fads as much as women and centralized around conformity with their simple gray flannel suits. If they were to wear a hat it would have been "narrow-brimmed and worn brim up or brim down, sometimes with a pinched crown" ("Men's"). On the other hand, sports outfits were more fun. In   the 1950's Bermuda shorts and colorful Hawaiian 'aloha' shirts became popular, completing the backyard barbecue picture.  


  • Youth

American teenagers during the 1950s began to reject their parents' old styles and formed a new trend with bobby socks, ponytails, and boyfriend sweaters. Designers also tried to target the youth in the market since they had a "rampant consumerism that their parents never had" ("Youth-Centered"). Boys and girls each created a 'preppy look'. To boys, baggy pants, V-necked sweaters, and Top Siders or dirty white bucks were considered very fad. Girls went for poodle skirts, bobby socks, saddle shoes, and sweaters. Dirndl sleeves and puffy skirts with layers of petticoats also became popular. This 'preppy look' contrasted with the 'greaser look' that was the symbol of an All-American rebel with their "tight black jeans, black boots, shiny shirts, black leather jackets, and T-shirts with rolled-up cuffs (for storing cigarettes)" ("Youth-Centered"). Tough girls wore "heavy makeup, tight sweaters, short skirts, and stockings" ("Youth-Centered"). By the mid 1950s, teen fashion controlled the fashion industry.




Film and Theater 



     Regarding film, the young wanted fresh and thrilling plots that involve rebellion in movies. The typical heroes in Hollywood films were replaced with anti-heroes like Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Paul Newman. Some anti-heroines include Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, and Kim Novak.  However, as the popularity of the television increased, the film industry faced problems. In response, the movie studios created fewer movies but these movies were larger and more dramatic, something television programs could not be. A few examples of these major films are The Ten Commandments, and science- fiction such as the Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Godzilla. During the 50s, science-fiction films became popular because the aliens from outer space symbolized the communists from the East, which was a large concern for the American people at that time.  Also, during this era the drive- in movie theatre reached its peak in popularity. Broadway theater shows were still a large part of American culture in the 50s even though it still had to compete with television; most songs that were featured in these musicals went to the top of the music charts. The well-known musical, West Side Story,premiered on Broadway in 1957. This musical highlights some of the ethnic rivalries that took place during this decade.


  • Some of the box office hits of the 1950’s that were produced in Hollywood were:
    1.      Lady and the Tramp, 1955
    2.      Peter Pan, 1953
    3.      Cinderella, 1950
    4.      The Ten Commandments, 1956
    5.      Ben-Hur, 1959
    6.      Sleeping Beauty, 1959
    7.      Around the World in Eighty Days, 1956
    8.      This is Cinerama, 1952
    9.      South Pacific, 1958
    10.     The Robe, 1953                     


  • Some of the new stars during the 1950’s were:
    1.      Marlon Brando
    2.      James Dean (1931–55)
    3.      Elizabeth Taylor
    4.      rock Hudson
    5.      Ava Gardner
    6.      Susan Hayward
    7.      Grace Kelly
    8.      Audrey Hepburn
    9.      Judy Garland
    10.     Ingrid Bergman
    11.     Marilyn Monroe


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Food & Drink 


            In the nineteen fifties the need for ease rose in the food and drink industry. The decade exposed the ideas of consistency and convenience through the franchise of the popular fast food restaurant McDonalds. The franchise offered individuals to gain profit by using McDonalds name and products, allowing the chain to spread through out the United States, leading to the opening of Burger King in 1954. Together these fast food chains standardized the food industry as people could expect the same quality of product and price from location. From this popularization of greasy food, the hamburger soon became known as one of America’s national foods with the French fry soon to follow. In the nineteen fifties, McDonalds, Burger King, and other food chains developed deep-frying systems, increasing the quantity of French fries that could be produced at one time.

            Standardization of food was not only found in the fast food industry but in the homes of many Americans. In 1953, TV dinners were invented. These dinners came in frozen dishes divided into separate sections for each food group, similar to today’s kid cuisine. They are designed to be eaten in front of the television, shifting the focus of American family time from at the table to on the couch.  The TV dinner represented and used many of America’s inventions of the time including the television and the refrigerator. Although these technologies were invented in previous years, they became more accessible to the middle class in the fifties. TV dinners were considered radical, as people were use to eating fresh homemade meals. Soon the fad caught on and in a years time around ten million dinners were sold. 

     Many candies gained popularity during the 1950s. In 1954, Atomic Fireball, small jawbreaker-like candies with a spicy cinnamon flavor, were invented. These sugary treats model after the atomic bomb paranoia. Similar to the atomic bomb, atomic fireballs were intended to be feared because of their spicy hot flavoring. In addition, Neccos gained popularity in the fifties. Originally invented in 1929, these wafer type sweets were sold for fifty cents for an entire roll.



Print Culture 


     For many years, families gathered around a radio and listen to music, comedies, and the news. But in the beginning of the 1950s, families began to watch music, comedies and the news. People were spending so many hours in front of the TV that publishers thought it would crush the book business, but they were wrong. “By the end of the decade, book sales were up by 53%, Americans were reading more than ever” (Our 60). One of the huge demands of Americans was paperback books and reading the cheaper versions of hardcover bestsellers.

     During this decade, many great writers were given the Nobel Prize for literature. The American author Ernest Hemingway was the prize winner in 1954 for “for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style" (Our 60).  William Faulkner was also awarded in 1950. Other talented writers included Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, and J.K. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye.



Perhaps the most popular piece of literature during the 1950s was "The Crucible", a play written by Arthur Miller in 1952. The play revolves around the Salem witch trials in 1692 in which Miller saw as a parallel to McCarthyism, with rumors that lead to “accusations, roundups, and forced confessions” (American). The fear of girls and women accused as witches is similar to the many Americans during the Red Scare as many were being falsely accused of being Communists. This powerful play compares the hysteria from both settings and “remains widely read in the early twenty-first century” (American). 

     A new movement of literature emerged during the 1980s, the Beatniks and the Beat Movement, who “defied cultural norms and produced a variety of works that were sharply critical of mainstream society” (Bowling). A famous works include On the Road by Jack Kerouac and “Howl”, a poem by Allen Ginsberg.American magazines were also very popular as a new line of magazines appeared, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, National Enquirer, and MAD MagazineFavorable Children’s books that were produced include those of Dr. Seuss’. He published Horton Hears a Who (1954), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), and The Cat in the Hat (1957). "Frosty the Snowman", a popular 1950 song was soon published into a storybook. Charles Schultz also started creating Peanuts, a comic strip bout a boy name Charlie Brown and his friends. 


Sports & Games





     With the fear of war and communism entering American soil, "the nation's leaders recognized that the youth of the country needed to be physically fit" (Sports) in order to be ready to fight. Some Americans thought communism would take away American Christian ideals. To combat this threat, Little League Baseball was established. This league for children would be instilled so children would develop with appropriate moral values. The exclusion of women in sports in the 1950s depicts how women lost any gains they had during WWII. The jobs in factories that women took while many men were away were given back to the men in the 1950s. In most places, "girls were limited to their sports participation to softball, play days, and cheerleading" (Sports). Additionally, the population of the United States increasingly started to move West and sport franchises moved along with it. In 1950, "there were no major league baseball teams west of the Mississippi River" (Sports) which is surprising because baseball was still considered "America's pastime". By the end of the decade, three large professional leagues, Dodgers, Rams, and Lakers, were established. Also, with the addition of television, many more people were able to enjoy and watch sports. In MLB, the acceptance of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ernie Bank onto baseball teams represented the new era of desegregation in sports and the United States. This new movement symbolized the American system for freedom for all. However, there was an unwritten law that teams follow; no more than 49% of the team could be African American. African Americans had to work harder for their positions only to not end up earning the same money as an average white player. It was also difficult for black men to attain leader positions on teams. However, the desegregation movement in sports led to an easier acceptance in American society.

     New games such as LEGO building bricks, Etch A Sketch, skateboards, Mr. Potato Head, the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee, Silly Putty, Play-Doh, Scrabble, and Barbie Dolls were popular in the 1950s, some of which are the same toys children play with today. 


  • Mr. Potato Head- originally came with only the head pieces so children would have to put them on an actual potato. It was also the first toy advertisement on television. 
  • Frisbee- in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Frisbie Pie company delivered pies to many college campuses in that area. College kids started to toss the empty pie tins around, and this eventually led to the creation of the plastic Frisbee.
  • Silly Putty- during the war, scientists researched synthetic rubbers. One scientist created a bouncy substance that was later used by Apollo astronauts and many households in the United States. It was only until a woman put this substance into a plastic egg that it came to be known as Silly Putty.   


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      The end of World War II brought normalcy to the United States however there was still an undertone of fear and panic because of the Cold War. This superficial stability initiated a young crowd of rebels. This is what led to the new music genre that popped up in the 50s, rock 'n' roll. This new form of music “combined black and white musical forms into a powerful new kind of music that thrilled American youth” (Bowling 26). Not only did this music interrupt the normalcy in American culture, it introduced many African American performers such as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Ray Charles to white audiences. The King of Rock and Roll is clearly Elvis Presley who took influences from R&B, a type of genre usually sung by African American singers. Many believe that Elvis helped cut racial tensions by commercializing what was traditionally known as "African American" music ( R&B, gospel).  Others say he stole attention away from black performers. He sold over one billion records worldwide, more than anyone in the record industry history. Because the television became the new and popular medium instead of radio, jazz benefited greatly from this. Many specials were held highlighting new music such as bebop and “cool jazz”. Johnny Cash and Hank Williams redefined country and western music in the U.S during the 1950s. 


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"The Way We Lived" 


     In modern times people feel that the 1950s was a decade of little excitement. Due to the end of World War II, family life was considered relatively stable. As many men returned from war, the young population increased known as the baby boom. People started moving out of cities and into suburbs and family time was held to a greater value. This lead to an increased demand for transportation; especially in the automotive industry. The increase in car purchases called for a national highway that connected the family of America on a national level.

     The youthful energy caused a rise in the production of toys for the younger population. Including the slinkey, frisby, sillyputty, hula hoop. Rock and roll emerged as a popular genre of music for teens.

     This happy family lifestyle was darkened by the Cold War and the tramua that came with it. As a result, a United States Senator, Joesph McCarthy, began to investagate communism. His anti-communism movement falsely accused innocent people, often ruining their careers.

     Woman in this decade felt the need to shed their house wife image and find new oppturnities outside the home. African American continued to protest the discrimination against them.

     Weight loss diets began to become popular and were the new fad. Americans, especially women, strived for greater health and beauty. Many magazines and books published at that time gave ideas for losing weight. Doctors also prescribed amphetamines, a drug that prevented sleep and caused depression. Fashion models and actresses became dramatically thin such as Twiggy. After this, the obsession with diets increased in other decades.



Government & Politics 


      During the 1950s, Dwight D. Eisenhower was in his second term as president. Eisenhower was viewed as an international hero because he had organized the Allied victory over the Nazis during WWII. His kind face and optimism beamed confidence into the American people. This man was a savvy politician and the country understood that he would be able to handle the government. Eisenhower had to worry about the politics in the 1950s and the fear that was threatening the American way of life. These fears were due to a philosophy of communism and called for the destruction of, democracy. American's fear of communism during the 1950s is often looked back on as having been fueled by naive generalization and paranoia. In order to contain the communism, especially after China fell into communism in 1949, the United States sent troops to Korea. Americans feared communism through the Korean War and the ideas of McCarthyism. This lead to the increase of voting, because the American people wanted to keep democracy alive throughout he nation. This election, which reached a new record in voting, elected Eisenhower as president for his second term. The spread of communism increased in other countries, and our country tried to prevent it as much as possible. In order to prevent this, we went into war in Vietnam and Korea, even after the country had just participated in WWII. Due to the increase of communism, Americans became fearful of this idea, and the ideas of McCarthyism as well.

        Although the Americans were in a fearful state, the government was doing well considering the country had just finish a war. The government somewhat reflects the government of the 1920s. The people of the nation continued to fear communism, but this highlighted the system of the democracy, that these people did not want to lose. This brought a great deal of patriotism into the nation, which helped the troops from WWII. Also, the United States gained two states during this 1950s. Alaska became the 49th state in May of 1959, and Hawaii became the 50th state in August of 1959. This was good news for the government during this decade and a great achievement towards the end of the decade, after the harsh affects from WWII.





     Leaders are usually thought of as political leaders that make a change to a country. These types of leaders were present during the 1950s such as the president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was president for most of the decade, but civil rights leaders were popular during this decade as well. One man that changed society was Martin Luther King Jr. His first major activist movement was in 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He began to influence the people of America in the 1950s, and continued through 1968. Rosa Parks was also apart of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and proved that she was a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1950s. This type of leadership shaped today's society through these brave actions from these leaders. Another leader was Reverend Charles K. Steele (led bus desegregation campaigns in Tallahassee, Florida), and other black church leaders that assisted Martin Luther King Jr. with the civil rights movements. 


Senator McCarthy

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       Joseph McCarthy was another leader during the 1950s. He was noted for making claims and accusing people, in the State Department and even the U.S. Army of being communists. These accusations ruined the careers and reputations of many Americans, and he was a public face (a senator from Wisconsin). Later, the government began to censure him in 1954. After WWII, many Americans were put in fear of communism, and this lead to the dislike of McCarthyism.
       These people shaped America during the 1950s because of the change that they wanted to see in the country. They believed in equality, and took action by fighting for their rights in a peaceful way. After WWII, peace was encouraged since wars do not include many peaceful actions. This decade kept encouraging change and eventually these civil rights leaders, along with the government leaders, were able to change the country by creating equality in the future. 




Law & Justice 


          With new television programs premiering telling of battles such as The Untouchables, broadcastings from radios, and stories in the newspapers and magazines, the nineteen fifties became known as ‘a wave of crime’. Crime rates jumped up 40 percent sense the forties according to Time Magazine. The public was concerned with the nature of crimes and the term juvenile delinquent was coined. In addition to the crimes committed by those under eighteen, gang violence rose in this decade. An increase in crime lead to an increased need for policeman and law enforcement. Unfortunately, this lead less people to oversee the police, initiating stories of corruption.

             The United States constitution states the right to a trial if accused of a crime. However in the nineteen fifties, many judges based their ruling off of public opinion which was often incorrect.  For example the Rosenbergs were accused of being communist spy’s and were later sentenced to death in New York. There was no direct evidence against the couple and was based off of a friend’s sworn oath. Many cases were like that of the Rosenbergs where the court ruled on blind justice. This made it clear that citizens were judged based on their money.

           During the fifties, many cases dealing with the Civil Rights Movement occurred making it a more pressed issue in American culture. In 1954, the case of Brown versus School board occurred in Kansas with the intent to destroy segregation in schools. One year later, the Emmett Till case occurred where Till was visiting family in the south was killed for speaking to a white woman. During the 


same year of the Till case (1955) Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus for a white man.


            The actual crimes that were committed in this decade were often blurred by the alleged crimes. Instead of basing the court system off of facts, rulings were based off of accusations leading to the murdering of possibly innocent people. Despite all of the corruption of the law system, many crimes dealing with Civil Rights opened up the eyes of Americans and raised awareness of segregation making it a protested issue. 




After World War II, people’s interest in religion was extremely high leading some to believe it would be the time of the new awakening. By the end of the fifties religious practicing was around 63.6 percent. In the beginning of the decade the National Council of Churches were created bringing together parishioners from Protestant and Orthodox religions. This sparked a church merge phase in the decade. Unfortunately old religious arguments still took place for example the Protestants were upset that the Roman Catholic hierarchy imposed their morals on movies. During this time anti-Semitism declined after the Holocaust.

            During the fifties, the public were interested in learning about different religious forms, making religious books best sellers. Hollywood mimicked the success of the literature industry creating movies such as The Robe. Politicians also believed in the importance of religion and added ‘under God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance as well as the motto of “In God We Trust”.

            There was a major change in America during this time as the Protestant dominance of the culture started to decline. People started to support Judeo-Christian heritage and the Roman Catholic Church finally became known as an American institution (as oppose to an immigrant church).

            In this decade many believed that religion was a way to identify the nation. 




Positive Political Cartoon




"Have a care, sir"
Throughout his political career, 
Dwight Eisenhower refused to take a public stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy's aggressive anti-communist campaign. Eisenhower even struck from a 1952 campaign speech in Wisconsin a defense of his mentor, George C. Marshall, a McCarthy target. Half a dozen Republican senators, including Ralph Flanders, joined Margaret Chase Smith in a "declaration of conscience" against McCarthy. Eisenhower, however, continued to speak of "justice and fair play" in fighting communism, and it was a long time before they prevailed.

"Have a care, sir," March 4, 1954
Reproduction from original drawing
Published in the Washington Post (33)


Negative Political Cartoon



     Senator Joseph McCarthy, a corrupt politician, ordered a meeting with some of his advisers and ask for ways in which he could improve his chances in getting a senate seat. One of McCarthy's advisers suggested that he should campaign against democrats by calling them communists. He claimed that more than 200 people in the state department were members of the ACP which the majority were not, or American Communist Party. McCarthy caused much paranoia amongst the American public with the help of other "patriots" such as the American Legion. In 1954, a branch of the American Legion accused the ideals of the Girl Scout's unamerican. This cartoon depicts the fear that many Americans had regarding communists, most of which was false.



MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?


The 1950s were greatly impacted by World War II, as the war shaped not only the events in the decade, but the culture and leadership as well. The early 50s are considered a benevolent time American history as the values of Americans shifted to center around the family lifestyle. Towards the end of the decade, one can see a drastic change in both culture and societal views.

            The 1950s marks the first decade where World War II was officially over. As the men returned from the war, they were reunited with their families and had children, known as the baby boomers. It was a time of happiness and celebration, but also of gratefulness. American families began to appreciate religion and simplicity, and valued what the war had threatened to take away from their lifestyles. The population became more family oriented, as a whole, and centered their lives around the family unit. During this time church attendance rose by around 40 percent, emergence of family diners, and drive in movies to name a few.

            Due to the increased population of the younger generation or baby boomers, most of the culture focused around the youth, seen in the varieties of new toys and games created. Similarly, education was a major focus during this time, in part due to the GI bill. As a result, parents were more involved in their children’s education as witnessed by the formation of  Parent Student Teacher Association, PTSA, among others.

             As World War II ended, so did the influence Western Europe had on the world. The defeat of Hitler, lead to a rise in power for both the United States and the Soviet Union. This became a type of power struggle between both places, as the United States held power of West Germany and the Soviet Union, East Germany. The divergence in government and ideals gave rise to the Cold War. The United States and  the Soviet Union seemed to be afraid of losing the ‘new’ power that they had recently gained, further fueling the fear based on the differences in idealogy.  This fear and xenophobia gave rise to McCarthyism and the Red Scare. This fear led to nuclear proliferation on both sides.

            During the time where the anti-communist movement increased, many citizens of the United States saw the world around them shift. The shifting paradigms in idealogy both nationally and abroad further questioned the validity of ethnocentric views.  People were not being treated fairly, cases like Emmett Till and the Rosenbergs demonstrated how the cruelty of man was evident in their government. These people began to protest in the late 50s, 60s, and into the 70s and are most commonly known as the anti-establishment or the counterculture movement. Those who took part in the counterculture protested in many forms, one of the most common being literature. Writers known as the Beat Poets or Beatkins used literature as an outlet where they were free to criticize society. In addition to the Beatkins, many playwrights and film producers conveyed similar messages of anti-war and equality. Unfortunately, many of these people were blacklisted due to the Red Scare (which goes against the basic rights of freedom of speech and press). The 1950s seemed to spark the notion of counterculture for future decades, not only in fashion (similar to the roaring twenties) but to greater issues found in the world.

            The 1950s surfaced as a happy time for families and individuals in the United States of America. As the decade progressed, the many complexities of the established values begin to shift, giving rise to the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, and the Counterculture, Anti-establishment Movement.




Works Cited

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"1950s: Film and Theater." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3: 1940s-1950s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 661. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 June 2010


American Decades . Judith S. Baughman, Victor Bondi, Richard Layman, Tandy McConnell, and Vincent Tompkins, eds. Vol. 6: 1950-1959. Detroit: Gale, 2001.


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Cooke, Jacob E. "Washington, George." Presidents: A Reference History. Ed. Henry F. Graff. 3rd ed. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. 1- 21. Gale Virtual Reference           Library. Farmington Hills: Gale. Web. 3 Apr. 2008. 


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Our Century 1950-1960. 1st ed. Belmont, California: Gareth Stevens, Inc., 1993. Print.


"The 1950s Sports: Overview." UXL American Decades. Ed. Julie L. Carnagie, et al. Vol. 6: 1950-1959. Detroit: UXL, 2003. 160-161. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6      June 2010.


"Youth-Centered Fashion." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 6: 1950-1959. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 156-157. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 June      2010.

Picture Works Cited


 1952 Maybelline Makeup. (online image). Available.  http://www.adclassix.com/images/52maybellinemakeup.jpg

 1957 Dorothy Gray Lipstick. (online image). Available. http://www.adclassix.com/images/57dorothygraylipstick.jpg

1957 Helena Rubinstein Skin Dew. (online image). Available. http://www.adclassix.com/images/57helenarubinstein.jpg

 Ballerina flats. (online image). Available.  http://www.skooldays.com/images/fa1052.jpg

 Black white dress. (online image). Available.  http://29.media.tumblr.com/3gOqRH5UUpl32furMpGlHLDxo1_500.jpg

 Businessman. (online image). Available.  http://mens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/images/Mens-Fashion/0/01/1950s_man.JPG

 Catcher in the rye. (online image). Available.  http://catchingsalinger.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/the-catcher-in-the-rye-cover.jpg

 Creature From the Black Lagoon. (online image). Available.  http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/soundtracks/1101-1.jpg

Education Picture. (online image). Available.  http://www.uigarden.net/upload/Articles/jennieW/03.06_school.1950.jpg

Evening gowns. (online image). Available.  http://www.fishup.ru/files/73/ac/31/lg_5121311_Susan_Abraham_in_Brilkie_sptt.JPG?v=1

Evening wear w/mirror. (online image). Available. http://www.challengefashion.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/1950s-EveningWear-300x300.jpg 

Girls w/ parasols. (online image). Available.  http://mysterycreature.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/1950s-fashion-sull-skirteddress-and-parasols.jpg

 Gray flannel suit. (online image). Available.  http://www.esquire.com/cm/esquire/images/1950-10-esquire-style-lg62730600.jpg

Horton. (online image). Available.  http://373virtualpta.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/horton.jpg

 Jackie Robinson. (online image). Available.  http://tenprairiesticks.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/baseball_tout.jpg

Jane Russell. (online image). Available.  http://www.broadwayworld.com/columnpic/170329~Jane-Russell-Posters.jpg

 Jet plane. (online image). Available. http://www.everythingpanam.com/images/1950s%20Artist%20rendition%20of%20707%20in%20piston%20livery.jpg
Levi's. (online image). Available.  http://www.counterfeitchic.com/Images/levi's.jpg

 Marilyn Monroe. (online image). Available. http://www.gallerym.com/images/work/big/associated%20press_marilyn_monro_seven_yr_itch_L.jpg

 Misses' one-piece dress and coat. (online image). Available. http://www.serendipityvintage.com/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=5

 Misses' one-piece dress. (online image). Available.  http://www.serendipityvintage.com/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=40

On the road. (online image). Available. http://contagiousloveexperiment.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/on-the-road.jpg

Peanuts Comic. (online image). Available.  http://freredean.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/peanuts-theology.jpg

 Peanuts. (online image). Available.  http://frabjousdays.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/peanuts_gang.png

Political Cartoon. (online image). Available.  http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock/fire.html

Poodle Skirt. (online image). Available. http://www.dan-the-mancartoons.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/puddle.jpg

 Positive Cartoon. (online image). Available. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock/images/hblock5.jpg

Purple poodle skirt. (online image). Available.  http://www.pastreunited.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/Belt.jpg

Rock n' Roll. (online image). Available. http://www.rockin-teen-parties.com/images/rocknrolljukebox.jpg

Saddle shoes. (online image). Available. http://images.celebrateexpress.com/mgen/merchandiser/33564.jpg Dirndl sleeves.

The old man and the sea. (online image). Available. http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~eddieh/images/covers/TheOldManAndTheSea.jpg

 Winkle pickers. (online image). Available. http://www.skooldays.com/images/fa2080.jpg\

 Women's one-piece dress and jacket. (online image). Available.  http://www.serendipityvintage.com/images/patterns/Simplicity_1524.jpg




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