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B2 1970s Convery

Page history last edited by Viviana Paz Kitschke 12 years, 5 months ago


Kelsey Danley

Viviana Paz Kitschke

Alex Peck

Whitney Purvis



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


 The 1970s





Business & the Economy  




      During the 1970’s inflation was running rampant. Due to the Vietnam war prices everywhere were rising. The effects of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs were beginning to take effect in the United States in the forms of inflation everywhere. President Nixon’s refusal to reduce government spending also caused prices to rise as the government sunk further and further into debt. Because the dollar was no longer convertible to gold at set prices, inflation continued to rise. In response to this, Nixon took wage and price control. This did not have the desired effect however. The increased government involvement did not help. Because there was no resolution, the U.S. was more vulnerable to the oil-crises of 1973.


     There were two oil crises during the 1970’s. There was the oil crisis of 1973-1974 and also in 1979. During these times the United States experienced gasoline shortages, as well as other oil products. In the past, the United States had supplied most of its own oil, however, in 1970, the U.S. reached the maximum capacity for its oil production, and began to import oil, mostly from the Middle East. The Organization or Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised oil prices, and because of America’s dependence on them for oil, had trouble coping. To make matters worse, between 1973 and 1975 oil production in the United States decreased by 6%. To combat this oil crisis, Congress established fuel effeciencey standards for vehicles in order to decrease dependency on other countries. The second oil crisis happened when the government of Iran collapsed and the exportation of oil from Iran was banned. This caused oil prices to skyrocket once again, which resulted in another major economic crisis for the United States.





      In the 1970’s education was improved for many different minority groups.  This included the disabled, immigrants, African Americans, and Women.  To help these groups certain things were provided to help them succeed.  African Americans went to school with whites.  The non-English speakers were given bilingual instructions.  Women were able to get academic related jobs and the disabled were given a free education.  The 1970s wasn’t filled with improvement, it was also had some problems.


            The 1970s brought some problems for education.  Many strike occurred against the minority groups.  For example, on September 17, 1974 white mobs yelled racist remarks to buses carrying African Americans to their schools.  Another problem occurred in the success of the American children. Every grade except for elementary students had lower scores on standardize test then the previous decade.  This led to two opposing groups the traditionalist and the progressives.  The traditionalist thought education should be strict, have a specific education plan, and include a lot of memorizing of facts.  In contrast, the progressives thought education should be free and students should be able to learn about things that interest them.  In the early years of the 1970’s the parents agreed with the progressives but in the mid 1970’s they leaned towards the traditionalist ways because of the low test scores.  So, education in the 1970’s had its ups and its downs. 


 This is a photo of thw 1970's showing both African Americans and whites going to the same school.





      The fashion in the 1970’s represented much of the popular flare of the 1960’s. The “flower child” and peace movements reflected much into the clothing of the people. Flowers, big collars, bell-bottom jeans, headbands, bead necklaces, and platform shoes were big hits. For many male teens, simple flood jeans and a tight college t-shirts were the norm. For girls, skirts were a must. Their skirts were called minis, midis (mid-calf length), and maxis (full length). With a simple floral blouse, they represented the popular fashion in the 1970’s.


      Also becoming increasingly popular in the 70’s was the punk movement. They believed in rejecting everything that was popular and normal to do. Often seen with multiple piercings, safety pins, and bleached clothes, punks strived to provoke the public into chaos. This well-known movement lasted strongly until the 1980’s.


      Both hippy and punk fashions helped to define the mood and atmosphere of the 1970s. It aided to address the anarchist views and helped to represent the peaceful messages of many people to many people.



Film and Theater  

      The theater in the 1970s was in a time of crisis, both creative and financial. The best American playwrights like Tennessee Williams and Authur Miller had already had their best days and the decline of musicals was hurting the upcoming writers of this time. Specifically in 1970, Broadway struggled so much that it saw the least number of productions in history. This led to the incline of film. Many writers were now writing for film and most of the productions on Broadway by the mid 1970s were old shows redone for the audiences because of the absence of writers. The plays of the time were representative of the times themselves very often. So, they explored contemplative themes and ideas and were much less confrontational. Playwrights often explored characters’ feelings about their past or just the past in general, as well as things like regret or indecision. There was much more acceptance in the depiction of issues like homosexuality.


     In Hollywood, there were many more that were taking risks and hiring new directors. They overall became freer to new people. Similarly to theater, questioning and truth were big topics at this time. Although many films were made to reflect the political and international happenings of the time, including: All the President’s Men (1976), The Parallax View (1974), and The Strawberry Statement (1970), most of the focus of this time was on action movies that were youth-oriented. These movies usually included stunning special effects. A few examples of this would be Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) and George Lucas' Star Wars (1977).




Original trailer for Jaws (1975):




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Food and Drink

      The 1970’s introduced some of the most famous products we know of today.  Starting in 1970 Hamburger helper and Orville Redenbacher popcorn was introduced. In 1974, Pop Rocks were invented.  It took William Mitchell 18 years to find a way to put carbon dioxide into a solid.  In the first five years they sold over 5 million packets.  McDonalds also played a big role in the 1970s.  In 1971, the Quarter Pounder was introduced at McDonald's for 53 cents and in 1979 McDonalds introduced Happy Meals to their menu.  This just added to their already successful business.  Other products that were introduced were Snapple fruit juices, Reese’s Pieces candy, Honey Nut Cheerios, and the famous Starbucks.  Aside from the products many improvements with food were shown in the 1970’s.


            The 1970’s showed a new and improved generation of foods. Even the Coca-Cola Company improved their drinks by changing their glass bottle to plastic bottles.  They showed the world a new on-the-go bottle and it became a huge it.  In 1972 the consumer product safety act was passed and that allowed the government to ban all products, including foods, which endangered the American people.  Also, in 1972 the EPA banned DDT, a chemical used to kill pesticides, because it endangered the American people’s health.  As shown, the 1970’s improved the food industries in America.




slide errorPlugin error: That plugin is not available.   YouTube plugin error This video is a commercial from the 1970s showing an advertisment for Blow Pops (invented in 1970s).

Print Culture

      When critics would describe the books being written in the 1970s, most would say that they novel had died out and that Americans were no longer producing great works of literature. What they did not see when they said this is that the novel was changing very quickly. First, novels were being written by minorities rather than white males. People like Alice Walker, with The Color Purple, and Toni Morrison, with Song of Solomon, were also writing. Popular fiction grew and grew in the 1970s and writers like Harold Robbins and Judith Krantz prospered with their “trash fiction” novels. These novels were known for their sex, money, and power. Along with these types of novels, spy novels and political intrigue were also topping the best seller lists often with writers like Robert Ludlum and Irving Wallace. Barbara Cartland and Phyllis A. Whitney became popular for their romance novels and Stephen King for his horror novels. One very popular novel that came as a surprise to many was Roots by Alex Haley, a historical account of the life of a black family.


            Two popular magazines that started in the 1970s are People and Ms. Ms. covered feminist issues that we becoming more and more popular at the time and People covered gossip on celebrities of the time. People changed the way that people thought about celebrities because now they could know so much about them and what they do on a regular basis. This magazine started during the Watergate Scandal, where the lives of public figures were no longer off limits to the public and has thrived on ever since.





 Sports & Games

      Because television was now more widely used in the United States, sports were becoming more and more popular and the athletes were prospering. However, the athletes were not the only ones involved in this business, many business men worked hard on this industry. Some of the most popular sports at this time were baseball, boxing, auto racing, golf, tennis, football, and basketball. In the NBA, the average salary in the middle of the 1970s was around $109,000 a year. This increased by another fifty percent by the end of the decade. In most team sports, the athletes prospered like this, but it was not only them. Individuals in sports like golf and tennis also were prospering during this time. Bjorn Borg made $1.5 million in 1978 as he was considered the best male tennis player of that time. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1972 granted women equal opportunities in sports, women were paid only a fraction of what the men were. In 1972, Billie Jean King won the U.S. Open tennis championship and was paid $10,000. Hie Nastase was the male winner of this tournament and he was paid $25,000. Even by the end of the decade, women were still fighting for their equality in sports and had not achieved it.


           The fans were a huge part of this sports revolution. They would not pay to see a game that was not exceptional. The television broadcasting companies tried to gain more and more fans by increasing the number of games played in a season, coordinating play-offs between the best teams, and even trying to alter the rules of the games to better accommodate for viewing on television.





Image: Billie Jean King








      During the 1970’s there was a great variety of music. Hard rock was getting harder and soft rock softer. Artists were becoming exasperated with the standards imposed on them and so they began to create their own types of music. This music includes funk, disco, punk, and new wave music. Many people in the young generation loved this music, however, there were also people who disliked this music. There were groups formed to express their hatred for disco. Many people thought these new types of music showed the decline of civilization.


     Hard rock was not new in the 1970’s. However, it did branch out. Musicians such as KISS, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper took rock in separate directions. KISS became famous for their crazy shows and on stage antics. Led Zeppelin had a large, very devoted following. Rock also became softer in the 1970’s thanks to musicians such as the Carpenters, Barry Manilow, the Eagles, and ABBA. Much of the youth in that time period mocked these bands but they were very popular with adults.


     Punk music helped youth protest against the uniformity of their society. With bands such as the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and the Clash, the music appeared almost angry. New wave bands such as the Pretenders also frequently protested against conformities but with a much more refined playing style. New Wave music later evolved into alternative music. Disco emerged from funk music late in the 1970’s. Disco combined both funk and rock to create disco music. Disco was as much a culture as it was music. With stylish silk shirts and flash dance moves, disco quickly became popular. Many hard rock fans hated disco, enough so to have open protests against it.




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"Detroit Rock City" - KISS (1979) 





      If you lived in the 70’s, chances are you woke up that morning to your parents’ brand new record player named, “The Music Centre.” This piece of technology was both a record player and cassette tape recorder! Another invention in the 70’s that blew people’s minds was the new colored television sets. These pieces of technology were invented in the late 60’s, but became hugely popular and inexpensive in the early 70’s. After you woke up, you probably had a cup of hot tea. Tea bags were becoming very popular because tea was seen as very healthy. Yogurts and muesli were also seen as very healthy and many people took into indulging themselves with these delicious treats.   


            In the streets, it was very common to see strikes occur because of union discriminations. This was due to the fact that inflation was on the rise in the United States. This brought much unemployment to the people and this caused them to revolt.


            In schools, it was evident that the students supported an anti-war movement. Unfortunately, along with that came the Kent State Massacre. Four students were killed and nine seriously wounded. Schools during the 70s also enacted mandatory busing to encourage racial integration.


            Overall, the 70’s daily life helped the American people define for whom and for what they wished to fight for and believe in. This lifestyle also helped to pave the upcoming technological road in which we now bask in. Overall, this lifestyle proved to be profiting and worthwhile to both our social and economic status.


Government & Politics  

     During the 1970’s, presidential campaigns stressed the political importances of both the environment and oil. “Environmentalism” was the key term describing the common concerns of the impact of human life on the natural environment. The government and its people saw the limited energy and oil as a highly important aspect in both the economic and political standpoints. For example, the government was giving out incentives to car companies which produced smaller cars in order for the American people to save gasoline and energy. Americans favored these types of governments that supported the environmental movement. As a result, the favorable party of government during the 70’s was a slightly more liberal one.









Law & Justice

      In the 1970’s crime played a key role in society.  Some main social concerns that constantly reappeared were the death penalty, the right of the accused, and rising crime rates.  Crimes continually increased in the 1970’s and Americans that could afford it put in more alarms and bought watch dogs.  Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew thought the cause of the increase in crime rate was caused by decline in family responsibilities.  Many couples in the 1970’s did not see marriage as necessary and many children were born outside of marriage.  Even the couples who had children when they were married most of the time got a divorce, thus there were many single parent families.  Drug use was thought as another cause of the increasing crime rates.  Marijuana became very popular and with so many people with possession of marijuana many states decriminalized it.  All in all, crime was big in the 1970’s.


            The 1970’s included many other conflicts in the courts.  Women’s rights were a big controversial issue during this time.  The Supreme Court began to question the rights of women with the equal rights amendment.  This was a constitutional amendment to give women the same rights as men, but in the end the amendment fell short of three votes.  The right to an abortion made some women fear that their work in the home would be less important.  So, both the abortion right and equal rights amendment were not passed.  Ethics in government, equal protection of laws, and divorce were discussed in America as well.  Therefore, the 1970’s were filled with many conflicts in justice and law.


   This picture shows a divorce degree because many went to court for divorces during the 1970's.



      In the 1970’s many religions were steadily declining. The membership of Mainline Protestant churches was declining. The new generation was more free thinking and not as religious or conforming to religions. Many of the old mainline churches were struggling to recruit followers and maintain their parishes. Many churches had increased in popularity in the 1950’s and 1960’s. However, with the “Sexual Revolution” and Vietnam many people were becoming less and less religious.


     Another thing that caused the decline of these popular religions was the emerging of new “alternative” religions, such as yoga, transcendental meditation, and Buddhism. The new rebellious generation was following these religions rather than the religions that their parents followed so diligently. These religions were seen as jokes and as sins to many people. The people who did not like these religions thought that they were ruining the credibility of religions and were making it too easy for anything to be considered a religion.









Positive Political Cartoon



This political cartoon from the 1970's represents the idea of President Nixon "building a wall of money" to protect the country from inflation and other foreign competitors. This positive cartoon depicts Nixon protecting the economy and strengthening it.




Negative Political Cartoon






This political cartoon from the 1970s describes how the President Nixon tries to stop the inflation in the economy and the increased government involvement only makes it worse. The government has been unsuccessful at stopping the inflation and because of their efforts, more and more people are in poverty. This made many people angry, so this political cartoon describes how many people at that time felt. 




MYP Unit Question  


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


     The culture of the 1970s effected post WWII America in many ways. One of this ways was music. The music in this time period was very loud and angry, featuring singers like Kiss and Aerosmith. This music encouraged the youth to be rebellious which continued into the post WWII years. It even moved to the younger generation. They started to reject what was normal and popular to do at the time. This movement was considered to be called the “punk” movement. They ripped and bleached their clothes. There were many changes like this going on during this time. In the film and theater industry, Broadway was becoming less and less popular while films were growing in popularity. This change was because the younger generation did not want to be just like the older one.


     The events of the 1970s also shaped America. One of these events was the Watergate scandal. This scandal involved the personal life of a major political figure of the time, President Richard Nixon. After this incident, it became more accepted for people to know about the personal lives of famous people. This did not only apply to politics, but also to figures appearing on Broadway and on popular films of the time. This movement shaped the whole news of the time and is still a huge factor in the news of today. When someone turns on the television or looks inside a magazine, they find that many of the news stories are about famous people. This trend started in the 1970s. Two other events that shaped Post-WWII America were the oil crisis's of 1973-1974 and 1979. These oil crisis's caused Americans to be very skeptic about the Middle East, and also to be very cautious with their money and helped them to realize their dependence on oil.


     The leadership involved in the 1970's shaped the America we see today in various ways. The feelings of the people that the government is "suspicious" and "untrustable" that was reflected upon after the Watergate Scandal and the Pentagon Papers still exists today. These views seem to be embraced and accepted more in the Right Wing, while the Left Wing today acknowledges the "environmental" and more peaceful government which was led by Jimmy Carter. Another important aspect to evaluate how the 1970's leadership shaped the post-WWII is through the American withdrawal in the Vietnam War. It is because of President Nixon's plan that today Americans feel modest and sometime too comfortable around the idea of infiltrating and taking over another unstable country. This can be reflected in today's war in the Middle East. In conclusion, the leadership roles in the 1970's showed Americans the true identity of their government, split up the population into Right and Left Wings, and gave them a taste of what "reparation" war is like involving the United States.





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