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A3 1950s Gallagher

Page history last edited by Denny Zhang 10 years, 4 months ago

Emma Huber

James Kim

Denny Zhang

 

 

 

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

 

The 1950s

 

 

 

Business & the Economy

 

During the 1950s the United States’ economy was the biggest in the world. The US had an all time highs in exports. People all over the world bought products that were “Made in the USA.” The products were respected for their reliability and quality. In 1950, the US GNP was $284.6 billion, and by the end of the 1950s it had gone up to $482.7 billion.   Although the war production of World War II ended new industries were born from the war such as aviation and electronics. Even after the WWII, there were more conflicts namely the Cold War and the Korean War, that arose and continued the need to spend on the military and that helped the economy. The government was a very big force in the economy. Tax revenue doubled between 1950 and 1959 from  $40 billion to about $80 billion. Eisenhower insisted that the government attempt to promote economic growth, and he had the funds to do so.

 

Other things that occurred during this decade included the invention of the credit card, and a big boom in advertising. Businessmen during the 1950s began to think that consumers could not be trusted to know what they wanted to buy. Many companies often lost money when they gave consumers what they said they wanted. As goods were produced in greater amounts, businesses wanted more and more to create a demand for their products so they could sell them. Advertisers believed that reaching the irrational side of people would sell products. Taking advice from motivational  researchers, companies redesigned product packaging to take in the psychological effects of color, and they changed advertising to appeal to sexual desire, the fear of death, and the need for security, since those are strong motivators. Then, companies found the new medium of advertising: Television. Some companies even sponsored entire TV series' to have their name in the show's title -- "Ford Star Jubilee," "Kraft Television Theater," for example. at the end of the decade, 2 out of every 10 minutes of broadcasting was dedicated to advertisements. To facilitate the, "consume, consume, consume," attitude of the decade, many stores accepted their own charge cards that would operate in a manner similar to credit cards, it was supposed to be easier to carry a card rather than cash, but every store required its own charge card, so they could pile up. A man named McNamara came up with the idea of getting one card that all merchants would accept, and thus people would not have to carry a large amount of cards. This invention shows evidence that people paid for things on credit and it was easier to purchase a lot without carrying cash around.

Collage of 1950s advertisements

 

Education

 

Education in the 1950s was influenced by many different things. The biggest thing was that the baby boomers born after the war were starting to come of school age. This stressed the education system that was in place at the time as enrollment increased 30% over the decade. The increased enrollment strained the physical capacity of the school buildings and challenged the outdated curriculum. The increase of enrollment also led to teacher and school shortages. Overcrowding was present in 60% of the nation’s classrooms and about 20% of students attended schools that failed to meet basic safety standards like fire protection. To combat this, funding was sought to build new schools and hire more teachers. Over the course of the decade about $20.9 billion had been spent on educational construction, and yet the shortage of schools although shrinking, was still present. The government became more involved with the educational system during the 1950s. As state and local school boards called for federal funding to meet the shortages of schools and teachers, new spending guidelines were imposed by the government such as bans on Communist teachers, and the requirement to integrate schools. Federal funding did bring in more schools and teachers along with better curriculums.

 

Another major event in the educational system was the desegregation of the public school system. There were more than one court rulings about this, including Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, Sweatt v. Painter, and Mclaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents. These Supreme Court rulings had a profound effect. It caused some schools to grudgingly accept integration while other schools dug their heels in to fight against it. In the end, they made it legal for African Americans to attend the same schools as white students, but it took more than twenty years for integration to fully take hold. During this time, as it was in the Cold War, Americans felt anxiety from the Russians’ launching of Sputnik in 1957. The Soviets had reached space first, and that really hurt American pride and our sense of security, but it also symbolized the failure of our education system. Parents, educators, and government officials began to fight for more emphasis on the hard and applied sciences – physics, biology, chemistry, and engineering. Many of the policies enacted during this time are still in effect today, and have shaped our education system.



 

 

Fashion

 

     American Fashion during the 1950's was very different in aspect between the men and women. Female clothing was as as much as in upheaval as the artistic and music worlds respectivly. In 1947 the "New Look" of Christian Dior was the hour glass look usually with the use of belts. It used pads and slim cut dresses to emphasize women's curves to show 'sensuality'. Because of its sensuality it was highly praised and popular. As this was what 'housewifes' wore during the day what they wore at parties and at night were quite gaudy. Usually women wore either exotic dresses that were full skirted with ethereal and romanic or they were narrow clinging sheaths often overflowing with shimmering sequins. Though the most controversial was the chemise style or 'sack dresses' as they did not hug the waist of a woman but instead bypassed it with a straight cut from shoulder to waist giving it a baggy look. Countless critics deemed it lacking in sensuality thus unappealing, but by the 1960s it was an integrated part of every woman's closet. Women's fashion in the 50's was all about comfort as the average white female was busey with children, cooking, and cleaning so the fashion was geared to have the clothes fit the wearer rather than the other way around, but what was the most appealing about fashion was that it was inexpensive and almost any woman could afford the most fashionable clothes. This was also the first time that America had set any trend in the fashion world as previously Paris was the leader in determining the fashions in England, France, and America.

 

     Men's fashion was completely opposite in all aspects of the rapidly changing women's clothing. Fashion for men was all about conformity and was mostly drab. A charcoal grey flannel shirt with narrow shoulders, narrow small-notched lapels, tapering trousers, white or light blue cotton shirt that button down, and trim black leather shoes. The only thing that varied was the color of the jacket as it was sometimes a dark blue. Blue collar men and sports clothes worn during leisure time, but overall men's fashion was somber. Sports wear for men was where bermuda shorts worn with knee high socks and sports jackets were made popular. Tweed jackets with grey flannel socks were for the more conservative dressing while hawaiian 'aloha' shirts were also worn at back yard barbecues.

 

 

                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film and theater

 

In the 1950s, there was a heavy growing popularity in technology and entertainment businesses. Television became a dominant aspect of entertainment business and with decline in popularity for theaters with spreading television viewers; Hollywood presented hit movies that drew audience back to theaters. Such hit movies were “The African Queen” from 1951, “A Christmas Carol” (1951), “On the Water Front” (1954), and “Love Me Tender” (1957).  Innovative technology development had allowed for widescreens, three-dimensional movies and adapting color screens for many films. Also, using this method, many movie companies were able to raise ticket costs. This had a definite impact on competing with television businesses and played a great role in regaining audience. However, many film theaters went bankrupt and closed down due to lack of audience that led to failure for maintaining profits. Even between the years 1950-1952, 63 million movie-going audiences had declined to 58 million and significant amount of drop in movie-audience had terrified many movie businesses and even led to salary cuts for many movie business executives.

 

Until before the 1950s, Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPADA) had controlled film industry’s movies with strict codes to avoid inappropriate contents for certain viewers that may seem provocative. However, many independent producers arose that weren’t part of the MPPADA in order to produce movies without morality codes and contained more mature content such as sex, violence and adult language. In response, many production codes had been removed.

 

The 1950s was also a Christian era and had a considerable impact on entertainment businesses. Many religious films were directed to attract much religious audience. One of the greatest film during this time period was “Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr” directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

 

This is a political cartoon showing different problems that the movie industry was to growing popularity television and its struggle to survive.

 

 Food &  Drink

 

 

Some Americans continued to eat as they always had during this time period, at home with freshly prepared food. There was a new trend in eating that emerged in the 1950s. Soldiers that had returned from the war influenced the new trends in the food industry since the war brought memories of government rationing, and soldier rationing. This created the want for more belly-filling meals that were simple to make. The biggest symbol of the new trend was McDonalds. They sold hamburgers, milkshakes, and French fries at a decent price, and provide the same thing at every franchisee in the nation. The success of McDonalds spawned imitations like Burger King. Above everything else, hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries were the food of the decade.

Like fast food, other foods were becoming standardized. The TV dinner started to rise in popularity as it was a frozen prepared meal that could be pulled from the freezer, heated, and then eaten. This required very little effort, at least much less than cooking a full meal would. Many other different foods were standardized and processed in much the same manner. Vegetables were canned, soup was canned, and many processed foods and snacks were made in increasing numbers. The post war attitude was all about, “buy, buy, buy,” so people were pushed to buy time saving appliances to serve new foods that were convenient, and delicious.

The decade brought about a lot over different ethnic foods. Soldiers who had been to European countries picked up tastes for different foods that were not available back home. Food companies quickly picked up on this and began making the ingredients necessary to cook many different dishes from around the world like, pizza, lasagna, chow mien, and barbecued meats with different sauces. Although they imitated the other foods, everything was still mostly “Americanized” versions of the foods.  




 

Print Culture

 

     The 1950's was an era of turbulance in American society which was reflected in the ideas presented in the decade's popular writings. The literary theme varied from American literary elders who accorded unprecedented international respect, to young writers adopting alienation as their theme and disdain for accepted social values as their attitude. War novels were also of numerous amounts and reflected the past decade's struggle in World War 2.

     One literary group remembered for their strong position against social norms of American society was called The Beats. The formation of this group in the mid 1950's signaled the majorally opposed Beat Movement. The Beats were a small group of writers who self declared themselves diaffected noncomformists. The meaning of The Beats was never entirely clear but is thought to suggest that the group was beaten down by their frustration at the difficulty of individual expression in an era of conformity. This feeling was highlighted in the novels produced by the younger generation as many stove to push the envelope in terms of the controversial and morally correct in society. In contrast the Elders of the literary world worked to continue praise and compliment the current American society.

     Most popular novels of the decade include The Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, the Invisible Man, and A Raisin in the Sun. Each of these books reflects the new ideas and problems that were seen in the 1950’s. As a result society began to change as public interest drove these changes to occur in society.

 

Sports &  Games

 

With invention of television and its spreading popularity, television introduced different sports to millions of Americans.

In the 1950s, with the increase in America’s soil production, America was enjoying its economic boom and there were many leaders. These leaders emphasized on learning sports for kids starting young ages to stay fit and they also believed that playing sport had many positive effects. Many believed that playing sports builds moral characters and the notion “sport builds character” became popular. With the increase popularity in sports during this time period, the concept of positive effects of men becoming strong was more solidified and became an expectation for women and society.   

The 1950s was also during Cold War and many athletes had served in the army forces to promote American patriotism as well as to portray themselves as role models for many American citizens.  

Two of the most popular sports in the 50s were baseball and football and thus there were professional leagues held in California.

In the early 1950s, the competition between All-American Football Conference and National Football League had vanished due to NFL’s gaining control and popularity and had dominated.  Basketball Association of America and National Basketball Association also had merged together in 1950 seasons and the league had shrunk to eight teams instead of thirteen unstable teams.

 

Music 

 

     Music in the 1950's very much reflected the movement in art, but there were some differences. Movement in the music was a popular movement rather than elitist like art in the 1950's and it was a movement moved through social beliefs rather than following an intellectual belief or beliefs. Revolutions were being made in country where Hank Williams became the first nationally popular country singer with his sad, wailing songs of life.

     Jazz in this decade mainly focused on the highly popular bebop similar to hillbilly soul with a broken, syncopated beat. As time wore on musicians of the bebop genre wrote ever increasingly atonality and arrhythmia to separate their music. Highly controversial and somewhat scandalous was the announcement of the the first ever when Elaine and Louis L. Lorillard of New Port, Rhode Island, announced the first annual New Port Jazz Festival to be held at the Newport Casino  in mid July of 1954. Such a controversial event attracted over 2 thousand people.

     Classical was also influenced by the rebellious spirit of the time as one famous composer,Leonard Bernstein, composed the music for a controversial musical called the West Side Story. Many of his fans were shocked as the theme of this musical was confronting perverse subjects of gang violence and juvenile delinquency. However shocking it was the West Side Story was a hit all over the country. Leonard also was a major advocator to performing for the simple understanding of those unfamiliar with the classical genre.

     However what dominated the decade was the new genre of Rock 'n' Roll. During the 1950's the undisputed King of this genre was Elvis Presley. Following his ground breaking lead came many more Rock 'n' Roll singers such as Jerry Lee Lewis. This sudden influx of popularity and the following of such delicate subject of sex, rebellion, and plain partying caused many parents to fear it and ban it. Many even believed it to be evil and sinful.

     With such popularity in the Rock 'n' Roll genre more black performers were accepted into the public music scene. Icons such as Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and Little Richard gained fame through performances of traditional rhythm and blues (R&B) music. Black singing group performers began to integrate the Rock 'n' Roll Genre with urbanized black folk music as well. Over all the music scene was a highly volatile and evolving area of society during the 1950's.

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"The Way We Lived"

 

The 1950s was a drastic change in U.S. in terms of way people lived. Mostly due to technological innovations, communication had improved on a significant level and expectations of people had changed greatly. It was the first time that ordinary citizens strived for conformability with new technological devices and expectations for faster process in services. Along with drastic change in events including the conclusion to the Great Depression, new inventions had provided optimistic future for many Americans. Invention of credit card and barcode had severely changed the entire consumption process in America and Americans adapted into new aspects created by technological development and had definitely changed the way Americans lived. America’s involvement in Korean War had helped America’s economical status with increase in production of goods and many Americans enjoyed the economic boom that was existent in the 50s. Increase in production of goods had made it possible for many middle class Americans to afford for cars and other developed things. Also, with heavy grow in industry that replaced many farm businesses, many suburb areas became cities and many of the farmer-families changed their location with a new job in cities. Also, with spreading popularity for music especially Rock and Roll, many teenagers started enjoying this type of music and had a heavy influence on many teenagers as Rock and Roll promoted the concept of non-conformist and thus teenagers became rebellious and resistant. The 1950s was basically a time for a great change as well as adaptations to better-life and established American values and set the standards and expectations.

 

Government & Politics

 

     Politics in the 1950s were the beginnings of change for government and how it was run. The elections in 1952 marked the end of the New Deal bureaucracy and President Franklin D Roosevelt's Democratic legacy of reform with the loss of Democratic party power with Truman gone. During the 1950s the inspection of the President under public eye was increasing as more average American families owned televisions in their homes. Thus the politics of image was born.

     During the 1950s Politics and Government seemed calm and peaceful under the fatherly figure of Dwight D. Eisenhower. However it looked on the outside the American People were feeling strong undertow of fear. Fear of Communism was rampant throughout the whole country and quickly became chaos as people were increasingly accused. This was called McCarthyism, named after the obscure senator from Wisconsin who claimed fact that 205 Communist-party members worked in the State Department.This huge movement came to be known as the Red Scare.

     War was also rampant internationally as the UN had engaged in military force in Korea to fight Communism. This was due to the earlier agreement that Japanese in the Northern part of Korea would surrender to the Soviet Union and the Japanese in the Southern part of Korea were to surrender to the United States. It became quickly apparent that in order to hold power over the other country or block it in the Eastern hemisphere the control of the Korean peninsula was essential. These events all reflected the international tension held between the two superpowers of America and the Soviet Union which was named the Cold War. The Cold War situation greatly reflected social life in the US as the outside image was calm, but behind closed doors fear and tension ruled the home.

 

 

Leadership

     The presidents during the 1950s were Harry S Truman for the first two years, and then Dwight Eisenhower took the presidency from 1952 to 1961.  Harry S Truman had been vice president in 1945 to FDR, but he was forced to take the office as FDR had passed away. He was a very simple, unassuming man, so critics did not expect that much out of him, but he overcame the low expectations. He had both the lowest and highest public approval ratings to ever be recorded until 1991.

     The majority of the decade was under the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was born David Dwight Eisenhower on October 14, 1890, in Texas. He later went through the US military Academy at West Point, New York in 1911. He served in the army with the infantry and slowly rose among the ranks. By the 1930s his career in the peacetime army was stagnating and many of his friends had resigned for higher paying business jobs. He stayed in though and was promoted to permanent lieutenant colonel in 1936. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower was assigned to the General Staff of Washington. His responsibility was to create the major war plans to defeat Japan and Germany. He was later appointed the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and the promoted to General of the Army. He was a very prominent person in the military, and so the Republican party wanted him as a candidate to counter the isolationist Senator Robert Taft. He was elected in 1952 and came into power in 1953. Eisenhower continued the major New Deal programs, signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, proclaimed that the US would distribute economic and military aid, and use military force to stop the spread of communism. With domestic policy, Eisenhower was somewhat in the middle. He continued the New Deal programs, and emphasized a balanced budget. Before leaving office in Jan 1961, he urged that maintaining an adequate military strength was necessary, but large continued spending could cause problems with our way of life. Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969.

     A prominent figure in the leadership of the US was Senator Joseph McCarthy. He was the man, that claimed that hundreds of Communists had gotten into the State Department and many other federal agencies. These allegations hit on the worsening national anxiety over the spread of communism, and he immediately gained public attention. He created a subcommittee to investigate the people that he claimed were communist, but many disagreed with his methods. Eventually his recklessness caught up with him and his popularity faded. He died on May 2, 1957, at 48 years old. 

 



 

Law &  Justice

 

Crime rate was escalating throughout the dacade in 1950s and became one of the biggest entertainment source during this time. Crime stories were told through media and televisions and was a definite excitement for the viewers. One of the televisions shows was call the "Untouchables" that presented crime stories about invovlement of government agents and gangsters in a crime scene. The crime rate had escalated so rapidly that by 1957, the nation reached its alltime-high level in crime rate and the number was more than 40 percent greater from 10 years ago. Also, crime scenes became more brutal in the 50s with the use of different weapons. Also, looking at the ratio, teenagers became more invovled in crimes and youth-relevant crimes weren't uncommon issue. It was visible that media had a huge role in affecting mindset and morals of teenagers as it promoted crimes and violence. Also, with the increase in popularity for fictional-stories, fictional television crime fighters became known and inspired many Americans. Many books were also written about criminals and crime fighters and few of the most popular during this time were books such as Virgil W. Peterson's Barbarians in Our Midst (1952), Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer's Chicago Confidential (1950) and the real-life exploits of Frank Costello and Mickey Cohen. With such high crime-rate, American citizens relied on law-enforcemenets and the police for their protection. However, there were frequent stories about corrupted cops and brought insecure feelings for many citizens. Despite the negative aspect, the technological development in the 50s and better understanding of minds of criminals allowed for better communication within the police and more accurate information on crimes and thus improved its efficiency and overall usefulness. Though, the police was a major force in dealing with crime, some of the elected officials became involved in criminal cases and criminal investigation organizations such as the Senate's Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce and  Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor were the two major organizations that was ran by  Sen. Estes Kefauver and Sen. John L. McClellan. Court process in the 50s was very biased. There was still considerable amount of racism and prejudice at this time and many judges were unfair in trials and made biased judgements towards rich and white people. With limited number of lawyers and because many of them avoided trial work, it was a very difficult process for the defendent to get a lawyer. Equal representations in the court was hardly seen due to the fact that there were only few employees that defended for the poor. However, a Supreme Court decision of 1956, Griffin v. Illinois was one of the first publicized case that emphasized on the equal protection. The 14th amendment which stated that equal protection shall be provided to all people under law within their jurisdiction and this became a basis for the court case Brown vs Board of Education that dissegragated schools and became one of the most influential court cases for African American rights.

 

 

 

 

Religion

 

In the 1950s, with growing number of televisions and with technological development, media became a new medium as well as advertising factor for many religions. Also, this had a strong impact on American culture as well as moral values. During this time period, much as 60 percent of the people was active in attending religious services in U.S. During this time period, Christian,Protestant was the dominating religion and had established morals for Americans as to create a model for way that Americans should act. Controversial issues between Protestant Christian churches and Roman Catholic churches still remained through the decade.

Also during this decade, religious organizations had a great impact on racial groups that experienced prejudices as they supported them. Many discriminated racial groups especially African Americans who still did not have complete rights as schools were still segregated used religion to justify their struggle to gain equality. One of the examples of this was the Montgomery Bus Boycott where great support was given from Christians and Martin Roother King Jr. supported for this cause and emphasized on equality using the Bible and its beliefs as part of his tactics to back it up.

Many of the best-selling books were books religious-affiliated books and attracted many religious viewers. Religion was also a significant factor in politics and it was a heavily considerable aspect. Many politicians had realized this and they utilized this by adding religious aspect in their speeches and advertisements to persuade audience in voting procedures. This concept had lasted for decades and an example is Senator John F. Kennedy’s triumph in presidency election with large support from Catholics in the nation that helped in voting process. He then became the first Catholic president ever. Also, religion’s influence was so heavy that even in the “Pledge of Allegiance”, they added words “Under God” and “In God We Trust” became a national motto and was even placed in the U.S. currency.     

 

 

Positive Political Cartoon

 

 

"Tote dat barge! Lif' dat boycott! Ride dat bus!"

 

 

 "Tote dat barge! Lif' dat boycott! Ride dat bus!" March 25, 1956
Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing on layered paper
Published in the Washington Post (39) 

     In the 1950s public transportation was still practiced and enforced in the South. Blacks began to boycott the public bus transportation system in Montgomery, Alabama after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the ride home from work. This triggered boycott was very successful after 90% of the black population found other ways to commute leading to the ruling that segregated seating was unconstitutional. This particular cartoon's title by Herb Block refers to lyrics from the Showboat song  Ol' Man River: "Tote dat barge. Lif' dat bale."

 

Negative Political Cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Say, what ever happened to 'freedom-from-fear'?" August 13, 1951
Reproduction from original drawing
Published in the Washington Post (31)

 

As Senator Joseph McCarthy's campaign against State Department and Justice Department officials continued, President Harry Truman spoke against "scaremongers and hatemongers" who "are trying to create fear and suspicion among us by the use of slander, unproved accusations, and just plain lies."

 

 

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

 

     There were many things in Post-WWII America that influenced and reflected society in the decade. The economy of the United States was booming during this time period. The Great Depression had certainly ended, and businesses prospered. People had more money to spend, and businesses wanted people to spend it. New technologies were invented, and some older ones popularized, mostly the television. This provided an outlet for businesses to advertise products and brands through. Advertising also became more targeting and influential. As advertisers learned tricks of the trade, they began to make their products more appealing, while trying to appeal to our irrational side. They started to appeal to sexual desire, the fear of death, and the need of security, all of which are strong motivators. One advertising executive even said, “The cosmetic manufacturers are not selling lanolin, they are selling hope.… We no longer buy oranges, we buy vitality. We do not just buy an auto, we buy prestige." With food and drink, convenient foods were really popular, things such as McDonalds with its fast food hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes, TV dinners, and canned foods, became popular.  The onset of the convenience foods brought along a slew of packaged foods, processed foods, and time-saving appliances. With advertisers appealing towards the sexual desire and convenience in cooking rose, fashion of the time followed the changes and the “New Look” was the hour glass look. It used pads and slim cut dresses to bring out women’s curves to show “sensuality. This made it highly popular. Another part of fashion was that fashionable clothes began to become cheaper for the average person. With all of the industries booming, products could be made in large amounts and sold cheaper.

     Film and music were also changing. Television became more popular and so there was a decline in the popularity of theaters. Also, there had been the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America that had controlled the film industry’s movies with strict codes to avoid inappropriate content, but during this decade, many independent movie producers sprang up that were not a part of the organization, so they could produce movies that could have less morality and more mature content, violence and adult language. In music, there was this rebellious spirit that took hold. Rock n Roll became the most popular and dominant music of the era, but it also touched upon some delicate subjects that cause many parents to fear and ban it. Thus, the culture of the time was changing rapidly. New technologies arose and gained popularity, foods aimed to be more quick and convenient, and the entertainment became more morally loose.

     Events that occurred during the time period severely impacted the thoughts and feelings of the society. After WWII had ended, new wars arose, like the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. All of those wars were about fighting the spread of communism. Thus, there was an overarching fear that was exemplified in the Red Scare. People were worried that communism would spread and take over the world. There was Senator McCarthy who was the main icon of the scare and fanned the flames of the anxiety, with his accusations and trials. There was a lot of national pride that became at stake with the Cold War, as the US needed to prove its superiority over the Soviets. The Cold War also caused a lot of tension as both nations had nuclear weapons that could very well cause a ton of destruction across the world. This tension was somewhat relieved by Eisenhower later in the decade, but it still affected the mindset of the American public.

     During the decade the educational system also went through a great deal of change. Multiple court rulings had made it legally unacceptable to have segregated schooling systems, so integration among whites and blacks were forced to begin. Some communities opposed this change, but many went with it grudgingly. Most of the southern states had this type of attitude, but the federal government helped change things. Also in the educational system, the new baby boomers increased enrollment so much, that the entire educational system had to be upgraded. This improved the quality of the school buildings as well as the curricula.

     Leadership during this decade had changed from being ruled by the Democrats to the Republicans. The new president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a man that had to deal with the problems of the decade. He was given the job of relieving tensions and anxieties over the numerous wars against communism. Eisenhower had been a great leading commander and had experience in dealing with difficult decisions that would help him through his presidency. He dealt with the wars very well as he had been the Supreme Allied Commander during WWII.

     The 1950s was a time of great change after the World War II. The United States was extremely prosperous during the time, and caused a lot of change in the culture. The culture of the decade changed in food, film, music, and fashion. Social norms were changed as Rock ‘n Roll became hugely popular, and more mature content began appearing in movies. It was also a time of great tension and anxiety as the Cold War and the Red Scare were heavy on people’s minds, but there was a great president that had enough experience to be able to deal with the problems that arose and that helped keep the 1950s a very prosperous time for the United States of America.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

 "American Designers Dominate Fashion in 1950s, 1950-1959." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

"Chemise." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. St. James Press, 2000. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

"Government and Politics in the 1950s: Overview, 1950-1959." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

"Men's Fashion in the 1950s, 1950-1959." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

"Newport Jazz Festival Established, July, 1954." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

"Women's Fashion in the 1950s, 1950-1959." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

 "Tote dat barge! Lif' dat boycott! Ride dat bus!". Image. <http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock/fruits.html>
"Say, What Ever Happened To Freedom-From-Fear". Image. <http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock/fire.html>

 

"Religion in the 1950s: Overview." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

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"Black Americans and Society (1950s)." American Decades CD-ROM. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/

 

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"Baby Boomers in school." Image. <http://cdn.picapp.com/ftp/Images/5/a/1/5/Baby_Boomers_164b.jpg>

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