B3 1960s Convery

                                                                                      Shelby Long

Gavin Long

Tyler VandenAvond

Kenneth Wee 


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



*Business & the Economy*


     During the 1960’s the American economy was indestructible. The unemployment rate was way down, the average income had increased 50% from 1950 to 1960, from 1963 to 1969 the income had increased another twenty percent (showing that the economy was still steadily getting stronger), people began to buy for pure pleasure and wants (as opposed to only needs), and the economy underwent the highest amount of time that the economy was steadily growing.

     Big Business and corporations were also booming in the sixties. The big business industries in America not only reshaped our country, but it also changed the world. For example the company IBM (International Business Machines) had a major firm in every single country in which the sold their products to! Coca-Cola actually became such a well known brand worldwide its expansion coined the term “Coca-Colonization”. The big business sector in the United States was so successful that the fifty largest companies held one-third of America’s manufacturing assets.






     During the  60's    college campuses became the center for many protests and debates over the war. World War 2 caused the age of "baby boomers," which was a time when many families began having an outrageous number of kids in their family. These young adults were around the military draft age during college but still not able to vote. This caused a huge dilemma between the government and people of America. This not only caused for many casualties on college campuses but it also strongly influenced the governments decision to stay in the Vietnam War rather than pulling out all troops.

     Even in grade school there were many problems as well. Education was slipping due to the multiple wars we recently had. Schools went back to teaching their students basic skills and used beginner learner tools like phonics to teach their students how to read. This was all due to the mishaps that were experienced in the 50's. Education in the 1960's had the main focus of returning the American education system back to its roots and repairing what the 50's had destroyed.


The Fashion in the 1960's was that of a revolution. It brought an end to the conservative clothing options that had been available during at immediately after World War II, now excess took over as people sported bolder looks and trends.Although many people associate the 1960’s just with hippies and peace signs for fashion, this is not necessarily the case. Although there were, of course, hippies and a large peace movement that affected fashion, there were other trends. One of these trends was known as “mod.” Mod consisted of geographic or solid-colored clothes that were seen as more of a high fashion type of movement, such a movement that can still be seen today. Mod brought about or at least was the first to encourage girls to wear pants for the first time, or simply often. A major mod item would be a shift dress with a simple geographic pattern on the front. Although mod fashion was not simply limited to shift dresses with a geometric pattern, geometric patterns were a main component of the mod trend in the 1960’s. Geometric patterns were worn on other styles of dresses, stockings, tights, and other further clothing items, as shown below in the pictures of the girls wearing mod-style clothing (the brunette in the black and white picture is wearing an example of a geometric shift dress):  


Of course, the hippie fashions cannot be ignored. The fashion that was embodied by the hippies directly related to their lifestyle, it was casual and carefree. They wore loose-fitted clothing such as jeans and possibly a peasant top, just for a simple example. Their clothes did not have to match because for the most part they just did not necessarily care.  Bright colors could most definitely be considered a characteristic, an example of which would obviously be tye-dye, which is commonly associated with the 1960's and hippies. Both men and women wore loose fashions, but it was also common for men to wear tight things that, as mentioned before, were very bright as shown below. Both men and women grew their hair out and would wear it either loose or pulled back, and sometimes with braids. An example of the common hippie fashion is shown below:

Another fashion form would be the rocker look. This look was edgier and well-suited for the rocking lifestyle. This could range from a shirt that's left open while wearing a pair of leather pants (leather was very popular with this look) to a suit usually without a tie, but if they did wear a tie then it would be wide and bright with a crazy pattern,  or a t-shirt with jeans. It was more matched than the hippy trend but at the same time not as fashionable or high-fashion as the mod style. Some rockers at the time would even wear suits, though nothing fancy, especially not black tie. Each of the 60's styles are alike in the sense that they had no inhibitions and were without limits which would set the standard for the rest of the century. Some examples of the rocker look are shown below:





     The 60's was a time when theater and films flourished, especially with the spark of musicals on Broadway . Broadway became too expensive for many producers so they took their dreams elsewhere; musicals. Many popular musicals at the time were Oliver, Camelot, and Hair. Many actors who were looking for a career in the spotlight struggled during this time period, but because of the over-abundance of them "Off-Off-Broadway" was created. This genre of theater gave new writers and actors chances to become apart of the ever growing world of theater. 


     Soon, many popular musicals were turned into movies, such as Sounds of Music and My Fair Lady. Disney movies began to grow popular with films like 101 Dalmatians and Pinocchio. Popular themes of films at this time focused around politics, sex, and violence with movies like James Bond, Dr. Strangelove, and Midnight Cowboy. These new types of movies called for the MPAA (Movie Picture Association of America) to create more strict film codes.



     Food is ever-changing, and the foods in the 1960’s were no different.  During this time period, international foods were very popular.  People began to enjoy various cuisines, such as Oriental, Italian, and Mexican foods.  However, these foods were not usually authentic.  In order to appeal to a broader audience, some of these international foods had to be “Americanized”.  Changes made to the foods included American cheese on lasagna and Ketchup on Chinese ribs.  While the food may not have been 100% authentic, it was still representative of the food’s international origin.





     Another change that food underwent in the 1960’s was how easy and convenient these particular foods were to make.  A lot of the foods in the 1960’s came in a powder mix form, such as Tang (Orange flavored drink) and Lawry’s Taco seasoning.  Other foods came in a quick-and-easy type of design.  These foods included Pop-Tarts, Yakisoba (Nissin) brand foods, frozen pie crusts, and instant oatmeal.  Also, many new fast-food chains popped up during the 1960’s such as Taco Bell and Hardees.  The fact that all these fast and easy to get food products are becoming more popular shows that families are living busier lifestyles, and are able to spend less time cooking homemade meals. 





     The 1960’s was a time when young people would begin to question.  They would challenge the values and the authority of adults, and this is what drove the literature of the time period.  A number of famous writers emerged from the 60’s, including William Faulkner and Truman Capote, were able to achieve “bestseller” status on their novels.  For the more fictional pieces, Ian Fleming became very popular for his James Bond novels.  One of the surprisingly well received novels was To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), which tells a story of racism.  Today, these stories would be considered classics.


     Another genre that grew in popularity was in the form of Comic Books.  Marvel, the top company, came up with multiple new series including Spider Man and the Fantastic Four.  Both of these particular series are still being expanded upon today.


     Magazines also went through a great change during the 60’s.  Many Americans turned away from reading and instead watched TV as a source of entertainment and for means of gaining information.  Some magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post went out of business.  However, new magazines sprouted up in its place.  These new magazines were different in that they had one general focus.  One of the most popular ones of this kind was Rolling Stone, which was a magazine for lovers of rock and roll.  The idea was to have a different magazine to suit everyone’s tastes.



     The 60's was a great year for team America during both the Summer and Winter Olympics. In particular, the 1960 Winter Olympics held in Squaw Valley USA was a time of many firsts in the Olympic Winter games. The 1960 Winter Olympic games were the first games to be held in Western Unites States and the first to be televised as well. The Olympic Village Inn was the first housing station that put all of the Olympic competitors under one roof and, to this day, still holds that record as well. A new addition to Olympics was the use of computers to tabulate scores as well. During these winter games team USA captured their first ever gold medal in hockey, defeating  Czechoslovakia 9-4. Also during this time, metal skies,were first used and competed with during the Olympics as well.


     In America, many other historic sport stories were beginning to brew and many other new traditions as well. Muhammad Ali won gold as a light heavyweight boxer. Sandy Soufax, pitcher in the National League, received the Cy Young award in '63, '65, and '66. Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in the MLB. Another first during the 60's was the start of the ever so popular event; The Super Bowl. The first Super Bowl was played in 1967 featuring the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers claimed the title and named the Super Bowl trophy after their amazing coach, Vince Lombardi.Football stars at this time were Joe Namath (QB for the New York Jets and winner of Super Bowl 3), Abner Haynes (RB for the Pittsburgh Steelers), and Jim Nance ( RB for the Chicago Bears). Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win the U.S. Tennis Championship. In golf, Arnold Palmer took over the PGA in the 60's winning 6 majors. Jack Nicklaus would soon follow. Sports began to grow and expand during era. This set the pathway for many other sport traditions, records, etc.  


     The 1960s were also a time when the video gaming world expanded dramatically. Ralph Baer, video gaming genius of the era, created the popular computer game called Spacewar!. This hit video game became a huge phenomenon on the Internet, which also began to rapidly grow in popularity in the 60s. Later, accompanied by his co-worker Bill Harrison, Ralph Baer designed a plan for the first ever video gaming console called Brown Box. Corndog, the first game ever played on a television set, would be used with the new video gaming console as well. Although Bill and Ralph made plans for their video game console they never truly came true until 1967 when the first ever game on a television set cam out called The Chase Game. And, in 1968, the first prototype gaming console was completed and able to run several games. These influential pieces of video gaming paved the way for future inventors to build and design new merchandise off of.


Rock n' Roll


      If anything can show the true vibrancy and greatness it was music. People near the beginning of the decade thought rock n’ roll was dying out and was being replaced by classic, more established, genres such as swing, jazz, and pop.



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                Rock finally, in 1963, and possibly the greatest comeback and discovery in music ever with the coming of a British band that would soon become considered the greatest rock band of all time, the Beatles. Teenagers were captivated by their wonderful, yet simple, songs such as “Twist and shout”, “Help!” , “ Love Me Do”, and “A Hard Day’s Night”. Later in their music became more complex, but the Beatles remained on the top charts for the rest of the decade. 


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     Following the Beatles came a new phenomenon know to the musical world as the British invasion. With this great invasion came the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Troggs, and the Who. These bands took flamboyancy to the stage and gave music a new addictive and twisted sound. Music would never be the same.


Psychedelic Rock 


     Harder rock came later in the sixties. Out of the drug using culture of the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco, where hallucinogens like LCD and other drugs strongly influenced music, a new branch of rock music was formed. This music was favored by hippies, and the perhaps most notable musician from this genre was Jimi Hendrix whose unbelievable guitar playing and stage antics excited and amazed any audience.



Woodstock. One small corner of Max Yasgur's field in Bethel, N.Y., the setting for the three-day 1969 festival, on the third day.  © CORBIS


     “Three days of peace and music” was the tagline for perhaps the greatest festival of peace ever made. Woodstock was a display of hope that stirred in young hearts that music could change the world. The festival started out as a plan to hold about a medium to large sized concert of less than 100,000 people; the size of the concert, however, grew exponentially to approximately half a million people in attendance, due to booking a sampling of the greatest music acts of the decade, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, and Santana.

     The festival lasted for three days and concertgoers endured rain, over-crowding, food shortages, poor facilities ,and presumably “bad acid” (LSD).  Yet, the attendees were able to celebrate the music in general light heartedness as they promoted love and peace.




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Another popular style of music was Motown which was founded in 1959 by an African- American by the name of Barry Gordy Jr. This record company, as it was, busted out a grand total of 56 number one hits just during the sixties! A few notables were The Temptations, The Pips, Smokey Robinson, and Diana Ross.







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The 1960's not only stood for revolution, but also major innovation. Items that had would’ve been incomprehensible a mere 40 years prior were beginning to emerge. For instance: the microwave, a device that is used almost obsessively today was not popular until 1967 when the countertop Radarange was introduced to kitchens all across America. After World War II many Americans began watching television during leisure time. TV ownership increased from 10 percent of American homes in 1950 to 67 percent in 1955, then reached 87 percent in 1960 and 94 percent in 1965, which, of course, is quite a large increase for such a miniscule amount of time. Not only did Americans enjoy innovation on a personal level, but they also enjoyed watching it, and it soon became part of their nationalism. As people watched the American spacecraft, Apollo 11, touch down on the moon, a seemingly impossible feat, they were seen with tears streaming down their faces. Americans felt very involved, as if an American triumph was a triumph for each individual American citizen. Although there was a prideful sense of nationalism, there was also much political duress in terms of what many Americans thought about the Vietnam War. Many loved their government and had great faith in it, while others considered the government to be a poor-choice- making machine that did not care for the American people, or any other people for that matter. Although this was an immense time of celebration for freedom and pride, it was also a time of fear. Many Americans believed an attack carried out by the Soviets was inevitable, and so fear and hatred in Communism, as had happened before, existed during the 1960's. The Civil Rights Movement was also going on during this decade, as races and genders banded together for equality and whatever it was that they believed in. Everyone has a voice, and the 60's made sure that everyone could be heard.




     There were a few main focuses when dealing with government and politics in the 1960’s.  One of the biggest focuses was with the Civil Rights movements (fight for equality/against segregation) that took place all throughout the United States.  An example of such movements is with the African Americans and their use of sit-ins, public protests, and freedom rides.  Some notable African American Civil Rights activists were Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, both of which were assassinated during the 1960’s.  Feminists and Mexican Americans were among other groups fighting to gain equality in areas such as employment, voting, and salary.


     Other main events during the time period were with presidential and foreign affairs.  The 1960’s contained various important events like the Cuban Missile Crisis (Threat of Soviet Union nuclear weapons in Cuba), the Cold War (Not an actual war, a political and economic war), the Vietnam War (Communist North Vietnam vs. U.S. lead Southern Vietnam), and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  With so many issues abroad, foreign relations were often tense and lead to a lot of conflict, especially with the rival superpower Soviet Union.  Communism was also a growing problem during the time period.


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The 1960's saw an assasination and the beginning of the first presidency, that is so far the only, presidency that ended with resignation in the history of The United States of America. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the president in the video, lead the sixties as its first president. In his inaugural address he spoke of helping anyone attain freedom, such freedom that we already have. This would be extreme opposition to the isolationist standards that were set in place prior to the second World War. America now is willing to step into other countries' affairs, simply for the sake of freedom, or so is said. A prime example would be Vietnam, which we fought in the 1960's, where we stepped into the war going on amongst North and South Vietnam to assure that South Vietnam would not be forced to submit to Communism, but rather have freedom of their own.

     After the tragedy of Kennedy's assasination, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took hold of the country and started off by dealing with Civil Rights. He began working tirelessly to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other further acts for Civil Rights. In terms of Vietnam, it was Johnson's original intention to alleviate the tension and not be as enthralled, but in the end Johnson and his administration both escalated the tension by escalating U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese struggle. After his presidency, Johnson retired from politics.

     After Johnson's presidency, Nixon took charge in 1969. His presidency unfortunately ended, in the 1970's, in resignation. The Vietnam War, in turn, unfortunately did not end in the 1960's. The presidencies each reflected an opposition to the ideals of pre-war standards that dealt with isolationalism. Each of the presidents stepped into Vietnam, defying any of the isolationist ideals that had once been in place.





     Before the 1960’s the ideas of what justice should be, and the laws that were in place were extremely different than the tidal wave of the 1960’s. Before this decade came about, there were still laws in place that demanded segregation and other further forms of demeaning prejudice. But then, ideals of equality and true justice were spoken of, and took hold. For example: on March 20, 1961, whenLouisiana's legislation that at the time was enforcing segregation was deemed unconstitutional, and could no longer be imposed. Not only was prejudice based on race a state-by-state issue, it was also a national issue proven when on February 26, 1962 The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in interstate and intrastate transportation was unconstitutional. This is a major step in fixing some of the injustice that occurred prior to and even during early postwar America, where equality was a figment of the imagination, and justice was only deserved by those of a certain race or gender. Indeed, not only was segregation by race challenged but so was gender discrimination; for instance: in December 1961President Kennedy formed the Commission on the Status of Women to investigate barriers to women's full enjoyment of basic rights, a large step in the just direction. Prior to and during World War II, women had earned some rights to work and vote, but there was still a large gap that was officially instilled and even worsened when the war ended and women went back home. Freedom of speech was fully exercised during this decade, especially in terms of Civil Rights and equality, for example: in 1963Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique, a major book that examines the role of women in U.S. society. Not only is this form of equality going on, but also, so is one of the first examples of political correctness when on June 25, 1962The Supreme Court ruling in Engel v. Vitale holds that prayer in schools is unconstitutional. Before this, Christianity had always been the accepted religion that was kept public and used in everyday situations and places, but now people were beginning to respect other beliefs than their own and be more appreciative and less ignorant. The law and justice of the 1960’s was just that, it was lawful and just. It was innovative and accepting, which is extremely original when considering what was the predecessor to this tumultuous decade.





     The sixties are often thought to have the majority of people in America were seeking out pagan, unholy, and morally incorrect religious experiences, this was far from the truth. Most people kept engaged in your typical mainstream church as opposed to switching. The mainstream churches did change though. the churches altered their sermons to deal with changing times, this included anti- war movements, being refuges to those addicted to drugs, and civil rights movement. Black churches did help support the civil rights movement; religious figures such as Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Malcolm X


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Malcolm X was both a civil rights and religious leader; he was the speaker who caused the Nation of Islam to expand to over 100,000 members. He was also the reason why many major celebrities joined the Black Muslims such as the now famous boxer Cassius Clay who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting. X left the Nation of Islam after a sex and financial scandal about the group’s founded arose. He was assassinated later that year (1965).



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


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     Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a black church minister who preached in Birmingham, Alabama. He was also a major civil rights leader during the 1960’s that most would say is the sole reason why minorities now have equal rights. This is not far from the truth considering that Dr. King was by far the most successful protestor in the entire non- violent civil rights movement. His speech, “I Have a Dream”, will also remain in America’s history books as one of the best, if not the best, speeches of all time. Sadly, much like other civil rights leaders in the sixties, Dr. King was assassinated in 1968.


     The new involvement with the church shaped the sixties immensely. War protests greatly changed the American outlook on the Vietnam War, due to the the vast majority of the U.S. attending church regularly. The era also was changed due to the churches involvement in the civil rights movement; this gave all minorities equal rights. The people of the time period also benefited from the churches; the churches would shelter and "bring back" people who overused drugs.




Positive Political Cartoon



     In this political cartoon Lyndon B. Johnson is shown giving a little kid a drink instead of the older gentleman. The older gentleman (representing arms cost and military establishments) are being served after Johnson gives the young boy (health, education, and welfare) a drink. President Lyndon B.Johnson's focus turned from the war back to the American people and their needs. After Johnson realized that he had no chance of being re-elected Johnson turned his attention from the already lost war to domestic problems and concerns.


Negative Political Cartoon



      This 1960 political cartoon shows th "one-sided" election of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson focused on fighting the Vietnam War instead of paying attention to the American people. This cartoon shows how Johnson's main support group during his presidential run. Even though the army gave Johnson their full support he lost all of his main support; the people of the U.S.



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


     The 1960's was a time where war and government destruction began to grow at an unsteady pace. The end of the Cold War, President Kennedy's assassination, and the Vietnam War all were major political events which happened in the 1960's. Our economy was it's highest peak after the tragic Great Depression throughout the 1930's. America knew that this was the time to redesign the economy, culture, and leadership of our society based off of the previous events of America's history.   

     Culture changed dramatically during the 1960's after WWII. The 60's was a time of change in the hearts of Americans. The baby boomers were growing up and looking to change the whole identity of America. America's youth wanted to drift away from being conservatives and shift towards free thinking and individualism. The leadership at this time also changed based off of WWII as well. Instead of jumping into many wars, which we could have, the American government listened to the cries of its people in national crises.For example, the Vietnam War was influenced drastically by the American people. After the Tet offensive, the support from the American people fell greatly. This showed the government that if they fight the war they won't be backed by the rest of America in its decision. This is when the people of America realized that their voices do matter when the government is put into a crisis such as war. Lastly, many memorial events were influenced by WWII as well. The ever popular Woodstock Festival started in the 60's because of many free-thinkers and their dream to put on a festival. This festival was not only one of the biggest concerts ever but it showed America's individualistic ideas on display. With more than 400,000 people attending, this event was one of the most popular and memorial of the decade.

     The 1960's was a time when individualism became the main focus for Americans. Americans wanted to move away from the conservative views of the 50's and make decisions based on their own opinion. This era ushered in the free-thinkers and hippies. Although these people were viewed as strange and bizarre for their views on political ideas they still changed the future of America. "Many of the revolutionary ideas which began in the sixties are continuing to evolve today" (American Cultural History 1). These new, creative ideas changed America in the 60's and is still changing America today as well.



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Timeline of Events." The Sixties in America Reference Library. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2005. xiii-xxvii. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 June 2010.

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