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The 1950s

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Toria Liao

on 7 October 2013

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Transcript of The 1950s

"Captain America strikes at the Betrayers!
"See Captain America Defy the Communist Hordes"
"Striking Back at the Soviet"

The 1950's
Civil Rights Events
Politics in the Mid-Fifties
State Make-up Changes
Migration of
Social Changes
Separation of Russia and the USA
The American Dream
The Soldiers Return
Art Pre-Fifties
Women of the Forties
Early 1950's
Political Climate
The Red Scare
Changing Times
The Economics of the 1950s
Welcome to Suburbia
Levitt Brothers
Changes in the Home
Culture of the Suburbs
Counter Culture
Late 1950's
Civil Rights
Rock and Roll
Red Scare Ends & The Space Race
How has the American Dream Changed?

Introduction Clip
1950s Cold war Propaganda Communism Vs Capitalism
Elbe Day
Mock Communist invasion
destruction of the Statue of Liberty
Key Points
American Scene, Social Realist, Regionalist styles
- representational art with outside influences
- narrative based (e.g. history of America)
- reflected American dream of hard work and independence
- art for the people, focusing on positive progress in society or social reform

Surrealism served as a bridge between these styles and Abstract Expressionism
Going West - Jackson Pollock, (1934-35)
Abstract Expressionism
The Pop Music Revolution
- objective, personally expressive, alienated society
- reaction against previous art movements and
post-war conformist climate
- based in New York
- process of creation more important than result

Important artists: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Ad
Reinhardt, Robert Motherwell, Willem and Elaine
de Kooning, Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler

Autumn Rhythm # 30 (1950) Jackson Pollock
Action Painting
Colour Field
Yellow Band (1956)
Mark Rothko

- big swing bands phased out
- rise of records, radio, disc jockeys
- overnight fame
e.g. Johnnie Ray, Cry
- desegregation of hit music charts
Beat Artists
- inspired by the literary beat movement
- rebelled against American mainstream
- wanted to remake America, associated with Civil
Rights movements
Characteristics of hit pop songs:
- experimental electronic sounds
- R&B influences
- mix of genres and creative arrangements
reflection in the media
Skipper Learns a Lesson
- originally another name for R&B
- incorporated country & western, R&B, blues, jazz, gospel, experimental electronic sounds
- associated with teenage rebellion
- characterized by upbeat energy and riffs
- electric guitar a prominent instrument
Notable artists:
Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Chuck Barry, Les Paul, Wayne Buddy Knox, Bill Haley & the Comets, Johnny Cash
Subway (1950)
George Tooker
Roosevelt and isolationist America
+ Pearl Harbor encourages internationalism
Truman and the Atomic Bombs
+ Given presidency in April 1945
+ Hiroshima and Nagasaki
+ America and Truman's
role in the World Stage
+ Truman Doctrine
+ Marshall Plan
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
“The World’s most fabulous gold digging blonde!”
"Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl for being pretty, but doesn't it help?"

Culture and propaganda in the 1950s
First Great Migration
+ World War I
+ The Great Depression
Second Great Migration
+ World War II
+ Led to Executive Order 9981
Montgomery Bus Boycott (1956-56)
"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free." - Rosa Parks
Brown v.s. The Board of Education (1954)
Father Knows Best
Why Study Economics?
The Baby Boom
- Three key factors in stunted growth from 1925 to 1950:
+ Restricted immigration
+ The Great Depression
+ World War II
- Over seventy six million babies born from 1946 to 1964
- The return of soldiers to new lives and wealth sparked the 'Baby Boom'
- The Long Awaited Return

-The Struggle to Adjust
The typical American family
+ Over 12 million men and women served in WWII
+ The debate to leave troops stationed
+ Truman, voters and the fast movement of troops
+ Parenthood
+ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder+ Employment
+ Economic Panic
Separate but equal.
The Eisenhower Administration
+ Elected in 1953
+ A former World War II general and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe
+ All-American father figure of the early fifties election
+ Noted for his cautiousness, particularity and indecisiveness

The Korean War
- The WWII division of Korea between the US and Soviet Union
- On June 25, 1950, North Korea invades South Korea
- The attack from China
-The war's transition from Truman to Eisenhower
-Stalin's death and the Korean War
- From stalemate to diplomacy ending the fighting in 1953
First Red Scare
Second Red Scare
Woman I (1950-52)
Willem de Kooning
Set the base for communist fear
"A nation-wide anti-radical hysteria provoked by a mounting fear and anxiety that a communist revolution in America was imminent - a revolution that would change, church, home, marriage, civility, and the American way of Life."
Communist fear as a political tool
Criminal Syndicalism Laws
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Where did anti-communist fear come from?
Civil Rights Act of 1957
+ Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
+ Iron Curtain
+ Suspected Soviet Weaponry
Cold War Politics
- The Russian and American partnership deterioration, silent threats and competitive politics
- Resignation over conviction

Executive Order 9981
King of the suburbs
A precursor was the Alien Registration Act (Smith Act) of 1940
A crime to "knowingly or willingly advocate, abet, advise or teach the duty, necessity, desirability or propriety of overthrowing the government of the United States..."
turns potential nudity scandal into one of the world's most successful magazine
2nd Red Scare - Pt2
1st issue of playboy is released With Monroe on the cover
+ March 1947: Executive Order 9835 and the
"Federal Employees Loyalty Program"
Vietnam War

Suez Canal Crisis
The USA Interstate
The McCarran Internal Security Act
The President had authority to apprehend and detain "each person to whom there is a reasonable ground to believe that such a person probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage."
'What makes Marilyn?'
"Russian regionalism and American universalism… collided head on, and this conflict was aggravated by the universalism of the Communist dogma."
Neo-Dada: An Artistic Alternative
- open, not hierarchical
- appealed to the viewers, required response
- primarily conceptual
- integrated life into art
- precursor to Pop Art
Flag on Orange Field (1957)
Jasper Johns
American Dream: "that men (mostly) and women who worked hard and saved for rainy days could expect a measure of material comfort and security in their golden years, without resort to government."
Post-War Conservatism: the Feminine Mystique
an ideal image ("New Look") of women created and fostered by fashion, depoliticizing women's discontent
emphasis on physical attractiveness, feminine duty, subordinate to men
insecurities imposed upon women
feminism seen as simple-minded, dangerous, outmoded
media and magazines provided pressure to conform
In the 1930s, 75% of American men and women were opposed to married women working. The war changed the role of women in the workplace.
Women workers became widespread as men went to war, filled the empty positions
worked in shipyards, drydocks, assembly lines, construction crews, acquiring the "Rosie the Riveter" image
received lower wages, women were discriminated against in the workplace, told their jobs were temporary
Sexism in Film
What is the Space Race?
Race to Pioneer
+ launch artificial satellites
+ sub-orbital and orbital human spaceflight
+ voyages to the moon
The "Starting Points"
+ Sputnik 1in 1957
+ Ballistic missiles in 1955
The Benefits of Competition
Crime, horror, science fiction
The End of the Second Red Scare
- Began on November 1, 1955, after the liberation of Vietnam from the French colonial administration
- Northern Vietnam sought to impose a communist regime on the rest of the country
- Southern Vietnam wanted to align itself with the West
- The longest Cold War proxy war
The Woman
women acted as housewives in the nuclear family, subordinate to the male head
purchased, cooked, cleaned, part of consumer economy, was socially invisible
class distinctions not as obvious
lacked opportunities and often frustrated
satisfied emotional needs of family, childcare, etc.
The Man
head of the family
not concerned with household, took care of earning a living (relying on automobile) to supply family's material needs
better suited to suburban life than women because they had mobility
The Nuclear Family
suburbanization & consumerism reinforced the private family
reliance on the automobile, emergence of younger middle class
suburbs were for children as an escape from racial minorities
only acceptable unit to raise decent children
advertisers targeted these families to sell furniture, appliances, cleaning aids
primarily directed to the ideal housewife
women interacted with one another in suburbia more than urban women
"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age."
-Lucille Ball
Betty Crocker
- Federal Aid Highway Act passed in 1956
- Built in name of national security and inspired by the German autobahns
-Capitalism expansion opportunities
- Easier mode of travel and promotion of consumerism in the middle class economy
First debuted in the 1920s
Samuel Gale and Betty Crocker
What Betty did
+ used a pseudonym for
giving advice
Tupperware Home Parties Incorporated
product distribution due to sale failures
elaborate door-to-door sales techniques
informal employment opportunities, blurred lines between the home and business spheres

+ American pride, wealth and rebirth in the economy
+ The prominence of capitalism and consumerism
"America in the 1950s: The Affluent Society"
Marilyn Monroe
Beat Poets
Jack Kerouac
On the Road (1957)
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Allen Ginsberg
Howl (1956)
Stickin' it to the man
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked
"who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull"
'3000,000 volts of horror! Inhuman! Invincible! Inescapable!
"I don't mind living in a mans world as long as I can be a woman in it."
Marilyn Monroe
- In July 1956, President
Gamal Abdel Nasser cuts
off Suez Canal from Britain,
France and Israel
- The three countries declare
war, but Eisenhower
- The war is over within days
Rosie the Riveter
While other girls attend a favorite cocktail bar,
Sipping dry martinis, munching on caviar;
There's a girls who's really putting them to shame- Rosie is her name.
All the day long, whether rain or shine,
She's part of the assembly line,
She's making history working for victory,
Rosie, Rosie, Rosie, Rosie, Rosie, Rosie the riveter.
- McCarthy lost much of his credibility throughout the 1950s

- Began to give a bad name to the anti-communist movement

- After being censured in 1954 by congress, McCarthy began to fade into the background

- By his death in May 1957, the McCarthyite Red Scare was over after anti-communist affairs being passed to HUAC and the Smith Act
- Murray B. Levin
Seventeen Magazine
designed for teenage girls, emphasized physical attractiveness
ads showed models in postures of sexual slender
ads told women: refashion their bodies with diets, padded bra, deodorants, mouthwashes & body air removers
Captain America...
Lucy: This whole thing is Ricky's fault.
Ricky: MY FAULT?
Lucy: Yeah, if you hadn't have left Cuba to come to America, we wouldn't have gotten married and we never would've come to Switzerland in the first place!
Happy Birthday Mr. President
Full transcript