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Standard 7.6B

Social and Cultural Changes in Post WWII America

Adam Powley

on 29 April 2013

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Transcript of Standard 7.6B

St 7.6B Social and Cultural Changes in Post WWII America GIs Come Home Suburbanization Consumer Culture Secularization and Religious Conservativism The Role Of Women at Work WWII is over by Aug of 1945 What to do with the returning soldiers? Many jobs had been filled by women and minorities.
Do we want a spike in unemployment?
Do we want to throw either group to the streets? Lets reward the soldiers with new opportunities! The G.I. Bill (Servicemen's Readjustment Act) Returning Soldiers are given money to go to college and to buy homes WHY? Allows the "others" to keep their jobs It allows the servicemen to develop into a more educated and skilled working class New types of white collar and technical jobs open up This will spur a new economic and cultural growth during the 1950s and 60s. White Collar Jobs (office work) More seriously Soldiers returning home were eager to start a family there was relative security
they had the GI Bill for ed. and homes
there was prosperity after 1948 This did lead to a "Baby Boom" Why is the baby boom such a big deal? kids need and want to "Stuff" Helps fuel the "Consumer Culture" Also increases the amount of students going to school Strains school capacity and leads to bigger schools and more teachers This is combined with the Sputnik based fear of falling behind the Soviets in Math and Science and leads to an emphasis on Education in the US! Students are:
staying in school longer (going to college)
women are going too The Baby Boom also meant people needed a place to raise their families which means In addition to college Loans the GI Bill gave money to vets to buy homes or start new small businesses Abundant Cars and The National Highway Defense act during the era helped lead to the Suburb explosion of the 1950s Suburbs grew along the highways and OUT of the city centers This is sometimes termed "White Flight" as the white population left the inner city and immigrants and minorities filled in. It is in the suburbs that we start to see some of the things we take for granted today, like: and some things we don't really see anymore and sometimes things we wish we could forget during WWII war industries in the north and west coast cities led many African Americans to move their Many were looking for jobs while also escaping racism like we see here many of the minorities took residence in the city at the same time the whites were leaving many businesses (and the jobs) left the city as well. Most new jobs popped up in the 'burbs. The inner city then has high unemployment, few services and a shrinking tax base. few taxes means an even less help for the unemployed and fewer services and government jobs The discrepancy between the wealthy white suburbs and the poor minority cities will lead to race riots in the 60s lets get back to the burbs and boomers This pic is sometimes refered to as the "Coca-Colonization" of the World... The statement suggest that the American consumer culture was taking over! Also important is the "baby" image The Baby Boom was a key element in the resurgence of the Consumer Culture Growing families led to more purchasing The increased Demand meant a boom in production which led to increased jobs We see a cycle of economic improvement opposite of the cycle of unemployment that led to the Great Depression Many of the jobs were new "White Collar" jobs by the 1950s the US had the highest standard of living in the world The Cold War helped since the Government was funding massive defense projects and jobs With the TV advertising, the increase in salary and the baby boom there is a return to the buy now pay later mentality. There is a return to consumer debt once again! The first Credit Cards are also introduced Many religious leaders blamed the Consumer culture for a change in American's religious nature As society became more secular (non-religious) there was a swing back towards religious passion What evidence shows society was "losing its religion"? The Supreme Court's Decisions like Engel v. Vitale (1962) NY required students to participate in a prayer before school. Engel's parents argued that the school was a public (government) institution and forcing the students to pray "established" the religion which violates the 1st amendment The SC agreed with the parents and found the prayer unconstitutional This led to other cases in which the court agreed that students cannot be a "Captive Audience". In other words even if given the option to leave they are still bound through peer pressure not to leave. One misconception is that the court outlawed prayer in school which is inaccurate. A group prayer especially one sponsored by the leadership is not allowed. Students can still pray on their own as long as it does not disrupt the classroom environment or create a captive audience. the point of the decisions were to keep all religions out of the public sphere thus not allowing a major religion to dominate a smaller or minority religion becoming a religious power in the government These decisions and challanges to morality were hated by religious groups and the pendulum swung back toward religious fervor. Other secular issues included the Civil Rights issues, the Women's Movement, abortion rights and the "sexual revolution" of the 60s and 70s. Religious Groups began supporting conservative positions They began to use new media like TV to gain new audiences and power in society Groups like the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition sponsored "moral" candidates What are the "moral" positions?
oppose abortion
oppose the increase of the "welfare state" The welfare state in this case means given money to the "unworthy" poor. Those that are lazy or drug addicts. It harkens back to the "rugged individualism" of the Hoover administration. This religious movement is still in full swing and can be seen in elements of the pro-life movement, the opposition to gay marriage and the advocacy of public funds being given to faith based charities. Oddly enough a conflict between religious organizations and women's rights groups occurs over the abortion issue... Remember WWII meant more women were in the workplace and in different types of jobs This later paves the way for women to demand even more rights! As men returned from war the women went back to being mothers and housewives like what happened in "A League of Their Own" A housewives they were once again the main consumers of the household and ads began to target them again. 50s TV shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best reinforced the role of mother and home maker... Many women found the suburbs isolating and consumerism unfulfilling. They wanted careers but were stuck in those old career paths of: still paid less than men little opportunity for promotion women that had gone to college had little opportunities that matched their skills Betsy Friedan and the Feminine Mystique will help pave the way for the women's rights of the 60s and 70s
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