Conclusion: Post-War America

The post-World war II United claims went v a period of unprecedented economic prosperity for numerous white americans that corresponded with black color Americans’ intensifying the battle for civil rights and economic justice.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsFollowing people War II, the joined States arised as one of the two dominant superpowers, turning away from its timeless isolationism and toward boosted international involvement.The united States ended up being a worldwide influence in economic, political, military, cultural, and technological affairs. The unprecedented growth of the U.S. Economic situation translated right into prosperity that resulted in millions that office and factory employees being lifted right into a growing middle class that moved to the suburbs and adopted consumer goods.The role of females in U.S. Culture became an concern of certain interest in the post-war years, through marriage and also feminine domesticity portrayed as the primary goal for the American woman. The post-war baby boom embraced the role of females as caretakers and also homemakers.The post-World battle II prosperity walk not prolong to everyone. Numerous Americans continued to live in poverty throughout the 1950s, especially older people and African Americans.Voting legal rights discrimination continued to be widespread in the south through the 1950s. Return both parties pledged progress in 1948, the only major development prior to 1954 to be integration of the military.In the at an early stage days that the Civil rights Movement, litigation and also lobbying to be the emphasis of integration efforts. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and other vital cases brought about a change in tactics, and from 1955 come 1965, “direct action” was the strategy—primarily bus boycotts, sit-ins, freedom rides, and also social movements.Key TermsCivil legal rights Movement: A term provided to incorporate social movements in the United says whose goals were to finish racial segregation and also discrimination against african Americans and secure legit recognition and also federal security of the citizenship rights enumerated in the Constitution and commonwealth boom: any kind of period significant by a substantially increased fertility rate. This demographic phenomenon is commonly ascribed within specific geographical bounds. In the joined States, the post-World battle II duration was significant by this phenomenon.Space Race: A 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals—the Soviet Union and the unified States—for prominence in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the missile based nuclear arms race between the two countries that followed human being War II, permitted by caught German rocket technology and also personnel. The technical superiority compelled for such supremacy was seen as crucial for nationwide security, and symbolic of ideology system superiority. The spawned pioneering initiatives to launch synthetic satellites, unmanned an are probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and also human spaceflight in low planet orbit and to the Moon.Suburbia: Residential areas or mixed-use areas, either existing as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting street of a city. In many English speak regions, these locations are defined in contrast to central or inner-city areas. Their rapid development was an important component of the post-World war II economic boom in the unified States.

Political Background

Following world War II, the unified States arised as among the two leading superpowers, in addition to the the Soviet Union. The U.S. Senate in a bipartisan vote approved U.S. Participation in the United countries (UN), which marked a rotate away from the timeless isolationism of the joined States and toward raised international involvement. In 1949, the joined States, rejecting the long-standing policy of no military alliances in peacetime, formed the phibìc Atlantic Treaty company (NATO) alliance, which continues into the 21st century. In response, the Soviets developed the Warsaw Pact that communist states.

In august 1949, the Soviets tested their very first nuclear weapon, thereby escalating the threat of warfare. Indeed, the danger of support assured destruction prevented both powers from going as well far, and also resulted in proxy wars, most notably in Korea and Vietnam, in i beg your pardon the 2 sides did not directly face each other. Within the unified States, the Cold War motivated concerns about Communist influence. The unanticipated leapfrogging that U.S. An innovation by the Soviets in 1957 through Sputnik, the very first Earth satellite, began the room Race, won by the Americans together Apollo 11 landing astronauts ~ above the moon in 1969. The angst around the weaknesses of U.S. Education led to large-scale federal assistance for scientific research education and also research.

Economic Prosperity

In the decades following world War II, the united States became a worldwide influence in economic, political, military, cultural, and technological affairs. Beginning in the 1950s, middle-class society became i heard with customer goods. Boosting numbers of workers enjoyed high wages, larger houses, much better schools, and more cars and also household technology. The U.S. Economic climate grew drastically in the post-war period, expanding at an yearly rate the 3.5%. The substantial increase in average family members income in ~ a generation resulted in millions the office and factory employees being lifted into a cultivation middle class, allowing them come sustain a conventional of life once thought about reserved because that the wealthy. As noted by scholar Deone Zell, assembly line occupational paid well, if unionized factory job served as “stepping-stones to the center class.” through the end of the 1950s, 87% of every U.S. Households owned at least one television, 75% owned cars, and 60% owned your homes. By 1960, blue-collar employees had become the greatest buyers of many luxury goods and also services.

The period from 1946 come 1960 additionally witnessed a far-reaching increase in the paid recreation time of functioning people. The 40-hour workweek created by the same Labor requirements Act in covered industries became the actual schedule in many workplaces by 1960. The bulk of workers also enjoyed payment vacations and also industries catering to leisure activities blossomed.


American household watching TV in 1958, photograph by Evert F. Baumgardner for nationwide Archives and also Records Administration.: The 1950s saw the explosion of a customer goods economy. By the end of the 1950s, 87% of all U.S. Family members owned at least one television, 75% own cars, and 60% owned their homes. Photos of flourishing white middle-class families in your suburban residences symbolized the popular narrative of financial stability and also traditional family members values.

Educational outlays were additionally greater than in other nations while a greater proportion the young people were graduating from high schools and also universities than somewhere else in the world, as hundreds of brand-new colleges and also universities opened up every year. In ~ the progressed level, U.S. Science, engineering, and medicine were world-famous.

In for to society welfare, the postwar era witnessed a considerable improvement in insurance because that workers and also their dependents versus the threats of illness, as personal insurance programs favor Blue Cross and also Blue Shield expanded. Through the notable exemption of farm and domestic workers, essentially all members the the labor pressure were covered by society Security. In 1959, around two-thirds of manufacturing facility workers and also three-fourths the office employees were detailed with supplemental exclusive pension plans.

Many city dwellers gave up cramped urban apartments for a suburban lifestyle focused on children and housewives, with the male breadwinner commuting to work. By 1960, suburbia encompassed a 3rd of the nation’s population. The growth of suburbs was not only a an outcome of postwar prosperity, yet innovations that the single-family housing market through low interest prices on 20- and 30-year mortgages, and also low under payments, particularly for veterans. William Levitt began a nationwide trend v his use of mass-production approaches to construct a large “Levittown” housing advancement on lengthy Island. Meanwhile, the suburban populace swelled since of the baby boom; a dramatic boost in fertility in the duration of 1942–1957.


The duty of ladies in U.S. Society became an problem of details interest in the post-war years, with marriage and feminine domesticity depicted as the major goal because that the American woman. As women had been forced out that the labor market by males returning native the army service, numerous chafed at the social expectations of being an idle stay-at-home housewife who cooked, cleaned, shopped, and also tended come the children. Marriage rates climbed sharply in the 1940s and reached all-time highs. Americans began to marry in ~ a younger age and also marriage instantly after high school was ending up being commonplace. Ladies were significantly under tremendous press to marry by the period of 20. The stereotype developed that women were going to college to earn their M.R.S. (Mrs.) degree.

In 1963, Betty Friedan publisher her book The Feminine Mystique, which strongly criticized the function of women throughout the postwar years and also was a bestseller and a major catalyst the the new wave of women’s liberation movement.

Baby Boom

In 1946, live births in the United says surged native 222,721 in January come 339,499 in October. By the finish of the 1940s, about 32 million babies had actually been born, compared with 24 million in the 1930s. Sylvia Porter, a New York Post columnist, an initial used the term “boom” to refer to the phenomenon of increased births in the post-war United says in might 1951. Annual births an initial topped four million in 1954 and did not drop below that number until 1965, by which time four out of ten Americans were under age 20.

Many factors contributed to the infant boom. In the post-war years, couples that can not afford families during the good Depression comprised for lost time. The the atmosphere was currently optimistic. Unemployment ended and the economic climate greatly expanded. Countless veterans returned home and were compelled to reintegrate into society. To facilitate the integration process, conference passed the G.I. Invoice of Rights, which motivated home ownership and investment in greater education v the circulation of loans to veterans at low or zero attention rates. The G.I. Bill enabled record numbers of world to end up high school and also attend college. This led to boost in stock of an abilities and yielded higher incomes come families.

Poverty and Disenfranchisement

The post-World battle II prosperity did not expand to everyone. Countless Americans ongoing to live in poverty throughout the 1950s, specifically older people and also African Americans, the last of whom continued to earn much less on mean than their white counterparts. Automatically after the war, 12 million return veterans to be in need of work, and also in many instances could not uncover it. In addition, job strikes rocked the nation, in some cases exacerbated by racial tensions as result of African Americans having actually taken jobs during the war and now being challenged with irate returning veterans that demanded that they action aside. The huge variety of women to work in the workforce in the battle were also rapidly cleared the end to do room for men. Numerous blue-collar workers ongoing to live in poverty, with 30% that those employed in industry. Racial differences were staggering. In 1947, 60% of black families lived below the poverty level (defined in one study as below $3000 in 1968), contrasted with 23% the white families. In 1968, 23% of black family members lived below the poverty level, compared with 9% of white families.

Voting legal rights discrimination continued to be widespread in the southern through the 1950s. Fewer 보다 10% poll in the Deep South, back a bigger proportion voted in the border states, and also black Americans were being organized into democratic machines in the northern cities. Return both parties pledged progress in 1948, the only major development before 1954 was integration that the military.

In the at an early stage days the the Civil civil liberties Movement, litigation and lobbying were the focus of integration efforts. The can be fried Court decisions in Brown v. Plank of Education (1954) and other an essential cases led to a shift in tactics, and from 1955 to 1965, “direct action” to be the strategy—primarily bus boycotts, sit-ins, liberty rides, and also social movements. Brown was a landmark situation that clearly outlawed distinction of public education and learning facilities for black and white Americans, judgment so top top the grounds the the doctrine of “separate however equal” public education can never truly carry out black americans with infrastructure of the very same standards obtainable to white Americans.

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Arkansas branch Orval Faubus used the Arkansas national Guard to avoid school integration at tiny Rock central High college in 1957. Chairman Dwight Eisenhower nationalized state forces and also sent in the U.S. Army to enforce commonwealth court orders. Governors Ross Barnett that Mississippi and George Wallace that Alabama physically blocked college doorways in ~ their corresponding states’ universities. Birmingham’s public safety commissioner Eugene T. “Bull” Connor supported violence against freedom riders and also ordered fire hoses and also police dogs turned on demonstrators throughout the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Sheriff Jim Clark of Dallas County, Alabama, loosed his deputies during the “Bloody Sunday” event of the Selma come Montgomery march, injuring numerous of the marchers and also personally menacing other protesters. Police all across the southern arrested civil rights activists top top trumped-up charges.