Conclusion: Post-War America

The post-World war II United says went v a period of unprecedented economic prosperity for many white americans that coincided with black Americans’ intensifying the struggle for civil rights and economic justice.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsFollowing human being War II, the joined States emerged as one of the two dominant superpowers, turning away native its classic isolationism and toward raised international involvement.The joined States ended up being a worldwide influence in economic, political, military, cultural, and technical affairs. The unprecedented growth of the U.S. Economic situation translated into prosperity that resulted in millions the office and also factory employees being lifted right into a growing middle class that moved to the suburbs and adopted consumer goods.The role of women in U.S. Society became an issue of specific interest in the post-war years, with marriage and also feminine domesticity illustrated as the main goal because that the American woman. The post-war infant boom taken on the function of women as caretakers and homemakers.The post-World battle II prosperity did not prolong to everyone. Many Americans continued to live in poverty throughout the 1950s, particularly older people and also African Americans.Voting civil liberties discrimination remained widespread in the southern through the 1950s. Back both next pledged progress in 1948, the only major development before 1954 to be integration the the military.In the beforehand days of the Civil civil liberties Movement, litigation and also lobbying were the emphasis of integration efforts. The U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and other an important cases caused a shift in tactics, and also from 1955 to 1965, “direct action” to be the strategy—primarily bus boycotts, sit-ins, liberty rides, and social movements.Key TermsCivil rights Movement: A term offered to include social movements in the United claims whose goals were to end racial segregation and also discrimination against african Americans and secure legit recognition and federal protection of the citizenship civil liberties enumerated in the Constitution and commonwealth boom: any kind of period significant by a considerably increased fertility rate. This demographic phenomenon is commonly ascribed within particular geographical bounds. In the unified States, the post-World battle II period was significant by this phenomenon.Space Race: A 20th-century competition in between two Cold War rivals—the Soviet Union and the joined States—for prominence in spaceflight capability. It had actually its beginnings in the missile based nuclear eight race between the two countries that followed civilization War II, allowed by caught German rocket technology and personnel. The technical superiority compelled for such supremacy was viewed as important for national security, and symbolic of ideology system superiority. The spawned pioneering efforts to launch fabricated satellites, unmanned room probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and also human spaceflight in low earth orbit and come the Moon.Suburbia: Residential locations or mixed-use areas, one of two people existing as part of a city or city area or as a different residential ar within commuting street of a city. In most English speak regions, these areas are characterized in comparison to central or inner-city areas. Your rapid growth was crucial component the the post-World war II economic boom in the joined States.

Political Background

Following civilization War II, the united States arised as one of the two leading superpowers, along with the the Soviet Union. The U.S. Senate in a bipartisan poll approved U.S. Authorized in the United countries (UN), which marked a rotate away from the timeless isolationism the the joined States and toward increased international involvement. In 1949, the unified States, rejecting the long-standing policy of no military alliances in peacetime, created the north Atlantic Treaty company (NATO) alliance, which continues into the 21st century. In response, the Soviets created the Warsaw Pact that communist states.

In august 1949, the Soviets experiment their first nuclear weapon, thereby escalating the danger of warfare. Indeed, the hazard of support assured destruction prevented both powers from going also far, and also resulted in proxy wars, many notably in Korea and Vietnam, in which the 2 sides did not directly face each other. Within the joined States, the Cold War motivated concerns about Communist influence. The unanticipated leapfrogging that U.S. Technology by the Soviets in 1957 with Sputnik, the an initial Earth satellite, started the space Race, winner by the Americans as Apollo 11 landing astronauts ~ above the moon in 1969. The angst around the weaknesses of U.S. Education and learning led to large federal assistance for scientific research education and research.

Economic Prosperity

In the decades following civilization War II, the unified States ended up being a worldwide influence in economic, political, military, cultural, and technical affairs. Beginning in the 1950s, middle-class society became i heard with consumer goods. Increasing numbers of workers enjoyed high wages, larger houses, better schools, and much more cars and household technology. The U.S. Economy grew dramatically in the post-war period, broadening at an yearly rate of 3.5%. The an extensive increase in average family income in ~ a generation brought about millions the office and factory employees being lifted right into a growing middle class, allowing them to sustain a standard of life once taken into consideration reserved because that the wealthy. As listed by scholar Deone Zell, assembly line job-related paid well, if unionized manufacturing facility job served as “stepping-stones come the center class.” by the end of the 1950s, 87% of all U.S. Households owned at least one television, 75% own cars, and 60% owned your homes. By 1960, blue-collar workers had become the biggest buyers of countless luxury goods and also services.

The duration from 1946 to 1960 additionally witnessed a far-reaching increase in the paid leisure time of functioning people. The 40-hour workweek developed by the fair Labor criter Act in covered industries ended up being the yes, really schedule in most workplaces by 1960. The majority of workers additionally enjoyed payment vacations and also industries catering to leisure activities blossomed.


American family watching TV in 1958, picture by Evert F. Baumgardner for nationwide Archives and also Records Administration.: The 1950s saw the explosion of a consumer goods economy. By the finish of the 1950s, 87% of all U.S. Families owned at the very least one television, 75% owned cars, and 60% owned your homes. Photos of thriving white middle-class households in your suburban homes symbolized the well-known narrative of financial stability and also traditional family members values.

Educational outlays were likewise greater than in other nations while a greater proportion of young human being were graduating native high schools and universities than elsewhere 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 also medicine to be world-famous.

In regard to society welfare, the postwar era experienced a considerable advancement in insurance because that workers and also their dependents versus the risks of illness, as exclusive insurance programs like Blue Cross and also Blue Shield expanded. With the notable exemption of farm and also domestic workers, basically all members that the labor force were extended by social Security. In 1959, around two-thirds of factory workers and also three-fourths the office employees were noted with supplemental personal pension plans.

Many city dwellers offered up cramped city apartments because that a suburban lifestyle focused on children and also housewives, v the male breadwinner commuting to work. By 1960, suburbia encompassed a third of the nation’s population. The expansion of suburbs was not only a an outcome of postwar prosperity, but innovations that the single-family housing market v low interest prices on 20- and also 30-year mortgages, and also low under payments, especially for veterans. William Levitt began a national trend v his use of mass-production techniques to build a big “Levittown” housing breakthrough on lengthy Island. Meanwhile, the suburban populace swelled due to the fact that of the infant boom; a dramatic increase in fertility in the duration of 1942–1957.


The function of ladies in U.S. Culture became an worry of specific interest in the post-war years, with marriage and also feminine domesticity shown as the primary goal because that the American woman. As women had been forced out of the labor industry by men returning from the armed forces service, plenty of chafed at the society expectations of being an idle stay-at-home housewife who cooked, cleaned, shopped, and also tended to the children. Marital relationship rates increased sharply in the 1940s and reached all-time highs. Americans started to marry at a younger age and also marriage immediately after high college was ending up being commonplace. Women were significantly under tremendous press to marry by the period of 20. The stereotype arisen that ladies were walk to university to earn their M.R.S. (Mrs.) degree.

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

Baby Boom

In 1946, live births in the United says surged indigenous 222,721 in January to 339,499 in October. By the finish of the 1940s, about 32 million babies had been born, compared with 24 million in the 1930s. Sylvia Porter, a New York Post columnist, very first used the hatchet “boom” to describe the phenomenon of boosted births in the post-war United states in might 1951. Annual births first topped 4 million in 1954 and also did not drop below that number until 1965, by which time four out of ten Americans to be under age 20.

Many factors contributed to the baby boom. In the post-war years, couples that can not purchased families during the great Depression consisted of for lost time. The mood was currently optimistic. Unemployment ended and the economy greatly expanded. Numerous veterans changed home and were required to reintegrate right into society. Come facilitate the integration process, conference passed the G.I. Bill of Rights, which encouraged home ownership and investment in greater education v the distribution of loans to veterans at short or zero interest rates. The G.I. Bill enabled document numbers of world to end up high school and also attend college. This led to boost in stock of skills and yielded greater incomes to families.

Poverty and also Disenfranchisement

The post-World war II prosperity go not prolong to everyone. Plenty of Americans continued to live in poor throughout the 1950s, particularly older people and also African Americans, the latter of whom ongoing to earn much less on median than your white counterparts. Automatically after the war, 12 million return veterans to be in require of work, and in many situations could not discover it. In addition, job strikes rocked the nation, in some instances exacerbated by gyeongju tensions because of African Americans having actually taken jobs throughout the war and also now being challenged with irate returning veterans who demanded that they step aside. The huge variety of women to work in the workforce in the war were likewise rapidly cleared the end to do room for men. Countless blue-collar workers continued to live in poverty, v 30% the those employed in industry. Racial distinctions were staggering. In 1947, 60% that black households lived below the poor level (defined in one examine as below $3000 in 1968), contrasted with 23% of white families. In 1968, 23% of black households lived below the poverty level, contrasted with 9% of white families.

Voting rights discrimination continued to be widespread in the south through the 1950s. Fewer than 10% poll in the Deep South, although a larger proportion voted in the border states, and black Americans to be being arranged into democratic machines in the north cities. Return both next pledged progress in 1948, the only significant development before 1954 to be integration of the military.

In the beforehand days that the Civil legal rights Movement, litigation and also lobbying were the focus of integration efforts. The supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and also other an essential cases resulted in a transition in tactics, and from 1955 to 1965, “direct action” to be the strategy—primarily bus boycotts, sit-ins, flexibility rides, and social movements. Brown was a landmark instance that clearly outlawed distinction of public education and learning facilities because that black and also white Americans, judgment so on the grounds the the doctrine of “separate but equal” public education can never truly administer black americans with infrastructure of the same standards available to white Americans.

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Arkansas governor Orval Faubus provided the Arkansas nationwide Guard to prevent school integration at small Rock main High institution in 1957. Chairman Dwight Eisenhower nationalized state forces and also sent in the U.S. Army to enforce federal court orders. Governors Ross Barnett the Mississippi and George Wallace that Alabama physically blocked institution doorways in ~ their respective states’ universities. Birmingham’s public safety and security commissioner Eugene T. “Bull” Connor promoted violence versus freedom riders and also ordered fire hoses and also police dog turned top top demonstrators throughout the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Sheriff Jim Clark that Dallas County, Alabama, loosed his deputies throughout the “Bloody Sunday” occasion of the Selma come Montgomery march, injuring many of the marchers and also personally menacing other protesters. Police all across the south arrested civil civil liberties activists top top trumped-up charges.