After World War II, American lives will change due to the middle class unexpectedly expanding due to suburbinization, unemployment rates were decreasing, and the United States will become the most powerful country in the world due to the technological creation of the nuclear bomb which won’t last very long because the Soviet Union will test their nuclear weapon in 1949. The 1950’s deserves its reputation as an age of political, social, and cultural conformity to a great extent due to Eisenhower needing to enhance old policies, the eagerness of America wanting to get rid of communism, and to prove that the American lifestyle was the best way to live. Politics was in the 1950’s was known as the “age of conformity” due to the rise of Eisenhower and the wanting to get rid of communism.
Eisenhower wanted to undo the New Deal and it didn’t work due to the fact that the New Deal Programs were booming in the 1950’s. Communism didn’t come until after WWII and Eisenhower’s goal was to get rid of it. The Red Scare was started by Republican Senator McCarthy who was largely anticommunism and everyone at this time was anti-communism. People feared being accused of being a communist because if you were accused it could ruin your life and it was also a tactic to go after the Democrats.
Many politicians would swear that they weren’t communists and they would have to take oaths in office. McCarthyism is a campaign against alleged communist in the U.S.
government and other institutions carried out under Senator John McCarthy. This allowed many people to accuse false accusations such as the Hollywood Ten and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s case. The Hollywood Ten was a group of people in the film industry who were jailed for refusing to answer congressional questions regard communist influence in Hollywood.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s case will help spread the fear of communism and the belief in McCarthyism. The atmosphere in the United States was causing a sense of paranoia, distrust, and fear. He will enforce the McCarran International Security Act which was passed by Congress declaring that world communism has its sole purpose the establishment of totalitarian dictatorship. Eisenhower could voice against the Korean War and McCarthyism. He will get the U.
S. involved abroad and change Cold War diplomacy. The Eisenhower Doctrine pledged support to smaller nations fighting communism. He was use the CIA to do some political dirty work. In 1953, the CIA bribes people in Iran to accept Shah to control U.S.
oil interest and this made a turning point from the U.S. because we were the number one exporter now we will be the number one importer. Vietnam will be split into North and South Vietnam.
The North was communist and their leader was Ho Chi Minh and the South was democratic and their leader was Ngo Dinh Diem. They held the election due to them deciding whether Vietnam would be unified under communism or democracy. At the Geneva Conference they resolve this issue by giving everything to the South and having the 17th parallel to France. They will also make bribes to Guatemala, Egypt, and Cuba. Social conformity will become an aspect of the 1950’s due to gender roles and civil rights.
Television was becoming popular in the 1950’s and it would show the “perfect suburban life”. A man’s job was to work but now instead of working at a factory, you had white collared jobs. The return of the cult of domesticity will come back at the end of WWII.
Women will be forced to leave the workplace to return home were they would once again cook and clean for their family. Forty percent of the women at this time will work outside of the house part-time and they will work at the office, a school, or a hospital. Women will go to college then get their “MRS” degree, education on the other hand will be a backup plan. Betty Friedan wrote the Feminine Mystique and she writes about how men and women should be equal. In this time period, they wanted you to marry early and have a bunch of kids.
But it isn’t until 1962 that the birth rates will be dropping for 6 million to 3 million. The middle class will unexpectedly expand due to suburbians. Middle class people would move out of the cities to Levittowns which were cookie cutter neighborhoods. By doing this it made it difficult to segregate schools without extensive busing. At this time African Americans will challenge the Jim Crow laws in the South. African Americans wanted their Civil Rights.
They had no conformity because they had minorities and the wanting of Civil Rights. Women will once again get involved in politics and African Americans will fight for their Civil Rights. They had multiple cases and incidents to fight for African American Civil Rights, for example you had the Plessy Vs.
Ferguson Case, Menendez Vs. Westminster, Sweatt Vs. Painter, Brown Vs.
Board of Education (Topeka), Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Little Rock. At the Plessy Vs. Ferguson Case the Supreme Court enforces the “separate but equal.” They were able to vote but only 20 percent was registered to vote but only 6 percent could vote in Mississippi. The Menendez Vs. Westminster Case challenged Mexican remedial schools in Orange County.
The Brown Vs. Board of Education (Topeka) ended legal segregation at public schools. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a civil rights protest which protested against segregated seating so many the African Americans refuse to ride the city buses in Montgomery, Alabama which was led by Rosa Parks.
Another powerful leader was Martin Luther King Jr and he helped with Little Rock and get the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Culture conformity will also be an aspect in the 1950’s due to music and the teen culture which will create a sense of rebellion. Some new forms of race music will creep into the society such as Rock and Roll and The Beats. The King of Rock and Roll was Elvis Presley and not a lot of parents liked their teenage daughters watching Elvis due to his “provocative” dancing. Many parents weren’t use to this type of teen culture, they were used to going to church and living in the suburbs.
The Beats were poets and writers who intentionally ignored rules of grammar and music. Most of these type of literature and music forms were improvised. This will soon led to the hippy era. The decade of the 1950’s was an age of political, social, and cultural conformity. As any decade does, the 1950’s looked back to the solidarity of World War II caused the public to be calm and accept the rules of society.
The 1950’s predicted the multiple explosions of the 1960’s.