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Post World War II (1945-1960)
“Whoever occupies a territory also imposes his own social
system. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his
armies can reach. It cannot be otherwise.”
Joseph Stalin
I. The Cold War
A. Roots of the Cold War
1. during WWII, Russian troops
liberated eastern Europe
while American troops freed
western Europe
2. Soviet Viewpoint
a. need a “buffer zone” to protect
from third German attack
b. Allies not truthful about creation
of an atomic bomb
c. Allies were late in opening a
western front
3. American Viewpoint
a. Stalin refused to allow free
elections in eastern Europe
b. creation of communist,
satellite governments in Eastern
Europe creating an “Iron Curtain
between east and west”
From Stettin in the Balkans, to Trieste in the
Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the
Continent. Behind that line lies the ancient
capitals of Central and Eastern Europe.
-- Sir Winston Churchill, 1946
B. Containment
1. Truman Doctrine
a.US promises to send troops to any
nation fighting communism
b.US begins policy of stopping the spread
of communism (containment)
2. Marshall Plan
a. US sees Europe as a “breeding
ground” for communism
b. US offers monetary aid ($13 billion) to
any nation in need including
communist countries
C. Germany
1. during the war, Allied leaders
met at Yalta to discuss the fate
of Germany
2. Germany is divided into two nations;
West Germany is democratic and East
Germany is communist
3. Berlin is also divided although it is
on the eastern side
4. Stalin attempts to gain control of all of
Berlin by closing all roads into the city
5. President Truman refuses to give up
Berlin and Allies send in supplies for 11
months until Stalin gives up
(Berlin Airlift)
D. Collective Security
1. western Europeans nations and
the United States create military
defense alliance (NATO)
2. first peacetime military alliance
3. US will create other alliances with
other nations throughout the world
(MEATO, ANZUS, etc)
4. Eisenhower Doctrine
a. called for the use of American
troops to spread communism in
the Middle East
b. used to prevent communist
threats in numerous nations
E. Korean War
1. after WWII, Korea was divided
into (communist) North and
(capitalist) South
2. in 1950, North Korea invaded
South Korea
3. the United States with approval
from the United Nations sent troops
led by General Douglas MacArthur
to liberate South Korea
4. US pushed North Korean troops
back to the Chinese border
(Yalu River)
5. “Red China”
a. after WWII, Mao attacks corrupt
Nationalist government
b. in 1949 communists gain control
and People’s Republic of China is
formed
c. Chinese “volunteers” cross border
forcing United Nations troops to
retreat
6. Total War or Containment?
a. General MacArthur wanted to
escalate the war into China
b. President Truman feared Russian
involvement and rejected the
request
c. MacArthur criticism of the
President led to his firing in 1951
7. in 1953, an armistice ends the
war and established the 38th
parallel as the dividing line
F. Arms/Space Race
1. US and Soviet Union build weapons of
“mass destruction” (bombs, missiles)
2. both nations spend trillions on weapons
and space programs
3. many Americans built bomb
shelters to protect themselves
4. Massive Retaliation
a. policy created by Eisenhower’s
administration to rely on nuclear
weapons rather than large
military force
b. used weapons as a threat
(Brinksmanship)
b. used weapons as a threat
(Brinksmanship)
5. Sputnik
a. first man-made satellite sent into
space
b. led to increase in missile
production
c. led to call for improvements in
math and science
(National Defense Education Act)
II. Red Scare
A. House Un-American Activities
Committee (HUAC)
1. Congressional committee
designed to check the loyalty of
liberals, New Deal leaders and
Hollywood
2. Hollywood Ten
a. belief that many in Hollywood
were communist sympathizers
b. refusal to testify led to prison
terms and blacklisting of 250
people
B. Loyalty Review Board
1. created by President Truman to
identify disloyal organizations
2. authorized FBI to attack the
civil liberties of these people
3. over three million people were
affected
C. Espionage
1. former state department official,
Alger Hiss, denies being a Russian
spy but is convicted of perjury
2. The Rosenbergs
a. in 1950, a couple is charged with
selling atomic secrets
b. tried, found guilty and executed
for spying
c. reminded many of the Sacco
and Vanzetti case in the 1920s
D. McCarthyism (1950-1954)
1. Senator McCarthy claimed that
communists are in the State
Department
2. accuses that Army is covering up
foreign espionage
3. Army hearings made him look
ridiculous
4. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible used
the Salem Witch Trial as a
metaphor for McCarthyism
III. America at Home
A. Politics
1. Election of 1948
a. Republicans nominate NY Governor
Thomas Dewey
b. many democrats were unhappy
with Truman’s policies causing the
party to split
c. Strom Thurmond runs as a
Dixiecrat who opposes civil rights
d. Truman surprises nation with victory
thanks to African-Americans, labor and
farmers (New Deal Coalition)
2. Fair Deal
a. President Truman’s domestic
program
b. expanded Social Security
and increased minimum wage to
$.75
3. Election of 1952 – “We Like Ike”
a. Truman does not run for re-election (25%
approval rating) and party nominates Adlai
Stevenson
b. Republicans nominate war hero, General
Dwight Eisenhower (“I Like Ike”)
c. military background and emphasis on
combating Communism helps
Eisenhower/Nixon win easily
B. Economy
1. Demobilization
a. many Americans feared a post
war recession due to return of 9
million soldiers and loss of
military contracts
b. Congress passed the Serviceman
Readjustment Act (GI Bill) which
provided medical care for veterans
and money for schooling
c. led to firing of African-Americans
and women
2. many workers went on strike
demanding higher wages after
government removed price controls
3. Taft-Hartley Act (1947)
a. passed by republican Congress
over President Truman’s veto
b. allowed President to call for an 80
day cooling down period
c. outlawed “closed shops”
(must be a union member)
d. weakened the Wagner Act
4. Farmers
a. use of machinery led to surplus
and prices fell
b. number of farmers decreased
c. President Eisenhower refused to
offer aid
5. Economic Boom
a. the fields of sales, advertising,
insurance and communications
exploded as more people held
“white collar jobs”
b. national income doubled in the
1950s as 40% of world’s wealth was
in America
6. Consumerism
a. by the mid-1950s, nearly 60% of
Americans were members of the middle
class
b. buying material goods came to symbolize
success and status
(“Keeping up with the Joneses”)
c. ad agencies increased their spending
50% and TV advertising soared from
$170 million in 1950 to nearly $2
billion in 1960
d. first credit card appeared in 1950
(Diner’s Club) and American Express
started in 1958
e. personal debt tripled in the 1950s
IV. The American Society
A. Changing Demographics
1. Baby Boom
How did the birthrate rise and fall during the baby boom years in the US?
1940
2,559,000 births per year
1946
3,311,000 births per year
1955
4,097,000 births per year
1957
4,300,000 births per year
1964
4,027,000 births per year
1974
3,160,000 births per year
a. growth in the birthrate which
resulted in the largest generation in
nation’s history (every 7 seconds)
b. caused by advances in medicine (Jonas
Salk creates vaccine for Polio), decreasing
marriage age and a desirability for large
families
c. led to the growth of the toy market, an
increase in education/school funding and
the growth of TV shows for kids
d. importance of children in society
increased
Dr. Spock’s book sold 10
million copies in the
1950s
e. future generations will be supporting
an increasingly aging American
population
2. Growth of the Suburbs
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky,
tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There’s a green one and a pick one, and a blue one
and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky, and they all
look just the same
And the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same
And there’s doctors and lawyers
And business executives
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same
And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same……..
Malvina Reynolds
“little Boxes”, 1962
a. the growth in family size, the
accumulation of capital and the
availability of government loans to
veterans brought a rapid increase in
home building
b. was done in areas surrounding major cities
c. William Levitt used assembly line methods
to produce 150 houses per week and sold
for around $8000 or $60/month with no
down payment (“The American Dream”)
SHIFTS IN POPULATION DISTRIBUTION
1940-1970
Central Cities
Suburbs
Rural Areas/
Small Towns
1940
31.6%
19.5%
48.9%
1950
32.3%
23.8%
43.9%
1960
32.6%
30.7%
36.7%
1970
32.0%
41.6%
26.4%
3. Move out west
a. emergence of war industries and high
tech industries caused many people to
move from the Frostbelt to the Sunbelt
b. weakened political power of Northeast
and mid-west
c. many whites left for the suburbs leaving
African-Americans who had migrated up
north in the cities (white flight)
B. Automobile
1. Interstate Highway Act (1956)
a. largest public works project in American
history
b. created 42,000 miles of highway which
covered 90% of America
(cost $30 billion)
c. number of registered cars increased
60% between 1945-1960 (60,000,000)
d. helped create a homogeneous society
as scenery of America looked the same
“Our new roads, with their
ancillaries, the motels, filling
stations, and restaurants
advertising eats, have made it
possible for you to drive from
Brooklyn to Los Angeles without a
change of diet, scenery, or culture.”
John Keats, The Insolent Chariots
1958
e. negative effects included air and noise
pollution and a decrease in public
transportation
C. “Cult of Domesticity”
The ideal modern woman married, cooked and
cared for her family, and kept herself busy by joining the
local PTA and leading a troop of Campfire Girls. She
entertained guests in her family’s suburban house and worked
out on the trampoline to keep her size 12 figure.
-- Life magazine, 1956
1. after the war women returned home to
their families
2. lived isolated lives that revolved around
children
3. the role of homemaker and mother was
glorified in popular magazines, movies
and television
4. % of women in workforce increased in
1950s as families needed a 2nd income
(part time)
5. women who did work found job
opportunities limited to fields such as
nursing, teaching and office support
(pink collar jobs)
6. women earned far less than men for
comparable jobs
D. Television
1. although available since the 1940s
(7,000), sales exploded in the 1950s
(50,000,000)
2. Golden Age of Television
a. comedies such as the Milton Berle
Show were very popular
b. I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball and Desi
Arnaz was the most popular show
3. selective programming enforced
stereotypes and traditional American
values
Truth,
Justice,
and the
American
way!
a. promoted middle class, suburban
lifestyle
Leave It to Beaver
1957-1963
b. promoted the idea of the father as the
head of the household
Father Knows Best
1954-1958
c. promoted the idea that not all could be
“social winners”
The Honeymooners
d. promoted idea that women should have
babies and stay at home
The Donna Reed Show
1958-1966
E. Cultural Uniformity
1. Organization Man
a. businesses did not want creative
thinkers or anyone who would
“rock the boat”
b. modern worker struggled with a loss of
individualism
2. television preachers like Reverend
Billy Graham helped church
membership increase nearly 50% in
the 1950s
Today in the U. S., the Christian faith is back in
the center of things. -- Time magazine, 1954
3. mass media and television helped create
a homogeneous culture but dissenting
voices emerged
4. Subculture Emerges
a. the Beat Movement was centered in NY’s
Greenwich Village and its followers
(Beatniks) promoted social
nonconformity
b. big-band music remained a mainstay
for older Americans, young people
turned to Rock-n-Roll
C. “teenagers” were angered by the
conformity and materialism of the adult
society
d. artists such as Jackson Pollack
(Abstract Expressionism) used
spontaneous expression and vivid colors
to promote change and express their
unhappiness
e. in 1955, Hugh Hefner publishes Playboy
magazine for the first time which starts
the sexual revolution
10D. Progress Through Science
Atomic Anxieties:
 “Duck-and-Cover
Generation”
Atomic Testing:
 1946-1962  U. S. exploded 217
the
nuclear weapons over
Pacific and in Nevada.
POLITICAL DIFFERENCES
• At the heart of the tension
was a fundamental difference
in political systems
• America is a democracy that
has a capitalist economic
system, free elections and
competing political parties
• In the U.S.S.R., the sole
political party – the
Communists – established a
totalitarian regime with little
or no rights for the citizens
Soviets viewed Marx, Engels and
Lenin as founders of Communism
STALIN INSTALLS PUPPET
GOVERNMENTS
In a 1946 speech, Stalin said communism
and capitalism were incompatible and
another war was inevitable
• Stalin installed
“satellite” communist
governments in the
Eastern European
countries of Albania,
Bulgaria,
Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, Romania,
Yugoslavia and East
Germany
• This after promising
“free elections” for
Eastern Europe at the
Yalta Conference
U.S. ESTABLISHES A POLICY
OF CONTAINMENT
• Faced with the Soviet
threat, Truman decided it
was time to “stop babying
the Soviets”
• In February 1946, George
Kennan, an American
diplomat in Moscow,
proposed a policy of
containment
• Containment meant the
U.S. would prevent any
further extension of
communist rule
Iron
Curtain
cartoon,
1946
Marshall
Plan aid
sent to
European
countries
Marshall
Aid
cartoon,
1947
BERLIN AIRLIFT – 1948
• When the Soviets
attempted to block
the three Western
powers from access
to Berlin in 1948, the
2.1 million residents
of West Berlin had
only enough food
for five weeks,
resulting in a dire
situation
Like the whole of Germany, the
city of Berlin was divided into
four zones
AMERICA & BRITAIN AIRLIFT
SUPPLIES TO WEST BERLIN
• Not wanting to invade and
start a war with the
Soviets, America and
Britain started the Berlin
airlift to fly supplies into
West Berlin
• For 327 days, planes took
off and landed every few
minutes, around the clock
• In 277,000 flights, they
brought in 2.3 million tons
of food, fuel and medicine
to the West Berliners
SECTION 2: THE COLD WAR
HEATS UP
• CHINA:
For two decades, Chinese
communists had struggled
against the nationalist
government of Chiang KaiShek
The U.S. supported Chiang
and gave the Nationalist
Party $3 billion in aid
during WWII
However, Mao Zedong’s
Communist Party in China
was strong, especially
among Chinese peasants
THE HOUSE UN-AMERICAN
ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
• The HUAC was a
government body which
first made headlines in
1947 when it began
investigating communist
influence in the movie
industry
• The committee believed
that Communists were
sneaking propaganda into
films
• The HUAC subpoenaed
witnesses from Hollywood
to discuss their
involvement
THE BLACKLIST TEN
• Ten witnesses refused to
cooperate because they
believed the proceedings
were unconstitutional –
they were jailed
• Subsequently, the
committee blacklisted
500 actors, directors,
writers and producers
whom they believed had
communist connections
The “Blacklist Ten” (And
two lawyers)
SPY CASES STUN THE
NATION • Two spy cases added to
Nixon examines
microfilm in Hiss
case
the fear gripping the
nation
• Alger Hiss was accused
of being a spy for the
Soviets
• A young Republican
congressman named
Richard Nixon gained
fame by tirelessly
prosecuting Hiss
• Hiss was found guilty
and jailed – less than
four years later Nixon
was VP
THE ROSENBERGS
• Another high profile trial
was the Rosenberg spy
case
• The Rosenbergs were
accused of providing
information to Soviets
which enabled them to
produce an atomic bomb
in 1949
• Ethel and Julius
Rosenberg were found
guilty and executed
The Rosenbergs were the first U.S.
citizens executed for espionage
MCCARTHY LAUNCHES
“WITCH HUNT”
• The most famous antiCommunist activist was
Senator Joseph McCarthy,
a Republican from
Wisconsin
• McCarthy took advantage
of people’s concern about
Communism by making
unsupported claims that
205 state department
members were
Communists
AntiCommunist
propaganda
during
McCarthy
era
MCCARTHY’S DOWNFALL
• Finally, in 1954 McCarthy
went too far
• He accused high ranking
Army officers of being
Communists
• In the televised
proceedings McCarthy’s
bullying of witnesses
alienated the national
audience
• Three years later he died of
alcoholism at age 49
McCarthy’s attacking style and
utter lack of evidence led to his
downfall
BRINKMANSHIP
• By the time both countries
had the H-bomb (1953),
President Dwight D.
Eisenhower and his
Secretary of State John
Foster Dulles made it clear
they were willing to use all
military force (including
nuclear weapons) to stop
aggression
• The Soviets followed suit
• This willingness to go to the
edge of all-out war became
known as brinkmanship
Some Americans created shelters
in their backyards in case of
nuclear attack
National Defense Budget [1940-1964]
Korean War
[1950-1953]
Korean War
[1950-1953]
Kim Il-Sung
Syngman Rhee
“Domino Theory”
The Shifting Map of Korea
[1950-1953]
Preparing for a nuclear blast….
Senator
Joseph
McCarthy
Post-War Germany
Berlin Blockade & Airlift
(1948-49)
North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (1949)
 United States
 Luxemburg
 Belgium
 Netherlands
 Britain
 Norway
 Canada
 Portugal
 Denmark
 1952: Greece &
Turkey
 France
 Iceland
 Italy
 1955: West Germany
 1983: Spain
Warsaw Pact (1955)
}
U. S. S. R.
}
East Germany
}
Albania
}
Hungary
}
Bulgaria
}
Poland
}
Czechoslovakia
}
Rumania
Premier Nikita Khrushchev
About the capitalist
states, it doesn't
depend on you
whether we
(Soviet Union) exist.
If you don't like us,
don't accept our
invitations, and don't
De-Stalinization
invite us to come
Program
to see you. Whether
you like it our not, history is on our
side. We will bury you. -- 1956
Mao’s Revolution: 1949
Who lost China? – A 2nd } Power!
Chapter Twenty-Nine:
The Cold War
• American Society and Politics After the War
– The Nuclear Age
• Conflicting Views of
Nuclear Power
• Promise of Cheap
Nuclear Power
Surviving Nuclear War
(Federal Civil Defense Agency)
Chapter Twenty-Nine:
The Cold War
• Where Historians Disagree:
McCarthyism
How Communism Works, 1938
(Rare Book Division, Library of Congress)