More Babies !!

During the time of the great depression the marriage rates fell very badly due to the economic conditions. Married couples, did not want to have kids or postpone their thoughts of having kids because they didn’t want to make poor decisions that would affect their lives. Due to these decision making the birthrate have also dropped. However, after world war 2 had ended the hopes and dreams for people got a little better. The American soldiers returned home from the war in 1945. These young American men wanted to start everything new such as families, homes and jobs.

Also with all the positive things that were going on after world war two, the Americans started buying goods that caused corporates to expand and more jobs for people. With growth and expansions of positive things there were estimated millions of marriages in 1946. These marriages created a lot of birth of children, which later increase the amount of babies that were being born in the following year 1947. Creating the title for the  most babies born the timeline stated gave it the name for “babyboom” which lasted until the 1950’s.


The Golden Age of television

Television was the first audio- visual media that let people watched live events while they were sitting in their living room. According to Foner, “By the end of the 1950s, nearly nine of ten  American families owned a TV set.” Beside the affordable price, tv was a simply entertaining media also. People could choose what they wanted to see by switching different channel. Television also became the most efficient way for advertising. Companies broadcasted their ads through the televisions.


What Happened to Rosie the Riveter?

During the 1950’s American quality of life was improving. During this period we saw the middle class grow and many people were financially stable. A big part of the affluent society of the 1950s was consumerism. With consumerism came a lot of advertisement for products. Most of those advertisement made the white male appear superior and some were even outright offensive to blacks and women.


What happened to Rosie the Riveter? During the period of  WWII many women had factory jobs and they were supporting the family while the husband was out fight in the war. At that time womenn were doing jobs that were traditionally held by men. Just when you thought women were getting more respect and moving up in society poof and there goes an ad implying that a women can not open up a bottle of ketchup and their only job is to serve the men.

Did the affluent society only pertain to white male?


A Woman’s Ideal Life

Although during the 1950s, women began working more outside of the home and began to expand their horizons regarding the roles of modern-day women, the suburban lifestyle movement dominated. In the ideal suburban family’s household, the male still held the most authority and was considered to be the representative of the household because he still made the most money. A suburban female was supposed to be a stay-at-home wife. Various media pushed and glorified the married life for females. Marriage was portrayed to be the top priority for women. Advertisements portrayed wives working at home and doing household chores as extremely happy in the stay-at-home role.


Space Race: Russia I – U.S.A. 0

I know we have not really gotten into this in the lecture yet but today is the 50th anniversary of the first man that orbited the earth.  Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagari in 1961 took the fascinating  flight that only lasted 108 minutes .  The reason this pertains to the class is that this occurs during the height of the Cold War.  Russia, as did many other nations, saw this event as a huge win over the United States.  Not until a year later an American, John Glenn, successfully took the same journey.  During the Space Race, the Soviet Union’s achievement sent out a display of domination over the United States.


Living on Credit Cards

During the affluent society, Americans were feeling rich and wealthy. The introduction of credit card had changed everything. Americans can now use credit card to purchase cars, home,television and many accessories. Cars were a major factor in American life especially during the 1950s when president Eisenhower built interstate highway which made transportation easier. Credit card can make purchase so much easier that Americans can just swipe the card and buy the stuff they need or they want. They can live with buy now and pay later. It seems like Americans are are living with wealth. The power to purchase improved America’s economy and introduction of the credit card definitely played a major role in such improvement.


the 1960 U-2 incident

The story in the video covers the details and immediate aftermath of the incident quite comprehensively.
This incident have produced a lot of tensions between the US and the SU, at the time when the relationships between the two superpowers had just started to warm up for the 1st time since 1945. The two countries were in the midst of nuclear arm race. Between 1953 and 1958 US UK and SU held 231 atmospheric nuclear tests, some of which were massive. In 1958 an agreement had been reached to temporarily ban testing of nuclear weapons. Negotiations about further restrictions were going along, but very slowly and carefully, as it had potentially very far-reaching strategic consequences for both sides. In 1959 Khrushev came with an unprecedented friendly visit to the USA. But when the U2 incident occurred the trust between the two poles plunged, and the relationships sharply entered another phase of crisis. All negotiations on nuclear test bans were halted, shortly after the moratorium was broken and the biggest explosion ever to ever go off on our planet had been carried out by Soviets.


Golden “Car Ages”

In 1950s, cars became an very important part of American families’ live. Whenever you watch a movie about that time period they always have big, fast, and flashy cars. Car ownership more than doubled in the 1950’s. From 1950 to 1970, the U.S. automobile population grew four times faster than the human population. By 1960, 80% of American families owned at least one car, and 14% had two or more.



Good Golley Miss Molley

Custom Les Paul Gibson Guitar

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The 50’s experienced the outbreak of rock music. Like we all know, music, or any kind of art for that matter, is a reflection of reality. Music in particular does a great job of reflecting the views of society and in the 50s Rock-n-Roll took off. The content of the music contained 2 central themes. One theme was a reflection on politics the other adressed women whos role was rappidly c h anging in the times. This time period has seen outrage over the Vietnam War and a controlling theme in rock was fighting back against the man. Also u can see withtin the females referenced in songs a shift in the role of women. They were having a much expanded role in the 50’s. Rock also served to break down the racial divide, another societal theme during the 50s. Crowds repetately integrated themselves during Little Richard concerts and black performers began to perform at white venues.


The Demand for Suburb Housing

By 1960s, suburban residents of single-family homes outnumbered urban dwellers and those living in rural areas. The shift of population from cities to suburbs created an enourmous demand for housing. During 1950s, the number of houses in US doubled, nearly all of them built in suburbs. William and Alfred Levitt, who shortly after the war built the first Levittown on 1200 acres of potato fields on Long Island near NYC, became the most famous suburban developers. Levittown’s more than 10000 houses were assembled quickly from pre-fabricated parts and priced well within the reach of most Americans. The building of one of such houses shown in this video. Levittown was soon home to 40000 people. Levittown was the first truly mass-produced suburb and is widely regarded as the archetype for postwar suburbs throughout the country.


I’m Not A Crook, I’m A Bowler

During the Golden Age of Capitalism in America even the President enjoyed some leisure time.  At the end of WWII the standards of living was up, unemployment was low and the American GNP more than doubled.  The population boomed leading  suburban living to become the norm.  Jack Straus, the chairman of the board of Macy’s,  declared “Our ability to consume is endless.  The luxuries of today are the necessities of tomorrow.”  This became the thinking of the time.  Citizens lavished in the new life style of ease that a growing economy could now provide for the average, working, middle class person.


New York State Civil Defense Commission Advice on Nuclear Fallout? Not So Helpful…


During the 1950’s and 1960’s the United States and the USSR were taking part in a Cold War.  There was a very high threat of an all out nuclear war, which could potentially destroy the world.  In a true capitalist nation people thought of ways to make money off of this policy of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).  Suddenly retailers began selling fallout shelters that could supposedly withstand a nuclear blast and fallout for a certain portion of time.  Government agencies, such as the State Civil Defense Commission of New York as seen in this video, gave tips on how to protect yourself and your farm animals from fallout.  Now they suggest putting bales of hay in front of windows of a barn to keep out radiation, so that just shows you how much they knew.  The point is that everyone knew the all too realistic possibility of nuclear war occurring, and there were measures taken to make Americans feel safer in this tense time.



Now where in the history of America has consumerism became widespread as in the 1950s. Not only in its breadth but also in depth as the very notion of freedom(something that symbolizes America) became intertwined with it. The 50’s was an era called the Golden Age of Capitalism, a period of unprecedented economic growth that benefited both the capitalists and workers, as result of higher wages. Economic prosperity led to a growing middle class, which demanded appliances and products that would enable them enjoy more leisure time and spend less in the kitchen or cleaning up the house. Inventions such as the dishwasher, washing machine and vacuum cleaners became household items. Even a reporter for House Beautiful Magazine asserted that the most potent weapon in the Cold War was “the freedom offered by washing machines and dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, automobiles, and refrigerators.” The image above is an advertisement from the 1950’s and showed how unscrupulous the advertising was since Coke was advertised to kids, and also one of the selling points in the poster says “Boosts Personality!”


Roles of women had changed

One of the most important changes during that time was roles of women. Before 1900s, women usually stay home to take care of their children, cooking, sewing, cleaning and gardening. They are not allow work on outside, men are the head of the family. Women social roles greatly expanded in the 1900s, many women worked during WWI, as men off to Europe to fight for democracy, women took their place, working in factories. After WWII, women’s work had changed again, most of women lost the industrial jobs, but they looking for other jobs, as part-time, to support their family. During that time, Films, TV shows, and advertisements portrayed marriage as the most important goal of American women. (Eric: 880)


Role of women at the end of 50s

The number of women working outside the home increased significantly in the ’50s. By 1960, nearly 40 percent of American women had joined the workforce, and married women with school-age children represented a significant proportion of that number. Women continued to earn considerably less than men for doing the same job, regardless of whether they worked in a factory or office, or in a profession such as teaching or nursing. The fact that so many women worked outside the home ran counter to the myth in popular culture that emphasized the importance of traditional gender roles.


Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka is a part of civil right movement during 1954. Brown is an African American girl. She wanted to study in a white school where is close from her home . Because of Segretation, she could not go to the school and went to a black school ,and she suited against board of education that separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. Brown case raise racial concerns in the social.However, Brown won the case in the supreme court and judge said that “segregated black and white schools were of equal quality in facilities and teachers, segregation by itself was harmful to black students and unconstitutional” because of the fourteenth amenement.


Beating Down on America

The Beats were a group of poets and writers who rejected the lifestyle of the conventional society. The Beats came together in places like New York City, San Francisco, and other college towns. Common beliefs and values endorsed by the Beats were spontaneous behavior, immediate gratification through the use of drugs, and sexual exploration. The Beats were against the transformation of America into a society, whose focus was on work, material consumption of goods and services, and the war-effort. Even though the Cold War advertised that freedom was the defining characteristic of America, the Beats believed individual and political inhibition were more accurate terms in depicting the country.

Many wonderful pieces of literature came out of the Beat Generation. For instance, the novel, On the Road, by the Beat writier, Jack Kerouac, described the nomadic protagonist’s adventures across the country. This book inspired the youth, who also disapproved the traditions of the middle-class but were unable to find a substitutable culture. Another popular Beatnik was Allen Ginsberg, the author of Howl (1955). The book condemned the practice of materialism and submission to popular culture.


Did we run out of kitchens?

This seems to be an old video of the historic “Kitchen Debates” between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev. The debates signaled a slight change in sentiment towards the Soviet Union as well as the Soviet’s politics both domestically and internationally. A few people, including President Eisenhower voiced their opinions about the massive build up of missiles and defenses. Furthermore, after the Soviets successfully tested their hydrogen bomb people became nervous. However in 1958 the two nations stopped testing nuclear weapons as per an agreement. They began to seek “peaceful coexistence.”


Happy Go Spending World


One of the most important elements of the economic growth in the beginning of the golden age sets back to the rise of residential construction and the spending on consumer goods.  The erupt demand for housing, television sets, home appliances and cars, transpired from a population shift from the cities to the suburbs. As Foner has stated, “By 1960, suburban residents of single-family homes outnumbered urban dwellers and those living in rural areas.”

The film above illustrates the cultural differences from urban and suburban residents; alluding the viewer a cherry image of suburban life with its color motion, where as, depicting the urban life with black and white motion. It also portrays the consumer culture of the time, targeting young adults that derives for the demand of a new kind of marketing. Like the film stated, it was a “happy go spending world.” Shopping malls were created in their image, building in fountains, statues, restaurants and free standing stairways. The stores also included many banks, loan offices and rental plans.


I’m late- but dinner won’t be!

With the rise of television, Americans changed their eating habits from home cooked meals to convenient TV Dinners. In 1954, Swanson introduced TV dinners that were packaged to mirrored the look of a television set, selling over 25 million dinners within their first year. As the ad suggests, it is an “oven-quick meal that taste home cooked.”  The convenience of these TV dinners attracted many Americans, creating a societal norm where Americans leisurely heat up the TV dinners and eat it while watching  TV. This common behavior became a cultural experience that all Americans across the states can share.

Below is a Swanson TV commercial: