1950s America

By Katie Ault, Lily Foster, Kelsey Galt, and KC Nugent

Politics

In Truman's last years as President, he ended WWII with Japan, started the Korean War, and ordered the building of a hydrogen bomb.

Eisenhower was President from 1953 to 1961. He made many changes while in office.

SOCIAL CHANGE:

Eisenhower launched the Warren Court era by naming Earl Warren Chief Justice, leading to Brown v. BOE (enforced by his order for federal troops), and segregation becoming illegal. He raised the minimum wage and allowed the Interstate system.

FOREIGN RELATIONS:

A decorated general who kept peace as President, Eisenhower is recognized for navigating foreign policy and preventing matters from worsening. Tension between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. escalated and both amassed H-bombs, but the Geneva Summit in 1955 helped keep things calm. He started the Space Race in 1957. He also dealt with conflicts in Asia and the Middle East.

OTHER POWERS: Nikita Khrushchev; Fidel Castro

Pop Culture

FASHION:

Poodle skirts and greased hair became popular through rock and roll

Christian Dior's "New Look" (1947): below-mid-calf full skirts, small waists, pointed bust, rounded shoulders

TELEVISION:

"The Golden Age of Television": by 1950, 4.4 million families had a set

Movie and radio audiences decreased because the television was so popular

Changed the way Americans lived

Literature

1950-1954: The Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis)

1954: Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
1957: Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Seuss)

Science fiction became very popular

THEMES: Conformity; the power of an individual to control his own fate; anti-"establishment" (Beat authors)

Major Events

1950: First organ transplant

1951: Peace treaty with Japan ending WWII; Truman fires MacArthur, Color television available

1954: Brown v. Board of Education; Segregation made illegal

1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up seat

1957: Launch of Sputnik

1958: Hope Diamond donated to Smithsonian

1959: Antarctica made scientific preserve