Cold War Culture

Social Groups


Beatniks were followers of The Beat Movement, a way of life that expressed the social and literary nonconformity of artists, poets, and writers, in the "Postwar Boom" of the United States in the 1950's and 60's. Beatniks shunned regular work, and tended to stick to Zen Buddhism, music, and sometimes drugs-they sought out a higher consciousness. They believed in imposing as little structure as possible in their works, which were often a free, open form of art. You could find them all across the U.S., but they were mostly popular in bigger cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

They began this movement because beat poets began to oppose the mass media and tiny suburban view of life, and preferred to express themselves through their music and art and couldn't do that with the growing suburban life. The result of The Beat Movement attracted the attention of the media, fired the imaginations of many college students, and set the stage for the counterculture that would bust forth in the 1960's. This was important because it spread quickly throughout the United States, and people began to question the suburban life.

Women's Roles During the Cold War Time Period

Women during the 1950's felt unhappy with their roles. They felt isolated, bored, and unfulfilled. Women wanted more than being the stereotypical housewife of staying home, cleaning the house, cooking food, and taking care of the children. The "typical" housewife of the 1950's was shown in advertisements on TV constantly doing housework, but always with a smile.

After World War II and the Cold War, Americans turned more to their families and jobs. While the economy and job situations prospered, they began to reach the dream of a happy and successful life. The new technologies and business ideas helped to create the highest standard of living in the world for Americans.

Pictures of Beatniks Associated with The Beat Movement:

"Typical" 1950's Housewives

A collage of pictures/posters of a 1950's housewife who cooked. Housewives were expected to cook, clean, and take care of the children. They had been doing this for years, and were finally becoming sick of it.