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The Postwar Economy of the 1950’s By Angela Brown 1 The Postwar Economy of the 1950’s By Angela Brown 1

Bellringer: Think and Write • Brainstorm a list of the inventions that would be Bellringer: Think and Write • Brainstorm a list of the inventions that would be completely new to a person from the 1950 s if he or she were suddenly transported to the present. • What modern invention do you think is the most important today? 2

Business Reorganization • U. S. embarked on one of its greatest periods of economic Business Reorganization • U. S. embarked on one of its greatest periods of economic expansion • GNP: 212 billion in 1945 to $504 billion in 1960 • Per Capita income – average income person, increased from $1526 to $2788 3

http: //www. allposters. com/gallery. asp? aid=423764051&c=c&search=13722 • GM’s Ford, Chrysler controlled automobile industry • http: //www. allposters. com/gallery. asp? aid=423764051&c=c&search=13722 • GM’s Ford, Chrysler controlled automobile industry • General Electric and Westinghouse controlled electrical business 4

Is the second largest media conglomerate after AOL Time Warner. Giant corporations feared investing Is the second largest media conglomerate after AOL Time Warner. Giant corporations feared investing resources in a single business due to great Depression became Conglomerates – large corporation that owns many smaller companies that produce entirely different goods and services 5

http: //www. roadsideamerica. com/attract/ILDESmcd. html • 1954 Ray Kroc purchased Mac Donald’s and built http: //www. roadsideamerica. com/attract/ILDESmcd. html • 1954 Ray Kroc purchased Mac Donald’s and built a nationwide chain • Others quickly saw benefits in selling franchises – the right to open a restaurant using a parent company’s brand name and system 6

http: //www. mousestars. com/steve/annette/afmouse 1. htm Television • By 1953 2/3 of all families http: //www. mousestars. com/steve/annette/afmouse 1. htm Television • By 1953 2/3 of all families owned a TV • By 1955 watched 4 to 5 hours a day on average • Howdy Doody, The Mickey Mouse Club, American Bandstand, I Love Lucy, and Father knows best • Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith http: //images. google. com/imgres? imgurl=http: //www. fiftiesweb. com/tv/howdy-doody-c. jpg&imgrefurl= http: //www. fiftiesweb. com/tv/howdy-doody. htm&h=219&w=191&sz=11&tbnid=z. LGe. ABKmhms. J: &tbnh= 100&tbnw=88&prev=/images%3 Fq%3 Dhowdy%2 Bdoody%26 hl%3 Den%26 lr%3 D&oi=imagesr&start=2 7

http: //www. the-forum. com/advert/nesbitt. htm Three networks controlled TV programming. They raised money through http: //www. the-forum. com/advert/nesbitt. htm Three networks controlled TV programming. They raised money through advertising The companies got their monies worth – America bought http: //atlantaantiquegallery. com/gallery/i-4920_ice_cream_sign_1950 s. html 8

The Computer Industry • Grace Hopper, researcher at Harvard University computation lab created software The Computer Industry • Grace Hopper, researcher at Harvard University computation lab created software that runs a computer. • Hopper coined the phrase “debugging” • She removed a moth • 1948 Bell telephone lab invented transistor – tiny circuit device that amplifies, controls, and generates signals http: //www. jamesshuggins. com/h/tek 1/grace_hopper_portraits. htm 9

 • Giant machines that filled room could now fit on a desk due • Giant machines that filled room could now fit on a desk due to transistor • The Census Bureau purchased one of first computer systems for 1950 census http: //www. snopes. com/inboxer/hoaxes/computer. asp 10

Nuclear Power • Generation of electrical power through the use of atomic energy resulted Nuclear Power • Generation of electrical power through the use of atomic energy resulted from research on atomic bomb • 1957 first commercial nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania • From 1940 s to early 1970 s – fed government exposed as many at 1800 people to radiation in experiments that provided little to no medical benefit • American citizens were used as nuclear calibration instruments 11

Advances in Medicine • 1954 Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Thomas Francis conducted successful Advances in Medicine • 1954 Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Thomas Francis conducted successful test of Polio vaccine (killed or disabled 20, 000 U. S. children every year) • 1944 advances in production of antibiotics – penicillin saved countless lives – 1950 s discovered other antibiotics • Lessons learned in war allowed doctors to operate to correct heart defects http: //info. detnews. com/history/index. cfm? id=179&category=events 12

Changes in the Work Force • By 1956 a majority of all American workers Changes in the Work Force • By 1956 a majority of all American workers held whitecollar jobs – no longer produced goods but performed services at counters or in offices • Workers were encouraged by working conditions but large corporations were impersonal • Employers pressured employees to dress, think and act alike • Blue Collar conditions also improved – guaranteed costof-living increases • 1955 – 33% of total labor forces – AFL and CIO merged (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations) 13

 Baby Boom of WWII continued 25 births per 1000 in peak year 1957 Baby Boom of WWII continued 25 births per 1000 in peak year 1957 http: //kclibrary. nhmccd. edu/decade 50. html 14

Moving to the Suburbs • WWII veterans enjoyed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 Moving to the Suburbs • WWII veterans enjoyed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 = GI Bill- gave low-interest mortgages to purchase new homes Average Americans could afford to buy homes http: //www. historyplace. com/unitedstates/pacificwar/2146. jpg 15

Levitt Town’s • Developers pioneered mass-production in home building • Precut and preassembled materials Levitt Town’s • Developers pioneered mass-production in home building • Precut and preassembled materials built homes in weeks (William J. Levitt – Levitttown’s Some complained developments all looked alike “Little Boxes” – through usually welldesigned and well built http: //tigger. uic. edu/~pbhales/Levittown/ 16

http: //tigger. uic. edu/~pbhales/Levittown. html 17 http: //tigger. uic. edu/~pbhales/Levittown. html 17

Cars and Highways • Stores moved from cities to shopping centers in suburbs • Cars and Highways • Stores moved from cities to shopping centers in suburbs • Americans more dependent on automobile than public transportation = new car designs every year http: //www. webshots. com/g/d 2000/4 -nw/9612. html 18

 • 1956 Interstate Highway Act provided $26 billion to build an interstate highway • 1956 Interstate Highway Act provided $26 billion to build an interstate highway system more than 40, 000 miles long – allowed for evacuation of major cities in event of emergency • Drive-in movies inspired by car culture 19 http: //www. wtv-zone. com/moesboomerabilia/

The Growth of Consumer Credit • Gasoline companies offered credit cards to loyal customers The Growth of Consumer Credit • Gasoline companies offered credit cards to loyal customers • Americans willingly went into debt to purchase products they wanted http: //history 1900 s. about. com/od/1950 s/a/firstcreditcard. htm 20

http: //www. dinersclubnewsroom. com/anniversary. cfm 21 http: //www. dinersclubnewsroom. com/anniversary. cfm 21

 • Diner’s club card 1950 – 1959 • American Express Card = Bank • Diner’s club card 1950 – 1959 • American Express Card = Bank Americard (VISA) • U. S. had become “the affluent society” Frank X. Mc. Namara. Courtesy of Diners Club. http: //history 1900 s. about. com/od/1950 s/a/firstcreditcard_2. htm 22