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AMST 3100 The 1960s The Pre1960s


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Title: AMST 3100 The 1960s The Pre1960s

AMST 3100 The 1960s The Pre-1960s
  • Powerpoint 1
  • Read Chafe Chapters 1-5 Cold War web notes.

Pre-World War II America
  • 1. International Depression
  • FDRs New Deal
  • 2. U.S. foreign policy relations before WWII
  • Anticommunist
  • Fairly isolationist
  • 3. U.S. domestic policies
  • Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and other group
    superiority values prevailed

Poverty was (and is) concentrated in inner city
and rural areas. White bigotry contributed to
minority group poverty.
The Southern Jim Crow system imposed apartheid,
promoted bigotry, and locked many minorities
members in poverty.
Wartime Mobilization
  • 1. Propaganda themes energized Americans but
    posed problems in working with the Soviet Union
    to defeat the axis powers. Two key aspects of
    American propaganda
  • Moralistic view of the world.
  • Moralists believe all policy decisions must be
    morally based. Chafe contrasts this with
    pragmatism. The Soviets practiced a pragmatic
    foreign policy, for example, while Americans
    often used moralistic considerations. This became
    a problem when it came to helping the Soviet
    Union win the battle against Hitler.
  • The myth of polarity.
  • Simplistically reducing the world or an issue
    into two opposite camps with no middle ground
    we are good-they are bad. Moralists often do
    this, and Hollywood regularly exploits good
    guy/bad guy polarities, just as racists do (white
    vs black). Again, this presented problems in
    working with the Soviets (the axis of evil?) to
    defeat the Germans, Italians and Japanese.
  • 2. Mobilizing the economy
  • Military spending put people to work
  • Rapid technological breakthroughs occurred during
    the war
  • Rising oligarchy (the military-industrial
  • Rising affluence, esp in savings

Wartime Mobilization
  • 3. Women new opportunities.
  • From traditional housewives to Rosie the Riveter
    industrial jobs, as the men went off to fight.
  • Gender attitudes were becoming less rigidly
    patriarchal during this period.
  • 4. African Americans rising expectations.
  • Jim Crow segregation in the South (and North)
    exposed contradictions
  • Even the U.S. military was segregated as we
    fought the fascist-racists in Europe and Japan.
    American racism contradicted the values we said
    we were fighting for.
  • Massive 10-year migration to Northern cities
    provided new opportunities for minorities.
  • Shift from traditional service jobs toward better
    paying industrial jobs.

Rosie the Riveter new wartime industrial jobs
for women raised womens expectations and helped
break through traditional attitudes that women
could not do mens work.
Origins of the Cold War Please read the posted
web notes on the Cold War
  • 19th century imperialism by Western
    industrialized nations created global tensions.
  • Western-style industrial capitalism was
    controversial, especially to collective or
    communal cultures and to those who experienced a
    harsh version of Western capitalism (ie the
    French plantation system in Vietnam).
  • Western values were controversial, including
    individualism, materialism, competition for
    self-gain, militancy, capitalism, and
    Christianity. The very desire of some Western
    nations for imperialist colonization posed a
    threat to many indigenous peoples. Imperialism is
    never popular among indigenous populations forced
    to subject themselves to others values and
  • Rise of Marxist resistance against capitalism
    brings a global conflict over opposing
    ideologies capitalism versus communism.
  • Cultural differences contributed to
  • American moralistic considerations versus Soviet

Origins of the Cold War
  • Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (1917)
  • American, British and Japanese troops invade
    Russia to quell the Bolshevik revolution (1918),
    but fail. The Russians learn to distrust the
    imperialistic Americans.
  • A fear culture prevailed in the U.S. as American
    moralists labeled the Bolsheviks, and all
    communism, evil.
  • First American Red Scare (1918). The second Red
    Scare would occur in the 1950s.

The First Red Scare
Origins of the Cold War
  • The War Years fragile alliance. Five points to
  • 1. Mutual distrust between U.S. and Soviets made
    military aid for Soviets difficult.
  • 2. D-Day was initially promised for 1942, but
    postponed ultimately 2 years, angering Stalin.
  • 3. How would Europe look after the War?
  • Soviets refused to restore autonomy to Eastern
    Europe, angering the Americans and British.

Origins of the Cold War
  • 4. FDRs sudden death leaves a diplomatic vacuum,
    and Truman is a moralist where FDR was a
    pragmatist. Hence, he is not comfortable dealing
    with the Soviets.
  • 5. Issues of 1945 that contributed to the rise of
    the Cold War
  • 1. Poland and Eastern Europe Soviet occupation?
    The U.S. feared the communists were
    imperialistic, and it appeared to the U.S. they
    were behaving so after WWII. The Soviets read it
  • 2. Germanys fate reindustrialize? Soviets and
    U.S. disagree here.
  • 3. Economic reconstruction of Europe, but no aid
    for the Soviets?
  • 4. Nuclear issues sharing nuclear information
    with the Soviets?

Origins of the Cold War
  • Long term origin
  • Ideological differences capitalism versus
  • Cultural differences moralists v. pragmatists.
  • Short term origin
  • Soviet occupation of Central Europe, drawing an
    iron curtain around it.
  • Trumans moralistic get-tough policy toward

Europe in 1946
Declaration of Cold War
  • 1. The Truman Doctrine (1947) military aid.
  • 2. The Marshall Plan (1947) economic aid.
  • 3. U.S. policy of containment (George Kennan)
    emphasis on military over diplomatic approach
    with the Soviets.
  • Three key problems with the containment policy
  • 1. it assumed Soviets would not negotiate.
  • 2. it assumed Soviets were behind every
  • 3. it pushed the Soviets toward a military

Advent of the Atomic Arms Race
  • The U.S. had a huge military advantage over the
    Soviets after WWII.
  • By 1949, the Soviets managed to get the A-Bomb.
  • Now there was a balance of power.
  • U.S. pursues new atomic technologies, upsetting
    the balance of power with the H-Bomb (1952)
  • Soviets develop the H-Bomb by 1953
  • H-Bomb brings issue of MAD (Mutual Assured
    Destruction) a stalemate existed under MAD, yet
    each side provoked.
  • The Arms Race both sides were locked in a
    massive, expensive, and frightening nuclear arms
  • Because the U.S. was typically ahead in the arms
    race, the U.S. resisted nuclear treaties and
    other restraints in development.
  • The arms race benefited the military industrial
    complexes of the U.S. and USSR, but was harmful
    to diplomacy, the economy, and psychological

Hiroshima, 1945
American H-Bomb Test, 1954
End of Cold War section The Domestic Section
begins on the next page
The Domestic Scene (1940s-50s)
  • The politics of anti-communism stifled
    progressive reform movements.
  • Many conservatives labeled reformers interested
    in securing rights for women, blacks, students,
    or workers as communist sympathizers. To hear
    audio excerpts of Joseph McCarthy go to this
  • A true American was patriotic, machismo,
    believed in a Christian God, was opposed to
    social agitation, and hated communists.
  • The Cold War was fed by a moralistic rhetoric
    we were free and our enemies were tyrants (good
    versus evil).
  • A fear culture prevailed and fear of domestic
    communism meant civil rights could be sacrificed.

Joe McCarthy, the infamous red-baiter of the
early 1950s, promoted fear from the inside that
there were communists in our own hallowed
institutions who were undermining our way of
life. McCarthy, a conservative Republican, also
singled out homosexuals and other marginal groups
as threats to our way of life.
Four norms aimed at youth
  • 1. obey authority
  • 2. control your emotions
  • 3. fit in with the group
  • 4. dont even think about sex
  • These messages reveal the desire for normalcy and
    security in a post-Depression, post-war
    conservative culture. In the 60s, all four of
    these norms would be rejected by the youth

Mattel Corporation offered the Barbie Doll
beginning in 1959. Barbie symbolized certain
values and behaviors considered normal in this
era for women, particularly traditional gender
roles, and the joys of materialistic consumerism.
Despite the politics of anticommunism, rapid
changes were occurring.
  • Between 1945-1960, the GNP grew by 250.
  • At the start of WWII, only 40 of citizens owned
    their own home. By 1960 it would be 60.
  • By 1960, about 60 of citizens were in the middle
    class, compared with only 31 before the 1930s.
  • The rise of television greatly altered leisure
    time activities.
  • the home became more privatized.
  • Less going out to public life activities like the
    movies, restaurants, the ball game, etc.
  • Emphasis on the private security of the
    traditional nuclear family, with traditional
    gender roles too.

Levittown, a suburb in New Jersey, was one of the
first modern housing developments after WWII. It
was built using the basic ideas of an assembly
line. New houses were therefore more affordable,
especially given the new GI loans available to
returning veterans. Americans were getting more
Economic shifts rise of a post-industrial economy
  • White collar workers began to outnumber blue
    collar workers
  • A new managerial class was emerging college
    trained workers for large corporations who were
  • Large corporations promoted a new managerial
    personality that some called the organization
  • Conforms to corporate rules.
  • Sociable and sharp.
  • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan
    Wilson, 1956.
  • Rising dissention the organization man was too
    plastic or conformist. Authenticity of self
    would be an important issue of the 1960s.

Conformity to bureaucratic rules would be
rewarded by upward mobility within the system,
but at the expense of individual autonomy.
Suburbia and Consumerism
  • Between 1950-60, 18 million people would move to
    the 11 million homes being built in the suburbs.
  • By 1960, one-fourth of the U.S. population lived
    in a suburb. Suburbs represented the good life.
  • relative affluence
  • a materialistic, consumption-oriented lifestyle
  • stability and community (in a volatile world)
  • privacy
  • a nuclear family oriented around the kids

Suburbs offered comfort and security, but notice
two points (1) the aerial photo suggests
homogenization and (2) the TV enjoys the most
  • The new consumerism focused on recreation and the
    new expectation that life should be fun
    (hedonism), as promoted in corporate TV ads.
  • Families were encouraged to take vacations.
  • There were new sources of hedonistic pleasures,
    like Disneyland.
  • The station wagon was the family car - the
    vacation car.
  • The rise in motels and food chains like McDonalds
    catered to this new car culture.
  • Suburbia was to be fun too.
  • Playboy Magazine catered to this new consumer
    hedonism and signaled rising sexual hedonism.
  • These new, high expectations influenced youth .

Advertising promoted new values and lifestyles.
Television became advertisings new, powerful
tool of persuasion.
The Price of Suburbia
  • Suburbs promoted a form of group living that
    undermined individualism (a core value).
  • Too conformist, too bland, too uniform, too
    plastic, too cookie-cutter, too rationalized.
  • Who would reject suburbia? Non-conformists, and
    those concerned about authenticity of self.
  • Existentialists and radicals
  • Artists, especially the Beats
  • Social marginals (delinquents, rockers, and other
    elements of the emerging youth culture)

City Lights, in San Francisco, was a haven for
Beats during the 1950s and 60s.
Womens Lives
  • Traditional gender roles placed women in the home
    as housewife and mother.
  • The Feminine Mystique (Betty Friedan, 1963).
  • Young women were socialized to yearn for
    marriage and children as the single source of
    fulfillment. This was normalcy for females.
  • any deviation was improper.
  • This critical book touched a nerve among women,
    who began to question the patriarchal system.
  • Women were in a tug-of-war between traditional
    family values (patriarchal) versus modern values

Womens Lives, cont
  • Anomic conditions could even be found in the
    1950s suburbs
  • Rising alcoholism and tranquilizer usage.
  • What was Mothers Little Helper - that little
    yellow pill that the Rolling Stones referred to
    in 1965?
  • Rising divorce rates.
  • Millions of women had wage jobs, despite the
    feminine mystique, and most liked their jobs.
  • It was clear by the middle of the 1960s that
    women were ready for a change, and patriarchy
    would come under attack by these emerging

Corporate advertising generally reaffirmed the
feminine mystique notion that a womans place was
in the home.
Popular Culture of the 1950s
1. Growth of television
  • TV dominated the popular culture of the 50s.
  • TV encouraged a national shared culture.
  • The family itself adopted and adapted to TV life
    and schedules.
  • TV mainly reinforced conservative values, but
    also teased with breakthrough programs like
    Twilight Zone, Kraft Television Theater,
    Playhouse 90, etc.
  • Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Donna Reed
    Show, Ozzie and Harriet, etc emphasized
    importance of suburbia, traditional conservative
    values, the family.

The Lone Ranger symbolized rugged masculinity
fighting for right on the rural frontier.
Rod Serlings Twilight Zone remains one of the
most creative and humanistic television shows
ever shown on TV.
1950s Television, cont
  • TV was a commercial tool used to reinforce the
    dominant values of the era
  • Materialism and consumerism as a way of life
  • Hedonism, as defined by capitalists
  • Progress (capitalist/technological/bureaucratic
  • Suburbia and the nuclear family
  • Traditional gender and race roles (sexism,
  • Law and order
  • Conformity to authority and to bureaucratic rules
  • Patriotism and a strong military
  • Fear of communism and deviance

The Lucy Show, though light on the surface,
subtly captured womens alienation in the form of
a character who was trapped in the role of
housewife by her loving-but-patriarchal husband.
Yet at the same time, Lucy was a silly girl not
to be taken seriously.
2. Films of the 50s
  • Unlike TV, films had more variation, more
    substance, and more aesthetic interest.
  • Gender messages were ambiguous.
  • Doris Day (clean) versus Marilyn Monroe (saucy)
  • Women were increasingly sexualized, feeding the
    emergence of a sexual liberation movement.
  • The ideal man was a rugged individualist.

Marilyn Monroe symbolized the sexpot image. She
was featured on the cover of the first issue of
Playboy Magazine (1953), as well as many movies.
Marlin Brando, seen here in the movie The Wild
Ones, epitomized rugged youthful masculinity in
this movie. The movie explored youth alienation.
3. Rise of Existentialism
  • Backdrop is the rise of mass society and powerful
    forces that bring a sense that life is absurd.
    (Example Kafkas The Trial)
  • Big Business, Big Govt, Big Militaries, and
    other over-rationalized, hierarchal systems
    reduce the individual to an insignificant atom.
  • Failure of traditional religion to answer modern
  • To the Church, meaning is inherent. But to the
    existentialist, meaning is not provided by the
    natural order. It must be made in the now.
  • Meaning comes from action, so make your actions
  • Carpe diem.
  • Become self-aware.

This artistic rendering of Jean-Paul Sartre, one
of the founders of modern existentialism can be
interpreted in many ways. Does he appear to be
diminished by a faceless wall? Modernity brings
massive, faceless bureaucracies which threaten
the autonomy of the individual. The system
requires conformity. The individual must take a
stand and assert their own meaning.
Existentialism, cont
  • Themes supported by existentialism.
  • 1. Individualism against collective conformity.
  • 2. Free will against determinism.
  • Fight the power of the machine/bureaucracy/faceles
    s authority to run your life.
  • 3. Rebellion against the system.

Albert Camus, another founder of modern
4. Rise of Youth Culture
  • Before WWII, the generation gap was not wide, and
    the popular culture of teens was not that
    different from their parents. The rise of youth
    culture radically altered the social landscape of
    the 50s, and especially the 60s.
  • The baby boom.
  • The sheer number of teens gave them a sense of
    their own identity as teens.
  • Rising affluence and consumerism.
  • Teens began to get an allowance and became
    consumers, allowing them to forge their own
    consumer styles.
  • Rise of suburbia.
  • Suburbs allowed larger families centered around
    the children. Teens developed high expectations
    about life and pleasure.

U.S. birthrate from 1934 to 2004. Notice the
spike just after WWII that continued into the
Rise of youth culture, cont
  • Emphasis on school, a differentiated institution
    with differentiated statuses.
  • Institutional differentiation encouraged status
    differentiation, and the teenager became an
    age-differentiated status, complete with
    different role expectations. Teens hung out with
    each other, fostering their own identities apart
    from adults. Peer groups of teens were powerful
  • Schools were becoming rationalized, with
    obedience to rules required.
  • Teens began to differentiate themselves from the
    adult oligarchy, and this fostered rebellion
    against school rules and authority.

By the 1950s, most middle class teens received an
allowance. They purchased clothes, music, and
other styles that differentiated themselves from
adults. Industry encouraged the formation of a
youth consumer demographic. The generation gap
widened dramatically and contributed to the
generational conflicts of the 1960s.
Teen traits Adult traits
  • Anti-authority
  • Anti-rational
  • Expressive behavior
  • Spontaneous
  • Unconventional
  • Informal and loose
  • Personal freedom
  • Instant gratification
  • Irreverent
  • Openly sexualized and hedonistic
  • Pro-authority
  • Rational
  • Instrumental beh.
  • Calculating
  • Conventional
  • Formal
  • Conformity
  • Delayed gratification
  • Serious minded
  • Less openly sexual and hedonistic

Rise of youth culture, cont
  • Teen Values.
  • Teens forged their own subculture, complete with
    its own distinguishing values hedonism,
    irreverence (to authority), freedom, rejection of
    rationality, passionate romanticism.
  • Rocknroll emerged as the voice of teen culture.
  • Hedonistic, sexualized, individualized, youth
  • Irreverent.

Chuck Berry is one of the founders of rock n
roll. His race was a concern to parents more than
Sources of Discontent
1. The Existentialists
  • Intellectuals, college campuses, very
  • Provided an ideological basis for criticism of
    Western culture.
  • Emphasis
  • Freedom
  • The now (live for today, seize the day)
  • Viewing the system as the root problem
  • Action, change oriented
  • Albert Camus, John Paul Sartre.

2. The Beats
  • Mainstream America had lost its soul.
  • Too bland, materialistic, conformist,
    hypocritical, racist, militant, corporate,
  • The Beats (late 1940s to mid-1960s) rejected
    suburbia and prided themselves on non-conformity
    and living life to the fullest.
  • Open to new experiences (sex, drugs, and be bop)
  • They made their own rules (do your own thing)
  • Bohemian existentialists
  • Rejected the system but did not try to openly
    challenge it, preferring to live underground.
  • Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs.

Jack Kerouac was one of the founders of the
Beats. His best known novel is On the Road.
This masterpiece is a celebration of Beat values
and lifestyles and a rejection of mainstream
Western culture lifestyles. To be beat is to be
down and out yet deliciously open to life and
living it to the fullest in every way. Sensual
hedonism is one of the many ways to experience
life. Many of the beats were artists, musicians,
and writers.
3. Juvenile Delinquents
  • Rebels without a cause.
  • Teens and young adults who felt alienated from
    their parents, the system, and mainstream adult
  • Rejected the system but offered no constructive
    alternatives other than living in the now and
    acting out.
  • Hollywoods Rebel Without a cause (James Dean)
    and The Wild Ones (Marlon Brando) sensationalized
    the juvenile delinquent.

James Dean captured the brooding juvenile
delinquent in Rebel Without a Cause. His
character felt alienated from his materialistic
parents but could only voice his alienation in
reckless actions. They were not artists (Beats)
or intellectuals (existentialists). Authorities
were very concerned about rising juvenile
delinquency during the 1950s.
4. Rock n Roll
  • Helped galvanize youth culture into their own
    differentiated identity apart from adult
  • Rejection of old (parental norms and values).
  • Fed the growing generation gap.
  • Crossed the race barrier, bringing changes.
  • Emphasis on physical sensation, pleasure, soul,
    expressive behavior (loosen up and be free).
  • Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and ELVIS (the white
    version of black soul).

Elvis Presley galvanized the emerging youth
culture of the mid-1950s around the values of
rock n roll, and because he was white parents
(and industry) were a bit more accepting. With
Elvis, rock took off among mainstream teens.
5. Civil Rights Advocates
  • Criticized the status quo and its injustices.
  • Early emphasis on the need for racial equality.
  • Advocated a distinct, constructive ideology that
    promoted humanism and social justice.
  • Equality
  • Freedom
  • Well organized, strong leaders
  • Supported by the black church and many white
  • Together with the rise of youth culture, this is
    the most significant force of change to affect
    the 1960s.
  • Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr.

End of this section.