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Postwar Political and Social Changes


... ended in a stalemate and the establishing the states of North and South Korea After the French defeat in Vietnam ... goes back to the French Revolution, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Postwar Political and Social Changes

Postwar Political and Social Changes
Science and Technology
  • After 1940, theoretical science and practical or
    applied science were effectively joined on a
    massive scale
  • University scientists worked on top-secret
    projects to help fight the war. Their efforts
    produced radar, electronic computers, and
    eventually the atomic bomb

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Science and Technology
  • The spectacular results of directed research
    during WWII inspired a new model of scientific
    research called Big Science
  • Big Science combined theoretical work with
    sophisticated engineering in a large organization
  • Capable of tackling large or difficult problems,
    but was also very expensive, necessitating
    large-scale funding from governments and private

Science and Technology
  • Science was not demilitarized after the war, and
    scientists remained a critical part of every
    major military establishment
  • Both the US and the Soviet Union heavily financed
  • After 1945, roughly 25 of all men and women
    trained in science and engineering in the West
    and the Soviet Union were employed in weapons
  • Big Science, government spending, and military
    needs all came together in the Space Race, which
    led to the first moon landing in June 1969

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Science and Technology
  • The changes brought by Big Science changed the
    scientific community
  • The expansion of government-funded research in
    the US attracted many of Europes best scientists
    in the 1950s and 1960s
  • The scientific community became larger than ever
  • Scientists became highly specialized, and
    scientists now worked as part of a team and as
    part of large, bureaucratic organizations
  • Modern science became brutally competitive

The Changing Class Structure
  • Rapid economic growth helped create a new, more
    mobile and more democratic society in Europe
    after WWII
  • Due to rapid industrial and technological
    expansion, the middle class grew massively and
    became less defined
  • In the 19th century, the middle class had
    consisted of independent, self-employed
    individuals, and the key to wealth had been
    family ties and property
  • After 1945, the middle class consisted of
    managers and technological experts valued for
    their ability to serve large organizations
  • Often had backgrounds in engineering or
  • Increasingly came from all social classes

The Changing Class Structure
  • The lower class also became more flexible and
  • Mass exodus from farms and rural areas
  • Industrial working class declined as
    opportunities for white-collar and service jobs
  • Resembled the new middle class in that the new
    working class were also better educated and more

The Changing Class Structure
  • European governments reduced social tensions by
    introducing social security reforms
  • Some measures, like unemployment benefits and
    old-age pensions, simply strengthened reforms
    first introduced by Bismarck
  • Some were new, like comprehensive national health
    care, family allowances for the poor, maternity
    grants, and inexpensive public housing
  • Reforms promoted equality by raising the standard
    of living and by taxing the rich to pay for
    social security measures

The Changing Class Structure
  • The rising standard of living and the spread of
    standardized consumer goods also helped ease
    class tensions
  • Car ownership became widely available in Western
    Europe, going from 5 million cars in 1948 to 44
    million in 1968
  • Gadget revolution and the new social security
    net made people more willing to take on debt to
    buy consumer goods
  • Post-war Europe saw a huge boom in leisure travel

Youth and the Counterculture
  • Influenced by economic prosperity and a more
    democratic class structure, the generations born
    after WWII developed a distinct and international
    youth culture
  • Developed first in the United States
  • In the 1950s, young people were called the
    Silent Generation for being quiet and docile,
    but there was still some youth rebellion
  • Idolized celebrities like Elvis Presley and James
  • Beat movement expanded on the theme of revolt and
    restlessness felt by young people in the 50s
  • Developed a new subculture that combined radical
    politics, new artistic styles, and personal

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Youth and the Counterculture
  • This new subculture soon spread to major American
    and Western European cities
  • Tied together partly by rock music
  • Grew out of the music culture of
    African-Americans, particularly rhythm and blues
  • Musicians like Bob Dylan expressed the radical
    political and cultural aspirations of the younger
  • Music expressed the differences between the
    pre-and-post-WWII generations the new youth were
    increasingly discontent with middle-class
    conformity, racial injustices and imperialism

Youth and the Counterculture
  • Sexual behavior of young people changed
    drastically in the 1960s and the 1970s
  • More young people were having sex earlier and
    more often
  • A growing number of unmarried young people lived
    together without getting married and having

Youth and the Counterculture
  • Several factors contributed to the development of
    an international youth culture
  • Mass communications and youth travel linked
    different countries together
  • Postwar baby boom meant that young people were an
    unusually large part of the population
  • Post-war prosperity gave young people the
    necessary purchasing power to set their own
    trends and mass fads
  • Availability of good jobs meant young people
    didnt fear punishment for unconventional behavior

Youth and the Counterculture
  • Youth culture and counterculture fused together
    in the 1960s
  • Student protestors embraced romanticism and
    revolutionary idealism and condemned materialism
    and imperialism
  • The Vietnam War many students believed it to be
    immoral war, and student opposition intensified
    as the war went on
  • In Western Europe, students also demonstrated
    against problems with higher education
  • The rapid expansion of higher education after
    WWII caused problems of overcrowding and fierce
    competition for grades
  • Many students felt that they were not getting the
    kind of education they needed and that university
    reforms were necessary

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Youth and the Counterculture
  • May 1968
  • The tensions within the university system
    exploded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when
    European university students challenged both
    their universities and their governments
  • The revolt with the most far-reaching
    consequences was the one that occurred in France
    in 1968
  • Students occupied buildings which led to violent
    clashes with the police
  • Students demanded to have a say in the running of
    their schools
  • Appealed to industrial workers for help in May
    1968 the workers responded with spontaneous
    strike across France

Youth and the Counterculture
  • De Gaulles response
  • Moved troops to Paris and called for new
  • Fearful of a revolution and communist takeover,
    the masses of France voted in favor of de
    Gaulles party
  • Workers ended the strike and the revolt collapsed
  • De Gaulle resigned within the year

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The United States and Vietnam
  • US involvement in Vietnam was driven by the Cold
    War and the ideology of containment
  • Toward the beginning of the 1950s, efforts to
    contain communism shifted to Asia
  • The Korean War (1950-1953) ended in a stalemate
    and the establishing the states of North and
    South Korea
  • After the French defeat in Vietnam in 1954,
    Eisenhower supported South Vietnam with military
    aid and Kennedy greatly increased the number of
    military advisors
  • In 1964, Johnson greatly expanded the role of
    America in the Vietnam conflict, hoping to
    escalate the war but not to the point it alarmed
    the Communist bloc
  • South Vietnam received military aid, American
    forces in Vietnam reached a half million men,
    and the US heavily bombed Vietnam

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The United States and Vietnam
  • The US strategy backfired, and divided the nation
  • Nightly television brought the war into peoples
  • Anti-war movement developed on college campuses
    and joined forces with socialists, New Left
    intellectuals, and pacifists to protest the war
  • The Tet Offensive (Jan. 1968), while technically
    a failure for the Vietcong, convinced many that a
    quick victory was nowhere in sight

The United States and Vietnam
  • Richard Nixon, elected in 1968, attempted to
    disengage America from Vietnam
  • Nixon increased bombardment while pursuing peace
    talks with North Vietnam
  • Suspended the draft
  • Cut American forces from 550,000 to 24,000 in the
    next four years
  • Journeyed to China in 1972 and reached a limited
  • Elected again in 1972, Nixon reached a peace
    agreement with N. Vietnam

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The United States and Vietnam
  • Watergate undermined Nixons successes
  • Forced to resign in 1974
  • Caused a major shift of power away from the
    Presidency to Congress in foreign affairs
  • Congress refused a military response to the
    invasion of South Vietnam by the North in 1974
  • Vietnam was reunited as harsh dictorial state
  • Left America divided and uncertain about its role
    in world affairs

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Détente or Cold War?
  • Détente the progressive relaxation of cold war
  • West Germany took the lead in creating genuine
    peace in Europe, led by Chancellor Willy Brandt
  • Became Chancellor in 1969
  • Reconciled with Poland
  • Negotiated treaties with the Soviet Union,
    Poland, and Czechoslovakia that formally accepted
    existing state boundaries in return for a mutual
    renunciation of force
  • Entered into direct relations with East Germany

Détente or Cold War?
  • High point of détente was the Helsinki Conference
    in 1975
  • Signed by Canada, the US, and all European
    nations except Albania
  • Agreed that Europes existing political
    boundaries could not be changed by force and
    accepted numerous provisions on human rights and
    political freedoms
  • Confidence in the agreement eroded as the Soviet
    Union continued to ignore the human rights
    provisions and East-West competition remained
    outside of Europe

Détente or Cold War?
  • Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 further
    flamed fears that the oil-rich states of the
    Middle East might be next
  • During Jimmy Carters presidency, the Atlantic
    alliance was not able to act together and
    decisively against the Soviet Union
  • They again failed to act when the Solidarity
    movement arose in Poland
  • The swing toward conservatism in the 1980s
    brought Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and
    Helmut Kohl to office in the US, Britain, and W.
  • Thatcher and Reagan were forceful advocates for a
    stronger Atlantic alliance, and the pro-American
    Kohl effectively co-coordinated military and
    political policy with the US

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The Troubled Economy
  • On top of political and social changes and
    instability, the economic crisis of the early
    1970s brought the most serious challenges to the
    average person
  • The postwar monetary system was based on the
    American dollar
  • Due to the billions sent overseas by the American
    government because of wars and foreign aid, the
    US had only 11 billion worth of gold, compared
    to Europe, which had 50 billion
  • When people rushed to exchange their dollars for
    gold, Nixon halted the sale of American gold
  • The value of the dollar dropped sharply, causing
    inflation world-wide

The Troubled Economy
  • Even more damaging to the economy was the
    dramatic reversal in the price and availability
    of energy
  • The postwar boom had been fueled by cheap oil
    from the Middle East, especially in Western
  • By 1971, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
    Countries (OPEC) decided to reverse the trend of
    declining oil prices by presenting a united front
    against oil companies
  • During the fourth Arab-Israeli war in October
    1973, OPEC declared an embargo on oil shipments
    to the US, causing the price of crude oil to
  • The US was all but immobilized by Watergate, and
    the Soviet Union profited as an oil exporter

The Troubled Economy
  • Combined with the upheavals in the international
    monetary system, the oil shock plunged the world
    into the worst economic decline since the 1930s
  • Energy-intensive industries that had once led the
    economy forward now dragged it down, and
    unemployment rose as standards of living dropped
  • The 1979 revolution in Iran created another oil
    shock as oil production in the country collapsed,
    causing unemployment and inflation to rise

The Troubled Economy
  • Throughout the 70s and 80s, observers worried
    that the Common Market would collapse and halt
    steps to European unity
  • However, the European Economic Community
    continued to attract new members
  • 1973 Denmark, Britain and Iceland
  • 1981 Greece
  • 1986 Spain and Portugal
  • The EEC also began cooperating more closely on
    international undertakings

Society in a Time of Economic Uncertainty
  • The most pervasive consequences of the economic
    stagnation in the 1970s and early 80s were
    psychological, as optimism and romanticism gave
    way to pessimism and realism
  • On the whole, however, the welfare system
    prevented mass suffering and degradation
  • The responsive, socially concerned national state
    undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of
    political stability and democracy

Society in a Time of Economic Uncertainty
  • The governments response to social needs
    explains the sharp increase in total government
    spending in most countries during this time
  • People in general were willing to see their
    governments spend more, but not raise taxes
  • Led to the rapid growth of budget deficits,
    national debts, and inflation
  • Western governments had to introduce austerity
    measures to slow down the growth of public

Society in a Time of Economic Uncertainty
  • Scientific projects were often singled out for
    cuts in government spending
  • These reductions helped spur the growth of the
    computer revolution
  • This revolution thrived on the diffusion of ever
    cheaper computational and informational capacity
    to small research groups

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Society in a Time of Economic Uncertainty
  • Individuals felt the impact of austerity early
    and in both Europe and North America the result
    was a leaner, tougher lifestyle
  • People paid more attention to health, nutrition,
    and exercise
  • Economic troubles strengthened existing family
  • Both men and women in Western countries postponed
    marriage until they had stable careers
  • More women entered or remained in the workforce
    after marriage poor and middle-class wives had
    to work outside the home out of necessity
  • Students of the 1980s were serious and practical
    because of the fear of unemployment or

The Changing Lives of Women
  • The growing emancipation of women in Europe and
    North America is one of the significant changes
    of the entire cold war era
  • The struggle for womens rights goes back to the
    French Revolution, but it wasnt until the latter
    half of the 19th century did the first wave of
    organized womens movements win some rights
  • Two important factors led to the rise of a strong
    and effective womens movement
  • Long-term changes in motherhood and work outside
    the home
  • A new wave of feminist thinkers and organizers
    demanded gender equality and mobilized a militant
    womens movement

Motherhood and Work Outside the Home
  • Before the Industrial Revolution, most men and
    women married late or not at all
  • With the growth of industry and urban society,
    people began to marry earlier and as industrial
    development resulted in higher standards of
    living, more children lived to adulthood
  • This trend continued in the 20th century in the
    1950s and 60s, women in the West married early
    and had children quickly

Motherhood and Work Outside the Home
  • Early marriage, early childbearing, and small
    families meant that pregnancy and childbearing
    occupied a much smaller part of a womans life
  • Despite this, opportunities to work outside the
    home for women were very limited
  • At the same time, women were participating in the
    post-war education revolution, and despite
    limited positions there was a sharp rise in the
    number of married women in full- or part- time

The Womans Movement
  • The 1970s saw the birth of a grassroots,
    broad-based womens movement devoted to promoting
    the interests of women
  • Three basic reasons for this development
  • Ongoing changes in paid work and motherhood
  • A new generation of feminist intellectuals
    created powerful critiques of gender relations
  • Following the example of the civil rights
    movement and student protests, dissatisfied women
    realized they had to band together to influence

The Womans Movement
  • Simone Beauvoir created the first and one of the
    most influential works produced by second-wave
    feminism, The Second Sex (1949)
  • Argued that women were in essence free, but that
    they had almost always been trapped by inflexible
    and limiting conditions
  • Only by taking action and through self-assertive
    creativity could a woman escape the role of the
    inferior other that men had constructed

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The Womans Movement
  • Betty Friedan reopened serious discussion of
    womens issues in the US through The Feminine
    Mystique (1963)
  • Calling it the problem that has no name, she
    concludes that many educated women were extremely
    dissatisfied because they were not allowed to
    become mature adults and human beings
  • Instead, they were expected to conform and devote
    their lives to their husbands and children
  • Friedan founded the National Organization for
    Women (NOW) in 1966 to press for womens rights

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The Womens Movement
  • The movement generally shared a common strategy
    of entering politics and changing laws regarding
  • Advocated for laws against discrimination in the
    workplace, equal pay, and maternity leave
  • Concentrated on family questions like the right
    to divorce, legalize abortion, the needs of
    single parents, and protection from rape and
    physical violence
  • The movement became more diffuse in the 1980s and
    early 90s, partially a victim of its own success
    and the rise of antifeminist opposition
  • Womens movement inspired other minority groups
    to form their own political movements