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Title: Postwar%20America

Postwar America
  • Returning to a
  • Normal Life

Troubles Trials
  • Soldiers returning from war found a different
    America than the one they left.
  • Men women who returned from the war found
    housing jobs in short supply.
  • The troubled transition period, though turbulent,
    would be short-lived.
  • During the war, the manufacturing sector of the
    country was working overtime to produce supplies
    for the war.

  • With the end of the war, those supplies would no
    longer be needed many experts predicted serious
    economic trouble.
  • 12 million men women who served in the war
    would return to civilian life, looking for jobs
    that were no longer there.
  • Women workers were forced to leave their jobs so
    male veterans could take their places.
  • Many employees turned to labor unions to help
    them against the big businesses some unfair
    government regulations.

  • During the war, the government had sought to
    prevent labor disputes (could slow down
  • After the war, labor unions wanted increases in
    wages which had been limited in the war.
  • In 1946, the number of strikes rose sharply
    then in 1947 Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act
    over President Trumans veto.
  • The Taft-Hartley Act greatly reduced the power of
    the unions.
  • It also gave the president the power to stop
    strikes when the national interest was at stake.

  • The positive side of this rather dreary picture
    was that most Americans that had delayed
    purchasing things during the war decided that it
    was time to start buying.
  • Congress also eased the pressure on the job
    market by passing the GI Bill.
  • The GI Bill (AKA Servicemens Readjustment Act
    of 1944) included several features aimed at
    helping veterans make a smooth entry into
    civilian life.

GI Bill
  • Money for veterans to attend college or receive
    advanced job training.
  • Loans for those wishing to buy a home, farm, or
  • Provided help in finding work
  • Years worth of unemployment for those who
    couldnt find work.
  • Veterans didnt get cash bonuses, but they were
    receiving benefits from the government.

  • The GI Bill helped many veterans transition from
    war to civilian life.
  • Thousands of veterans went to college, bought
    houses, married started having children (the
    Baby Boom.)
  • The Baby Boom was a dramatic increase in the
    birth rate the two decades following the war.
  • What most experts had predicted didnt come true
    for the country.
  • By 1950, peace prosperity had returned to the

Politics in Postwar America
  • Harry Trumans Presidency

  • Truman was not real popular with Democrats
    because he wasnt their hero, FDR.
  • Republicans saw Truman as easy to defeat since he
    was relatively unknown.
  • Truman was intelligent well-read, hardworking,
  • Problems in his government though showed him to
    be confused, inconsistent, ineffective.
  • Poor choice of advisors
  • Quick temper
  • Blunt speech
  • Poor relationship with Congress (labeled it the
    Do Nothing Congress.)

  • Truman, however, was on the side of the average
    Americanhis veto of the Taft-Hartley Act gave
    him support from the working people of the
  • Truman also took bold stands against racism
    discrimination in the country.
  • He issued Executive Order 9981 which ended
    segregation in the U.S. armed serves.
  • Congress would not approve legislation to end
    segregation, so Truman did it with the executive

  • He pushed for other civil rights legislation but
    Congress was controlled by conservatives who
    wanted to maintain the status quo.
  • Trumans civil rights legislation would have
  • Voting rights protections
  • Anti-lynching protections
  • Commission on Civil Rights (federal level)
  • Federal Employment Protection Commission.
  • He also wanted to end discrimination in the
    federal civil service.

Trumans Plan
  • Truman had big plans for using the government to
    meet the needs of postwar America.
  • He had the 21 Point Program.
  • Raise minimum wage
  • Expand Social Security
  • Price wage controls
  • Clear slums
  • Federal money to education
  • Congress was controlled by conservatives who
    didnt want to increase the size of the

  • Conservatives in Congress included a number of
    Southerners called the Dixiecrats for their
    continued support of segregation.
  • And after the 1946 Election, the Republicans won
    a majority of both houses of Congress.
  • The Republicans used their new power to fight
    against Truman his programs.
  • About the only real successes were the GI Bill,
    the Marshall Plan, his handling of the Berlin
    Crisis, his Truman Doctrine.

The Marshall Plan
  • People in Europe continued to suffer after the
    fighting stopped.
  • George C. Marshall, Secretary of State, called
    for a massive American program of aid to help
    Europe rebuild restart its economy.
  • Between 1948 1951 the US government spent over
    13 billion in 17 different countries.
  • Food, farm equipment, factories, homes,
    railroads, all benefited from the money sent to

  • Soon Europe was feeding its people providing
    jobs for its workers.
  • They in turn could now afford new American made
    products which helped our economy.
  • The Marshall Plan was open to the Soviet Union
    its allies but Stalin refused the help.
  • The Marshall Plan would also help the US have
    stronger ties with Western Europe which we would
    need during the Cold War.
  • Congress acted quickly because of the Communist
    seizure of power in Czechoslovakia.
  • The Cold War would begin not long after the end
    of WW II.

United Nations
  • August-October, 1944 US, Great Britain, USSR,
    China met in Georgetown to sketch out plans for a
    new world body similar to the League of Nations
    (see Woodrow Wilson.)
  • The wartime allies, plus France, would constitute
    a peacekeeping council (AKA Security Council.)
  • Other nations would play only secondary roles
    even though they would be granted representative

  • San Francisco Conference (late 1944)-United
    Nations Charter was drawn up ratified by 50
    nations (October 24, 1945.)
  • United Nations became a reality.
  • The goal to stop destructive warfare among
    nations promote human rights among the nations.
  • AND to deal with a host of problems that would be
    brought on by postwar conditions.

The Cold War
  • U.S. the Soviet Union

President Harry Truman
Nikita Khrushchev Soviet Premier
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  • Cold war refers to the postwar strategic
    political struggle between the US ( its Western
    European allies) the Soviet Union ( other
    Communist countries.)
  • The chronic state of hostility, the Cold War was
    associated with 2 major hot wars (Korea
    Vietnam) it spawned various brushfire wars
    (small-scale conflicts.)
  • It was NOT itself a shooting war.
  • Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall

  • The US Soviets disagreed about the future of
    postwar Europe.
  • US wanted self-determination.
  • Soviets wanted to exploit control the areas
    they had conquered during WWII.
  • The Soviets were committed to a world under
    communist domination.
  • Stalin was determined to rule a global empire.
  • Churchill called the Soviet Unions domination of
    eastern Europe the iron curtain.

  • Cold War leaders were Truman, US President,
    Stalin in the USSR to be followed by Nikita
    Khrushchev a series of British Prime Ministers
  • The Soviet Union would threaten many other
    countries with insurgencies Greece Turkey were
    the first ones.
  • Trumans response to the SU was his Doctrine.

The Truman Doctrine
  • The main idea behind the doctrine was
  • Containment meant steady firm resistance to
  • The TD only applied to Greece Turkey some
    countries in Eastern Europe.
  • Eventually it was expanded to include the whole

  • The Truman Doctrine was formulated with the help
    of George C. Marshall (The Marshall Plan,) George
    F. Kennan, Dean Acheson.
  • These men would be responsible for American
    involvement fighting communism in other
  • When the Communists fueled insurgencies in Greece
    Turkey, Truman requested 400 million for
    Turkey to help defend the Turkish straits.
  • The Soviets wanted joint sovereignty over the
    straits but our intervention kept them under
    Turkish control.

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  • Effect of the Truman Doctrine the US became the
    defender of democracy against communism
    throughout the world.
  • The Cold War was responsible for the creation of
    NATO the National Security Act of 1947.

Changes at home abroad
  • National security becomes an issue.

National Security Act of 1947
  • This act created the NEW Department of Defense,
    National Security Council Central Intelligence
  • Secretary of Defense becomes a civilian post with
    cabinet level rank this person supervises all
    military operations.
  • National Security Council includes the Secretary
    of State Secretary of Defense this council
    advises the president on national security

  • The Department of Defense took the place of the
    War Department.
  • All the Armed Forces were unified the US Air
    Force was created.
  • The CIA gathered covert intelligence on an
    international level it is forbidden by law to
    conduct domestic espionage or counter-espionage.

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • 10 European nations, Canada, the US joined to
    counter the threat of a Soviet attack.
  • An armed attack against one or more shall be
    considered an attack against them all.
  • First major attempt at globalization.
  • Eisenhower is sent as the supreme commander of

  • Greece Turkey joined NATO in 1952 West Germany
    in 1955.
  • The Soviet Union its satellite nations formed
    their own alliance called the Warsaw Pact in
    response to NATO.
  • The satellite nations were forced to join since
    they were under Soviet domination.
  • NATO was formed in response to the Berlin Crisis.

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The Berlin Crisis
  • Recall Germany Berlin were divided into 4
    zones of occupation (Yalta Conference.)
  • The Soviets planned to keep their zone under
    Communist control.
  • US, British, French combined their zones into a
    free, democratic country (Federal Republic of
    Germany West Germany.)
  • US, British, French also took steps to create a
    free, democratic government in West Berlin.

  • Setting up a free, democratic government inside
    the Soviet zone of occupation angered Stalin
    the other Communist hierarchy.
  • June, 1948 the Soviets announced that they would
    block any road, rail, or river traffic into West
    Berlin (free Berlin.)
  • West Berlins 2.1 million residents were cut off
    from sources of food, coal, other basic
  • The city did have airstrips which the Western
    powers could use to ship in supplies.
  • Negative points some didnt think it possible to
    supply all the needs for entire city or Soviets
    could shoot down the planes start a new war.

  • Western leaders felt the risk was worth it to
    airlift supplies to the people of West Berlin.
  • British American airplane began making
    deliveries to the people of West Berlin.
  • 7,000 tons of supplies were flown in EVERY DAY to
    help the citizens of West Berlin.
  • The Berlin Airlift continued week after week
    while the Soviets could nothing about it.
  • The planes flew round-the-clock for over 321
  • Total number of flights was 277,569 supplying
    West Berlin with over 1.3 million tons of food
    other supplies.

  • Even though it was a political logistical
    triumph, there were casualties.
  • Josef Stalin eventually backed-down the Soviet
    Union was forced to lift the blockade.
  • This was the first win for the West in the Cold
  • For the next 40 years, the Soviet Union the US
    would continue this back-and-forth struggle over
    which country had the best political economic

Review Information
Part I Matching
  • Harry S. Truman 6. Baby Boom
  • Nikita Khrushchev 7. Iron Curtain
  • GI Bill 8. Marshall Plan
  • Containment 9. Taft-Hartley Act
  • Cold War 10. CIA

Part II Multiple Choice
  1. Why were the Truman Doctrine the Marshall Plan
    essential parts of post-war foreign policy?
  2. How did the Soviet Union respond to the creation
    of West Germany?
  3. What was the outcome of the Yalta Conference?
  4. What was the result(s) of the Truman Doctrine?

  • 5. What was the purpose(s) of the Marshall Plan?
  • 6. Why was NATO formed?
  • 7. What US foreign policy program supplied aid to
    Greece Turkey after World War II?
  • 8. Explain the statement, Armed aggression
    against any one member will be considered an
    attack on all.
  • 9. What idea states that if one nation falls to
    communism, then all neighboring nations will
  • 10. After WWII, what was the US policy of
    containment attempting to stop?

  • 11. What 2 nations represented opposing sides in
    the Cold War?
  • 12. What happened to the nations of Eastern
    Europe following WWII?
  • 13. What incident forced Congress to pass the
    Marshall Plan? (Czechoslovakia)
  • 14. What foreign policy did many American
    political leaders focus on between 1945 1989?
  • 15. What foreign policy would this statement
    relate to I believe that it must be the policy
    of the US to support free peoples who are
    resisting communist aggression.

  • 16. What was the cause of the Berlin blockade
  • What was the purpose of the Taft-Hartley Act?
  • The terms containment coexistence are
    related to what foreign policy situation?
  • What post-WWII program was established for war
  • Which program provided 13 billion to help
    rebuild Europe after WWII?
  • Why did the Soviets blockade Berlin in 1948?
  • What was the purpose of the Truman Doctrine?

  • 23. Why was NATO formed?
  • 24. What did Truman do to promote civil rights
    during his administration?
  • 25. What foreign policy was developed by the
    Truman administration to help rebuild the
    economies of Europe after WWII?
  • 26. What 1947 law limited the powers of labor
  • 27. Why would it be necessary for the US to
    become involved in European Southeast Asian
    politics after WWII?
  • 28. How did World Wars I II help change the
    roles of women?

  • 29. Why was Truman one of Americas most
    controversial presidents?
  • 30. What did Churchill mean when he said the
    nations of Eastern Europe had fallen under an
    iron curtain?
  • 31. What would become the commonly held view of
    the role of women in the 1950s?
  • 32. Since WWII, why have nations become more
    concerned with trying to prevent war?
  • 33. What label was given to the boundary between
    Soviet-dominated nations the pro-US Western

  • 34. After joining NATO, in what manner did the US
    promise to help the European nations?
  • 35. What term best describes the period of
    population growth in the 1950s?
  • 36. What military alliance was created to stop
    Soviet aggression in Europe?
  • 37. What was the aim of the Berlin Airlift?
  • 38. How did President Trumans administration
    help foreign nations resist communism?
  • 39. What program change American foreign policy
    by involving the US in the affairs of Western

  • 40. What kind of laws required blacks to sit in
    separate sections on public buses?
  • 41. What nation occupied Japan after WWII?
  • 42. What benefits did the GI Bill provide for
    returning servicemen?
  • 43. What was one of the results of the baby boom?
  • 44. What term best describes the relationship
    between the US the Soviet Union after WW II?
  • 45. Since 1900, which occupation has been in
    decline in the US?

Short Answer Questions Each response is worth 3
  1. What did many experts predict would happen to
    the US economy when WWII ended?
  2. How did the GI Bill help change American society?
  3. Why did Truman issue Executive Order 9981?
  4. Why was Truman not popular with many people
    during his administrations?

  • How did the National Security Act of 1947 change
    the defense system of the US?
  • (8 points)