1950s: President Eisenhowers Modern Republicanism
To what extent did the decade of the 1950s deserve its reputation as an age of political, social, and cultural conformity?
Frustration with the stalemate in Korea & the Red Scare led to a Republican presidential takeover in the 1952WW2 hero Dwight Eisenhower provided an antidote for K1C2VP Richard Nixon attacked communism & corruption Eisenhower vowed to go to Korea & personally end the warEisenhowers Modern RepublicanismKorean WarGovt CorruptionCommunismOnce elected, Ike did go to Korea, overturned the U.N. battle plan, & threatened China with nuclear war to get an armistice signed in 1953
Eisenhower labeled his politics Modern Republicanism:Ike believed in conservative govt spending & a balanced budget but he had no desire to end New Deal programsThe affluent, postwar good life at home was dependent upon a strong Cold War foreign policyEisenhowers Modern RepublicanismIm conservative when it comes to money and liberal when it comes to human beings
In his 8 years as president, Ike had a modest domestic record:Instead of ending New Deal programs, Eisenhower added to social security & minimum wageUsed FDRs Federal Housing Admin to help finance building & purchasing of suburban homesCreated the Depts of Health, Education, & WelfareEisenhowers Modern RepublicanismDuring the Eisenhower era, the U.S. economy avoided spiraling inflation & brought middle-class prosperity to more Americans
Interstate Highway System:Highway Act of 1956 created 41,000 miles of divided highway to connect major U.S. citiesThese highways helped promote national defense, interstate trade, & vacation travel All funds were raised exclusively through gas, tire, & car taxesEisenhowers Modern Republicanism
Regarding McCarthyism, Ike provided McCarthy just enough rope to hang himself in 1954In the televised Army hearings, the nation saw McCarthys style & fact-less attacksThe Senate censured McCarthy & his communist attacks quickly died The Republicans in PowerI am not going to get into a [peeing] contest with a skunkHave you no decency, Mr. McCarthy?
Postwar American Society
The postwar boom was caused byA desire for consumer goods (suppressed in the 1930s & 40s) Govt spending during Cold WarBaby boom & movement to the suburbs increased the demand for consumer goodsBut, this affluence led to a shift from individualism to conformity An Affluent SocietyThe Marshall PlanThe Korean WarCars with automatic transmissionsFilter cigarettes TVsRefrigeratorsHi-fi record playersThe American economy grew from crippling depression to the highest standard of living in all of world history in just 1 generation
$64,000 Question21 QuestionsBonanzaThe Untouchables I Love Lucy1950s TV networks TV in the 1950sI Love LucyThe Milton Berle ShowTV replaced radio & magazines as the primary conveyer of American consumer culture
Birthrate, 1940-1970The late 1940s & 1950s experienced the baby boom
The rapid growth of suburbs altered American life:Blue & white collar workers lived in the same neighborhoodsSuburbs depended upon cars, grocery stores, & shopping malls Suburbs allowed for the nuclear-family, not the extended familyWhite-flight to the suburbs left behind largely black urban coresLife in the Suburbs
A Suburban Case Study: Levittown, New YorkBegin in 1947 with 4,000 rental homes to veteransGrew to 17,000 sold homes in 1951
Southdale Shopping Center, Minnesotathe 1st enclosed, air-conditioned shopping mall
The rapid growth of suburbs led toIncreased church membership; Religious preference became the primary identifying feature of the suburbs Public schools grew & a college education was a goal for middle class childrenAreas of Greatest Growth
Juvenile Delinquency Movies of the 1950s
The music of the early 50s was dominated by doo-wopBut, rock n roll quickly struck a chord with young listeners:Black artists: Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, & Little RichardWhite artists: Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, & Elvis Presley The Music of the 1950s
Some criticized suburban culture:William Whytes Organized Man & David Riesmans Lonely Crowd criticized American conformity to social pressuresJack Kerouac & the Beats (Beatniks) emerged as a new counter-culture by refusing to conform to 1950s culture Critics of the Consumer SocietyGave rise to counter-culture reactionaries of 1960sInspired by Zen Buddhist state of inner grace called beatitude
Find imagesBeat Artists (Beatniks)City Lights in San Francisco was a hotbed for Beat artists
MarAbstract Expressionism Jackson PollockMark Rothko
Eisenhower Wages the Cold War
Ike was unusually well-prepared to be a Cold War presidentIkes foreign policy goals were to:Take a strong stand against Communism by using massive retaliation with nuclear weapons & covert CIA operationsTo reduce defense spending & relax Cold War tensionsEisenhower & the Cold WarPragmatic & well organizedWW2 military experience in Europe & AsiaChose hard-liner John Foster Dulles to be Sec of StateExcellent diplomat & politician
Eisenhower wanted more bang for the buck:Nuclear weapons & long-range delivery missiles were cheaper than conventional armed forcesMassive retaliation strategy made using nuclear weapons unlikelyBut massive retaliation offered no intermediate course of action if diplomacy failed Massive RetaliationMassive retaliation meant targeting civilian targets rather than military onesIke relied heavily on brinksmanship in which he used veiled threats of nuclear war to accomplish his goals
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
What are the stakes of war? Massive Retaliation? Mutual Assured Destruction?
In 1954, Eisenhower used a hard-line approach to stop Chinese expansion in Asia:Chinese attempts to take over islands near Taiwan led Eisenhower to threaten nuclear war if China did not stopEisenhower hoped this pressure would drive a wedge between the USSR & communist China Massive RetaliationChinese did not know if Ike was bluffing so China backed off this territorial expansionand the refusal of the USSR to aid China added a rift between Russia & China by the end of the 1950s
In 1956, Egyptian leader Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal:England & France invaded Egypt to take back the canal but the USSR opposed this interventionEisenhower did not want the USSR to attack so he threatened Russia with nuclear warEngland, France, & the USSR left Egypt & the U.S. became the leader in Middle EastMassive RetaliationIf those fellows start something, we may have to hit emand, if necessary, with everything in the bucket
The Suez Crisis revealed the vulnerability of the Middle East to Communism & Ike responded:In 1957, the Eisenhower Doctrine recommended U.S. armed force to protect the Middle East from Communist aggression In 1957, Ike sent the military to Lebanon to halt Communism & install a pro-Western govt Eisenhower DoctrineLike the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America, the United States emerged as a police power in a new part of the world
Ikes administration used covert CIA acts to expand U.S. control:In 1953, the CIA overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in favor of a U.S.-friendly shahIn 1954, the CIA overthrew a leftist regime in Guatemala In 1959, the CIA took a hard-line against new Cuban dictator Fidel Castro after his coupCovert ActionsThese interventions led to anti-American hostilities in the Middle East & Latin AmericaThe end justifies the means
The space race intensified the Cold War between USA & USSRIn 1957, the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik led to fears that the USSR was leading the race to create intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)The U.S. sped up it plans to build ICBMs & IRBM submarinesThe Effects of SputnikKhrushchev used Sputnik to put the U.S. on the defensive: We will bury you. Your grandchildren will live under Communism.
Sputnik led to fears that America was growing soft & was losing its competitive edge & work ethic The U.S. govt responded with:National Aeronautics & Space Administration in 1958National Defense Education Act was created to promote math, science, & technology educationThe Effects of SputnikThe advanced placement (AP) program is a byproduct of the NDEA!
Sputnik in 1957The Original SevenMercury AstronautsAlan Shepard was the 1st American in space
Ike tried to end the nuclear arms race as both sides tested hydrogen bombs & ICBMsIn 1953, Eisenhower called for disarmament & presented his Atoms for Peace plan to the United NationsIn 1955, Khrushchev rejected Eisenhowers open skies plan for weapons disarmament Waging Peace
In his farewell address in 1960, Eisenhower warned against the Military-Industrial Complex:The massive military spending that dominate domestic & foreign politicsMilitary-Industrial ComplexThis military-industrial complex is part of the reason for the Soviet demise in the late 1980s & end of the Cold War in 1991
Conclusions:Restoring National Confidence
By 1960, the American people were more optimistic than in 1950Americans were no longer afraid of a return of another Great DepressionAnxiety over the Cold War continued but was not as s