Unit 3: 1950's

1950's Intro.mp4

The 1950's

Unit Objective

  • You will compare and contrast pop culture trends in the 1940’s to the 1950’s

  • You will identify national policies that are reflected in pop culture

  • You will predict future shifts in American culture based on changes in pop culture

The 1950's brought a number of changes to the way Americans live. The expansion projects of the new deal brought new infrastructure like the development of the interstate system, the birth of suburban living in communities and a new found economic stability. This allowed for the expansion of entertainment and the growth of industries like television as more families could afford to have a television in their home. At the same time the United States was fighting a new kind of war with the USSR - a Cold War based on strategic diplomacy, international intervention, technological advancement and military development. The Cold War and associated international policy affected perspectives at home with a renewed commitment to consumerism, personal expression and furthering an America First way of thinking. This led to domestic investigations into those the government thought were promoting communist ideologies specifically in Hollywood and the growing entertainment industry.

In addition to the conflicts of the Cold War the United States was also dealing with Civil Rights issues throughout the country, but especially in the south. The United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs The Board of Education that their earlier ruling in Plessy v Ferguson was incorrect and that allowing separate spaces and institutions would inherently have inequality swinging the door open on a decades long battle for equality and civil rights for people of color in America.

Things are looking up for America in the 1950's, but you could sense that the United States was still finding its post war "feet" and tension was building about where the country was headed.