Post War Economy Essay

This essay has a total of 1161 words and 6 pages.

Post War Economy




Post-War Economy

After years of living with a strict budget because of the Great Depression and the war,
during the post-war period, Americans wanted to get their hands on anything they could
get, especially automobiles and television sets, which advertised for other products
during commercials. They also purchased more refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum
cleaners, and cameras than ever before. Electric can openers, electric garage door
openers, and electric pencil sharpeners appeared on the market and quickly became part of
the new way of life. This increase in goods and services that characterized the postwar
period, gave Americans the highest standard of living the world had ever known. The
United States, home to just 6 percent of the world's population, produced and consumed
nearly half the world's goods.

In 1944, the GI Bill of Rights was passed by Congress. Which resulted in the greatest
wave of college building in the nation's history and many states vastly increased their
support of higher education. It also offered low-interest mortgages to veterans who
wanted to purchase homes (which helped the housing industry). This bill, allowed
Americans achieve a standard of living that was generally better than that of their
parents.

During the postwar years, corporations wanted to be bigger, so the business mergers
created conglomerates which were firms that had holdings in a variety of unrelated
industries. This rapid corporate growth during the 1950s gave an increase of new job
opportunities and a new lifestyle for the nation's white-collar workers. There were also
a big growth in the number of secretarial and clerical workers, bank tellers, and
telephone operators, as well as service workers in the insurance, transportation, and
retail sales areas. The hospitality and recreation industries needed more service workers
withe the increased number of bowling alleys, skating rinks, movie theaters, hotels, and
restaurants. Also the number of cars, appliances, radios, and television sets that were
purchased by consumers was so big that it created a need for skilled mechanics and
repairpeople. For the first time in the history of the United States, service workers
began to outnumber the manufacturers.

Having an automobile in this period was a big deal because Americans were on the move and
the automobile became indispensable to their way of life. Auto dealers sold a record of
58 million cars during the 1950s. Like Americans were always in the car, this led to the
invention of fast-food drive-ins and the drive-in theaters. It also led to the
development of an extensive interstate highway system.

During the 1950s, 85 percent of new home construction took place in suburbia. The rapid
growth of suburbia was for different reasons; some wanted to escape the crime and the
congestion of city neighborhoods, others fled because of their prejudices against African
Americans and Hispanic Americans, etc. They were located on the fringes of major cities.
they had low population densities and were affordable (the GI Bill helped). The bad thing
about suburbias was that they refused to sell homes to minorities like African Americans
and Hispanic Americans.

The nation's population and the fertility rate increased during this era. There was a
baby born in the United States every 7 seconds. This rapid population growth was known as
the baby boom, which continued until the mid-1960s. It occured because the emphasis on
family reflected a desire for close social and emotional ties. It also fueled the economy
further and helped sustain prosperity. The construction industry also prospered because
with all these new babies, bigger houses and more schools were needed. These "baby boom"
kids grew up in a better United States because there was more entertainment (television
sets) and medical science was more advanced than ever (vaccines).

Women's roles were to be housewives and mother, nothing else. The education system and
many television shows discouraged women from having careers, they emphasized that the
woman was to be at home doing the chores and taking care of kids, while the man would go
out to work. During the war though, many women had to get jobs for various reasons, but
when the war ended they were encouraged to go back home and leave the jobs for the men.
Some left but many stayed. Women held jobs in clerical, banking, and secretarial
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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