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Post-War America in Historical Sources

With the end of World War II, the United States became one of the two world superpowers. The country helped Europe to rise from the ruins and experienced an economic and demographic boom; the process of abandoning segregation and racial discrimination has begun. At the same time, an anti-communist propaganda campaign was launched in American society by supporters of Senator McCarthy. Nevertheless, despite all the internal and external challenges, the country managed to maintain and consolidate its status as the leading democracy in the Western world.

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The first source was written by The Senate Committee. It is the upper house of the Federal Government’s legislative branch and is considered a more powerful body than the lower house, the House of Representatives. The source was created in 1954 to establish the negative impact of the graphic novel – comics – on the reader. The motivation was a passion for comics to the detriment of reading books. The author’s perspective is that a person with clip thinking receives information in a dosed manner; they cannot develop the integrity of perception of the world. The source demonstrates the new American society, where the motto is “time is money,” which was in the lecture’s material (“HIST 371 Post WWII America”). It shows such a broader historical trend as the tendency to simplify, which is why the appearance of comics is logical.

The next source is a 1956 article in the “Good Housekeeping” magazine. This is one of the most popular magazines among American women, which publishes helpful tips about family and children, health and diets, home improvement, and interior design. The article was written due to the emerging new image of the ideal American family, which was considered exemplary by the magazine’s editorial board. The motivation was the image of a perfect wife and mother, which every American woman dreamed of matching. The article confirms the lecture material that men were breadwinners, for whom the authority and the maintenance of the family were the most critical goals in life (“Post-War America”). The source demonstrates the tendency of most American women to be housewives and manage the whole house while their husbands were at work. They even had to postpone the most critical decisions until men arrive.

This is followed by a newspaper article that touches on such an essential part of the era as music. Having appeared in a not very popular daily newspaper, the report still gained popularity, as it was devoted to acute social problems. Published in 1956, the source writes about the phenomenon of new music for listeners of the 50s. Rock and roll was not racially neutral music since the fathers of the genre were black performers. The musicians tried to attract attention not only by the songs themselves but also by their behavior on stage, supporting the American global trend against racism. The author of the article denies the rationality of public condemnation of black musicians, confirming the material about the first steps in the fight against racism submitted in the lecture (“HIST 371 Post WWII America”).

The last source in the chapter is the introduction to the 1963 book The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, one of the first American feminists. The impetus for writing the book was Betty’s feeling that if a woman had a problem, it meant that something was wrong with her family or with herself. Betty’s perspective is that so many women experience the same feeling and share it with the public. This book illustrates the beginning of the global trend of women’s rights mentioned in the lecture (“Post-War America”).

Unlike the countries of Europe, which were in ruins after the Second World War, the United States began to experience radical social changes. Historical sources reflect both the transformations in society and the growth of the standard of living of an ordinary American. Another notable shift in the mass consciousness of Americans is recorded in historical documents – the struggle for the rights of blacks and women. All possible aspects of US domestic policy in the post-war years were reflected in various sources, allowing historians to restore reliable events of those years.

Reference

“HIST 371 Post WWII America.” YouTube, 2021, Web.

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