Cultural conformity was a hallmark of 1950s American culture, where young and old followed the group’s guidelines rather than going their way. Men and women had to work in new ways during WWII, but traditional roles were reintroduced. Previous women believed their place was at home even if they worked. Through television, young and old might share a common experience based on societal standards. The U.S. military was unrivaled, with the country’s fast economic expansion meant more individuals had access to new cars, suburban homes, and other consumer goods. The 1950s were also a time of war, which depicted the underlying disparities in American society that were evident even in the early stages of the civil rights and anti-communist movements. From a historical perspective, the 1950s are frequently depicted as a decade of prosperity and conformity, whereas the 1960s are commonly defined as a decade of unrest and disillusionment. As with anything in life, while most of these generalizations are accurate to a certain extent, there are always exceptions to the rule. As a result, historians’ descriptions of the 1950s and 1960s America are correct for most Americans, even though some groups deviated from the norm.
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During this period, a national consensus was disrupted, revealing a more splintered society, with several organizations advocating for more equal social arrangements. In the 1960s, the African American Civil Rights Movement made enormous strides, and grassroots activism was vital in enacting change (Varnum & Grossmann, 2017). The Civil Rights Movement inspired and affected American Indians, LGBT populations, and women. During the Vietnam War, anti-war protests in the U.S. rose steadily. As a result, several ethnic groups worked to equalize American culture.
The 1950s saw unparalleled wealth and stability in the U.S. But the turbulent 1960s broke that fragile accord. But not everyone in America followed these cultural norms, with the “beat generation” featuring writers who defied convention. By 1950, 4.4 million American families owned a television, making it the country’s most prevalent home appliance (Varnum & Grossmann, 2017). The emphasis on spontaneity and spirituality of Eastern mysticism trumped Western organized religion. The “beats” were widely adopted, which shocked their friends by breaking societal standards and expressing their writing liberation. Protests by musicians and artists also took place, and the ducktail and hip-shaking motions awed conservative Americans unfamiliar with rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis and other rock & roll musicians showed that whites could love black music, proving the integration of American culture.
Additionally, painters used to lay big canvases on the floor before splattering color over them in the style of changes implied during the time. They were all templates for the more significant and profound societal change of the 1960s. Following World War II, African Americans experienced more dissatisfaction. During World War II, they were unsuccessful in combating racism in the military and the workplace. Hundreds of thousands of African-Americans relocated to the northern United States in search of better opportunities. They were taken aback by the number of slums in urban areas. As more blacks began to advocate for racial equality, it became clear that second-class citizenship for black service members was no longer an option.
The President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, later noted that it was important to acknowledge that work is not done in isolation from other aspects of America’s foreign policy. The attempts to create a more peaceful society will be futile if the same is disregarded. It is just as crucial as military might or economic assistance. According to a State Department official in charge of cultural affairs, the three-legged stool of United States diplomatic relations consists of “Cultural ties, educational development, and information dissemination are three pillars of a three-legged chair that also includes political and economic dimensions, and they each constitute one leg of the stool.
This State Department official stated that the goal of American foreign policy is to integrate security, economic development, and cultural development into a single integrated plan that serves the nation’s interests around the world. The American government was opposed to communism as a political ideology or way of life. President Harry S. Truman announced less than two months before the start of the Korean War that the United States would launch a multimillion-dollar Campaign of Truth. It was meant to combat communist propaganda around the world and to provide other peoples with a full and fair picture of American life, as well as the goals and policies of the government.
The Soviet Union and its communist allies were subjected to a cultural offensive launched by the United States against them for a preponderance of power over these rivals. Successful application of psychological warfare and slow cultural infiltration operations worldwide, but particularly in Japan, France, and Italy, where they were most effective at the time of their implementation. On the other hand, the employment of cultural tools by the United States government to achieve its foreign policy objectives was not a new phenomenon. Its historical evidence revealed The Office of War Information’s operations, which were revitalized and expanded as part of a more significant effort to renew and expand the organization’s activities, which included the creation of the Office of War Information. It backed the biblical viewpoint, which was in opposition to communist attempts and the expansion of communist activities.
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Many people have questioned whether the Bible endorses communism because of a portrayal of the church in Acts 2. Some people have firmly defended the idea that communism is biblical because of this description. According to the scripture, the believers were all in the same place and shared everything they had in common. After selling their belongings and goods, they distributed their things and commodities to anyone in need (Acts 2:44-45) (Perry, 2018). According to this remark, communism, which has the primary goal of eliminating poverty through the equitable distribution of wealth, may be traced back to the early Christian churches, although this is not explicitly stated.
When Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist and member of the civil rights movement, refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger because she was a part of the movement, she was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was launched in response to her demonstrations, and it was only then that desegregation of public facilities could be adopted across the country. The bus boycott signaled the beginning of the civil rights struggle in the United States, which continues today. As a result of her efforts, the Montgomery Bus Boycott came into being as a form of demonstration. A young Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. coordinated a bus boycott that came to an end when the United States Supreme Court determined that segregation on public transportation was unconstitutional. During the next half-century, Rosa Parks grew to national prominence as a leader in the fight against racial injustice, and she went on to become a national hero as a result.
Numerous Americans, including officials and everyday citizens, identified racism with Cold War politics. The Cold War-era Africa and Asia were ecstatic to provide their support to the head of the free world, and they did it immediately. Prejudice at home made it difficult to meet new people in foreign lands. The civil rights movement had the support of President Harry Truman. Despite his opposition, he did not believe in social equality but realized the growing importance of the black urban vote in elections. In 1946, after learning of lynchings and other kinds of mob violence in the South, he formed a civil rights commission to address the issue. The following year, a study on the condition of African-Americans in the United States was released, which stated that the federal government must protect the rights of all individuals.
Perry, S. (2018). Bible culture and authority in the early United States. Princeton University Press. Web.
Varnum, M. E., & Grossmann, I. (2017). Cultural change: The how and the why. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(6), 956-972. Web.