Cold War America 1945-1980

What will you learn?


Analyze the causes and consequences of important domestic Cold War trends.

  1. economic growth and declining poverty
  2. the baby boom
  3. the growth of suburbs and home-ownership
  4. the increase in education levels
  5. the development of mass media and consumerism
  • As the Cold War unfolded in the decade and a half after World War II, the United States experienced phenomenal economic growth. The war brought the return of prosperity, and in the postwar period the United States consolidated its position as the world's richest country.
  • The growth had different sources:
  1. The automobile industry was partially responsible, as the number of automobiles produced annually quadrupled between 1946 and 1955.
  2. A housing boom, stimulated in part by easily affordable mortgages for returning servicemen, fueled the expansion.
  3. Workers found their own lives changing as industrial America changed. Fewer workers produced goods; more provided services. By 1956 a majority held white-collar jobs, working as corporate managers, teachers, salespersons and office employees.
  4. Farmers, on the other hand, faced tough times. As companies took over farming--->prices of food went down--->farmers couldn't make enough money--->companies took over more farming---> food is mass produced (made cheaply in large quantities).
  5. An important form of movement led Americans out of inner cities into new suburbs, where they hoped to find affordable housing for the larger families spawned by the postwar baby boom.
  6. New highways created better access to the suburbs and its shops. The Highway Act of 1956 provided $26 thousand-million, the largest public works cost in U.S. history at the time, to build more than 40,000 miles of federal roads to link together all parts of the country.
  7. Television, too, had a powerful impact on social and economic patterns. In 1946 the country had fewer than 17,000 television sets. Three years later consumers were buying 250,000 sets a month, and by 1960 three-quarters of all families owned at least one set.
  8. Popular shows-Howdy Doody Time and The Mickey Mouse Club; older viewers preferred situation comedies like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best.

Events and wars that involved the Cold War (United States vs. Soviet Union):

  1. Korean War- 1951-1953
  2. McCarthyism-a series of investigations and hearings during the 1950s in an effort to expose supposed communists of various areas of the U.S. government and society.
  3. The Cuban Missile Crisis- 1962-major confrontation that brought the United States and the Soviet Union close to war over the presence of Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba.
  4. Vietnam War- 1965-1975
  5. Space Race-a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for being the best in space flight.
  6. Arms Race- a long-running nuclear arms race between the the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US)
American Nuclear Missile in an underground silo (ICBM)- Capable of going into orbit and hit any country in the world.
Nuclear Missile Silo Complex
  • Essay Question-
  1. What were some of the reasons America did better in the middle of the 20th century? Please respond with a one paragraph response.
Created By
Pedro Menino


Created with images by Sam Howzit - "The Missile" • The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center - "Securing Our Freedoms (Under Construction)" • Jay Phagan - "Harbor Bridge 1960's" • Clemens Vasters - "IMG_8695"

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