AMST3100 Thepre 1960s

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Information about AMST3100 Thepre 1960s

Published on February 24, 2008

Author: Charlo


AMST 3100 The 1960s:  AMST 3100 The 1960s Pre-1960s Pre-World War II America:  Pre-World War II America 1. International Depression FDR’s New Deal 2. U.S. foreign policy relations Anticommunist Fairly isolationist 3. U.S. domestic policies Racism and sexism prevailed Jim Crow system in the South Wartime Mobilization:  Wartime Mobilization 1. Propaganda themes American moralism The myth of polarity 2. Mobilizing the economy Military spending put people to work Rapid technological breakthroughs Rising oligarchy (the military-industrial complex) Rising affluence, esp in savings Wartime Mobilization:  Wartime Mobilization 3. Women: new opportunities From traditional housewives to Rosie the Riviter Gender attitudes were less rigidly patriarchal 4. African Americans: rising expectations Jim Crow segregation in the South (and North) Even the U.S. military was segregated Massive 10-year migration to Northern cities Shift from traditional service jobs toward industrial jobs Origins of the Cold War:  Origins of the Cold War 19th century imperialism by Western industrialized nations created global tensions Western-style industrial capitalism was controversial Western values were controversial Rise of Marxist resistance against capitalism brings a global conflict over opposing ideologies: capitalism versus communism Cultural differences American moralism versus Soviet pragmatism Origins of the Cold War:  Origins of the Cold War Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (1917) American, British and Japanese invade Russia to quell the Bolshevik revolution (1918), but fail. Fear culture prevailed in the West First American Red Scare (1918) Origins of the Cold War:  Origins of the Cold War The War Years: fragile alliance 1. Mutual distrust between U.S. and Soviets made military aid for Soviets difficult 2. D-Day was initially promised for 1942, but postponed ultimately 2 years, angering Stalin. 3. How would Europe look after the War? Soviets refused to restore autonomy to Eastern Europe, angering the Americans and British Origins of the Cold War:  Origins of the Cold War 4. FDR’s sudden death leaves a diplomatic vacuum 5. 1945 issues that are the immediate causes of the Cold War 1. Poland and Eastern Europe: Soviet occupation? 2. Germany’s fate: reindustrialize? 3. Economic reconstruction of Europe, but no aid for the Soviets? 4. Nuclear issues: sharing nuclear information? Origins of the Cold War:  Origins of the Cold War Long term origin: Ideological differences: capitalism versus communism Cultural differences: moralism v. pragmatism Short term origin: Soviet occupation of Central Europe, drawing an “iron curtain” around it Truman’s moralistic get-tough policy toward Stalin Declaration of Cold War:  Declaration of Cold War 1. The Truman Doctrine (1947): military aid 2. The Marshall Plan (1947): economic aid 3. U.S. policy of containment (George Kennan): emphasis on military over diplomatic approach Three problems with the containment policy: 1. it assumed Soviets would not negotiate 2. it assumed Soviets were behind every insurrection 3. it pushed the Soviets toward a military response Advent of the Atomic Arms Race:  Advent of the Atomic Arms Race The U.S. had a huge military advantage over the Soviets after WWII By 1949, the Soviets managed to get the A-Bomb. Now there was a balance of power. U.S. pursues new atomic technologies, upsetting the balance of power with the H-Bomb (1952) Soviets have the H-Bomb by 1953 H-Bomb brings issue of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) – a stalemate existed under MAD, yet each side provoked. The Arms Race: both sides were locked in a massive, expensive, and frightening nuclear arms race. Because the U.S. was typically ahead in the arms race, the U.S. resisted nuclear treaties and other restraints in development. The arms race benefited the military industrial complexes of the U.S. and USSR, but was harmful to diplomacy, the economy, and psychological security. End of Cold War section:  End of Cold War section The domestic scene (1940s-50s):  The domestic scene (1940s-50s) The politics of anti-communism stifled progressive reform movements Many conservatives labeled reformers interested in securing rights for women, blacks, students, or workers as “communist sympathizers.” A “true American” was patriotic, machismo, believed in a Christian God, was opposed to social agitation, and hated communists. The Cold War was fed by the rhetoric of moralism – we were “free” and our enemies were tyrants (good versus evil). A fear culture prevailed and fear of domestic communism meant civil rights could be sacrificed. Four norms aimed at youth:  Four norms aimed at youth 1. obey authority 2. control your emotions 3. fit in with the group 4. don’t even think about sex These messages reveal the desire for normalcy and security in a post-Depression, post-war conservative culture. In the 60s, these norms would be rejected by the youth counterculture. Despite the politics of anticommunism, changes were occurring:  Despite the politics of anticommunism, changes were occurring Between 1945-1960, the GNP grew by 250%. At the start of WWII, only 40% of citizens owned their own home. By 1960 it would be 60%. By 1960, about 60% of citizens were in the middle class, compared with only 31% before the 1930s. The rise of television greatly altered leisure time activities. the home became more privatized. Less going out to public life activities like the movies, restaurants, the ball game, etc. Economic shifts: rise of a post-industrial economy:  Economic shifts: rise of a post-industrial economy White collar workers began to outnumber blue collar workers A new managerial class was emerging: college trained workers for large corporations who were specialists Large corporations promoted a new managerial personality that some called “the organization man” Conformist to corporate rules Sociable and sharp “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” – by Sloan Wilson, 1956 Rising dissention: the “organization man” was too “plastic” or conformist. Authenticity of self would be an issue. Suburbia and Consumerism:  Suburbia and Consumerism Between 1950-60, 18 million people would move to the 11 million homes being built in the suburbs. By 1960, one-fourth of the U.S. population lived in a suburb. Suburbs represented “the good life.” relative affluence a materialistic, consumption-oriented lifestyle stability and community (in a volatile world) privacy a nuclear family oriented around the kids Suburbia and Consumerism:  Suburbia and Consumerism The new consumerism focused on recreation and the new expectation that life should be fun (hedonism), as promoted in corporate TV ads. Families were encouraged to take vacations new sources of hedonistic pleasures, like Disneyland. The station wagon was the family car - the vacation car. Rise in motels, McDonalds catered to this new car culture. Suburbia was to be fun too. Playboy Magazine catered to this new consumer hedonism and signaled rising sexual hedonism. These new, high expectations influenced youth . The Price of Suburbia:  The Price of Suburbia Suburbs promote a form of group living that undermined individualism (a core value) Too conformist, too bland, too uniform, too plastic, too cookie-cutter, too rationalized. Who would reject suburbia? Non-conformists, and those concerned about authenticity of self. Existentialists and radicals Artists Social marginals (delinquents, rockers, and other elements of the emerging youth culture) Womens’ Lives:  Womens’ Lives Traditional gender roles placed women in the home as housewife and mother. The Feminine Mystique (Betty Friedan, 1963) Young women were socialized to yearn for marriage and children as the single source of fulfillment. This was “normalcy” for females. any deviation was improper. This book touched a nerve among women, who began to question this patriarchal system. Women were in a tug-of-war between traditional family values (patriarchal) versus modern values (equality). Womens’ Lives, con’t:  Womens’ Lives, con’t Anomic conditions could even be found in the 1950s suburbs: Rising alcoholism and tranquilizer usage What was “Mother’s Little Helper” - that little yellow pill that the Rolling Stones referred to in 1966? Rising divorce rates Millions of women had wage jobs, despite the feminine mystique, and most liked their jobs. It was clear by the middle of the 1960s that women were ready for a change, and patriarchy would come under attack by these emerging feminists. Popular Culture of the 1950s:  Popular Culture of the 1950s 1. Growth of television:  1. Growth of television TV dominated the popular culture of the 50s. TV encouraged a national shared culture. The family itself adopted and adapted to TV life and schedules. TV mainly reinforced conservative values, but also teased with breakthrough programs like Twilight Zone, Kraft Television Theater, Playhouse 90, etc. Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Donna Reed Show, Ozzie and Harriet, etc emphasized importance of suburbia, traditional conservative values, the family. 1950s Television, con’t:  1950s Television, con’t TV was a commercial tool used to reinforce the dominant values of the era: Materialism and consumerism as a way of life Hedonism, as defined by capitalists Progress (capitalist/technological/bureaucratic growth) Suburbia and the nuclear family Traditional gender and race roles (sexism, racism) Law and order Conformity to authority and to bureaucratic rules Patriotism and a strong military Fear of communism and deviance 2. Films of the 50s:  2. Films of the 50s Unlike TV, films had more variation, more substance, and more aesthetic interest. Gender messages were ambiguous Doris Day versus Marilyn Monroe Women were increasingly sexualized The ideal man was a rugged individualist 3. Rise of Existentialism:  3. Rise of Existentialism Backdrop is the rise of mass society and powerful forces that bring a sense that life is absurd. (Example: Kafka’s The Trial) Big Business, Big Gov’t, Big Militaries, and other over-rationalized, hierarchal systems reduce the individual to an insignificant atom. Failure of traditional religion to answer modern questions. To the Church, meaning is inherent. But to the existentialist, meaning is not provided by the natural order. It must be made in the now. Meaning comes from action, so make your actions count. Carpe diem. Become self-aware. Existentialism, con’t:  Existentialism, con’t Themes supported by existentialism 1. Individualism against collective conformity 2. Free will against determinism fight the power of the machine/bureaucracy to run your life 3. Rebellion against the system 4. Rise of Youth Culture:  4. Rise of Youth Culture Before WWII, the generation gap was not wide, and the popular culture of teens was not that different from their parents. The rise of youth culture radically altered the social landscape of the 50s, and especially the 60s. The baby boom The sheer number of teens gave them a sense of their own identity as teens. Rising affluence and consumerism Teens began to get an allowance and became consumers, allowing them to forge their own consumer styles. Rise of suburbia. Suburbs allowed larger families centered around the children. Teens developed high expectations about life and fun. Rise of youth culture, con’t:  Rise of youth culture, con’t Emphasis on school, a differentiated institution with differentiated statuses. Institutional differentiation encouraged status differentiation, and the teenager became an age-differentiated status, complete with different role expectations. Teens hung out with each other, fostering their own identities apart from adults. Peer groups of teens were powerful influences. Schools were becoming rationalized, with obedience to rules required. Teens began to differentiate themselves from the adult oligarchy, and this fostered rebellion against school rules and authority. Teen traits Adult traits:  Teen traits Adult traits Anti-authority Anti-rational Expressive behavior Spontaneous Unconventional Informal and loose Personal freedom Instant gratification Irreverent Openly sexualized and hedonistic Pro-authority Rational Instrumental beh. Calculating Conventional Formal Conformity Delayed gratification Serious minded Less openly sexual and hedonistic Rise of youth culture, con’t:  Rise of youth culture, con’t Teen Values Teens forged their own subculture, complete with its own distinguishing values: hedonism, irreverence (to authority), freedom, rejection of rationality, passionate romanticism. Rock’n’roll emerged as the voice of teen culture Hedonistic, sexualized, individualized, youth oriented Irreverent Sources of Discontent:  Sources of Discontent 1. The Existentialists:  1. The Existentialists Intellectuals, college campuses, very influential Provided an ideological basis for criticism of Western culture Emphasis Freedom The now (live for today, seize the day) Viewing the system as the root problem Action, change oriented Albert Camus, John Paul Sartre 2. The Beats:  2. The Beats Mainstream American had lost its soul Too bland, materialistic, conformist, hypocritical, racist, militant, corporate, bureaucratic The Beats (late 1940s to mid-1960s) rejected suburbia and prided themselves on non-conformity and living life to the fullest. Open to new experiences (sex, drugs, and be bop) They made their own rules (do your own thing) Bohemian existentialists Rejected the system but did not try to openly challenge it, preferring to live underground. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs 3. Juvenile Delinquents:  3. Juvenile Delinquents Rebels without a cause. Teens and young adults who felt alienated from their parents, the system, and mainstream adult authority. Rejected the system but offered no constructive alternatives other than living in the now and acting out. Hollywood’s Rebel Without a cause (James Dean) and The Wild Ones (Marlon Brando) sensationalized the juvenile delinquent. 4. Rock n’ Roll:  4. Rock n’ Roll Helped galvanize youth culture into their own differentiated identity apart from adult authority Rejection of old (parental norms and values) Fed the growing generation gap Crossed the race barrier, bringing changes. Emphasis on physical sensation, pleasure, soul, expressive behavior (loosen up and be free) Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and ELVIS (the white version of black soul) 5. Civil Rights Advocates:  5. Civil Rights Advocates Criticized the status quo and its injustices Early emphasis on the need for racial equality Advocated a distinct, constructive ideology that promoted humanism and social justice Equality Freedom Well organized, strong leaders Supported by the black church and many white churches Together with the rise of youth culture, this is the most significant force of change to affect the 1960s. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. End of this section. :  End of this section.

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