= abundance of money, property, and other material goods; riches; wealth.

How did American society become so affluent?


National Security Policies
The National Security Act: Reorganized the United States military forces within a new Department of Defense, and established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Marshall Plan: Plan of U.S. aid to Europe that aimed to contain communism by fostering postwar economic recovery. Proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in 1947, it was formally known as the European Recovery Program.

NATO: Established by treaty in 1949 to provide for the collective defense of non-communist European and North American nations against possible aggression from the Soviet Union and to encourage political, economic, and social cooperation. (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

NSC-68: National Security Council Document number 68 that provided the rationale and comprehensive strategic vision for United States policy during the cold war. (1950)

The Truman administration predicted and promised economic growth in America. They began preaching the gospel of economic growth, which fit nicely with their foreign policy programs and the newly passed Employment Act of 1946, calling for maximum employment and specifically acknowledged that private enterprise, not government, bore primary responsibility for economic decision making.

Economists of the time predicted upcoming uninterrupted economic growth in America...

The Era of Affluence in America


Let's take a look at the cost of things:

$100 Converted from 1950 to 2005, it would be equivalent to $835.41 today

In 1950 a new house cost $8,450.00 and by 1959 was $12,400.00
In 1950 the average income per year was $3,210.00. By 1959, it was $5,010.00
In 1950 a gallon of gas was 18 cents. By 1959 , it was 25 cents

In 1950 the average cost of new car was $1,510.00. By 1959, it was $2,200.00
Chrysler New Yorker $4347
Chevrolet Corvette $3631 1958
Mens All Wool Suits $28.90
Square dance Cotton Check Dress $3.29
Electric Portable Singer Sewing Machine $19.90
Ronson Electric Shaver $28.50
Rib Roast 29 cents per pound
Ritz Crackers 32 cents
Rollaway Beds $14.95
Ring 1 carat Diamond $399.00
Mechanical Adding Machine $3.98

But not everyone was content with the changes in society that affluence brought...


Elvis Presley


"Bonnie" a flashy 1950s Chevy

Truman's Presidency:

Truman, a moderate democrat, became president after Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death because he had been vice president. In his presidency, Truman tried to continue the New Deal tradition of his predecessor while also facing difficult decisions in foreign policy with the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War.
Truman overthrew all of the odds when he was elected in 1948

Policies at Home:

In the US, Truman tried to increase prosperity and civil rights. The Employment Act of 1946 created the Council of economic advisors to council the president and congress on how to help the national economy, but at the same time, inflation increased and strikes become more frequent and violent. When these strikes arose, Truman used a harsh approach to break by bringing in the National Guard. At the same time, Truman worked hard to promote civil rights. First, he used his executive powers to create the Committee on Civil Rights in 1946 which strengthened the civil rights division of the justice department to aid black leaders in ending the segregation of schools. In 1948, racial discrimination in the departments of the federal government and the armed forces was ended. Truman also opposed the Taft-Hartley Act, but the Republican controlled Congress passed it anyway. This act, passed in 1947, was meant to check the power of unions by outlawing secondary boycotts, union shops, closed shops, and gave the president the power to invoke an 80-day cooling off period in an attempt to stop the strikes before they began. In the Election of 1948 Truman beat out the Dixiecrat candidate, Thurmond, and the Republican candidate, Dewey, through intense campaigning. Finally, Truman summed up his policy under the term The Fair Deal. However, most of the bills he brought up were defeated because of the Republican Congress and the pressing foreign policy concerns of the Cold War which overshadowed the domestic problems.
Taft-Hartley Act

U.S./Soviet Relations and the Origins of the Cold War:

Up until 1945 and their alliance in WWII, the Soviet Union and the US had not gotten along. The Red Scare of 1919, the previous communist scare in America, is one example of their poor relationship. Thus, the alliance of WWII was more of an alliance of convenience than one of trust. However, the participation of the Soviet Union in the creation of the UN seemed to be a good sign for future relations. But, when the Soviets followed this by refusing to regulate nuclear energy and eliminate atomic weapons, they were once again going against American wishes. Elections in the countries of central and eastern Europe were held by the Soviets as they promised after the end of the Second World War, but the results were scewed in favor of communist dictators who were mostly loyal to Moscow. (These smaller communist states became known as the "iron curtain" after Winston Churchill's famous speech.) The United States saw these actions as a violation of democracy, and became even more alienated from the Soviet Union.

Containment in Europe:

The Truman Doctrine, a plan formulated by not only Truman, but also the secretary of state, General George Marshall, his undersecretary, Dean Acheson, and the expert on Soviet affairs, George F. Kennan, asked congress for 400 million dollars in economic and military aid to assist the "free people" of Greece and Turkey against communist regimes. At the same time, George Marshall authored the Marshall Plan to send 12 billion dollars to the countries of western Europe that were still outside of the influence of communism to allow them to grow back into successful, democratic, states after the devastation of WWII.
The Marshall Plan
This policy ended the threat of communist successes in Western Europe. Meanwhile, under Joseph Stalin, the Soviets cut off access the Berlin which was within their realm of East Germany. To solve this crisis, the US flew in supplies for the people of West Berlin (which was under US control, unlike East Berlin) and sent 60 bombers to bases in England causing Stalin to bakc down in May of 1949 and remove the blockade after 11 months.
The Blockade of Berlin
The Berlin Airlift