Divided Union 1945 - 80 full revision notes

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Divided Union 1945 to 1980
After the First World War the USA had returned to a policy of isolationism, but when war
broke out in 1939, President Roosevelt wanted to help Britain and prepare the USA for
war against Germany. He asked congress for $1,300,000,000 to build up the army. He
signed a deal to send destroyers to Britain. He signed the lend lease act which allowed the
USA to "lend" military equipment to Britain, to be returned or paid for at the end of the war.
What was the effect of the Second World War on the USA ?
1. The economy. The USA had suffered before the war in the great depression, and there
had been much unemployment. The war changed this. Employment fell rapidly. In early
1941 there were 8 million people out of work. By the end of 1944 it was only 1.4%.
16,000,000 Us citizens joined the armed forces. Many had never travelled abroad before.
Many students left education early to fill jobs as there was so much work. Federal spending
rose 1000% during the war.
Wartime production of goods carried on into peace time. Europe was devastated by the
war and the US had very little competition in the world for her manufactured goods. This
means the US economy did very well out of the war. Big firms like General Motors,
Chrysler, General Electric and Ford, exported their goods around the world. The USA
became the richest country in the world, and was the leading nation in developing "consumer
goods" such as fridges, televisions, cars and washing machines, which it exported around the
world. Americans had a higher standard of living, and there was little unemployment. Richer
Americans began to move out of the cities into suburbs and by 1959 25% of Americans
were suburban. By 1960 nearly all Americans had a TV and a car.
2. Women workers. Women were needed in the factories to help with war production.
The number of working mothers also increased rapidly. The percentage of women working
rose from 27 to 37% by the end of the war. This had long term effects on the status of
women in society. 300,000 women joined the army, 7 million were needed in the
workforce. Rosie the riveter was a famous poster to attract women into the factories. After
the war most went back to their civilian lives, but many women carried on working, and
attitudes to women working had changed forever.
3. Blacks. Like women many black Americans were needed to work during the war. The
government needed 16 million extra workers during the war and many of these were black
Americans. In 1941 Philip Randolph organised a march of 100,000 in Washington
demanding the right to "work and fight for our country". In 1942 CORE the congress of
Racial Equality was set up, which later became active in the civil rights campaign.
There was still a lot of discrimination, but Roosevelt tried to help by awarding government
contracts to firms that ended discrimination in the workplace. This was the "Fair
Employment Practices Committee". Black Americans also joined the army and fought in the
war. There were 1 million blacks in the army, however the often fought in black only units
with white officers. Eisenhower supported integrated units in the army and by the end of the
war many black and white soldiers were fighting together. Possibly the biggest influence
upon them was that they were fighting a racist dictator in Germany. When these soldiers
returned home they found they were treated as second class citizens and could not vote.
This was a big influence on the civil rights movement. By 1946 the NAACP had 460,000

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Japanese Americans. They were interned during the war and many lost their homes and
property as a result. 120,000 were rounded up into camps in California alone. Although
later many Japanese Americans served in the armed forces, and some argued that
internment was against the US constitution.
5. Anti Communism. The US was fighting alongside Russia during the war, but immediately
after the war tension between the USA and USSR increased as the Cold War began.…read more

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From 1945 to 1950, people had been lead to believe that there were secret communists in
all walks of life who were working towards the overthrow of the US government. This was
the atmosphere that Senator Joseph McCarthy used in 1950 to advance his political career.
In 1950 McCarthy claimed he had a list of 205 communists in the state department. He also
said he had a list of 57 communists in the government.…read more

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South where most Blacks lived.
At the end of the war 17 states in the South, still enforced the "Jim Crow" laws. These laws
enforced segregation in almost every sphere of public life. Parks, transport, schools,
cinemas, toilets, cafes and restaurants, were all segregated between black and white.
Black Americans could expect to have worse schooling and no access to good universities.…read more

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In 1957 Eisenhower went further and passed a civil rights act
which would prosecute anyone who denied another American their civil rights. The case
attracted world wide attention, and in 1958 Arkansas was forced to integrate all the schools
in the state.
However, many states dragged their feet. By 1963 there were only 30,000 children in
integrated schools in the south out of nearly 3 million. Alabama, Mississippi and South
Carolina were still entirely segregated.
1955 Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.…read more

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In 1962 Robert Kennedy started the Voter Education Project to encourage blacks to
register to vote.
The Voting Rights Campaign was the result. The NAACP conducted campaigns to
increase the number of blacks who were registered to vote. They often faced intimidation
and worse at the polling booths.
In 1962 some of the worst rioting took place when the city of Birmingham closed all parks
and public places in a desperate attempt to avoid integrating them. By 1963 the momentum
for civil rights was growing.…read more

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Between 1965 and the end of the decade the nature of the civil
rights movement changed and became more violent.
Many felt that the pace of change was too slow. They believed that society was
fundamentally racist and that nothing could change it. There was an increased interest in
Islam which was seen as a black religion. Some rejected the idea of integration and wanted
a separate black society. This was known as Black Separatism.…read more

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Kennedy was very good on television and was one of the first presidents to really
understand how to use the media his advantage. Kennedy at 43 was the youngest person
ever to be elected President and he and his equally young wife "Jackie" were both
extraordinarily popular influencing fashion trends and becoming the subjects of numerous
photo spreads in popular magazines.
The New Frontier
In his inaugural address he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens.…read more

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The Area Redevelopment Act tried to improve poor communities
3. The Housing Act tried to clear slums and improve housing
4. The Social Security Act gave more money to the elderly and unemployed
5. The Manpower Development and Training Act tried to help the unemployed
6. He also tried to introduce a system of health insurance
1. Housing loans were often not available to the very poorest
2. The minimum wage didn't help the unemployed
3.…read more

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Johnson of stepping over the line into outright "dirty tricks", but he got the
job done and was respected for his ability in congress. He was much better than Kennedy at
getting his bills passed by congress.
He was born in Stonewall Texas one of a family of 5 children in a small farmhouse in a poor
area.…read more



Simply fantastic... :)))

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