Though the Korean War came to an end, the Cold War continued in the 1950's, increasing Americans' fears of communism and nuclear war. Meanwhile most Americans experienced economic prosperity, leading white middle-class Americans to move away from cities into suburbs. Popular culture, including television, encouraged conformity, but some groups challenged the practices of American society, especially discrimination against African Americans.
1. What led to the division of Korea?
2. Who fought in the Korean War?
3. Identify the impact of the Korean War’s outcome on Korea.
4. Analyze how President Eisenhower handled threats to U.S. interests in Iran, Guatemala, and Egypt.
5. Explain how the U-2 incident affected the arms race.
6. Describe what the economy was like in the 1950’s.
7. Explain how the population shifted during the 1950’s.
8. Analyze how the work force changed in the 1950’s.
9. Explain why the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Montgomery bus boycott were major turning points for the civil rights movement.
10. Determine what the Central High School crisis demonstrated about some white southerner’s attitudes toward desegregation.
11. Describe how teenagers rebelled against the conformity of the 1950’s.
12. What events contributed to Americans’ fears of nuclear war? How were these fears reduced?
13. What was the popular image of a mother’s role in society during the 1950’s? How did this image conflict with reality?
1. Hydrogen bomb – 1,000 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end WWII.
2. National Aeronautics and Space Administration – National Aeronautics and Space Administration, after the 1957 launch of the Soviet Satellite Sputnik, President Eisenhower urged Congress to expand U.S. space technology by creating NASA. By 1958 the U.S. launched its own satellite, Explorer I.
3. Brinkmanship – The practice/police of going to the “brink” of war without getting into war with the Soviets. Success of this tactic rested on the threat of massive retaliation, including the use of nuclear weapons.
4. MAD – mutually assured destruction, an attack by one side would result in full-scale retaliation by the other thus complete destruction of both the attacker and the attacked would be annihilated in a conflict. This reality was an effective deterrence during the Cold War.
5. Eisenhower Doctrine – The offer of military aid or troops to any nation in the Middle East trying to resist Communist aggression.
6. Nikita Khrushchev – Successor to Joseph Stalin as Soviet leader, denounced Stalin’s rule, made and proposed reforms, governed during the Cuban Missile Crisis, eventually removed for his “radical” reform ideas.
7. Modern Republicanism – “conservative when it comes to money and liberal when it comes to human beings”, - President Eisenhower. As the first Republican president in decades, Eisenhower pledged to make budget cuts and balance the budget but also to embrace certain government programs deemed important to welfare of individuals.
8. Highway Act – greatly expanded the highway system making it easier for suburban residents to commute to jobs in the cities. Tied to the need for efficient transportation network for national defense purposes such as the movement of troops to and from bases and seaports.
9. Baby Boom – refers to the soaring birth rate after World War II. Many people had postponed getting married or starting a family during the depression. After the war people began marrying younger and having more kids. U.S. experienced a population increase of 30 million during the 1950’s.
10. Automation – The 1950’s saw companies introduce machines that could perform industrial operations faster and more efficiently than human workers. Increased productivity but reduced the number of manufacturing jobs.
11. Thurgood Marshall – NAACP lawyer that argued the Brown v. Board case and eventually became the first African American Supreme Court Justice.
12. Rosa Parks – 1955 she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and started the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her act started an important chapter in the Civil Rights Movement.
13. Martin Luther King, Jr. – The 26 year old Baptist Minister was chosen as the spokesperson for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The energetic and charismatic speaker held the African American community together during the boycott and led him to be the undisputed leader of the Civil Rights movement for the next decade.
14. Little Rock Nine – Nine African American students who attempted to attend the desegregated Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas. Little Rock’s school board was the first to comply with new desegregation laws. The Arkansas governor, against desegregation, ordered the National Guard to surround Central High School to prevent blacks from entering. The governor was eventually ordered to cease the guard’s action after 3 weeks and President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to the school. The troops made it possible for the nine black students to attend.
15. Civil Rights Act of 1957 – during the Little Rock crisis President Eisenhower signed the act into law. The first civil rights law since Reconstruction.