1950s Note Cards

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GI Bill (1944)

Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend college, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It was available to every veteran who had been on active duty during the war years for at least ninety days and had not been dishonorably discharged; combat was not required.


baby boom

In the years after the war, couples who could not afford families during the Great Depression made up for lost time; the mood was now optimistic. During the war, unemployment ended and the economy greatly expanded; afterwards the country experienced vigorous economic growth until the 1970s. As a result, many couples started families and there was a surge in the birth rates in America.


suburban growth

Thanks to the baby boom and the growth of the American highway system, suburbs began to become popular in America.



The Sun Belt is a region of the United States generally considered to stretch across the South and Southwest. The Belt has seen substantial population growth since the 1960s due to an influx of people seeking a warm and sunny climate, a surge in retiring baby boomers, and growing economic opportunities. The American highway system made the rapid population of these areas possible.


22nd Amendment

This amendment limited the presidency to a two term office.


Taft-Hartley Act (1947)

The Taft-Hartley Act was an anti-labor bill that sought to restrict unions. The amendments enacted in Taft–Hartley added a list of prohibited actions, or unfair labor practices, on the part of unions to the NLRA, which had previously only prohibited unfair labor practices committed by employers. The Taft–Hartley Act prohibited jurisdictional strikes, wildcat strikes, solidarity or political strikes, secondary boycotts, secondary and mass picketing, closed shops, and monetary donations by unions to federal political campaigns. It also required union officers to sign non-communist affidavits with the government.



The Dixiecrats were a faction of the Democratic party that called for continued segregation.


Fair Deal

The Fair Deal is the domestic reform agenda of President Truman. The most important proposals were aid to education, universal health insurance, the Fair Employment Practices Commission, and repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act.


David Riesman - "The Lonely Crowd"

The Lonely Crowd is a 1950 sociological analysis by David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denney. It is considered to be a landmark study of American character.


John Kenneth Galbraith - "The Affluent Society"

The Affluent Society is a 1958 book by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith. The book sought to clearly outline the manner in which the post-World War II United States was becoming wealthy in the private sector but remained poor in the public sector, lacking social and physical infrastructure, and perpetuating income disparities. The book sparked much public discussion at the time, and it is widely remembered for Galbraith's popularizing of the term "conventional wisdom."


Iron Curtain

The Iron Curtain is a phrase coined by Winston Churchill that signified the metaphorical divide between the democratic Western world and the communist Eastern world.


George Kennan

George Kennan was a U.S. diplomat that enacted the foreign policy of "containment" regarding the spread of communism.


containment policy

The containment policy was the foreign policy ideal that if communism was to be contained and not allowed to spread to any more countries, it would eventually destroy itself and fail.


Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine was an international relations policy set forth by the U.S. President Harry Truman that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent them from falling into the Soviet sphere. Historians often consider it as the start of the Cold War, and the start of the containment policy to stop Soviet expansion. Truman pledged the US to contain in Europe and elsewhere and impelled the US to support any nation with both military and economic aid if its stability was threatened by communism or the Soviet Union.


Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan was an economic aid plan devised by George Marshall. The U.S. pledged aid and support to any country suffering after World War II. The humanitarian aid policy also benefitted the United States as many countries were indebted to the United States, and the economically-revived countries contributed to the success of world trade.


Berlin airlift

The Berlin airlift was a situation in which Stalin blocked the entry of supplies and basic necessities into democratic West Berlin. The United States responded by airlifting food and supplies into West Berlin for over a year. This incident was a foreign policy nightmare for Stalin, and ultimately considered a success for the United States.


NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.


Chinese Civil War

The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between forces loyal to the government of the Republic of China led by the Kuomintang (KMT) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The conflict eventually resulted in two de facto states, the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) in mainland China, both claiming to be the legitimate government of China.


Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education was a Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that school segregation was ultimately unconstitutional.



The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was one of the organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.



National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68) was a 58-paged top secret policy paper issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. It was one of the most significant statements of American policy in the Cold War. NSC-68 largely shaped U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War for the next 20 years, and involved a decision to make Containment against global Communist expansion a high priority.


domino theory

The domino theory was a foreign policy idea that stated if one country fell to communism, its surrounding countries would, in turn, fall to communism as well.


Korean War

The Korean War was a war between the Republic of Korea (South Korea), supported by the United Nations, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), at one time supported by China and the Soviet Union. It was primarily the result of the political division of Korea by an agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War at the end of World War II. The Korean War was ultimately considered a victory for the United States.



The Beatniks were people of the Beat Generation. The Beats criticized the conformity and homogeneous nature of the United States in the 1950s. The Beats emphasized individuality, creative expression, and weirdness.



The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. It was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties.


Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg were American citizens executed for conspiracy to commit espionage, relating to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.


Joseph McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy was a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate.



The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The SCLC had a large role in the American Civil Rights Movement.


Montgomery bus boycott

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person, to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional.


sit-in movement

Sit-ins were an integral part of the nonviolent strategy of civil disobedience and mass protests that eventually led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ended legally-sanctioned racial segregation in the United States and also passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that struck down many racially-motivated barriers used to deny voting rights to non-whites. In sit-ins, protesters usually seat themselves at a strategic location (inside a restaurant, in a street to block it, in a government or corporate office, and so on). They remain until they are evicted, usually by force, or arrested, or until their requests have been met.



The CIA has three traditional principal activities, which are gathering information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals; analyzing that information, along with intelligence gathered by other U.S. intelligence agencies, in order to provide national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers; and, upon the request of the President of the United States, carrying out or overseeing covert activities and some tactical operations by its own employees, by members of the U.S. military, or by other partners.