Term Paper: Post World War 2 Blues Into Cold

Pages: 4 (1493 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Film  ·  Buy for $19.77

¶ … soldiers came back from World War II, they were fighting to begin new lives and to forget about the horrors they saw overseas. Their wives, many who had worked in the factories, now headed back home to provide positions for the returning men. Everyone wanted to be part of the middle-class with and be economically independent. Although the government was following up on the supposed "spies among us," and Joseph McCarthy was pushing "the Red Scare" in the early to mid-1950s, most Americans were more interested in building their suburban houses, having and raising children and watching movies and TV. No one wanted to worry about anything serious and intellectual, beyond what was for dinner. Escapism was the norm.

Actually, the first thing the returning soldiers needed was a place away from it all for their escape act. About five million new houses had to be built, because ex-GIs and their families were living with parents or in rented attics, basements, or unheated summer bungalows. Some even lived in barns, trolley cars, and tool sheds. Real Estate developer William Levitt was quick to manufacture an answer to this need. The numerous acres of farmland on Long Island that he owned would be the perfect location to construct "suburban" homes for returning vets (Kallen, 54).

In 1947, Levitt and Sons announced their plan to build 2,000 mass-produced rental homes. Two days later, 1,000 of the 2,000 proposed homes were already rented, and hundreds of veterans were still applying. The Levitts built another 4,000 houses, along with schools, post offices and phone service. Then, the realtors stopped building rental houses and constructed larger, more modern houses, which they called "ranches." A Levitt ranch measured 32' by 25' and came in five different models that differed only by exterior color, roof line, and the placement of windows. The kitchen featured a General Electric stove and refrigerator, stainless steel sink and cabinets, the latest Bendix washer, and a York oil burner. It was a dream come true. Immediately, the demand for the Levitt ranches was so great that even the procedure for purchasing them had to be altered to incorporate "assembly line" methods. By the time Levittown was completed, there were over 17,000 homes. Naturally, other developers across the country dug Levitt's approach and developed their own suburban paradises (Kallen, 54).

The lifestyle of the Americans completely changed during this time. Most men worked in the central city and were being paid very well at local corporations. Socializing was seen as an important part of the job of young executives. One New York Times employment ad read:

Salesmgr: Intangible exp, must be able to move effectively at top mgmt level and effectively understand "Big Business" problems. Should be able to handle 12 martinis (Kallen, 55).

Executives were expected to dress alike, join country clubs, play golf and return to suburbia and a loving family every night. Women, often called "helpmates," were instead expected to rear the children, keep a spotless house and socialize with the other corporate wives. Most women wanted to stay at home, as was the norm, and did not even want to think about that unmentionable -- "feminism." (Our American Century, 40)

Along with the American Dream of houses and cars, family rooms and refrigerators, came a lot of free time -- especially for movies and television. Because attendance to films had dropped significantly with the number of TVs being sold, promoters came up with some new gimmicks -- such as 3-D features, wide-screen CinemaScope and movies that ignored the code of ethics by joking about adultery and using such sinful words as "seduction" and "pregnant." In addition, certain genres such as the western grabbed viewers by the horns and roped them in. The westerns were perfect fare for the macho males who came home after a day in the office and wanted to be entertained (Our American Century, 98).

As the Western Movie Encyclopedia website notes, TV westerns became just as well-liked as the ones in the movie theaters, with their "realistic" Indian battle scenes and shoot outs. Cowboys, such as Audie Murphy, Tom Mix and Johnny Mack Brown, became major idols of a young audience, as did the " Singing cowboys" such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and Rex Allen. Of course, every cowboy had a co-starring horse. Many of them became as famous as the actors themselves. The Rogers/Evans horse Trigger, for example, is now stuffed and on permanent… [END OF PREVIEW]

World War 1 Trench Warfare Thesis


Flight and Its Impact Research Paper


British and German Trench Poetry Side Research Proposal


Future of Cuba Term Paper


Music and the Counterculture Thesis


View 38 other related papers  >>

Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Post World War 2 Blues Into Cold.  (2005, April 18).  Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/post-world-war-2-blues-cold/99416

MLA Format

"Post World War 2 Blues Into Cold."  18 April 2005.  Web.  16 November 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/post-world-war-2-blues-cold/99416>.

Chicago Format

"Post World War 2 Blues Into Cold."  Essaytown.com.  April 18, 2005.  Accessed November 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/post-world-war-2-blues-cold/99416.