IV: The Cold War in America (pp.850-852)
A. A Booming Economy
1. Farm income up: feeding Europe.
2. Record savings accounts due to rationing, scarcity of goods.
- Record spending on postponed purchases.
3. Congress cuts wartime taxes.
4. Defense spending due to U.S. involvement in world affairs.
- Assumed they would return home.
- “Leave it to Beaver” (stability).
- New job opportunities in healthcare, clerical, but lowered economic equality.
- Traditional family seen as a bulwark against Communism.
- College enrollment drops after GI Bill.
2. The two-income family: “American Woman’s Dilemma” (Life magazine, 1947).
- New, rising, middle class.
- Levittown: sameness of the suburbs.
- Baby Boom - 187 children born per 1000 females in 1957.
3. Religious revival.
- Billy Graham, evangelist: all doubts about the Bible were traps set by Satan.
- US the last hope of Christianity (USSR officially Atheist)
4. African Americans.
- Bravery of Soldiers dispel some biases.
- Truman integrates army, abolishes immigration quotas, est.certain civil rights (get ahead of Wallace?).
- More involved in white collar jobs, but at 60%of the pay of whites.
- Racism of the Nazis sensitizes some to humanity, racism.
- NAACP sees surge in membership, brings lawsuits against employers, public segregation.
- Still stopped from voting, holding office, Jim Crow Laws.
- After having fought in WWII, accepting segregation was not an option (civil rights movement).
- Many move from rural S. to urban N. to work in factories (larges migration in history).
- Factors: mechanization of cotton farming, wartime munitions factories in North.
5. Taft-Hartley Act.
- Strikes a disruption to economy, ppl fear a depression from the “letdown” of the end of war.
- Outlawed a closed shop (union only), jurisdictional strikes (“territory”).
- Outlawed “featherbedding”: limited output to bring in more jobs.
- No money in political campaigns.
- Must swear against communism.
- Lost gains since 1933: curling back Democracy?
- Truman vetoes, Congress overrides veto.
C. The Election of 1948 (pp.853-854)
Southern (“Dixiecrats”) vs. Northern Democrats.
- Dixiecrats: Strom Thurmond.
- Progressives: Henry Wallace (softer line against USSR).
- Democrats: Truman only after Ike declines.
- Republicans: Thomas E. Dewey of NY.
- Ran on “unity” (overconfident).
- Truman aggressive.
- Challenges republicans to make good on their civil rights promises, they can’t.
- Calls them the “do nothing” party.
- Has labor support from his veto of the Taft Hartley Act, Jewish and African Amerericans.
- “Whistle Stop” campaign.
- 30,000 miles, 350 stops.
- Truman carries popular vote by 2 million, Truman wins.
- Democrats get back Congress.
3. The Fair Deal.
- Expansion of FDR New Deal (21-point program).
- Public schools, slum clearance, medical insurance, raise minimum wage, stop segregation.
- Most blocked by Republicans in favor of Cold War spending.
- Created rationale for permanent, large scale military spending for economic stimulus.
- 1949 recession.
- Eased by rearmament of Korean and anti-Communist sentiment.
D. Fear of Communism (pp. 855-856)
- Paranoia leads to belief that American was being sabotaged from within, rise of fed. bureaucrcy.
- Extreme measures to combat threats.
1. Constitutional Rights.
- Protect Communists?
- Free speech in the balance: lists of organizations “hostile to the American form of gov’t”.
- Political and social organizations outlawed.
- Loyalty oaths for state and federal employees, teachers (Nazis?).
- Teachers told to redesign lesson plans to “illustrate the superiority of the American democratic system over Soviet Communism.” (497).
2. Loyalty Oaths.
- Criticism = disloyalty, un-American. included Hollywood (Iraq protests?).
- Labor unions now seen as Communist organizations (why?).
- Monolithic Communism (All Comm parties and labor unions were controlled by Stalin).
- College campuses were “centers of red propaganda, full of teachers tearing down respect for agencies of government, belittling tradition and moral custom and …creating doubts in the validity of the American way of life.” (Out of Many, 485).
- restraint of free speech, fear of criticizing U.S. policies.
3. Subversives: people believed to be trying to overthrow the government (“lost” China)
4. National Security Act of 1947.
- Armed forces and state dept.
- Created the CIA, makes it directly responsible to the president (bypass checks and balances)
- Joe McCarthy and “red scare”.
- Ruins careers, sensationalism (cartoon, p.858 – compare to now).
- How easy is this to do?
- Targets civil rights, women and homosexual organizations.
- “Witch hunts” (no appeal).
- People fired, books removed, purged media.
- Advocated atomic warfare: “Better dead than red”.
- Failed to prove wild charges, discredits himself on television.
- Senate censures him.
- “The use of indiscriminate, unfounded, political accusations to destroy or assassinate the character of one’s opponent.” P.856.
6. The House Un-American Activities Committee.
- Power to subpoena witnesses anywhere in US and compel answers on the threat of contempt of Congress charges.