When I was in school, in history classes they only taught us up until the end of World War II. This was not because I was going to school in the 1940s, but the teachers just ran out of steam or did not want to cover any of the controversial topics of the rest of the 20th century. The Nazis were evil, we beat them, America is a super power, the end. I had one high school American History course that made it to the Marshall Plan.
Still, I feel like something happened in those remaining 55 years that could better explain where we are today. That’s why I, Bryan McBournie, who minored in history, am here to help you learn about what happened through the decades since World War II. If you watch enough television or listen to enough music ,you should know some of this yourself.
I’m starting with the 1950s. Why? Because nothing happened from 1946 to 1949 and you know it.
President Harry S. Truman was not a cat to be messed with, and the world knew it. After watching FDR for a while, he got to try his hand at being the chief executive, and he bombed the s&%# out of Japan back in ’45. So when the U.S. lead United Nations forces into Korea to stop communism from spreading, he was taken very seriously.
The Domino Theory dictated that the free world must stop the spread of communism before it oppresses the whole world. It was the first time helicopters were used in warfare, and it was also the first time that war could be both hilarious and tragic at the same time.
In all, the Korean War lasted 11 seasons, ending with an armistice and a two-and-a-half hour long finale that was one of the most-watched in U.S. history. The war ended, splitting Korea into two countries, one free and one communist. However, you can still see it on re-runs when you’re home sick. In recent years, North Korean leadership has shown interest in renewing the popular series.
Sen. Joseph McCarthy finally got America to wake up and realize that one in three people was a card-carrying communist. He was noted for his fiery speeches on the Senate floor.
“Look to your left, senators. Now look to your right. If neither of those men look like commies to you, then you’re the communist and we look forward to hearing your testimony next week.”
—Sen. Joseph McCarthy, 1952
Eventually, the pinkos stopped carrying around cards so they wouldn’t get arrested.
There was only one type of house built during the 1950s, and it was built as many times over as it could be. Everyone wore the same horn-rimmed glasses, had the same number of children and had the same breed of dog as a pet.
To rebel against this, the youth of the country began greasing their hair back and wearing leather jackets. Girls would wear poodle skirts for reasons science does not yet understand. They began becoming increasingly interested in hot rods, rock and/or roll music, and breaking out into song and choreographed dances. The youth of America began hanging out at diners and drive-ins, where they could order their cheeseburgers and malted milkshakes while they watched 3-D movies. Thus began American obesity as we know it.
Also, there were no black people.
Your parents, or at least some of your aunts and uncles.