The Decade of the 1950’s


The decade of the 1950’s are usually known as time of peace and conformity. It was a time when ideals of youth were cherished, kids did not cause too much trouble, and it was a good and peaceful time to live, for the most part.


In the 1950’s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy led an anti-communist crusade. This was during a time when America feared communism because of the tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union. McCarthy claimed to have a list of two hundred and five Americans who had ties with the Communist party. Because of the national anti-communism sentiment, McCarthy began to attract a lot of believers. People began to donate money to his project of sniffing out “communists.” Through investigation, it was later noted that McCarthy did not have a list of alleged communists. McCarthy ruined the lives and careers of many people, including his own.


In the 1950’s, entertainment began to boom. The 1950’s brought about the emergence of Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll, as a national figure. Girls drooled over his swift hip movements and dance moves that he performed. One of the main attractions in the 1950’s was drive-in restaurants. Many teenagers hung out at these drive-ins to eat a burger, drink a coke, have an ice cream cone, and talk to their girlfriend/boyfriend. You could call it “the hangout.” Another place that became popular in the ‘50’s was drive-in movie theatres. It was so convenient to watch a movie from the comfort of your own car that many teenagers and adults began to hang out regularly at the drive-in theatres. Sports had always been a big attraction to the youth. Baseball was the most widely played sport of the 1950’s. Television came out in the 1950’s, giving this decade the nickname of “The Golden Age of Television.”


In 1950, when the Soviet occupied North Korea invaded U.S. occupied South Korea, America became involved in what is known has the Korean War (or the “Forgotten War”). In the latter part of 1950, Chinese soldiers march in to Korea by the order of Mao Tse Tung. A cease-fire agreement, or truce, was signed on July 27, 1953. This ended the Korean War. Approximately four million Koreans, including civilians, were killed in the war. The Chinese suffered close to one million deaths, and the United States lost 36,934 deaths. This war is considered one of the most destructive wars of the twentieth century.


In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the integration of schools due to the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. When Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, refused to allow black students into Little Rock High School, President Eisenhower sent the National Guard to enforce the law. This action showed the federal government was serious about the law and would enforce it by any means necessary.


Up until the more recent years, women in the United States have always appeared in the background. The main job of women in the 1950’s was to make sure dinner was ready on time, take care of the children, and make the husband happy. Women were mainly identified by their husbands in those days. They rarely had jobs, and day care centers were virtually unheard of. In more recent years, however, women have become more independent. More and more women attend college each year and more women work in these days then they ever have before. Daycares and nannies are a common part of our society now. Not as many women stay home and raise their children, as did women of the past. Women have stepped into the forefront of our society and are making a difference.