Pop it, Lock it, Polk-a-Dot it…
The 1950’s!

American Culture:

Popular Clothing Trends:

Leather Jackets: Leather jackets were very famous for teenage boys during the 50's. Although it was expensive, the leather jackets helped them attract girls so in the end it was worth it.

Skirts: Poodle skirts were very popular in the fifties. It is a wide swing skirt with a fabric poodle placed on the right bottom part of the skirt. . Another type of skirt was the pencil skirt! No wardrobe was complete without a pencil skirt. Pencil skirts are long below the knee and not wide as the poodle skirts are. They're very tight together to your legs.

external image girl.jpg
Popular Culture of the 1950s (1)

50's hairstyles were soft and curly (using pin curling and rollers)Lady's often tied their hair in a ponytail and circled it with a pink chiffon scarfThey sometimes used hairspray in their hair, since they didn't have blow dryers at the time.A hairstyle called the "poodle cut" was from the poodle frenzy of the Fifties.

The haircut would be called the "ducktail" or more commonly known as the DA. Guys that were rebels would use this hairstyle.

Breeder Reactor
----- 1951 USA Converted Uranium to Plutonium
Computer Modem ----- 1958 USA
Credit Card ----- 1950 USA by Ralph Schneider
Hydrogen Bomb ----- 1952 USA by Edward Teller's team
Microchip ----- 1958 USA by Jack Kilby
Robot ----- 1954 USA by George C Devol Jr
Solar Cell ----- 1954 USA Or Photovoltaic cells
Transistor Radio ----- 1953 USA Texas Instruments
Video Recorder ----- 1956 USA
Video Tape ----- 1956 USA (2)

(1) http://www.johnny-and-the-roccos.de/Grafiken/Diverses/girl.jpg

(2) http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950s.html

Top Ten 50's Rock n' Roll Party Tunes:

1. Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
2. Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On - Jerry Lee Lewis
3. Maybellene - Chuck Berry
4. Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
5. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
6. Rock and Roll Music - Chuck Berry
7. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins
8. Do You Want To Dance - Bobby Freeman
9. Book Of Love - Monotones
10. Rockin Robin - Bobby Day (3


-Became prominent in the 1950s and saw a steady increase in amount of television watched per household.

-In 1954 color broadcasts were introduced.

-Sitcoms were shown such as “I Love Lucy”, “Lassie”, and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”

-Edward R. Murrow began his nationwide World News program. (4)

(3) http://www.popculturemadness.com/Entertainment/Decades/50s-Music.html

(4) http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade50.html

Let’s Talk Economics:

*United States in 1950 consisted of the benefits of a growing economy – benefits that came from the country’s participation in the War.
*World War II gave industries the opportunity to open due to the necessary materials pre and post war effort. It created job openings and “energized the nation.”
*Industries that prospered during and after the war were the newspaper industry, the agriculture industry and Hollywood.
*Women were given the opportunity to work outside their homes and participate in directly helping the nation. (1)


1950- Labor force was about 58 million strong.
5.3 percent of the labor force was unemployed.
41.6 million Of the labor force at that time were males
17.34 million were females. (1)

Money%20stacks.jpg Money of the 1950's

*$100 Converted from 1950 is equivalent to $835.41 today*

“In 1950 a new house cost $8,450.00 and by 1959 was $12,400.00

In 1950 the average income per year was $3,210.00 and by 1959 was $5,010.00

In 1950 a gallon of gas was 18 cents and by 1959 was 25 cents

In 1950 the average cost of new car was $1,510.00 and by 1959 was $2,200.00” (2)
(1) http://ezinearticles.com/?Economic-Status-of-the-United-States-in-1950& id=1565016
(2) http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950s.html



1945-1952: Harry S. Truman
-Endorsed creation of the hydrogen bomb and sent air force and navy to Korea in June 1950. (1)

1953-1961: Dwight D. Eisenhower (October 1890-March 1969)
- Attemted to reduce the strains of the Cold War. In 1953, signed peace treaty to bring truce along border of South Korea.
- Eisenhower concentrated on maintaining world peace.
-Also, emphasizing importance of military strength.
"There must be no second class citizens in this country." (4)

http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/ decade50.html


  • The religious upsurge that followed World War II continued into the 1950s
  • Interest in religion was so high in the United States that optimists talked of a new awakening
  • Some critics questioned if religion would actually create more peace or controversy
  • By 1960 an astonishing 63.6 percent of the population was affiliated with some religious group

Event Timeline

1950- Korean War begins, highlighting the Cold War (2)
1952- Immigration and Naturalization Act- Stated there was no racial and ethnic qualifications when applying for U.S. Citizenship.
1953- Korean War ends.
1954- Senator Joseph McCarthy – made accusations that the State Department was filled with Communists.
· Lead to McCarthyism - intense anti-Communists sentiments. (2)
-Supreme Court ruled racial segregation unconstitutional in school systems.

1955- Rosa Parks makes a statement by refusing to give up her seat on the public bus. (2)
1959-Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states. (1)

Cold War:

-Primarily between the US and USSR after WW II.
*These two powers greatly distrusted one another.
-America did not get physically involved in the war.
-Resulted in many international crises (Berlin Wall, Vietnam, Cuban Missiles)
-Introduced many weapons of mass destruction.

*At the time of the Cold War, America was:
-Free Elections, democratic, capitalistic, believed in “survival of the fittest,” richest world power, had personal freedom and freedom for the media. (3)


- Until 1954, an official policy of "separate but equal" educational opportunities for blacks had been determined to assure the children of America had a quality education.
- 1954-Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that separate facilities for blacks did not make those facilities equal according to the Constitution
- Integration was begun across the nation
- 1956-Autherine J.Lucy successfully enrolled in the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
- 1957-Elizabeth Eckford was the first black teenager to enter then all-white Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas.
- Integration took place quietly in most towns, but it was obvious that public opinion on this issue was divided (1)


(2) http://ezinearticles.com/?Economic-Status-of-the-United-States-in-1950&id=1565016
(3) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/what%20was%20the%20cold%20war.htm
(4) http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/dwightdeisenhower/


Americans of all races, ethnic backgrounds, sex etc. began expressing their constitutional rights in America. Segregation began to disappear as more and more minorities stood up for themselves (ex. Rosa Parks 1955).
War brought the United States closer together as the efforts to succeed banded all types of people. Women were able to offer their work and service and directly helped America, rather than staying at home.
The economy boomed as businesses and industries had the chance to offer their services to the war and more and more people were given job opportunity. America was put at the top of the world’s strongest powers as it continued to establish itself as an all around strong nation.


1. About how many million women were part of the work force in 1950?
A. 16 million B. 17 million C. 18 million D. 20 million

2. In what year did Chief Justice Earl Warren write in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas?
A. 1956 B. 1967 C. 1954 D. 1955

3.Women were given the opportunity to work outside their homes and participate in directly helping the nation?

4. In what year did Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states?
A. 1959 B. 1957 C. 1958 D. 1960

5. In 1950 which war began that highlight the Cold war?
A. Desert Storm B.Vietnam War C. Panic of 1892 D. Korean War

Short Answer-

How did the advances in technology (television, radio, satellite etc.) help/relate to the nationalization/ globalization of American politics and economics?