BC: America in 1950 By: Eleni A.
FC: America in 1950 | Eleni Apostolatos
1: Within this mixbook, you will learn about six events which influenced Americans in the year 1950 in significant ways. From the lovely actress Marilyn Monroe to the devastating Korean War, these people and events have given this year an important meaning and impact to the lifestyle of Americans at that time, and influenced the years to come. I hope you enjoy! Eleni A.
2: Marilyn Monroe
3: “The nicest thing for me is sleep, then at least I can dream." This is one of Marilyn Monroe's most famous statements. She was born with the name of Norma Jean Baker Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles California. | She spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages, being her mother confined in a mental institution, and not knowing her father’s identity. Photographer David Conover saw her one day on the street, and immediately became aware of her extraordinary beauty and potential. | After her first contract as model, she dyed her hair blonde, and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. “I’m going to be a great movie star someday”.
4: In 1947 she was able to participate in the movie “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim”; however her part was very small. It was in 1950 that she began her career as an actress. | This year, she showed up in two movies “The Asphalt Jungle” and “All About Eve”. These movies were able to introduce her to the vast public. Marilyn soon became an idol; she was intelligent and determined, yet she inspired tenderness and warmth. She became a role model for women all around the country. Today, after 48 years after her tragic death, she is still remembered as one of the greatest stars that Hollywood has ever had.
5: Richard Nixon
6: 1950 was the year of fear; fear of the Korean War, of Senator McCarthy, of the Red Scare, and, overall, fear of Communism and of its devastating consequences. America needed a hero.The campaign for vice-presidency took place this year between Richard Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas. A campaign which many argue shaped the coming history of America. Richard Nixon, born January 9th, 1913 in California, went from being a high school debater to becoming a lawyer. In 1942, after 5 years of working as a lawyer, he decided to join the navy, and went to the South Pacific where he worked in different jobs.In 1946, he ran for Congress and defeated Jerry Voorhis. In 1950, he decided to run for the vice-presidency against Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom he tried to portray as Communist.
7: Although Douglas was not a Communist, she felt that communism represented no meaningful danger to the American security. Douglas’s husband used to be a famous actor at the time, so she tended to spend a lot of time with actors, some of them being considered Communists. These facts are only two of the ones Nixon used whilst writing the “Pink sheet”, a document in which he stated evidence that Douglas was Communist. "Pink right down to her underwear.” Nixon would call her “the Pink Lady”, and she would call him “Tricky Dick”. Nixon took advantage of the audience’s fright of communism to gain popular support. He was successful and was voted vice-president that year.
9: Studebaker was a United States automobile and wagon company. It began as a producer of wagons in 1852, when the company’s name was “Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company” | It then entered the automobile business in the 1900s, firstly producing electronic vehicles in 1902, and right after gasoline vehicles in 1904. Studebaker worked together with other gasoline producing automobile companies until 1911, launching its first gasoline powered automobile in 1913.
10: After World War II, Studebaker began producing innovative styles, and achieved total sales of approximately 100,000 cars in 1947. By 1949, sales had skyrocketed to 200,000 units. By now, Studebaker was known internationally, and their fresh designs were admired by people all over the world, especially the design they launched in 1950. | It featured Studebaker’s famous “bullet-nose” which brought a totally new look. It resembled the shape of an airplane, the P38 fighter of World War II in particular.
11: This year was seen as Studebaker’s best year ever; around 300,000 cars were sold. Plus, Studebaker won the Mobilgas Los Angeles-to-Grand Canyon economy race. | However, in mid 1950, Studebaker began to sell some of its models at a low-price, trying to compete with Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth. In 1951, Studebaker began facing some severe economic problems due to their high production costs, and the increased car market competition.
12: Joe McCarthy
13: Joe McCarthy was a Republican who served as Senator between 1947 and 1957. In 1950 he became America’s best-known and most feared anticommunist spokesman. | He would make unfounded accusations that there were many Communist and Soviet spies, especially among Hollywood artists and US intellectuals. He banned books which he claimed were written by Communists, including some of the century’s most important literary works written by some of America’s most talented authors. He was known to begin his speeches by his well-known words “I have here in my hand” and he would conclude by destroying yet another innocent person’s reputation. He had a “black list” of the people he believed “disloyal”.
14: Government investigators would be everywhere, inspecting people’s actions and private life. Friends of those who were “under suspicion” would stop talking or visiting them, fearing they would be added to the list, too. Trials of suspected communist people took place in Washington, with punishments varying from becoming unemployed, to being imprisoned in jail. Joe McCarthy’s ways of accusing people of being disloyal to the U.S. or a Communist, without any evidence to back up his statement, was described as McCarthyism.
15: Korean War
16: Worry and panic were the feelings Americans mainly felt in 1950. Many feared the outbreak of the Korean War, between communist North Korea and democratic South Korea, and the risks of a nuclear conflict. | North Korea began their plan of invading South Korea on June 25th, 1950. The United Nations made an immediate request to its members to support South Korea. The first nation to send air and naval forces to South Korea was the United States. General Douglas MacArthur was appointed by US President Harry Truman commander of all forces in South Korea.
17: North Korea was more than confident that their attack would be an easy win; the country was backed by USSR’s economic and military support, while South Korea did | not have a well-organized and well equipped army. The North appeared unstoppable; after occupying the capital of South Korea, Seoul, they soon were able to push the UN forces to Pusan, on the southeast coast of | South Korea. However, the situation began to turn slowly around as the UN and US forces managed to fight their way north, free Seoul and cross the famous 38th parallel, which
18: marked the boundary between North and South Korea. At this point China, under President Chou En-lai, decides to enter the war and defend North Korea | from what they felt was an invasion of UN troops. The UN forces soon became outnumbered by the Chinese, Russian and North Korean troops and were forced to retreat and be evacuated by sea. In the meantime, the US started fearing a nuclear attack and tried to prepare the population in case an atomic bomb were to fall on its grounds.
19: Bomb shelters were built and detailed procedures on how to act in case of a nuclear attack were being taught to citizens, including children at school. However, no matter the precautions and preparation that the Americans were implementing, the fear of a nuclear attack anytime and anywhere continued adding up to their panic, jeopardizing Americans’ inner peace.
21: With all the commotion of the Korean War, and the risk of an atomic attack, Americans had more than enough worries and fears. What they needed was something to entertain and distract them, something that would make them relax. | This is exactly what they received with the invention of the television. The first standard color television was produced in 1950. Before then, families could only have access to a limited amount of channels, all being in white and black.
22: Television immediately imposed itself as being the perfect medium to transmit a wide array of ideas and concepts to the audience, one being the sentiment of anticommunism, which could be easily fueled into Americans’ minds through programs such as | “I Married a Communist” and “I Was a Communist for the FBI”. Also, television immediately became a vehicle to educate children, through programs such as “Howdy Doody” and “Sesame Street”, still being broadcasted today, and to teach the population about the precautions to be taken in case of an atomic attack. An example is the famous “Duck and Cover” campaign. Americans fell immediately in love with all the television had to offer, including quiz shows
23: which remain popular still today. Television was able to make Americans relax and smile in a very difficult and worrisome time, where the risk of having to deal with an atomic attack on the US soil was stronger than ever.
24: Quiz Time!
25: 1. What change of direction did Marilyn Monroe undergo in 1950 in relation to her career? 2. What did Studebaker’s “bullet-nose” design resemble? a) Shape of an airplane b) Shape of a train c) A ship d) Both a and c
26: 3. How did television help Americans cope with the fears of wars, atomic bombs and communism? | 4. What actions did Nixon perform to gain more votes?
27: 5. What is referred to the term “McCarthyism”? a) Unfair actions b) Act of accusing people of being disloyal without any evidence to back up the statement c) Being anti-communist d) Act of banning books
28: 6. What was the name of the famous border which marked the boundary between North and South Korea? a) Korean boundary b) The 38th parallel c) The 49th limit d) North and South Korean line
29: Bibliography Studebaker J.L., Jacobson. "Fifties Cool Cruis'n." Fifties Cool Cruis'n. Coventry Studios, n.d. Web. 8 Apr 2010.
30: Korean War Kortegaard, B.L. "Counter-Attack, Stalemate." Counter-Attack, Stalemate. Kortegaard Engineering, 2008. Web. 8 Apr 2010.
31: Television Bellis, Mary. "The Invention of Television." About.com. New York Times Company, 2010. Web. 8 Apr 2010. 32: Richard Nixon Ruth Neuwald Falcon, . "Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas ." American Presidents Blog. N.p., 2008. Web. 8 Apr 2010. 33: Marilyn Monroe "Biography." Marilyn Monroe's Official Website. Marilyn Monroe, 2006. Web. 8 Apr 2010. Taborelli, Georgio. Icons of the Century. Baron's Educational Series, 1999. Print. 34: Joe McCarthy 1) Sharman, Margaret. American Decade 1950-1959. Steck-Vaughn Company, 1993. Print. 4)H. Finkelstein, Norman. The Way Things Never Were. Simon & Schuster, 1999. Print. http://www.arras.net/circulars/archives/cat_news_stories.html http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/feature/mccarthy/update/ http://newstalgia.crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/fault-dear-brutus 35: Thank You!
32: Richard Nixon Ruth Neuwald Falcon, . "Richard Nixon vs. Helen Gahagan Douglas ." American Presidents Blog. N.p., 2008. Web. 8 Apr 2010.
33: Marilyn Monroe "Biography." Marilyn Monroe's Official Website. Marilyn Monroe, 2006. Web. 8 Apr 2010. Taborelli, Georgio. Icons of the Century. Baron's Educational Series, 1999. Print.
34: Joe McCarthy 1) Sharman, Margaret. American Decade 1950-1959. Steck-Vaughn Company, 1993. Print. 4)H. Finkelstein, Norman. The Way Things Never Were. Simon & Schuster, 1999. Print. http://www.arras.net/circulars/archives/cat_news_stories.html http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/feature/mccarthy/update/ http://newstalgia.crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/fault-dear-brutus
35: Thank You!