Life After World War II

 

“Yup, this is our era alright . . . .ring a bell?” This completes an anonymous blog describing American life for those born in the 1930s and 40s.

 

LevittownPA

Ariel View of Suburban Levittown PA, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

“As World War II ended, the G.I. Bill offered returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow. VA loans fanned a housing boom for parents and children. Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work. New highways brought mobility. In the late 40s and early 50s the country seemed to lie in the embrace of brisk but quiet order as it gave birth to its new middle class.

“We felt secure in our future. Of course, just as today, not all Americans shared in this experience. Depression poverty was deep rooted. Polio was still a crippler. The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks. China became Red China. Eisenhower sent the first ‘advisors’ to Vietnam. Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.

“we are the last to experience an interlude when there were no existential threats to our homeland. We came of age in the late 40s and early 50s. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, climate change, technological upheaval and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with insistent unease.

Only we can remember both a time of apocalyptic war and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty. We grew up when the world was getting better, not worse.”

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