The Cold War (1945–1963)


Postwar Prosperity at Home: 1945–1960

Summary Postwar Prosperity at Home: 1945–1960

The Entertainment Explosion

Consumerism, in turn, prompted the entertainment industry to invent new ways for Americans to amuse themselves. By the mid-1960s, 90 percent of American families owned televisions, and more and more spent the bulk of their free time watching TV. Sitcoms, such as Leave It to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, and I Love Lucy, were particularly popular because they idealized the new American consumer lifestyle.

The new musical genre of rock and roll gained popularity among American youth. Sexually charged songs by artists such as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker, and, later, the Beatles dominated the airwaves and transformed popular music. At the same time, many new American writers in the 1950s, including members of the Beat Generation, such as poet Allen Ginsberg and author Jack Kerouac, challenged the new consumerist conformity that pervaded American life.

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