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Cold War

By megelliott May 02, 2014 1121 Words
Cold War

The Cold War was a time of major conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union that started after World War Two. The Cold War dominated international affairs for many years and the space race and the arms race developed because of this competition. By the end of the 1980's each side had spent trillions of dollars to possess nuclear weapons and the means of delivering these weapons on their enemies. Though many Americans were against the use of nuclear weapons, because of the Cold War and the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union , many technological advances that we take for granted today were created.

NASA was created as a response to Cold War rivalries between the United States and the former Soviet Union, now Russia. The United States suffered a technological downfall on October 4, 1957, the result of Russia's launching of the 184-pound Sputnik 1 satellite. It was a battle of ideas within a world community of nations. Russians launched Sputnik 2 just a month later. This satellite was five times heavier than the first Sputnik and carried the first living thing into space, a dog named Laika. It became obvious that Russia wanted to eventually launch humans into orbit. America swung into response mode. Congress passed and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, establishing a new agency with a broad mandate to explore and use space for the benefit "of all mankind." On October 1, 1958, a little less than one year after Russia's Sputnik 1 was launched, NASA began its formal work. Within a short period of time, NASA Headquarters started to have the country's short-and long-term space agenda. NASA's action plan for shaping both its robotic missions and human space endeavors would rely on establishing solid partnerships between the federal space agency, academia, and the private industry. Under NASA, numbers of Explorer and Pioneer series spacecraft began circling the space environment, relaying scientific data as to radiation, micro-meteoroid, and solar flare hazards. Information radiated from these satellites and helped us to understand the extent and intensity of radiation belts that were found to surround the Earth.
After Sputnik’s launch, many Americans started to think more seriously about science and technology. Schools began adding on subjects like chemistry, physics and calculus. Companies took government grants and invested them in scientific research and development. And the federal government itself formed new agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), to develop space-age technologies such as rockets, weapons and computers.

Cars were one of the biggest inventions in the fifties. Of course, cars had already been invented before, but many new types of cars were being thought of with different colors, and styles. As some people said, cars expressed peoples attitudes when they were on the road. Also, cars brought people to work and around town. Large highways were created, and people could now travel across the country with their families. Overall, cars were a huge hit in the fifties.

People in the 50’s after the war were in the “baby boom.” People with their new families dreamed of a place they could call their home, but there during this time their was a shortages of houses. Bill Levitt used Henry Fords mass production idea to make houses for the families in this time period. Without Bill Levitt using the mass-production idea to making houses, it would of taken him a long time make enough houses for each family.

In the 50’s not only were cars, suburbs, and fast food restaurants booming, but T.V. was to. T.V. wasn't completely new, but it was not being used as much as it was being used during the 50’s. In 1946 only about 7,000 small, black-and-white T.V.’s were sold to people in the United States. In the 50’s more than 5 million T.V. sets were being sold each year just in the United Sates. In 1960 more than 90% of the population had a T.V. People started to like it so much that it became part of our culture.

In the 1950s the movie industry wasn't doing very good because of the new invention of the television. More and more theaters were going out of business but with all of the cars that were being made the amount of drive-in theaters increased. This happened because it was something different than television. Some important people to know are James Dean a teen idol playing a rebel in many films and Marilyn Monroe who became the sex symbol of American movies.

During the 50s music became a huge part of American teenagers’ lives. The creation of the portable radio made it so that they always had music around them. The popular Rock and roll became a part of the American lifestyle. Teenagers would go out and dance and the music would be played in the soundtracks of the movies in the time period. Another thing that music did was break down the racial barriers. As with TV, all races listened to the same music, unifying America.

When the 1950’s came around there was cheap gas and large cars. Air travel was expensive so people went to the road for hopes of cheaper vacations. Kemmons Wilson was a successful real estate agent and homebuilder. He started the Holiday inn and he planted more that 1,000 Inns in all 50 states. He gave people air conditioning in every room, free parking, free ice and in-room phones. The people soon seemed to take these things for granted. Other hotels like this started popping up everywhere. Also they provided families with a place to stay when they were on the road. These people could get a room for cheap and they would take more car trips this would create more need for cars.

For a long time, eating out was expensive and it often took long periods of time to get your food. Dick and Maurice McDonald took Henry Ford's idea of production lines and applied it to hamburgers to make McDonald's in 1940, a fast food restaurant where you could go to get food fast and cheap. The restaurant was soon a huge success. The brothers soon became rich. Despite their success, they wouldn't bother to create a McDonald's franchise, but instead kept the restaurant in San Bernardino, California. During the 50s Ray Kroc bought the restaurant name and soon had the restaurants all around America. Taking the already efficient restaurant, he further improved it, making more regulations for his employees to keep the food sanitary. Fast food soon became part of the American life.

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