*There are complementing guided notes that follow along with this PPT for sale. Topics covered are:
As American leaders waged the Cold War, important economic, social and political changes were taking places at home.
Adjusting to Peace:
Americans faced difficult economic challenges after the war.
Defense industries or had scaled back employment.
Millions of soldiers would have to be absorbed into the postwar economy. The nation faced a serious problem- how to change back to a peacetime economy.
Congress passes the GI Bill of Rights- gave veterans money to spend on business, homes, and schooling (2 million former soldiers attend college to prepare for new careers).
Inflation: During WWII, consumer goods had been in short supply- ending of war Americans were ready to buy!
Demand exceeded the supply of goods- result was soaring inflation.
As prices rose, workers demanded large pay increases- when workers were refused a wave of strikes swept the nation.
President Truman (supported labor) feared that an increase in wages would lead to even higher prices.
1946- Ended a United Mine Workers strike by taking over the mines
Railroad workers struck a month later, Truman threatened to order them back to work- angered union members
When the President encouraged industries to raise salaries, inflation resulted- consumers were angry!
1946 elections- Republicans had the majority in both the House and Senate.
With the power to cancel New Deal programs, Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act- letting gov’t get a court order to delay a strike for 80 days if the strike threatened public safety
Forbade unions to contribute to political campaigns and banned closed shops
Closed shops- a workplace in which only union members can be hired
Truman vetoed, but Congress passed
President Truman wanted to try to expand the goal of the New Deal with his FAIR DEAL reforms.
Election of 1948
President Truman’s chances of reelection were slim- even his Democrats were split.
Angered for his support of African American civil rights, white southern Democrats nominated their own candidate
Liberal Democrats were unhappy with Truman’s policy of challenging Soviet expansion
Republicans nominated NY governor Thomas Dewey
Dewey did not campaign hard, but Truman campaigned tirelessly- 30,000 miles traveled
People expected Dewey to win, but Truman was victorious! (Biggest upset in history!)
Truman saw his victory as a chance to act on his Fair Deal program- Congress approved
Increased minimum wage, flood control and low-income housing and funds.
Congress refused to fund education, national health insurance and proposals to reduce racial discrimination.