Taft-Hartley Act (1947)
Also called the Labor Management Relations Act. Passed over President Truman’s veto by a Republican-controlled Congress. Labor leaders condemned the Taft-Hartley Act as a “slave-labor law.” Outlawed “closed” (all-union) shops, made unions liable for damages that resulted from jurisdictional dispute among themselves, and required union leaders to take a non-communist oath.
Operation Dixie
Failed effort by the CIO after World War II to unionize southern workers, especially in textile factories
Employment Act of 1946
The democratic administration secured passage of this act, making it government policy “to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power.” The act created a three-member Council of Economic Advisers to provide the president with the data and the recommendations to make that policy a reality.
GI Bill
Also known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Enacted partly out of the fear that the employment markets would never be able to absorb 15 million returning veterans at war’s end, the GI Bill made generous provisions for sending the former soldiers to school. The act also enabled the Veterans Administration (VA) to guarantee about $16 billion loans for veterans to buy homes, farms, and small businesses.
Dr. Benjamin Spock
Pediatrician and author of the Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946), which emphasized children’s need for the love and care of full-time mothers.
The fifteen-state crescent through the American South and Southwest that experienced terrific population and productivity expansion during World War II and particularly in the decades after the war, eclipsing the old industrial Northeast (the “Frostbelt”).
Residential areas surrounding a city. Shops and businesses moved to suburbia as well as people.
Suburban communities with mass-produced tract houses built in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas in the 1950s by William Levitt and Sons. Typically inhabited by white middle-class people who fled the cities in search of homes to buy for their growing families.
baby boom
Demographic explosion from births to returning soldiers and others who had put off starting families during the war. This large generation of new Americans forced the expansion of many institutions such as schools and universities.
Harry S. Truman
33rd president of the United States. He assumed the presidency at the death of FDR in 1945 and served until 1953. Under his leadership the United States saw the end of the Second World War with the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan and also the establishment of the Truman Doctrine for foreign policy, which seeks to limit the spread of Communism.
Yalta conference (1945)
(1945) Meeting of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, in February 1945 at an old Tsarist resort on the Black Sea, where the Big Three leaders laid the foundations for the postwar division of power in Europe, including a divided Germany and territorial concessions to the Soviet Union.
Chiang Kai-shek
Critics charged that Roosevelt had sold Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) down the river when he conceded control of Manchuria to Stalin. Also, he failed to fight off internal rebellion. Leading to a communist China.
Cold War
(1946-1991) The 45 year diplomatic tension between the United States and the Soviet Union that divided much of the world into polarized camps, capitalist against communist. Most of the international conflicts during that period, particularly in the developing world, can be traced to the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Bretton Woods Conference
More officially known as “The United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference” It was a gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.
World Bank
Also known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It’s aim was to promote economic growth in war-ravaged and underdeveloped areas.
United Nations
(U.N.) International body formed in 1945 to bring nations into dialogue in hopes of preventing further world wars. Much like the former League of Nations in ambition, the UN was more realistic in recognizing the authority of the Big Five Powers in keeping peace in the world. Thus, it guaranteed veto power to all permanent members of its Security Council—Britain, China, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States.
Bernard Baruch
U.S delegate in 1946 for a U.N. agency, free from the great-power veto, with worldwide authority over atomic energy, weapons and research.
Nuremberg war crimes trial
Highly publicized proceedings against former Nazi leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity as part of the Allies denazification program in postwar Germany. The trials led to several executions and long prison sentences.
“Foxy Hermann” Goering
tried at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and sentenced to death. He cheated the hangman a few hours before his scheduled execution by swallowing a hidden cyanide capsule.
Berlin airlift
Year-long mission of flying food and supplies to blockaded West Berliners, whom the Soviet Union cut off from access to the West in the first major crisis of the Cold War
containment doctrine
America’s strategy against the Soviet Union based on ideas of George Kennan. The doctrine declared that the Soviet Union and communism were inherently expansionist and had to be stopped from spreading through both military and political pressure. Containment guided American foreign policy throughout most of the Cold War.
George F. Kennan
A brilliant young diplomat and Soviet specialist, who crafted the containment doctrine.
Truman Doctrine
(1947) President Truman’s universal pledge of support for any people fighting any communist or communist-inspired threat. Truman presented the doctrine to Congress in 1947 in support of his request for $400 million to defend Greece and Turkey against Soviet-backed insurgencies.
Reinhold Neibuhr
Liberal Protestant clergyman who cruisaded against the “children of darkness” such as communism, fascism, and pacifism
George C. Marshall
United States general and statesman who as Secretary of State organized the European Recovery Program.
Marshall Plan
(1948)Massive transfer of aid money to help rebuild postwar Western Europe, intended to bolster capitalist and democratic governments and prevent domestic communist groups from riding poverty and misery to power. The plan was first announced by Secretary of State George Marshall at Harvard’s commencement in June 1947.
Created from British mandate territory of Palestine out of humanitarian sympathy for the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Officially recognized by the U.S on its day of virth, May 14, 1948. A controversial issue due to the fact that, the Arabs claim that the land belongs to them and “will lay siege to it until it dies of famine.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Military alliance of Western European powers and the United States and Canada established in 1949 to defend against the common threat from the Soviet Union, marking a giant stride forward for European unity and American internationalism
General Douglas MacArthur
U.S. general. Commander of U.S. (later Allied) forces in the southwestern Pacific during World War II, he accepted Japan’s surrender in 1945 and administered the ensuing Allied occupation. He was in charge of UN forces in Korea 1950-51, before being forced to relinquish command by President Truman
Dean Acheson
U.S Secretary of State under Harry S. Truman. Both him and Roosevelt were assailed by the Republicans for Jiang Jieshi lost of power in China
hydrogen bomb– a city-smashing thermonuclear weapon that was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb. Truman ordered this weapon to be created in order to outpace the Soviets in the nuclear weaponry.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Former scientific director of the Manhattan Project and current chair of the Atomic Energy Commission, led a group of scientists in opposition to the crash program to design thermonuclear weapons.
House Un-American Activities Committee
(HUAC)Investigatory body established in 1938 to root out “subversion.” Sought to expose communist influence in American government and society, in particular through the trial of Alger Hiss.
Richard M. Nixon
Young California congressman whose investigation of Alger Hiss spurred fears of communist influence in America.
Alger Hiss
a prominent ex-New Dealer and a distinguished member of the “eastern establishment” who was accused of being a communist agent in the 1930s.
Joseph R. McCarthy
Senator Joseph McCarthy led the search for communist in Washington in which all of manners of real or perceived social changes could be tarred with a red brush.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Two American citizens, convicted for leaking atomic data to Moscow and were executed leaving behind two orphaned children. Their sensational trail and electrocution, combined with sympathy for their two orphaned children, began to sour some sober citizens on the excesses of the red-hunters.
Thomas E. Dewey.
Republican renominated New York governor who mistakenly believed to have won the 1948 elections.
Henry A. Wallace
Nominated by the new Progressive party. So-called Pied Piper of the Politburo took an apparently pro-Soviet line that earned him drenching with rotten eggs in hostile cities.
Fair Deal
Truman’s program that called for improved housing, full employment, a higher minimum wage, better farm price supports, new TVAs, and an extension of Social Security.
National Security Council Memorandum Number 68 (NSC-68)
1950)National Security Council recommendation to quadruple defense spending and rapidly expand peace-time armed forces to address Cold War tensions. It reflected a new militarization of American foreign policy but the huge costs of rearmament were not expected to interfere with what seemed like the limitless possibilities of postwar prosperity.
Korean War
(1950-1953) First “hot war” of the Cold war. The Korean War began in 1950 when the Soviet-backed North Koreans invaded South Korea before meeting a counter-offensive by UN Forces, dominated by the United States. The war ended in stalemate in 1953.

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