Ssush21: Post War Technologyus History

SSUSH21 The student will explain the impact of technological development and economic growth on the United States, 1945-1975. Overview: America’s technological development and economic growth from the end of World War II through 1975 pushed the United States from an insular nation to a world leader both politically and economically. Editor’s note: This essay is an excerpt of the Hoover Press book America and the Future of War. Over the past half century, American political and military leaders have attempted to make war less costly in human terms. As far as lowering American casualties in combat, that is a wholly worthwhile endeavor. On October 26, 2006, as part of the speaker series organized by the 21st Century Defense Initiative, Max Boot presented his latest book War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History.

SSUSH21 The student will explain the impact of technological development and economic growth on the United States, 1945-1975.
a. Describe the baby boom and its impact as shown by Levittown and the Interstate Highway Act.
c. Analyze the impact of technology on American life; include the development of the personal computer and the expanded use of air conditioning.

Unit 7&8 Journal 1

Essential QuestionWhat cultural and technological developments occurred that spurred the economic growth of the United States after World War II?
This journal has two components; please complete both components to receive full credit for this journal.
Journal Entry 1A
Titled: “Primary Source Political Cartoon (Primary Source)”
  • This cartoon spoofs the housing developments of the 1950s that gave Americans the cookie-cutter homes and neighborhoods they craved. According to the cartoon, what was one negative aspect of postwar suburban developments?
  • Complete all of the discussion questions at the bottom of the page.
Journal Entry 1B
Tilted: “The American Dream in The Fifties (Guided Reading)”
  • As you read this section, write notes about how Americans were affected by various trends of the 1950s.
  • On the back of this paper, briefly explain planned obsolescence. Then tell how Dr. Jonas Salk affected American society in the 1950s.

SSUSH19 The student will identify the origins, major developments, and the domestic impact of World War II, especially the growth of the federal government.

  1. Describe war mobilization, as indicated by rationing, war-time conversion, and the role of women in war industries.

SSUSH21 The student will explain economic growth and its impact on the United States 1945-1970.


  1. Students will understand how the entrance of the United States into World War II impacted the economy.
  2. Students will understand why women entered the work force during WW II.
  3. Students will understand sacrifices made by Americans and why they were necessary.
  4. Students will explore wartime conversion, including the conversion of Coca‑Cola bottling plants for American soldiers and their impact after the war.
  5. Students will conduct research using the Internet.
  6. Students will construct diary entries both before and during the war in the voice of a citizen of that time.


  • Textbook
  • Internet access
  • One copy per student of this article

Time — 3 Class Periods

Term to Know

  1. Wartime conversion- Wartime conversion means the retooling of factories from consumer products to products needed for the war effort. For example, a car manufacturer might build jeeps or airplanes.

Background Information

  1. Once the United States became committed to the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, patriotism rose throughout America. Americans were willing to recycle metals, paper, rubber, empty lipstick tubes, and cooking fats. They worked longer hours but had fewer goods to purchase due to the war effort and rationing. Politically, the nation started shifting from the social policies of Roosevelt to end the depression to the war effort. This lead to a growth of Presidential power and what is now termed “bigger government”.
  2. In 1940, there were still 8 million Americans without work due to the Great Depression. However, because of the war effort, there were actually labor shortages in some industries. Because of this, more and more women entered the workforce, particularly in industries that had been predominantly staffed by men. “Rosie the Riveter” became a popular way to refer to these women. By 1945, women made up 36% of the workforce.
  3. War bonds were used to involve the general public in the war effort. Even fashion was influenced by the war effort, as conservation of cloth was important. Women’s skirts became shorter and narrower. Men gave up vests, patches on jackets and cuffs. Americans were required to use ration cards to purchase coffee, sugar, gasoline, and meat. Industries were producing war materials and not consumer goods, which was of concern to Americans since they finally had money to spend but few consumer products to spend it on. After the war when industries returned to producing consumer goods, Americans went on a spending spree not seen before.
  4. Between 1940 and 1945, the number of civilian employees that worked for the government went from 1 million to 4 million. Federal spending went from 9 billion a year to 98.4 billion. Executive power grew as a result of the war as well.
  5. After the war the federal government had much more power. It could regulate economic activity as well as partially control the economy through spending and consumption. Industry was revitalized after the war and unions were strengthened.


Day 1 Women’s Roles Before WWII
  1. Ask students to brainstorm jobs women hold in today’s economy. Ask them to brainstorm which jobs women either do not hold today, or that that they do hold, but is considered socially unacceptable.
  2. Review with students the state of America at the beginning of WWII, particularly in regards to women. Print the article located on: Distribute one copy to each student.
  3. Discuss with students how the roles of women in society have changed, after reading the article. Remind students that these roles began to change during WWII. Discuss how these changes would have influenced economic activity after the war was over.
  4. Ask students to write a diary entry in the voice of a man or woman who lived during the time before WWII. Ask students to include in the diary entry facts included in the article and their perception of these facts from the male/female viewpoint. Give students about 1/2 hour. Share diary entries with the class.


Use diary entries to evaluate the student’s understanding of women’s roles before WWII.

Day 2 Women’s Roles Change During WWII

Picture from:


  1. Review with students the roles of women before WWII.
  2. Review with students the term “wartime conversion”. Discuss with students how this conversion plus the lack of men to work in the factories (they were at war) brought women into the workforce.

Ask students to research the roles of women during WWII using the following Websites:

  1. Discuss what students have discovered through their research.
  2. Ask students to do a second diary entry of the same person“s diary started in the day 1 activity. Students should give their perceptions of the changes experienced in roles of women and how they are perceived to affect society from either a male or female perspective. Remind students that the diary entries need to be substantiated by facts found in their research.
  3. Diary entries can be shared with the class.


Use the diary entry to assess the research done by the student, as well as their understanding of women’s roles during WWII.


Coca‑Cola Supports the War Effort

Day 3
  1. Explain to students that supporting the war effort involved not only activity at home, but in the war zone as well. Teachers can either give printouts of the articles below or allow students to use the Internet for research.
  2. Ask students to read/research how The Coca‑Cola Company mobilized bottling plants to serve United States soldiers in the war zones and how this mobilization affected the economic activity of The Coca‑Cola Company.
  3. Use the following sites for research:
  1. Ask students to write an essay to explain how the mobilization initiated by The Coca‑Cola Company impacted both the soldiers during WWII and the company during and after the war.


Use the essay to assess the student’s understanding of how mobilization impacted soldiers and economic activity.


Remind students that they will be seeing displays at the World of Coca‑Cola that relate to the research they have done over the past few days. Advertisements often reflect the culture of the time. Ask students to take special notice of how women roles are depicted in Coca‑Cola advertisements over time. Tell students that they will also be seeing many “green” features at the World of Coca‑Cola. Remind them to take good notes about these green features, as they will need these notes in the post-activity.

Gifted Connection

Ssush21: Post War Technology Us History Dbq

Ask gifted students to research and report on how and who developed the Fanta beverage for The Coca‑Cola Company and its implications at the time.

Comments are closed.