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Essay Example: The Transformation of the American Society after World War II

4 pages
872 words
University of Richmond
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After World War II ended in the summer of 1945, life in the United States started becoming normal once again. The soldiers returned home, and the production of war equipment stopped. The American people, however, were dissatisfied with their way of life, this dissatisfaction led to the numerous changes in the American society. The paper will focus on the significant aspects that led to the transformation of the American Society. They include; suburbanization, the GI Bill, the Automobile, the effects of consumerism on society and gender spheres, racial experiences, and youth culture. The paper will also conclude by outlining the role of religion in the society after the World War II.

Suburbanization refers to the trend of citizens to move from urban areas such as cities into residential areas away from the city. These ever-growing concentric residential regions were known as suburbs. They began to develop briefly in the nineteenth century but after World War II the rate of suburban development increased drastically (Jackson, 1987). The increase in suburban growth was as a result of millions of soldiers returning home. These servicemen required low-cost housing for their families; the suburbs provided these cheap housing. The massive increase in the population of the American people after the world war caused the suburbs to grow at a fast rate of six times faster as compared to cities. The low cost housing enabled numerous individuals to own homes for the first time.

The G.I. Bill also known as the Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944 signed by Franklin Roosevelt was a statute that provided a variety of benefits for the veterans of World War II (they were commonly referred to as G.I.s). The essence of this bill was to offer immediate awards to the G.I.s. The benefits provided include Tuition payments and living expenses for accessing educational institutions such as high schools, colleges or technical schools. The Bill also offered low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans and a years worth of unemployment compensation (Blumin, 2009). The G.I. Bill enabled over 7.8 million veterans to access learning institutions across America; this led to the development of new blood in the workforce industry. Numerous veterans could seek employment opportunities. The increase in employment rates led to a rise in the economy.

Regarding the automobile, there was a lot of new technology alterations after the war. The automobile industry saw a drastic development and improvement, and this led to the economy of scale more extensive and better. The automobile industry slowed during the war because of the lack of buyers as they were out of the country, the rationing of gasoline directed for travel during the war and the lack of production by American auto manufacturers. Nevertheless, after the war in 1945, the Americans began buying cars. They purchased over 7 million vehicles from 1945 till 1949. The numerous veterans and the army men and women who worked in the war industry used the payments from the G.I. Bill and the war industry plants for purchasing cars. The car purchases led to the advent of two-car families which entailed buying two cars for the wife and the husband.

The effect of consumerism on the society and the gender spheres is another crucial aspect that developed after the World War II. Consumerism refers to a social and economic order that encourages the buying of goods and services in huge amounts. The American citizens were not saving a lot of money as compared to during the war; these funds were used to purchase goods such as television sets for use at homes. After the war male and female gender identities and roles were brought out by consumerism. The men took up roles within the family and the women also took up different roles. Consumerism through advertising reinforced the idea of what the roles of both men and women should look like (Friedan, 2011).

With regards to racial experiences, numerous Americans after the war began to speak out against inequality and injustices being faced by the African Americans. African Americans were struggling as a result of racial discrimination, but after the war, the fight against racism and segregation enhanced and entered the mainstream of American life (Richards, 2015). The youth culture was also affected after the world war such that as a result of the changes in the political, economic and social sectors. The youth culture experiences a revolution. The revolution involved a definition of what it meant to be a teenager. The teen culture changed and was very different as compared to previous generations (Richards, 2015).

The American society saw a drastic change in societal, political and economic sectors after the war; this led to a different way of life by the Americans. The role of religion after the war was that of security and respectability. After the war, the move to the suburbs led to the establishment of churches as a means of replenishing the veterans' spiritual wells.



Blumin, G. C. (2009). The GI Bill: A New Deal for Veterans.

Friedan, B. (2011). Consumerism in the 1950s. Retrieved from Wordpress:

Jackson, K. T. (1987). Crabgrass frontier: The suburbanization of the United States. Oxford University Press.

Richards, K. (2015, March 15). America After World war 2. Retrieved from Prezi:


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