The Second World
War had many effects on America, some unpleasant, but many bountiful. After the
war was finished, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the economy was not good, but
after the war there was a economic growth lasted for many years, helping the economy right itself. The
effects of the war effected almost every American, either directly or indirectly, weather by death or
by money loss, the effects of the war pulled America together and made changes that would last life times.
After the war was done,
Americans, “…feared that demobilization would bring a rerun of the inflation and unemployment that had followed World War I…The abrupt submission of Japan, “…took
U.S. officials by surprise. They had planned on taking two years to phase out military
spending and reintroduce veterans to the domestic economy…The Pentagon, already scaling back defense
spending, canceled $15 billion in war contracts in the first two days after Japanese surrender”
(Goldfield 852). The reason that the Americans were fearful was because how just how bad the economy was after the first World
War, and how it ended with the Great Depression.
Along with the government cutting
back money spending on the non-existent war, the “Veterans came back home to shortages of food in the grocery stores
and consumer goods in the department stores. High demand and short supply meant inflationary pressure,
checked temporarily by continuing the Office of Price Administration until October 1946. Meanwhile, producers, consumers,
and retailers scrambled to evade price restrictions and scarcities. Farmers sold meat on the black market,
bypassing the big packing companies for one-on-one deals at highest prices. Automobiles were especially
scarce; the number of vehicles registered in the United States had declined
by 4 million during the war” (Goldfield 853). The quote showed just how desperate the citizens of
America were in order to get food and to have a living.
The government, in response to the American outcries
of help, created the Employment Act of 1946, Council of Economic Advisers, the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, and the GI Bill of
Rights. The Employment Act of 1946 was “…an effort by congressional liberals to ward off economic crisis by fine-tuning
government taxations and spending” (Goldfield 853). The Employment Act of 1946 also created the Council of Economic
Advisers. Their job was to help the president make better choices involving taxes and government spending.
The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, also known as the Labor-Management
Relations Act, was about forbidding, “…jurisdictional strikes and secondary boycotts. Other aspects of the legislation
included the right of employers to be exempted from bargaining with unions unless they wished to. The act forbade unions from
contributing to political campaigns and required union leaders to affirm they were not supporters of the Communist Party. This aspect of the act was upheld by the Supreme Court on 8th May, 1950. The Taft-Hartley Act also gave the United States Attorney General the power to obtain an 80
day injunction when a threatened or actual strike that he/she believed "imperiled the national health or safety" (Taft-Hartley
Act). This allowed the owners and the people higher up to be sure of their safety in dealing with communists.
The GI Bill of Rights,
or the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 “…was designed to provide greater opportunities
to returning war veterans of World War II. The bill, signed by President Roosevelt
on June 22, 1944, provided federal aid to help
veterans adjust to civilian life in the areas of hospitalization, purchase of homes and businesses, and especially, education.
This act provided tuition, subsistence, books and supplies, equipment, and counseling services for veterans to continue their
education in school or college…The effects of increased enrollment to higher education were significant…Engineers
and technicians needed for the technological economy were prepared from the ranks of returning veterans. Also, education served
as a social safety valve that eased the traumas and tensions of adjustment from wartime to peace. For the American colleges
and universities, the effects were transforming…Institutions required more classrooms, laboratories, greater numbers
of faculties, and more resources…This new student population called for differential courses in advanced training in
education, commerce, agriculture, mining, fisheries, and other vocational fields that were previously taught informally. Teaching
staffs enlarged and summer and extension courses thrived. Further, the student population was no longer limited to those between
18-23. The veterans were eager to learn and had a greater sense of maturity, in comparison to the usual student stereotype.
Finally, the idea that higher education was the privilege of a well-born elite was finally shattered“ (GI Bill of Rights).
The GI Bill of Rights helped more than the veterans, for it put money back into the economy where it belonged to help the
citizens of America.
After awhile, the economy started to pick up, along
with family sizes. This was the era of the baby boom, and with the families getting larger, there was more demand for certain
products and that lead to more jobs, helping the economy grow. The baby boom average per year for America was about 2.9 million
babies. With the baby boom came the consumer boom, buying for the children and families. With all of the buying and selling
going on during that time, the economy flourished. (Goldfield)
In conclusion, although in the beginning of the post
of the second World War the effects of it were not good at all, later on in the era things, the economy, righted itself so
that everything worked out better than it was before the war. The war also helped create the United Nations to try and keep
the peace so that another World War would not happen. Even though the war was a horrible thing that didn’t take place
on American soil, every American felt its effects, as did the people around the world.
1) GI Bill of Rights. History of Education: Selected Moments
of the 20th Century. Online. Internet. 11 June 2006. Available. <http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_sch/assignment1/1944gibill.html>
2) Goldfield, David. The American Journey: A History of the
United States. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.
3) Taft-Hartley Act. Online. Internet. 11 June. 2006. Available.