Unit 5 - Post-War Years

The Turbulent Post-War Years

Video Transcription
Despite fears of another Depression, post-World War II America experienced a period of continuing economic growth and affluence. A grateful nation provided returning veterans access to the middle-class with G.I Bill education benefits for college tuition and housing loans through the Veterans Administration.

Similarly, working class families benefiting from high paying factory jobs were able to send their children to college—often for the first time. Universities across Indiana had to build temporary housing to meet the demand.

This prosperity was not, however, equally accessible to all Hoosiers. African Americans continued to face social and legal obstacles to achieving their American dream. Women too were battling to maintain and advance the economic and social opportunities of the war years.

Racial unrest, the erosion of high paying factory jobs as a result of foreign competition, Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union, the Vietnam War, and Watergate left many Hoosier disillusioned and uncertain about the future as the era drew to a close. How can Indiana maintain the progress it has made in social justice in divisive times?

Primary Sources

Space Race
Neil Armstrong in his Purdue dorm room
Source: Purdue University Archives & Special Collections
Compelling Question: Who “owns” space and who is entitled to potential extraterrestrial resources?

Civil Rights
Hoosiers Support the March on Selma
Source: Ball State University Campus Photographs Collection
Compelling Question: How can the rights of all groups be protected in a polarized society?

The Cold War
Berlin before the Wall was built
Source: Archives Photograph Collection, Indiana University
Compelling Question: At what point is a nation justified to interfere with the sovereignty of another nation?

Indiana Students Protests
Source: Archives Photograph Collection, Indiana University
Compelling Question: What impact do student protests and demonstrations have on local, state, and national policy?

Title IX
Equity for Women Students & Athletes
Source: Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers, Indiana University Archives
Compelling Question: What cultural factors make it necessary to require legislation to provide equal opportunities for female and male students?

Housing Discrimination
Redlining in South Bend
Source: Mapping Inequality Project, University of Richmond
Compelling Question: How does housing discrimination impact quality of life?