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After the Second World War, numerous movements of dissent and protest amongst workers or soldiers which had been kept in check by the profits of war developed into significant movements, such as the Coal or Rail strikes in 1946. Similarly, the war-time consensus on the United States and "Russia" as allies broke down. What studies of the personal experience of repression in this era—specifically the late 1940s—exist? What cultural and social histories of the climate of immediate post-war repression exist?

What was it like to live outside of the newly forming post-war consensus in the late 1940s in the United States?

Cartoon:

Image: Fitzpatrick, Daniel Robert, 1891-1969. 1947: ?St. Louis Post Dispatch

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This sounds like a homework question. What do you think? –  coleopterist Apr 19 '13 at 17:02
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This question seems kind of like a Rorschach test for a person's understanding of the USA and its history. I'm sure that makes it an awesome essay question from a History instructor's point of view, but that same property makes not such a good History.SE question. –  T.E.D. Apr 19 '13 at 17:47
    
Turned the sentiment into an answerable question –  Samuel Russell Apr 20 '13 at 1:41
    
@SamuelRussell - it's QUITE possible that the cartoonist was actually referring to "a little revolution now and then..." and other similar sentiments by many Founding Fathers, as opposed to 1940s contemporary sentiments. –  DVK Apr 21 '13 at 19:40
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I answered for the 1950s (since I was born then). For more information on this topic, I recommend the book "Generations" by William Strauss and Neil Howe. –  Tom Au Apr 21 '13 at 22:14
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closed as not constructive by Joe, choster, Mark C. Wallace, DVK, Steven Drennon Apr 22 '13 at 3:42

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1 Answer

I was born in the 1950s, so I will answer this question based on my knowledge of the 1950s. The "post war consensus" lasted through the 1950s (heightened by "Sputnik"), and into the 1960s (when the U.S. finally surpassed the Soviet Union in the space race).

One instrument used to accomplish this end was "McCarthyism." That is, labelling "dissidents" as socialists or "Communists."

One example of this was the Senatorial campaign of Richard M. Nixon against Helen Gahagan Douglas. Although wealthy, Douglas was suspected as a "leftist" because she was in "show business." Nixon called Douglas the "Pink Lady," and Douglas in turn called Nixon, "Tricky Dick." (Both nicknames stuck.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Gahagan_Douglas

Nixon's campaign was funded by corporations such as Unocal, then led by Reese Taylor. His successful Senatorial campaign led to his nomination and election as Vice-President in 1952.

Ironically, the American public elected Nixon President in 1968 for his "ability." (He opened the door to China.) Then they turned on him by impeaching him for the Watergate scandal, which at heart, was an attempt to "suppress" Democratic "dissidents."

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The chief problem with this answer is that McCarthy's actions turned on 1949—on the development of a non-US bomb. This answer would be adequate for a question regarding dissent in the 1950s. –  Samuel Russell Apr 21 '13 at 20:47
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@SamuelRussell: I put in a disclaimer to say that I was answering for the 1950s (since I was born then), to let the OP decide whether or not the answer is "adequate." –  Tom Au Apr 21 '13 at 22:12
    
apologies, I missed your arguing your answer's position in the question ("The "post war consensus" lasted through the 1950s… and into the 1960s"), which I think that answerers should do when they feel the question itself is limited. Thanks for drawing my attention to that. –  Samuel Russell Apr 21 '13 at 22:15
    
@SamuelRussell: I made the "postwar consensus" correction AFTER reading your critique. Thanks for withdrawing the downvote (if that's what happened). –  Tom Au Apr 21 '13 at 22:18
    
I very rarely downvote answers, and didn't this time. The process of refining an answer until it is complete is valid; your response was always responding to the post-war consensus issue even it it wasn't clearly voiced! –  Samuel Russell Apr 22 '13 at 0:21
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