APUSH Expanded Timeline M. Bramlett
Chapter 26: The Age of Affluence, 1945-1960
1944 Bretton Woods economic conference
This United Nations-sponsored conference adopted several policies
with the objective of stabilizing the postwar world econo my. The
American dollar was to be used as the benchmark for international
World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) founded
The Bretton Woods conference established both of these international
economic organizations. The first would provide private development
loans for devastated European nations; the second would stabilize the
1947 Levittown, New York, built
Developer Arthur Levitt was the first to adopt assembly line
construction techniques to build postwar suburban housing
developments. This method cut costs and enabled families (if they
were white) to purchase their own homes at remarkably low prices.
1953-1958 Operation Wetback and Indian termination programs
Responding to economic recession, the first of these programs sought
to deport millions of Mexican laborers who were once allowed to work
in the United States. The second attempted to end the system of
Indian reservations and to encourage Indians to assimilate into the
mainstream of American society. Both programs were soon eliminated.
1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
The Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated public schools were
unconstitutional, overturning the Court's 1896 "separate but equal"
1955 AFL and CIO merge
Having split apart during the Great Depression, these two labor
federations reunited, forming an organization whose member unions
represented 90 percent of America's unionized labor force.
Montgomery bus boycott
This successful yearlong protest against segregation in local public
transportation brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his strategy of
nonviolent protest against racial inequality, to national attention.
1956 National Interstate and Defense Highway Act
Dwight Eisenhower sponsored this largest public works program in
American history, which eventually produced 42,500 miles of four-lane
highways across the entire nation.
1957 Peak of postwar baby boom
The years following World War II saw a temporary but dramatic
reversal of the decli ne in birth rates that had characterized the
twentieth century. Americans married earlier and bore one-third more
children per family than they had in the 1930s, creating an enormous
impact on schools, popular culture, employment opportunities, and
(eventually) old-age assistance programs as the generation moved
through its life cycle.
School desegregation battle in Little Rock, Arkansas
After Arkansas governor Orval Faubus used National Guard soldiers to
prevent court-ordered desegregation, President Eisenhower sent
federal troops to enforce integration and to protect the black children
who had enrolled in a previously all-white high school.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) founded
Led by Martin Luther King Jr., this organization of black ministers
helped coordinate the churches' support for nonviolent desegregation