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Lecture 20

Hist 106 Lecture 20.doc

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HIST 106
Paul Garfinkel

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Lecture 20 – Recovery to Radicalism 1953-68 Context: how difficult recover was − Europe was a wasteland – places like Dresden were left destroyed from things like the Dresden fire bombing − 50-60 million were dead (1/3 of those civilians) − Strategic bombing had wiped out cities – more German civilians died than soldiers. − Constant shortages of food – dependent on American food supplies − Industrial production down by 2/3 − Massive unemployment and homelessness − 11 million displaced persons waiting to be repatriated − Inflation wiped out savings − Black market to get anything Western Europe recovered quite quickly and surged ahead to the highest level of prosperity ever known. Became known as “the miracle.” Why did this happen? − Government planned mixed economies (capitalism with state planning) − Social welfare states guaranteed housing, health, education and wages − A high degree of state investment kept employment up and kept the state growing − Technological innovation to mass produce appliances, cars, radios etc. and raise consumers − More and more education and highly skilled workers are feeding the consumer market. However the first consumers societies were not without discontent. [1] Why did new consumer societies rise? a) New goods created new demand − Social welfare states with planned economies made safety nets against depression and consumer confidence rose. People were spending more and saving more – borrowing begins. − Confidence in the economy seen in rising birth rates related to post war economic prosperity − Televisions were in high demand. In 1947 14,500 licensed tvs in Britain. By 1965 there were 13 million. − Cars were also in high demand. By the 1960’s the lower middle class could afford them. − Also true of washing machines, fridges, and tobacco − Food goes below 50% of a person’s spending b) Distribution of wealth Top: No longer industrial owners because industry is now state owned. They are... − Managers − Technicians − Entrepreneurs − Entertainment Bottom: have more disposable wealth than ever before − Social services brought modest comfort − Benefits were paid by the state − Migrants – rising employment brought rural workers to the cities and lower people in agrarian poverty are brought into contact with state welfare Social Mobility: − Society becoming more homogenous with middle class dominating − Fewer outward signs of status − Education is more democratized to allow more middle class − Enormous increase in enrolment and more state investment in education − Spread of leisure and mass tourism, paid vacations become standard − 20% of West Germans go abroad on vacation. c) Consensus Politics − Appeared an era of ideological war − Post war economic boom accelerated white collar workers; there are no longer many proletariats. − Very little depression made prosperity seem like a permanent thing − All about goods – not about ideology – proven by the dominance of middle parties such as Christian democrats. Centrism goes up and communis
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