Sunday, February 24, 2013


 The term "greaser" has become apart of America's pop-culture lure. Greasers have been romanticized in Hollywood, TV and even the stage; however, in the 1950s people were truly concerned with this new subculture. The teenage demographic came about in the 1950s as a new marketing group, prior to the Second World War kids were forced to grow up after adolescence earning a wage to help the family out. 
            The 1950s saw the average income for families’ increase, as well as a new on emphasis education. Teenager now with more time on their hands were free to socialize like never before. Social groups as well as gangs were a natural result of this newfound idleness, by providing "an escape from the boredom and distasteful conditions that parents and school impose"[1]. These new street gangs and the delinquency they caused concerned adults and even children in the 1950s. When asked their thoughts on this new trend of crime being perpetrated by their peers many teenagers would answer, “crack down on them! Hard!” a 16-year-old boy from Birmingham Al went so far to say “ You’d think twice about doing something if you knew you were going to spend 10-years in the pen”.[2] With such a substantial public outcry against greasers and their gang why today do we think back on these juveniles as anything but dangerous or deliquesce?

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            The Greasers that come to mind today are mainly the singing and dancing youths of such films as Greece, Cry Baby, and West Side Story and the lovable characters these films gave us. What we do not remember however is these characters and films were influenced by real life teen gang members like “Tarzan”, real name Frank Sanata, who with his gang of greasers, the Navajo’s brutally shoot a teen they mistook or a member of a rival gang.[3] 

[1] Robert Griffith, and Paula Baker, eds. Major Problems in American History Since 1945. 86

[2] “Teen-agers: The Sun (1837-1987). November 27, 1955.

[3] Robert Griffith, and Paula Baker, eds. Major Problems in American History Since 1945. 85

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Truman's War

             At the end of the Second World War The United States and The Soviet Union stood as allies. Both nations along with the British worked together to topple Nazi regime in Germany. However on the 6th of August 1945 the United States dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, sifting the balance of power among the allies and propelling the two nations into the Cold War. We have all heard the story of Russia spreading communism across a war weary poverty stricken Europe, stamping out capitalism democracy, and the United States poised to the “Evil Empire” and lift the “iron curtain”. In fact even has a series about how President Truman stood up to the bully Soviet Union and its mighty military machine. But is this the whole story or even an accurate depiction of the years following the Second World War, the build up to the Cold War?

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            The Soviet Union faced the brunt of the Nazi-fighting machine, as it stood alone on the Eastern front, no other nation faced amount casualties and sheer devastation that the soviets did as they pushed the Germans back across Eastern Europe.[1] The United States on the other hand lost a lot of soldiers as it pushed the Germans out of France and into Germany; however, the nation itself was spared any type of physical damage caused by war. The US economy was strong and growing and by the end of the war American stood as the supreme military in the world with the most devastating weapon it had ever seen. Truman saw the atomic bomb as a bargaining chip and attempted to use it to force American policies what the Soviet’s called “atomic diplomacy”.[2] With America using the bomb to spread is sphere of influence; Russia hurried to develop one to level the playing field. The years directly following World War II, Truman continued to isolate the Soviet Union with such things as the Truman Doctrine and aiding countries like Greece and Turkey. The Soviets saw these actions as direct threats to their national security and a modern extension of the “Monroe Doctrine” being applied “to the Old World”.[3]

[1] Oliver Stone, and Peter Kuznick. The Untold History of the United States. Gallery Books, 2012. P.229

[2] Kuznick. The Untold History of the United States. Gallery Books, 2012. P. 247

[3] Kuznick. The Untold History of the United States. Gallery Books, 2012. P.258