Post World War II US: the Unheralded Revolution

History 103D.002

Fall 2005
Instructor (text): 
206 Wheeler
Day & Time: 
W 4-6

Did the formative years of 1945-1960 represent a revolution in progressive reform or the birth of a dynamic conservative movement? Did the US expand its empire "by invitation" or merely resist Soviet expansionism? Did Americans grudgingly accept federal power or did this new Leviathan antagonize its subjects? Those who long for simplicity will be disappointed to learn that the readings for this course will, to some degree, support all of the options enumerated above. Perhaps even more important≠and more disturbing for those who would wish for a false but unalloyed clarity≠many of these questions are related to each other in both articulation and answer.
In uncovering the many threads that weave together to form an understanding of the postwar United States, we will be particularly attentive to the ways in which this historical moment constituted a radical departure from what preceded it and can indeed be fairly described as an unheralded revolution.