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The Great Depression and World War II had tremendous impacts on American life in the 1950s. Some of these impacts include:
The war made America rich. One of the ways in which it did this was by destroying many other countries that had been competitors. Of the major rich countries of the world, only the United States came out of the war with its territory relatively unscathed. The US was not bombed and fought over during the war. This, along with other things like technological developments, helped the US economy dominate the world after the war.
The war made America more middle class. This was largely a result of the GI Bill, which can be seen as part of the war. The US government knew that it had to do something to help military men reintegrate into society and what it picked was to help them get educated. This took men who would never have been able to go to college and sent them there. This made for a huge new mass of people who were middle class both in their jobs and in their education.
The Depression and the war made Americans more materialistic. Americans had lived through a time of great poverty (the Depression) and a time (the war) when consumer goods were essentially unavailable. This led to a situation in which they were very eager to avail themselves of consumer goods once those became available. This led to an American society and culture that was centered around consumption.
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