Including the historical significance, what was the most significant challenge of the era of Grand Expectations (1945-1974)?
The years from 1945 to 1974 were an era of Grand Expectations. At the end of World War II, spontaneous celebrations filled downtown streets across the nation. The war was over. Sons and daughters were coming home. Democracy triumphed over fascism. The Great Depression was a memory. Prosperity was ahead. It was time to purchase a home, start a family, and return to work. However, despite the optimism, new concerns were on the horizon.
There are many choices that we could pick from here. There are, for example, the challenge of world communism in the Cold War and the challenge of McCarthyism at home. There were challenges from women and from the youth counterculture. Overall, though, I would say that the most important and impactful challenge was the challenge of race relations.
Begining soon after WWII, African Americans started pushing for the rights that they ought to have had. Their struggle continued in one form or another up through at least 1965. This struggle was a major challenge for the US because it challenged the country to abandon old ways and to live up to its promise that all people should be equal in the eyes of the law. Change on such a massive level is never easy and therefore this was a very great challenge.