History Faculty Work


How 1954 Changed History

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Audible Originals


From Publisher: Every year has its share of notable events, but some years seem to capture the essence of a decade in a handful of months. The year 1954 is one such year. It began in January with a celebrity marriage heard round the world and then progressed through a series of major political, social, and cultural milestones that would echo through the next several decades. The years following World War II were a time of increased wealth and confidence, years that saw the rise of a solid, increasingly powerful middle class in America. With rising wages, major developments in consumer goods and entertainment, increasing opportunities for housing and education, amazing medical breakthroughs, the spread of interstate highways - it was a decade of optimism for many after the horrors of depression and war. But the 1950s were also years of increasing Cold War paranoia and unrest among the disenfranchised Americans that were not experiencing the same freedom and prosperity as their fellow citizens. With the 10 lectures of How 1954 Changed History, you will travel back to a pivotal year in a decade that is often viewed in terms of the black-and-white simplicity of cheerful mid-century sitcoms. However, the issues of the decade were actually as vibrant and contradictory as any other period in American history. Professor Michael Flamm will take you through the battle against polio, the Red Scare that gripped the nation, the domestic impact of foreign conflicts, and the groundbreaking case of Brown v. Board of Education. As you look at these events and much more, you will see how the year 1954 showcases both some of the best and some of the worst times of 20th-century America.


Original recording

This document is currently not available here.