AMERICA'S POST WAR PROSPERITY
As late as 194`1, America was still not out of its depression. Then, war production began. And, even with millions of men in uniform, when they returned, having won the wear, post-war prosperity began in several ways: New housing construction, beginning with Levittown, all reasonably priced for returning veterans and their growing families. Next, the fact that America suffered no damage from bombs or rockets on its mainland, while other nations suffered greatly, including Britain and France. Industries were in tact, and the banks now offered loan packages so the returning veterans could purchase not only new homes, bur cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, and even the new phenomenon, television sets.
What was perhaps most important to America's prosperity was that the Cold War kept production high for planes and guns and scientific experiments that would attempt to outstrip and outflank the ambitious Communists in Eastern Europe. And yet, "on April 3, 1948, Congress voted $5.3 billion immediately for the Marshall Act and an additional $275 million for Greece and TurkeyàIn retrospect, the Marshall Plan was the best thing toe United States could have done" (Morison 1964 1057). Europe was enthusiastic, politically and economically. It also hastened the export of American=made goods to nations devoid of manufacturing facilities.
What also has to be suggested here is that millions of men, seeing what other countries had (or lacked) for the first time, were determined to "make it" financially and economically for their own families, communities, and the nation at large.
Domestically, Truman's "Fair Deal", while little of it was adopted, did further the economic prosperity of the U.S. Even though there were predictions of a depression similar to post World War I, this never happened. Employment remained high, but as the cost of living went up, so did wages. "In 19...