Postwar Ameri11 - 1946 and 1955. A housing boom, stimulated...

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Postwar America U.S.    dominates global affairs THE POSTWAR ECONOMY: 19451960 In the decade and a half after World War II, the United States experienced phenomenal  economic growth and consolidated its position as the world's richest country. Gross  national product (GNP), a measure of all goods and services produced in the United  States, jumped from about $200,000-million in 1940 to $300,000-million in 1950 to more  than $500,000-million in 1960. More and more Americans now considered themselves  part of the middle class. The growth had different sources. The economic stimulus provided by large-scale public  spending for World War II helped get it started.  Two basic middle-class needs did much  to keep it going.  The number of automobiles produced annually quadrupled between 
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Unformatted text preview: 1946 and 1955. A housing boom, stimulated in part by easily affordable mortgages for returning servicemen, fueled the expansion. The rise in defense spending as the Cold War escalated also played a part. After 1945 the major corporations in America grew even larger. There had been earlier waves of mergers in the 1890s and in the 1920s; in the 1950s another wave occurred. Franchise operations like McDonald's fast-food restaurants allowed small entrepreneurs to make themselves part of large, efficient enterprises. Big American corporations also developed holdings overseas, where labor costs were often lower....
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