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American Culture in the 1920s - Essay Example

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American Culture in the 1920s

The affluence of the society grew rapidly and so did the demand for new products and services. This led to the generation of an explosive growth cycle of demand - innovation - production. The advent of the new journalism, motion picture, and radio presented opportunities for mass entertainment, information as well as advertising of various products of mass consumption.
The First world- war brought about a slowdown in the economic progress of the society. With the entry of America in the war, the industries concentrated their attention to the production of military equipment, rather than consumer products. Since a majority of the young male population was commissioned for military operations, more and more women assumed a supportive role in the industry and other civilian functions.
With the end of the First world - war, the world started limping back to normalcy. Europe, which lay in ruins, started reconstruction activities. America did not get involved in this reconstruction effort, and maintained an isolationist policy. But the horrors of war had made an indelible impact on the minds of the young generation. After facing extreme life experiences, and the reality of death, the young generation had broken out of the society's structure, and found it very difficult to settle down in peacetime. The young people found themselves inflicted with an eat-drink-and -be- merry- for- tomorrow-we-die spirit. The women too were as anxious as men to avoid returning to society's rules and roles after the war.
After a brief depression for a couple of years following the war, the American industry reorganized itself to produce consumer goods again, instead of military equipment. The general attitude of the people towards consumerism, aided by the new policies of the government greatly aided the expansion of the industry.
Impact on the culture:
Technology played a vital part in delivering the economic and cultural good times that most of America enjoyed during the 1920's. On the economic front, it was a time for $5 workday, a decent pay those days. People spent money for better roads, tourism and holiday resorts. The ordinary people were encouraged through advertisements, to buy goods, such as cars, refrigerators, radios, washing machines, refrigerators, telephones etc. Many people could now afford what had been luxuries before the war, as these goods had become cheaper, e.g. in 1908, the average cost of a car was $850, whereas it fell to $280 by 1925.This was made possible by adoption of mass production methods by the consumer goods manufacturers. The most famous manufacturer to utilize mass production methods was Henry Ford's automobile industry. He pioneered the concept of assembly lines where the product moved from one worker to another, with each individual adding his 'speciality part' to the growing whole. This method greatly helped in reducing the assembly time and cost of the product, and Henry Ford could sell 15 million of his Model T cars by 1927. The influence of Ford's efficient methods of mass production enabled other industries to produce a huge variety of consumer goods at affordable costs, such as canned food, readymade clothing and home appliances, which also liberated ...Show more

Summary

During the decade of the 1920's, America experienced profound changes in the culture and lifestyles of its people, which shaped its future march towards becoming a global leader and role model among nations of this world. These changes were brought about, because of the prevailing political circumstances, as well as due to the technological innovations and industrial development which took place during the earlier century.
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American Culture in the 1920s essay example
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