Modern Topics 1950's Practice Test

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Practice Test Quizzes & Trivia

The fifties had their highs and lows. In the previous classes we covered all of these happenings including the Korean War and legislations. Are you ready for the 1950s quiz in the next history class? Take up these questions best suited to help you refresh your memory. All the best


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Which of the following was seen as a symbol of worker conformity, while also serving as a white collar workers' uniform in the 1950's?

    • A.

      Pin striped suit

    • B.

      Grey flannel suit

    • C.

      Dockers and sweater

    • D.

      Mini skirt and blouse

    • E.

      Poodle skirt and sweater

    Correct Answer
    B. Grey flannel suit
    Explanation
    In the 1950's, the grey flannel suit was seen as a symbol of worker conformity. It was commonly worn by white collar workers, representing professionalism and conformity to societal norms. The suit was considered a uniform for office workers, emphasizing a conservative and traditional appearance. Its popularity during this time period reflected the desire for conformity and adherence to societal expectations.

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  • 2. 

    What did Jim Crow Laws do?

    • A.

      Made it legal for blacks and whites to sit together in public places and use the same facilities.

    • B.

      Made it illegal for blacks and whites to sit together in public places and use the same facilities

    • C.

      Ended racial discrimination in the work place.

    • D.

      Allowed women to demand equal pay for equal work.

    • E.

      Terminated Native Americans from government assistance.

    Correct Answer
    B. Made it illegal for blacks and whites to sit together in public places and use the same facilities
    Explanation
    The Jim Crow Laws were a series of state and local laws in the United States that enforced racial segregation and discrimination. These laws made it illegal for blacks and whites to sit together in public places and use the same facilities. The laws enforced racial segregation in schools, transportation, housing, and public spaces, perpetuating racial inequality and discrimination.

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  • 3. 

    Which of the following is NOT true about the McCarthy era of the 1950's?

    • A.

      Many actors and actresses were blacklisted for being communist sympathists and lost work for several years.

    • B.

      The pledge of allegiance was changed during the McCarthy years to add the phrase "under god". This was meant to reinforce the values of America. It was also meant as a dig on the communists who were considered atheists/valueless.

    • C.

      McCarthy was responsible for his own demise as the nation tuned in to see him making is reckless charges and bullying witnesses on television.

    • D.

      People working in government were interviewed by the loyalty boards to determine if they were sympathetic to communist causes. The loyalty review boards were very effective and actually found and removed thousands of communists working in the government.

    • E.

      Laws like the Smith Act and McCarran Act were passed making it illegal to be involved with communist organizations at this time.

    Correct Answer
    D. People working in government were interviewed by the loyalty boards to determine if they were sympathetic to communist causes. The loyalty review boards were very effective and actually found and removed thousands of communists working in the government.
    Explanation
    During the McCarthy era of the 1950's, many actors and actresses were indeed blacklisted for being communist sympathists. The pledge of allegiance was also changed to include the phrase "under god" to reinforce American values and criticize the communists. McCarthy's downfall was due to his reckless charges and bullying of witnesses on television. Additionally, laws like the Smith Act and McCarran Act were passed to make involvement with communist organizations illegal. However, the statement that loyalty boards effectively found and removed thousands of communists working in the government is not true. While loyalty boards did interview government employees to determine communist sympathies, their effectiveness in identifying and removing communists was highly debated and controversial.

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  • 4. 

    Which of the following fashions would NOT have been popular in the 1950's?

    • A.

      Short bob hair cut for girls

    • B.

      The duck tail, often with greased hair for boys

    • C.

      Jeans and rolled t-shirt (often w/ cigarettes in the sleeve)

    • D.

      Bell bottoms and peasant tops

    Correct Answer
    D. Bell bottoms and peasant tops
    Explanation
    Bell bottoms and peasant tops would not have been popular in the 1950s because they were popular fashion trends in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the 1950s, fashion trends were more focused on conservative and tailored styles, such as the short bob hair cut for girls and the duck tail hairstyle for boys. Jeans and rolled t-shirts were also popular among teenagers, but the inclusion of cigarettes in the sleeve suggests a rebellious and edgy style that was more characteristic of the 1950s greaser subculture.

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  • 5. 

    Which of the following books was NOT a popular 1950's book?

    • A.

      Catcher in the Rye

    • B.

      Farenheight 451

    • C.

      On the Road

    • D.

      Uncle Tom's Cabin

    • E.

      A Separate Peace

    Correct Answer
    D. Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Explanation
    Uncle Tom's Cabin was not a popular book in the 1950s. It was actually published in 1852 and gained popularity during the abolitionist movement before the Civil War. While it remained an influential book, it was not widely read or considered popular during the 1950s. Catcher in the Rye, Farenheight 451, On the Road, and A Separate Peace were all popular books during the 1950s.

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  • 6. 

    Who claimed he had a list of 205 sate department workers that were communists during a rally in Wheeling, Virginia?

    • A.

      Dwight Eisenhower

    • B.

      Harry Truman

    • C.

      Joseph McCarthy

    • D.

      Douglass MacArthur

    • E.

      Thurgood Marshall

    Correct Answer
    C. Joseph McCarthy
    Explanation
    Joseph McCarthy claimed he had a list of 205 State Department workers that were communists during a rally in Wheeling, Virginia. McCarthy was a U.S. Senator who became notorious for his aggressive pursuit of individuals he accused of being communists or having communist sympathies during the Cold War era. His unsubstantiated claims and tactics, known as McCarthyism, led to widespread fear and the blacklisting of many innocent people in the government, entertainment industry, and other sectors.

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  • 7. 

    Which of the following people is NOT accurately associated?

    • A.

      Alger Hiss- accused spy

    • B.

      Thomas Dewey- presidential candidate that was wrongly declared the loser in the 1948 election.

    • C.

      Douglas MacArthur- Korean War general who would be controversially fired by Truman

    • D.

      Harry Truman- president who integrated the troops and broke a strike of railroad workers after World War II

    • E.

      Dwight Eisenhower- ordered the soldiers to protect the nine black students that were integrating Little Rock's Central High School

    Correct Answer
    B. Thomas Dewey- presidential candidate that was wrongly declared the loser in the 1948 election.
    Explanation
    Thomas Dewey- presidential candidate that was wrongly declared the loser in the 1948 election. This answer is not accurately associated because Thomas Dewey was the candidate who was wrongly declared the loser in the 1948 election. The question asks for the person who is NOT accurately associated, so the correct answer does not fit the criteria.

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  • 8. 

    How did the Korean War end?

    • A.

      Americans won.

    • B.

      Koreans won.

    • C.

      It ended in a stalemate. America restored the dividing line at the 38th parallel.

    • D.

      We went to war with China.

    • E.

      We went to war with Russia.

    Correct Answer
    C. It ended in a stalemate. America restored the dividing line at the 38th parallel.
    Explanation
    The Korean War ended in a stalemate, with neither side achieving a clear victory. As a result, America restored the dividing line at the 38th parallel, which had divided North and South Korea before the war. This decision aimed to maintain the status quo and prevent further conflict between the two sides.

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  • 9. 

    What was the nickname given to the 1946 midterm Congressional campaign that led Republicans to a victory because they campaigned on the frustrations that people were feeling with such a "liberal" philosophy?

    • A.

      I like Ike campaign.

    • B.

      Joe Six Pack Campaign.

    • C.

      "had enough?" campaign

    • D.

      McCarthyism

    • E.

      Contract With America

    Correct Answer
    C. "had enough?" campaign
    Explanation
    The correct answer is "had enough?" campaign. This campaign nickname suggests that people were feeling frustrated with a "liberal" philosophy and were ready for a change. It implies that the campaign focused on tapping into the public's dissatisfaction and promising a different approach.

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  • 10. 

    Which of the following was NOT a pop culture trend of the 1950’s?

    • A.

      A. 3-D movies which may have been played at popular drive in movie theatres

    • B.

      Informal teen “sock hops” which might have featured new dance crazes like the “the hand jive”

    • C.

      Telephone booth stuffing

    • D.

      Wearing flowers in your long hair and peace beads around your neck.

    • E.

      Mysteriously finding the graffiti statement “kilroy was here” in many locations

    Correct Answer
    D. Wearing flowers in your long hair and peace beads around your neck.
    Explanation
    In the 1950s, pop culture trends included 3-D movies at drive-in movie theaters, informal teen "sock hops" with new dance crazes like "the hand jive," telephone booth stuffing, and the graffiti statement "kilroy was here" appearing in various locations. However, wearing flowers in your long hair and peace beads around your neck was not a pop culture trend of the 1950s.

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  • 11. 

    When Fidel Castro ousted Batista in Cuba in 1959,  about 10% of the Cuban population went into exile escaping the communist take over.  Where did a large majority of these Cuban refugees come and settle?

    • A.

      In Florida.

    • B.

      In Texas.

    • C.

      In New York.

    • D.

      In Mexico.

    Correct Answer
    A. In Florida.
    Explanation
    After Fidel Castro took over in Cuba in 1959, around 10% of the Cuban population fled the country to escape communism. The question asks where a large majority of these Cuban refugees settled. The correct answer is Florida. Florida has historically been a popular destination for Cuban immigrants due to its proximity to Cuba and its large Cuban-American community. Many Cuban refugees found refuge in cities like Miami, where they established new lives and contributed to the growth and development of the Cuban-American community in Florida.

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  • 12. 

    The refusal to bury World War II veteran Felix Longoria with an appropriate veteran’s funeral in Texas led to all of the following happening EXCEPT…

    • A.

      The Greensboro sit-ins

    • B.

      Increased Mexican American voter registration

    • C.

      Running and promotion of pro-Mexican candidates in Texas

    Correct Answer
    A. The Greensboro sit-ins
  • 13. 

    Which of the following best explains why Douglas MacArthur was fired during the Korean War?

    • A.

      MacArthur objected to Truman’s integration of the troops and spoke out against it publicly hurting the war effort.

    • B.

      It was discovered by the loyalty boards that MacArthur was a Communist.

    • C.

      MacArthur was fired when Eisenhower took over in 1953 because the war wasn’t going anywhere.

    • D.

      Truman fired him for publicly disagreeing with his war policies and publicly promoting the dropping of another nuclear bomb to end the war though Truman was opposed to that idea.

    Correct Answer
    D. Truman fired him for publicly disagreeing with his war policies and publicly promoting the dropping of another nuclear bomb to end the war though Truman was opposed to that idea.
  • 14. 

    Which of the following is NOT true about the positions taken by the US/Soviets on Germany following World War II?

    • A.

      Stalin wanted to keep Germany divided into the 4 spheres of influence with each of the big four maintaining control of their sphere.

    • B.

      Stalin also wanted to see Germany pay back the Soviet Union for the war damages.

    • C.

      The United States (Truman) wanted more of a united Germany and did not want to cripple Germany with a war debt.

    • D.

      The US wanted to see German divided into a communist and non communist state as East Germany had been much harder hit economically during the war.

    Correct Answer
    D. The US wanted to see German divided into a communist and non communist state as East Germany had been much harder hit economically during the war.
  • 15. 

    Where did many white families begin to move in the 1950's?

    • A.

      The city.

    • B.

      The country.

    • C.

      The suburbs.

    Correct Answer
    C. The suburbs.
    Explanation
    In the 1950s, many white families began to move to the suburbs. This was due to various factors such as the availability of affordable housing, the desire for more space and a quieter lifestyle, and the development of transportation systems that made commuting to work in the city easier. The suburbs offered a change from the crowded and often polluted city environment, and it became a popular choice for families looking for a better quality of life.

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  • 16. 

    _______________ was a document signed by many members of Congress after the Brown vs: Board decision was handed down stating their disagreement with that decision. 

    • A.

      Communist manifesto

    • B.

      Southern Manifesto

    • C.

      Treatise on the Rights of Man

    • D.

      Social Contract

    • E.

      Emancipation Proclamation

    Correct Answer
    B. Southern Manifesto
    Explanation
    The Southern Manifesto was a document signed by many members of Congress after the Brown vs. Board decision was handed down stating their disagreement with that decision. It was a response from Southern politicians who opposed the desegregation of public schools and sought to preserve racial segregation. The manifesto argued that the Supreme Court had overstepped its authority and violated states' rights. It reflected the resistance to racial integration in the South during the Civil Rights Movement.

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  • 17. 

    Which of the following is NOT true about rock n roll in the 1950’s?

    • A.

      A huge scandal erupted when DJ’s were paid to play certain music (Payola scandal)

    • B.

      Alan Freed was the first DJ to use the term

    • C.

      Elvis' hip gyrations were considered obscene by some parents

    • D.

      Rock n Roll helped accentuate the gap between white and black cultures in the 1950’s, as rock and roll was a white man’s music.

    • E.

      Parents didn't necessarily approve of this new music at first as singers often emphasized "teen themes" (of love) and was very different than their own music.

    Correct Answer
    D. Rock n Roll helped accentuate the gap between white and black cultures in the 1950’s, as rock and roll was a white man’s music.
    Explanation
    Rock n Roll did not help accentuate the gap between white and black cultures in the 1950’s, as rock and roll was not exclusively a white man's music. In fact, rock and roll was heavily influenced by African American musicians and was popular among both white and black audiences. The genre played a significant role in breaking down racial barriers and promoting integration during the Civil Rights Movement.

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  • 18. 

    Which of the following were not ‘en vogue’ during the 1950’s?

    • A.

      Hula hooping

    • B.

      Bomb shelters and drills like "duck and cover"

    • C.

      Coon skin hats

    • D.

      Drive in movie theatres

    • E.

      Long hair and beards for men

    Correct Answer
    E. Long hair and beards for men
    Explanation
    During the 1950s, hula hooping, bomb shelters and drills like "duck and cover," coon skin hats, and drive-in movie theaters were all popular trends. However, long hair and beards for men were not considered fashionable during this time period.

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  • 19. 

    The loss/failure of Chiang Kai-shek’s forces in China to Zedong’s communist forces can be largely blamed on…

    • A.

      His weak and corrupt leadership

    • B.

      US aid given to his opposition Zedong, gave the communists an unfair advantage

    • C.

      The US fear and distrust of communism

    • D.

      US lack of interest in the outcome of this war

    • E.

      Douglas MacArthur refused to ever invade China

    Correct Answer
    A. His weak and corrupt leadership
    Explanation
    Chiang Kai-shek's weak and corrupt leadership is the most likely explanation for the loss/failure of his forces to Mao Zedong's communist forces in China. This suggests that Chiang's leadership was ineffective and unable to effectively combat the communist forces. It implies that his leadership was plagued by corruption and lacked the necessary strength and competence to successfully lead his forces in the war against the communists.

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  • 20. 

    Which of the following did NOT result in the emergence of a new teen culture in the 1950’s?

    • A.

      Psychologists began to recognize the teen years as an important developmental phase.

    • B.

      A booming economy allowed this group to stay in school and out of work at this time.

    • C.

      Movies and music as well as other consumer items began to target this group.

    • D.

      Elvis mania, which many parents did not understand, began to further separate the two age groups.

    • E.

      Women working long hours outside of the home leaving this age group with many new responsibilities around the home.

    Correct Answer
    E. Women working long hours outside of the home leaving this age group with many new responsibilities around the home.
    Explanation
    The emergence of a new teen culture in the 1950's was influenced by various factors such as the recognition of the teen years as an important developmental phase by psychologists, a booming economy that allowed teens to stay in school, movies, music, and consumer items targeting this group, and Elvis mania that created a divide between the two age groups. However, women working long hours outside of the home and leaving the teen age group with new responsibilities around the home did not directly contribute to the emergence of a new teen culture.

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  • 21. 

    Which of the following was NOT used by African Americans desiring equality in the period following World War II to 1960?

    • A.

      Calls for widespread violent demonstrations and responses by Blacks to mistreatments.

    • B.

      Nonviolent sit-ins (such as the Greensboro sit-in) in places where segregation was taking place.

    • C.

      Boycotts (such as in Montgomery) to economically hurt racist white businesses

    • D.

      Formation of Civil Rights groups (such as SNCC and SCLC) to organize grass root efforts (freedom rides, marches, etc.)

    • E.

      Groups like the NAACP used the courts as a means to change racist policies. They brought a series of cases demanding equal treatment.

    Correct Answer
    A. Calls for widespread violent demonstrations and responses by Blacks to mistreatments.
    Explanation
    African Americans did not use calls for widespread violent demonstrations and responses to mistreatment as a means to achieve equality in the period following World War II to 1960. Instead, they employed nonviolent tactics such as sit-ins, boycotts, and the formation of civil rights groups to bring about change. Additionally, organizations like the NAACP utilized the courts to challenge discriminatory policies and demand equal treatment.

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  • 22. 

    The _______________ was adopted under Truman and offered education, unemployment benefits, health insurance and economic benefits (in the form of loans to buy homes/start businesses) for Veterans after World War II. 

    • A.

      GI Bill of Rights

    • B.

      Camp David Accords

    • C.

      Great Society

    • D.

      Newer Deal

    Correct Answer
    A. GI Bill of Rights
    Explanation
    The correct answer is the GI Bill of Rights. This legislation was adopted under Truman and provided various benefits for veterans after World War II, including education, unemployment benefits, health insurance, and economic benefits in the form of loans to buy homes or start businesses.

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  • 23. 

    Which of the following is NOT true about the beatnik movement?

    • A.

      Beatnik writers rejected the materialism and conformity of the 1950’s.

    • B.

      Their lyrics/prose vented frustrations often to a jazz beat and no topic was off limits. Some of these major works were even labeled as obscene as sexuality was a common topic.

    • C.

      The beatniks rejected accepted norms of the 1950’s; suburbia, 9 to 5 jobs, clean cut appearance and images.

    • D.

      This “mainstream” movement was championed by many pop culture icons like Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950’s.

    • E.

      Beatniks were tied by disapproving mainstreamers to the Soviets (sputnik reference) as beats were against the conformity that McCarthyism mandated in the 1950’s.

    Correct Answer
    D. This “mainstream” movement was championed by many pop culture icons like Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950’s.
    Explanation
    The statement that is NOT true about the beatnik movement is that it was championed by many pop culture icons like Elvis, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950s. The beatnik movement was actually a counterculture movement that rejected mainstream values and norms, including the popular culture icons of the time. The beatniks sought to challenge and reject the materialism, conformity, and clean-cut appearance of the 1950s, which were embraced by the pop culture icons mentioned.

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  • 24. 

    Which of the following did NOT happen to the family after World War II?

    • A.

      Initially many divorces would take place as families readjusted to returns from war.

    • B.

      Women would return to traditional roles in the home in large numbers after the War.

    • C.

      Families became larger, as a major baby boom took place.

    • D.

      A major housing shortage would take place, until a new housing boom would take place and move many (mostly white) families out of the city and into the newly built suburbs.

    • E.

      Women retained the power and independence they had developed while working during the War. Birth rates dropped as women waited to get married and have children.

    Correct Answer
    E. Women retained the power and independence they had developed while working during the War. Birth rates dropped as women waited to get married and have children.
    Explanation
    After World War II, women did not retain the power and independence they had developed while working during the war. Instead, they returned to traditional roles in the home in large numbers. Additionally, birth rates did not drop as women waited to get married and have children. A major baby boom took place, resulting in families becoming larger.

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  • 25. 

    Which of the following pop culture television shows was NOT popular in the 1950’s?

    • A.

      Bonanza (western)

    • B.

      Ed Sullivan Show

    • C.

      Full House

    • D.

      I Love Lucy

    • E.

      Leave it to Beaver

    Correct Answer
    C. Full House
    Explanation
    Full House was not popular in the 1950s because it premiered in 1987 and ran until 1995. It is a sitcom that revolves around the lives of three men raising three young girls in San Francisco. While it gained popularity in the late 80s and early 90s, it did not exist during the 1950s.

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  • 26. 

    What court case did Brown v. Board of Education overturn?

    • A.

      Roe v. Wade

    • B.

      Texas v. Johnson

    • C.

      Plessy v. Ferguson

    • D.

      Gideon v. Wainwright

    • E.

      Dred Scott v. Sanford

    Correct Answer
    C. Plessy v. Ferguson
    Explanation
    The correct answer is Plessy v. Ferguson. Brown v. Board of Education overturned the "separate but equal" doctrine established by Plessy v. Ferguson, which allowed for racial segregation in public facilities. The Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared that separate educational facilities for black and white students were inherently unequal and violated the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. This landmark case played a significant role in the civil rights movement and marked a major step towards desegregation in the United States.

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  • 27. 

    Communist countries formed a group in 1955 that said that members would come to the aid of other attacked communist nations.  What is the name of this agreement?  

    • A.

      United Nations

    • B.

      NATO

    • C.

      Warsaw Pact

    • D.

      Marshall Plan

    Correct Answer
    C. Warsaw Pact
    Explanation
    The correct answer is Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact was a military alliance formed in 1955 by communist countries, including the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies. It was created as a response to the establishment of NATO by Western countries. The pact stated that if any member of the alliance was attacked, the other members would come to their aid.

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  • 28. 

    Which of the following countries was NOT part of the iron curtain?

    • A.

      Poland

    • B.

      Hungary

    • C.

      Czechoslovakia

    • D.

      Romania

    • E.

      West Germany

    Correct Answer
    E. West Germany
    Explanation
    West Germany was not part of the iron curtain because it was a democratic country and a member of NATO. The iron curtain refers to the division between communist Eastern Europe and the democratic Western Europe during the Cold War. Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Romania were all part of the Eastern Bloc and were under Soviet influence.

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  • 29. 

    What city did Stalin surround and cut off from outside resources in 1949, forcing the US and its allies to use planes to drop supplies to people there on the ground?

    • A.

      Warsaw

    • B.

      Berlin

    • C.

      Praque

    • D.

      Moscow

    • E.

      London

    Correct Answer
    B. Berlin
    Explanation
    In 1949, Stalin surrounded and cut off Berlin from outside resources, forcing the US and its allies to use planes to drop supplies to the people there on the ground. Berlin became a divided city during the Cold War, with the western part controlled by the US, UK, and France, and the eastern part controlled by the Soviet Union. The Soviet blockade of Berlin was an attempt to gain control over the entire city, but it ultimately failed due to the successful airlift operation by the US and its allies.

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  • 30. 

    Which of the following economic changes led to the conformity and “cookie cuttering” of 1950’s society?

    • A.

      Spread of franchises

    • B.

      Development of cheap manufactured housing for the suburbs

    • C.

      Television advertising encouraging you to keep up with the Jones enhanced by planned obsoletism leading consumers to purchase the latest model

    • D.

      Demand for “loyal personnel” and “company people” in white collar/service jobs

    • E.

      All of the above

    Correct Answer
    E. All of the above
  • 31. 

    Which of the following economic adjustments had to be made after World War II?

    • A.

      A housing demand had to be met from the new baby boom.

    • B.

      Price controls imposed during the war would be lifted causing major inflation.

    • C.

      Wages had also been frozen during the war and would not quickly adjust to new costs of living.

    • D.

      A high unemployment rate would initially occur as men returned from war. Formerly white male held positions had been filled during the war with women and minorities. These people would be eased out of these jobs.

    • E.

      All of the above

    Correct Answer
    E. All of the above
    Explanation
    After World War II, several economic adjustments had to be made. Firstly, there was a housing demand that needed to be met due to the new baby boom. Secondly, the price controls that were imposed during the war would be lifted, leading to major inflation. Thirdly, wages had been frozen during the war and would not quickly adjust to the new costs of living. Finally, there would be a high unemployment rate initially as men returned from war, as women and minorities who had filled their positions during the war would be eased out of these jobs. Therefore, all of the above economic adjustments had to be made after World War II.

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  • 32. 

    .______________ were affected by the government’s new “termination policy” which terminated its responsibility to look after this groups well being and tried in many ways to assimilate their culture into the mainstream by relocating them and finding them jobs.

    • A.

      Native Americans

    • B.

      Women

    • C.

      Latinos

    • D.

      Asians

    • E.

      African Americans

    Correct Answer
    A. Native Americans
  • 33. 

    Purposely defying a law to challenge an unjust law is known as ____________. 

    • A.

      Containment

    • B.

      Planned obsolescence

    • C.

      Soul force

    • D.

      Civil disobedience

    • E.

      Freedom ride

    Correct Answer
    D. Civil disobedience
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