Question 1 (Document-Based Question): 55 minutes Suggested Reading period: 15 minutes Suggested writing period: 40 minutes Directions

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Question 1 (Document-Based Question): 55 minutes

Suggested Reading period: 15 minutes

Suggested writing period: 40 minutes

Directions: Question 1 is based on the accompanying documents. The documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise. You are advised to spend 15 minutes reading and planning and 45 minutes writing your answer.
Write your responses on the lined pages that follow the question.
In your response you should do the following:

• State a relevant thesis that directly addresses all parts of the question.

• Support the thesis or a relevant argument with evidence from all, or all but one, of the documents.

• Incorporate analysis of all, or all but one, of the documents into your argument.

• Focus your analysis of each document on at least one of the following: intended audience, purpose, historical context, and/or point of view.

• Support your argument with analysis of historical examples outside the documents

• Connect historical phenomena relevant to your argument to broader events or processes.

• Synthesize the elements above into a persuasive essay that extends your argument, connects it to a different historical context, or accounts for contradictory evidence on the topic.

1. Explain how World War II and early Cold War’s technological advancements affected the U.S. economy between 1930s to 1960s.

Document 1
Source: Lebergott, US Families with Electricity and Appliances, 1993


Document 2

Source: Family watching TV in the 1950s, Filmmaker Magazine, 2013


Document 3

Source: American Chemical Society International Historic Chemical Landmarks,Discovery and Development of Penicillin, 1999

Penicillin, WWII and Commercial Production:

The increasingly obvious value of penicillin in the war effort led the War Production Board (WPB) in 1943 to take responsibility for increased production of the drug. The WPB investigated more than 175 companies before selecting 21 to participate in a penicillin program under the direction of Albert Elder; in addition to Lederle, Merck, Pfizer and Squibb, Abbott Laboratories (which had also been among the major producers of clinical supplies of penicillin to mid-1943) was one of the first companies to begin large-scale production. These firms received top priority on construction materials and other supplies necessary to meet the production goals. The WPB controlled the disposition of all of the penicillin produced.

Document 4

Source: Nevin Power B.A., Shaping the Future: Economy, Design, Society and the US Military in the 1950s, October 2010

Military technology was flaunted as being desirable because ultimately the technology would trickle down to consumer goods. The influence the military had on society had many implications. It contributed to the economy relying on the development of both military and consumer products for growth; it domesticated the Cold War through the promotion of military technology and design as a means by which to make consumer products more advanced while through Civil Defense and the atomic bomb, it brought about a more conformed society in which the principles the US wished to spread worldwide, became strained.

Document 5

Source: Michael Harrington, The Other America, 1962

There is a familiar America. It is celebrated in speeches and advertised on television and in the magazines. It has the highest mass standard of living the world has ever known.

In the 1950s this America worried about itself, yet even its anxieties were products of abundance. The title of a brilliant book was widely misinterpreted, and the familiar America began to call itself the affluent society. There was introspection about Madison Avenue and tail fins; there was discussion of the emotional suffering taking place in the suburbs. In all this, there was an implicit assumption that the basic grinding economic problems had been solved in the United States. In this theory the nation’s problems were no longer a matter of basic human needs, of food, shelter, and clothing. Now they were seen as qualitative, a question of learning to live decently amid luxury.

While this discussion was carried on, there existed another America. In it dwelt somewhere between 40,000,000 and 50,000,000 citizens of this land. They were poor. They still are.

Document 6

The generation of new knowledge vital to technological change could be nurtured best in an environment that supported the free-market of ideas, with or without recognized commercial application. The seemingly impossible invention of the atomic bomb, the development of jet engines, and other innovations reinforced the notion that basic research would drive new and unforeseen revolutions in products and manufacturing processes. The emergence of the Cold War and the subsequent race for technological superiority made any other model obsolete. America simply could not afford to leave basic research to the private sector. In 1950, over a dozen federal agencies funneled over $150 million to a select group of universities for contract research. Some 13 institutions garnered over 85 percent of the federal research contracts, and creating the semblance of a network of national research universities that has remained dominant in securing federal research funds.

Document 7

Source: Quote from President Franklin Roosevelt to Congress, 1937
“Powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced,” President Franklin Roosevelt told Congress and his countrymen less than a month after Pearl Harbor. “It is not enough to turn out just a few more planes, a few more tanks, a few more guns, a few more ships than can be turned out by our enemies,” he said. “We must out-produce them overwhelmingly, so that there can be no question of our ability to provide a crushing superiority of equipment in any theatre of the world war.”


DBQ Notes

Prompt: Explain how World War II and early Cold War era technological advancements affected the U.S. economy between 1930s to 1960s.


Possible thesis statements could include the following:

• Arguments about how the 2nd World War and Cold War sparked the production of many goods.

• The growth of affluent americans, luxury, and consumerism.

• The Economy experienced a positive boom as domestic demand for electrical appliances grew.
Analysis of Documents

As explained in the scoring notes, to earn full credit for analyzing documents, responses must include at least one of the following for all or all but one of the documents: intended audience, purpose, historical context, author’s point of view.Although examples of these elements are listed below, these examples of analysis must explicitly be used in support of a stated thesis or a relevant argument.

Document 1

Source: Lebergott, US Families with Electricity and Appliances, 1993

• Intended Audience: Suburban White families

• Purpose: Show increase in domestic ownership of newly created technology, demonstrate that as the United States grew deeper into the Cold War technology became increasingly available within the U.S.

• Historical Context: Shift from the era of the Great Depression into the prosperous post World War 2 era. People didn't have money to purchase luxury items during the Great Depression, however consumer after World War 2 had more purchasing power which allowed for more goods to be purchased.

• The author’s point of view: Stanley Lebergott is a prominent American government economist with knowledge of the American economy. His prior works are pro consumerism and the positive effects it has on the economy.

Document 2

Source: Family watching TV in the 1950s, Filmmaker Magazine, 2013

• Intended Audience: General Public, Suburban families

• Purpose: To display early example of television as a popular recreational technology in domestic households.

• Historical Context: During the growth of consumerism during the 1950s which also showed America’s tendency towards conformity.

• The author’s point of view: The magazine content revolves around film. The publisher’s content reflects the influence of television upon the American public since the early creation of television.

Document 3

Source: American Chemical Society International Historic Chemical Landmarks, Discovery and Development of Penicillin, 1999

• Intended Audience: General Public, Financial Historians, Medical Experts and/or Medical Historians.

• Purpose: To demonstrate the important value that American medical companies and government organizations placed on newly developed medicine such as penicillin

• Historical Context: Penicillin remained a medicinal staple in both military and civilian systems and became one of the most commonly used medical drugs of the 20th century.

• The author’s point of view: The article, from the American Chemical Society, expressed a proponent view towards the development of penicillin, stating the benefits that followed from the widespread use of the new drug.
Document 4

Source: Nevin Power B.A., Shaping the Future: Economy, Design, Society and the US Military in the 1950s, October 2010

• Intended Audience: American Public, and Military Historians.

• Purpose: To describe the link between 20th century military technological advancement and the following entrance into a civilian version.

• Historical Context: The Cold War saw a shift from the military goods being produced for war efforts into consumer goods that benefited the economy.

• The author’s point of view: The Author is critical of the American belief of “trickle down military technology” and the forced conformity it brought upon society.
Document 5

Source: Michael Harrington, The Other America , 1962

• Intended Audience: General Public, Wealthy Americans, Suburban families

• Purpose: To raise awareness of the millions of Americans still struggling in poverty even during a time when the nation was experiencing mass consumerism and economic growth.

• Historical Context: There was a growth of mass consumerism as much of the American population shifted from the cities to the Sun Belt states and suburban life. Around that time, about 30 million Americans were in poverty, particularly minorities such as Latinos, Native Americans, and Black Americans.

• The author’s point of view: Michael Harrington is a Democratic Socialist so he believes that the economy should run for the welfare of the people and would naturally want to improve the lives of impoverished Americans especially since only a fraction of the population was experiencing a significant growth in wealth.

Document 6


• Intended Audience: General Public, Researchers, Americans, Scholars

• Purpose: To spread the idea that WW2 and the Cold War created a demand for education and technological superiority over other world powers.

• Historical Context: After World War 2 and the Cold War, many new technological advancements emerged and contributed to government funding for education and research facilities.

• The author’s point of view: Douglass seems like a very progressive individual focused on the liberal idea of government funding for research and public institutions.
Document 7

Source: Quote from President Franklin Roosevelt to Congress, 1937

• Intended Audience: American public, educated Americans in science and technology professions

• Purpose: To garner public support and funding for military industrial growth, justification for increased spending in defense and education.

• Historical Context: The United States was in a technological development competition with the Soviet Union and Axis powers. The two nations were in competition for producing nuclear weapons to space technology.

• The author’s point of view: The United States President during wartime would do what is in the best interest for American security and prosperity.

Analysis of outside examples to support thesis/argument

Possible examples of information not found in the documents that could be used to support the stated thesis or a relevant argument could include the following:

• President Nixon and Khrushchev “Kitchen Debate” showcased each countries pursuit of a superior technological stance.

• Medicine such as antibiotics and Salk Vaccine

• National Defense Education Act

• Creation of NASA

• Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard

• Soviet Hydrogen Bomb development 1952

• Sputnik I & II

• Space Race

• Brinkmanship Policy-Eisenhower

• Creation of Department of Defense

• Creation of Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA)

• “Cookie Cutter” homes

Manhattan Project

• FDR’s National Defense Research Committee

• President Franklin Roosevelt’s Polio

• U-2 Spy Plane

• Polio Vaccine- Jonas Salk

• “Keeping up with the Joneses”

• antibiotics

• War Production Board

• flamethrowers, tanks


Students can earn a point for contextualization by accurately and explicitly connecting historical phenomena relevant to the argument to broader historical events and/or processes. These historical phenomena may include,but are not limited to, the following:

• Cold War - America and Russia competing for the best image.

• Rise of American domestic consumer culture throughout civilian society.

• WW2- growth of suburbs and tract housing and movement towards Sun Belt States along with the Baby Boom which contributed to an increase in population.

• Post-WWII migration of ethnicities northward as a part of Industrial growth.

• WW2- increased military development and war technology

• Cold War- Red Scare, HUAC, and conformism through fears of communism.

• American scientific advancements in the medical, astronomical, and chemical fields with the creations of NASA, Antibiotics and Vaccines, and pesticides like DDT from the 1940s and onwards.

Essays can earn the point for synthesis by crafting a persuasive and coherent essay. This can be accomplished providing a conclusion that extends or modifies the analysis in the essay, by using disparate and sometimes contradictory evidence from primary and/or secondary sources to craft a coherent argument, or by connecting to another historical period or context. Examples could include, but are not limited to, the following:

• During the Great Depression, people saved money, so by the time World War II ended, many Americans had saved funds that they then spent on new consumer goods such as new suburban homes and televisions.

• Although technological advance brought the economy up for many, it did not do so for all. This can be seen with Michael Harrington’s book “ The Other America”.

• The prosperous times seen from the 1940’s to 1960’s draws parallels to the roaring 20’s where consumerism was at an all time high.

• As new technology spread throughout American older technologies such as the radio became less popular.

Sample DBQ
The mid-twentieth century, from the beginning of the Second World War to the late 1960s, was accompanied by major technological advancements as nations competed both with the war and outside conflict. Tensions sparked between America and the Soviet Union after the end of World War II as a result of conflicting ideals between the two superpowers. With the emergence of new Communist influence throughout regions in Europe and Asia, America embarked on an anti-Communist campaign with a specific focus on maintaining superiority in all sectors, including technology. This fostered a massive boom in technological advancement throughout American society. The American economy experienced increased spendings, from both government and consumers, towards the increase of technological advancements of military weapons, consumer technologies, and medicinal products.
America’s economic focuses clearly shifted towards technological improvements within the military. During the early stages of World War II, there had been an increased demand within the war industry. Nuclear arms and advanced military aircraft and weapons experienced massive development throughout the conflict. There was an increased demand for weaponry such as tanks and flamethrowers. These weapons were heavily used during World War II and thus resulted in an increased demand for such products from the war industry. President Roosevelt issued the Manhattan Project, which funded research and development towards creating a nuclear bomb. The devastation of the atomic bomb were demonstrated during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt, in his pre-war address to Congress, expressed the need for the nation to improve technologies industries as well as out-produce their enemies (Doc 7). Roosevelt’s concerns about war production were expressed in his authorization of the creation of the National Defense Research Committee. His committee supported research and development of new military technology such as sonar and the atomic bomb. The increased funding from loans, war bonds, and the government, provided the military industry a great source of income. In addition, in response for meeting consumer demands, new work opportunities were available to Americans in war industries. Soon after World War II, another world conflict, the Cold War, arose that sparked further stimulation in the U.S technological industry. Tensions began to rise with the USSR’s launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik. America feared that the Soviet Union would take the lead, and was pushed to put more funds into schools and research to promote scientific progress. This increased interest in scientific technology lead to the creation of organizations such as NASA. In 1950, $150 million was granted to research universities from federal agencies due to the technological race during the Cold War (Doc 6). Encouragement in the scientific field resulted in the rapid development of military technology. Nevin Power, a PhD student focusing on Cold War studies, detailed how there was a common belief that investment in military technological development would trickle down into similar evolution in civilian technology (Doc 4). Even military technology, in a post war society, could possibly create useful technologies beneficial to the general populace. For example advancements in aviation, such as the creation of the U-2 spy plane, can be applied for civilian use. Technological advancements in aircraft can be utilized to improve commercial airline planes. Multiple international military conflicts had drastic impacts upon American economic focuses, resulting in a increased demand and advancement of military technologies. However, American consumer culture will also become affected by technological progress of the Cold War.
The evolution of technology throughout the Cold War era accompanied and promoted the rise and growth of widespread domestic consumer culture among the American public. American government economist, Stanley Lebergott, published a chart documenting the ascending percentages of American family ownership of new electric appliances, such as washing machines and vacuums, from the 1920s to 1950s (Doc 1). Over time, more technology became increasingly available and popular, especially among suburban middle-class families who constituted a sizable amount of the domestic economy. During the Cold War, families moved into “cookie cutter” houses in the suburbs and took part in increasingly conformist social norms. A commonly implemented aspect of conformity included the practice of owning popular technologies that one’s neighbors owned. The phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” was coined during the time period, reflecting the consumer competition that occurred between Americans. One family owning a television meant everyone around them needed one. The importance and the need that most Americans felt towards ownership of consumer technologies, like televisions, were depicted within everyday family life (Doc 2). The creation of new technologies such as televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines, quickly found a permanent spot within the lives of many Americans. As many as 55 million Americans, by the 1950s, were owners of newly purchased televisions, demonstrating the extent of American spending that was focused in technological industries. Older technologies of the 1900s, such as the radio, began to become less popular in American culture as the desire for the visuals of television became more popular. A novel from the time period, The Other America, expressed the shift in American consumerism from a desire for necessities to luxuries (Doc 5). It was evident that American society had shifted towards focusing much efforts towards purchasing newly developed technologies. Items were seen from a qualitative perspective and many new domestic technologies fulfilled the desires of many American consumers. Despite the illusion of nationwide prosperity, Harrington also alludes to an underlying poor population of Americans that were not participating in the buying of new luxury technologies (Doc 5). Harrington’s evaluation of the new consumer society draws parallels to the Lost Generation that was ultimately unhappy despite the prosperity of many Americans during the 1920s. New consumer technologies within American witnessed great popularity amongst society. Americans demand for consumer technologies underwent a great increase, but medical products also experienced a similar trend.
During the years of World War II, increased efforts were made by the U.S government towards funding of new medical products. Desires to cure fatal diseases and treat battlefield injuries led to increased interest in advancing the evolution and effectiveness of medicinal products. The War Production Board took an increased interest in the development and production of new drugs such as penicillin, investing in over 175 medical suppliers in 1943 (Doc 3). There was a great focus towards the health of Americans both at home and overseas at war. With the development of new antibiotics, soldiers across Europe and Asia could have an increased chance of survival while combating diseases from conditions that they faced in foreign land. Curing deadly diseases such as Polio became a priority of the American government and scientists. The government, as evident with the production of penicillin, increased funding towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of medical technology for Americans. In addition to penicillin, drugs such as the Polio Vaccine were developed. The developer of the vaccine, Jonas Salk, received a Gold Medal from President Eisenhower, showing that importance of the vaccine to the American government. This was reflective of the increase in money and resources that were dedicated towards the advancements of the medical industry. With motives for eradicating certain diseases and improving medical health of Americans, the medical industry underwent significant development with the increased financial backing of the American government.
The prosperous times seen from the 1940’s to 1960’s were greatly influenced by shifts in the technological world of the era. New technologies shaped social norms and culture, and was the primary agent of the American economic attitude throughout following decades. Continued advances in technology shaped foreign policy, especially when economically motivated as seen by the races for natural resources to power the growing technological and industrial demands of nations, and played a major role in the rise of globalization by allowing faster communication and transport. The focus on consistent upgrading of military technological infrastructure remained a staple of domestic defense policy, and the conformism created by technological availability that began after WWII continued throughout the late 20th century and subsisted after the Cold War ended forming the modern consumer society in America.

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