After WWII the US became the world's richest country. The U.S. Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations, which marked a turn away from the traditional isolationism of the United States and toward increased international involvement. In 1949, the United States formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.
The G.I. Bill, passed before the end of the war to ease servicemen back into civilian life. It provided benefits like guaranteed home loans and financial aid for training and education.
Growth of the Automobile Industry
The automobile industry successfully converted back to producing cars, and new industries such as aviation and electronics grew by leaps and bounds. The number of automobiles produced annually quadrupled between 1946 and 1955.
New highways created better access to the suburbs. The Highway Act of 1956 provided $26 thousand-million, to build more than 64,000 kilometers of federal roads to link together all parts of the country.
The Housing Boom
Americans moved out of inner cities into new suburbs, where they hoped to find affordable housing for the larger families. A housing boom, stimulated in part by easily affordable mortgages for returning members of the military, added to the expansion. Businesses and shops moved out to support the growth of the suburbs.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The period from 1946 to 1960 also witnessed a significant increase in the paid leisure time of workers. The 40-hour workweek set by the Fair Labor Standards Act became the actual schedule in most workplaces by 1960. The majority of workers also enjoyed paid vacations and industries catering to leisure activities blossomed.