Table Topics questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"The postwar blues"
- After Depression and war Americans were tired of 15 years of uncertainty and stress. Generations of Americans born since have not experienced anything quite like it. Has this difference affected the views and relations of the generations? If you were born since WWII, have you
experienced war or some kind of extended deprivation or sacrifice? Did it change your behavior or thinking? Is it
something you share with your peers or does it set you apart?
- The transition to a post-war economy was not easy. Business was bad, jobs disappeared, wages fell
and inflation skyrocketed. Millions of workers who had secure, well-paid wartime jobs went on strike to try to preserve their gains.
Do you agree with The Times editorial position that postwar economic recovery was held hostage by labor demands? Did the strikes gain workers anything? What other options did workers have?
What problems did industry face in retooling to produce the goods people wanted, such as cars, beer, building materials and cosmetics?
- Deprivation inspired a yearning for security, setting the stage for an era of stability and consumerism. Yet during the transition period Americans continued to sacrifice with meatless Tuesdays and eggless Thursdays to help feed hungry Europe. Today,
there's some criticism that Americans don't share enough with other countries. Is it justified? Are Americans
less willing to share or weary of doing it? How do we respond when another country experiences disaster?
- When the soldiers came home, marriage and children quickly followed. The resulting explosion caused housing and school shortages, and continues to impact society as the Baby Boom generation ages.
With the first of the Boomers turning 50 this year, what social changes are on the horizon? What are some positive and negative contributions made by Boomers?
Do they get an unfair amount of attention or is it justified by sheer size and influence?
- Seattle became more racially diverse during the war, as seen in the photograph of kids
grouped around Old Woody. They all came together for Times-sponsored pitching competitions using
Old Woody's strike zone.
Is sports still a common ground for people of diverse background? Thelma Dewitty became Seattle's
first African-American teacher in 1945, 50 years before John Stanford became Seattle's first
African-American school superintendent. What other significant color barriers were broken around this time?
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