Americans looking to 1950

America looks at the future with a combination of hope and dread.

What About 1950? December 18, 1949 – The Reference Room


Americans looking to 1950
America looks at the future with a combination of hope and dread.

America United: What About 1950? – December 18, 1949 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

1950? America; coming to the end of a turbulent decade in December of 1949. We openly wondered what was in store for us in the new decade? What were we going to be doing? How were we as a nation? What were we up to economically? Had we turned a corner from the dramatic fluctuation of our labor force or was it still high unemployment? And were we still able to provide aid for food and reconstruction in Europe? The cost of food? The cost of living? Was it going to continue going up? Would it stabilize?

America was doing much better than the rest of the world in 1949. But we were still dealing with the aftermath of World War 2. The post-War world was slowly beginning to take shape and the troubling signs of a Cold War were facing us at just about every turn. Would this escalate into a shooting war? And there was always the looming fear of an Atomic attack.

Fearful possibilities for the end of a turbulent decade, but also signs for optimism.

As the year, and the decade were drawing to a close, media was busy posing questions and contemplating what lay ahead. This program, part of the weekly series America United, looked at how America was doing from an economic standpoint – how labor and Agriculture were dealing with the present and how the prospects were for the future.

Moderated by David Brinkley, who was Washington commentator for NBC before his notable nightly presence on television, the panel consisted of members of various labor and agriculture interests, as well as the Chamber of Commerce who offered speculation and opinions as to what we could expect.

Little did anyone know at the time, but by the middle of 1950 a new and exasperating war would break out. In of all places, Korea. But it just goes to show that, what you think you know bears little resemblance to what actually happens – and the future is impossible to predict. It was impossible in 1949, just as much as its impossible in 2016.

As a reminder, here is that episode of America United, first broadcast on December 18, 1949 and the question: What About 1950?

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