For Minnesota's Greatest Generation, the post-war Boom of the late 1940s and 1950s signaled the start of a long-awaited "bright future." Returning servicemen took advantage of the G.I. Bill to get an education or buy a home. The strong economy promised good jobs and a secure future, encouraging many to marry and begin families. Women returned to more traditional roles centered on home and family, and the population explosion known as the "Baby Boom" began.
A severe housing shortage at the end of the war prompted many young families to move to new tracts of modest homes that were springing up on the outskirts of Minnesota cities. New freeways were built to provide the new suburbanites with easy travel to and from their urban jobs.
The Boom created the perfect climate for growing businesses, and witnessed the rise of such Minnesota technology corporations as 3M, Hormel, Medtronic, Sperry Univac, Control Data Corporation, and Cray Research. Minnesota families enjoyed more expendable income and bought into the new consumerism that was sweeping the country, purchasing more luxury items and investing in shiny new appliances that promised more leisure time. Southdale Center and other shopping malls offered many opportunities to spend.
Farm families also enjoyed a higher standard of living. New technology and advances in farming meant that larger farms could be managed more efficiently. Improvements in animal care and seed quality meant higher yields on farm investments.
The optimism that had buoyed Minnesota's Greatest Generation throughout the Great Depression and World War II reached new heights during the post-war Boom.
Minnesota's Greatest Generation Articles
Library Resource Topics
- African American Civil Rights Movement
- Coya Knutson
- Eugene McCarthy
- Heart Pacing
- Rosalie Wahl
- Hubert H. Humphrey
- Sister Elizabeth Kenny
- Southdale Mall
- Walter F. Mondale
Minnesota History Quarterly
- Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey
by Gary W. Reichard
Summer 1998 (Volume 56, number 2, pages 50-67)
- Of Generations and Greatness
by Brian Horrigan
Winter 2006-7 (Volume 60, number 4, pages 148-157)