Arts Entertainments

The 1950s: a special moment in history

Consequences of World War II

The 1950s were a special time in history. During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies.

At the end of the war, the Stalinization of the Eastern European countries began to separate them creating an atmosphere of anxiety and fear.

These Eastern European countries that had been liberated from Nazi occupation were invaded by the Soviets who installed authoritarian one-party regimes.

Germany itself split in half and its capital, Berlin, split in two, ultimately creating a capitalist West Germany and a communist East Germany.

The influence of communism was widespread and repressive. He controlled and censored the media, took away the orthodox faith of his people, silenced political dissent, and indoctrinated communist ideals in young people.

In 1949, the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong declared the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The spread of communism ushered in the Cold War and a fierce rivalry in which the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies vied for political and military supremacy.

With Athanasas – Korean War Veteran

With Athanasas he is a veteran of the Korean War. He was born in the hilltop town of Mesanagros in 1929 on the island of Rhodes, Greece and was one of those brave soldiers of the Hellenic Infantry Battalion who fought with honor and courage in Korea (1950-953).

In June 1950, the United Nations joined the war with 21 nations (including Australia and Great Britain) siding with South Korea (the United States sent about 90% of the troops to aid South Korea).

With served with the Greek elite “Special Expeditionary Force” (infantry battalion of the Hellenic army) that had just under 900 men called “The Spartan Brigade” under the command of Spartan Lieutenant Colonel Georgios Koumanakos. They were placed under the general command of the US 1st Cavalry Division and later under the general command of the US 3rd Infantry Division.

Con had to face horrors on the battlefields and trenches and eventually saw many of his friends die, others returned to long-term suffering with physical disabilities or, haunted by images of war silently imprinted on your memories and your dreams.

The Greek unit was awarded the US Presidential Unity Citation by President Harry Truman for its courage and bravery, and an American commander commented: “Aside from the British and Australians, no one else was with us as much as the Greeks.”

The Korean War got bogged down in a bloody stalemate and finally ended in July 1953 with the Korean peninsula still divided.

With Athanasas he emigrated to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1955 and in the same year he married Dimitria Manis, another Mesanagros immigrant in the old Greek Orthodox Church of St. George.

Historical timeline of the 1950s

British Commonwealth Queen

Queen Elizabeth II became queen on February 6, 1952 and was crowned on June 2, 1953.

Australian Prime Minister

Robert menzies

First term as Prime Minister 1939-1941

Second term as Prime Minister 1949-1966

American presidents

Harry S. Truman

33rd president


Dwight D. Eisenhower

34th president

1953 – 1961

The fabulous fifties

The 1950s were dominated by healthy family ideals and common decency, where children were raised within the safety of a warm and loving family home.

Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay climbed Mount Everest to be the first to reach its summit on May 29, 1953.

In 1957, the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 was launched into space with the first trained stray dog ​​named Laika. He died in the spaceship.

New fashion trends developed in the 1950s, such as bikinis, pointy shoes, Elvis roll-neck jackets, and stilettos reached new peaks in popularity.

Television replaced radio as the dominant medium of communication. Popular family shows of the decade included I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Superman, Davy Crockett, Lassie, Mickey Mouse Club and Mouseketeers and Walt Disney’s wonderful Disneyland. . with weekly episodes representing: Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and Frontierland.

The childhood heroes were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, and Annie Oakley with her many adventures. Other popular cowboy shows included Bonanza, Rawhide, Cheyenne, Wagon Train, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Rin Tin Tin, to name just a few. And of course there were the western heroes of the movie like John Wayne, James Stewart, Joel McCrea, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott, and Audie Murphy.

Elvis Presley – The King of Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll and Elvis Presley was the epitome of the musical revolution of the 1950s that swept across the world. It had its first number one hit (“Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956), and “Hound Dog” was the best-selling single of the decade.

Other classic vocalists of the decade included Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, and Patty Page, who remained popular throughout and beyond the 1950s.

Life in Adelaide in the 1950s – South Australia

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia is the City of Churches. It was a streetcar city for half a century, with tree-lined suburbs, quarter-acre block houses, and friendly corner stores where people from the suburbs and surrounding streets came to buy their groceries.

Adelaide is also famous for its iconic Hills Hoist, a rotating clothesline developed by WWII veteran Lance Hill in 1945, the dunny (toilet), strategically located at the back of a house or public building and for its magical, John Martin’s Christmas contest. It is celebrated annually on the second Saturday of November.

These were the days when fresh bread and milk were delivered to their doorstep in the wee hours of the morning and blocks of ice for the refrigerator were still delivered to homes in a horse-drawn cart.

People slept outside on the front lawn on warm summer nights and the Salvation Army marching band and choir played and sang their beautiful Christian worship songs and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus on street corners. suburban.

The boys and girls sat on different sides of the classroom and they also had different play areas to play with. Every morning before the start of lessons, all school-age children were given half a pint of milk to drink.

And of course it was a full service at each gas station where the attendant filled up the tank, checked your tires, water and oil, and cleaned your windshield.

Saturday afternoon Matinee

An important tradition growing up in Adelaide in the 1950s was the Saturday afternoon matinee at the local youth picture theater.

The ushers with bright torches led the young people to their seats, the lights were dimmed and everyone stood to respect the National Anthem of God Save the Queen. There were always two pictures, a newscast and a cartoon to enjoy while eating popcorn, Fantals, Jaffas or a Dandy (ice cream), bought before the first picture started and again during the interval.

The Elvis and Tammy films, as well as Tarzan, starring Johnny Weissmuller, were popular during the 1950s. After the interval came cartoons like Heckle and Jeckle, Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety-pie, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn the rooster and little cowboy Yosemite Sam.

The classic films that were screened included High Noon (1952) and The Quiet Man (1952), as well as biblical films such as The Robe (1953), The Ten Commandments (1956) and Ben-Hur (1959).

Bodgies and Widgies – The Age of Rock n Roll

Bodgies and widgies was a youth subculture that existed in Australia and New Zealand during the fabulous 1950s and early 1960s that was similar to the rocker culture in Britain and the greaser culture in the United States.

They were typified by their dress, music, and dance style as seen in the Elvis Presley, James Dean, and Marlon Brando films. Comb the hair back into a strand using Brylcreem and usually with long side burns (Elvis style), large shoulder suit jackets, tight pants, and glow-in-the-dark socks (white and red socks were popular). They also wore white or black T-shirts; wavy-soled suede shoes or pointy shoes, brightly colored roll-necked shirts (black, red, and purple shirts were very popular).

The widgies wore short hair, tight pants and sweaters or three-quarter pants or flared skirts with a string petticoat underneath, as in Happy Days if they went out, socks, and a chiffon scarf around the neck with brightly colored sunglasses.

The milk bars of the 1950s that had jukeboxes were where a young ‘bodgie’ had many more opportunities with the girls.

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