How and why did American popular culture influence Australian Society in the 1950s and 1960s?
To what extent did Australia develop its own responses to these influences?
After WWII followed a period of peace, which allowed for the development of what has come to be known as 'popular culture'. During the 1950's and 1960's especially, popular culture appealed to the younger generations, and in response to being targeted by this new way of living, the 'teenager' emerged as a defined social group. Popular culture encompassed many areas of recreational life. There were many changes in musical interests and tastes, with huge groups such as the Beatles and the Beach boys dominating the industry. Major advances in technology allowed for the advents of film and television to be brought to the masses. These advances in technology made one-way communication on a worldwide scale a reality, and therefore opened up a gate through which influences on popular culture from other countries could travel.
WWII changed many of the ideas that Australians had about their standing in the world. Britain being our "Mother Country , and the vast majority of those living in Australia being British, or of British descent, we were very closely linked to Britain, and our allegiance felt towards Britain was very strong. In WWI, we had provided Britain with much needed military support, only to have our soldiers slaughtered in the Gallipoli campaign. When WWII occurred, the battle was much closer to home, and we found ourselves being bombed. Britain was also being directly attacked, and we realized that defending Australia was not on Britain's priority list. We were less than 7 million people, defending almost 3 million square miles, and we needed a superpower to help aid us in defence. We developed an alliance with America, and so we had someone to help defend us.
After the war, this newfound friendship opened the way for much communication with A