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From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

History Podcasts

A modern U.S. history podcast about the events that spanned the Baby Boomer generation’s lifespan & that are still relevant to people today, especially to Millennials. Unlike some history podcasts, this podcast follows the national story in a chronological manner, starting in 1946. Most episodes are around a half-hour to 45 minutes in length. Each episode covers one year, possibly going all the way up to the present.

A modern U.S. history podcast about the events that spanned the Baby Boomer generation’s lifespan & that are still relevant to people today, especially to Millennials. Unlike some history podcasts, this podcast follows the national story in a chronological manner, starting in 1946. Most episodes are around a half-hour to 45 minutes in length. Each episode covers one year, possibly going all the way up to the present.


United States


A modern U.S. history podcast about the events that spanned the Baby Boomer generation’s lifespan & that are still relevant to people today, especially to Millennials. Unlike some history podcasts, this podcast follows the national story in a chronological manner, starting in 1946. Most episodes are around a half-hour to 45 minutes in length. Each episode covers one year, possibly going all the way up to the present.








Episode 12 - 1957: The Blessings of the Cold War?

After a brief reflection on troubling recent events in the USA, this episode looks back at a seemingly simpler time - Dwight D. Eisenhower's second term as President. By the late 1950s, Cold War pressures led the US government to build major defense & infrastructure projects, to invest heavily in education & scientific research, & to undertake modest steps in the direction of greater racial equality. The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 was a public works program that created jobs &...


Episode 11 - 1956: Trouble in the Promised Land

The key events of 1956 include a civil rights milestone, a presidential election, & an international crisis. The 1955 lynching of black teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi was just one manifestation of Southern resistance to the challenge to white supremacy posed by desegregation. More organized defenses of Jim Crow also formed, ranging from the plebeian (Ku Klux Klan) to the patrician (White Citizens' Councils; US Senate Southern Manifesto) social sphere. Nevertheless, during 1956,...


Episode 10A - Special: An Anti-Conspiratorial Podcast Update

On Halloween 2020, our show returns from hiatus to preview Season 2 of the podcast, & to discuss the frightening topic of conspiracy theories in world history. We recount the dark history of pandemic-stricken societies seeking to blame alleged conspirators & scapegoats. Far-fetched conspiracy theories have had a wide appeal during troubled times throughout history, despite the fact that they often paint a bleak picture of a world controlled by shadowy elites. Factors such as declining trust...


Episode 10 - 1955: Daily Life for a Boomer Kid

The year 1955 was chock-full of events of economic, social, medical, & cultural importance. Perhaps the year's biggest story was Dr. Jonas Salk's development of a successful vaccine to prevent the terrifying childhood disease known as polio. The economy remained strong, overcoming a scare from Pres. Eisenhower's heart attack. The AFL-CIO merger marked a landmark in labor history. Commercial enterprises like McDonald's debuted that took advantage of the growing car culture. The Baby Boom...


Episode 9C - Special: Living Through History

To help listeners understand the origins of the social unrest of May & June 2020, we created this special supplemental episode that provides historical background & context for turbulent current events. The large turnout & enthusiasm for the current Black Lives Matter protests occurred because of social developments that have been festering for decades: growing police militarization, continuing racial inequities, failing US health care preparation for a pandemic, escalating economic...


Episode 9B - Special: Reform in a Time of Cold War

This week’s episode considers the fate of social reform movements during the Cold War Era, giving an overview of long-term cultural trajectories. The Red Scare of the early Cold War years cast reformers who challenged existing institutions as potential subversives. After World War II, US society valued traditional gender roles; the “happy American housewife” was regarded as freer than the Soviet woman who was required to work. Southern politicians attacked black civil rights activists as...


Episode 9 - 1954: Pulling Strings Around the World

This wide-ranging & globe-trotting episode begins with a brief look at the successful 1953 expedition to summit Mount Everest, then pivots to some less inspiring international intrigue, as Cold War fears led the USA to meddle in the internal politics of Iran, Guatemala, & Vietnam, among other nations. John Foster Dulles's leadership of the State Department & his brother Allen Dulles's direction of the Central Intelligence Agency pushed forward a newly aggressive approach in US foreign...


Episode 9A - 1954: The Defeat & Legacy of the Bricker Amendment

Throughout US history, many Americans have been reluctant to get involved in international affairs, hoping to avoid the wars & problems of the Old World. After the Pearl Harbor attacks brought the USA into World War II, the isolationist mentality quickly changed, & the Americans co-founded & joined the United Nations to preserve world peace after the war. But isolationist sentiments soon re-emerged in the form of suspicion of the UN, particularly among Midwestern politicians like Ohio...


Episode 8 - 1953: Chipping Away at Jim Crow

In '53, the new US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, managed to reach his goal of resolving the Korean War, thanks in part to a leadership change in the Soviet Union. However, with both superpowers successfully testing massively destructive hydrogen bombs, the Cold War still presented serious dangers. Meanwhile, Ike's own Republican Party was soon creating headaches for him in Congress. Sen. Joseph McCarthy insisted on continuing his accusations against federal employees in the Eisenhower...


Episode 8A - 1953: Exit Stalin, Enter Khrushchev

In March 1953, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died of a stroke after several decades as the dominant figure in the USSR. American leaders, who had struggled to negotiate with the paranoid & merciless Stalin, responded by becoming hopeful but apprehensive, given the now-uncertain future of their chief Cold War opponent. Stalin's demise led rival high-ranking officials within the communist state to engage in a competition for leadership of the Soviet government. These figures included the bland...


Episode 7 - 1952: The End of the Truman Show & the Rise of Eisenhower

President Harry Truman couldn't seem to catch a break during his final year in office. His attempts to bring an end to the Korean War were going nowhere, and his government was embarrassed by corruption scandals that hurt his administration's image. Truman didn't improve matters when he took drastic measures to break up a steel strike that threatened the war effort. He took the constitutionally dubious approach of having the federal government temporarily take over the steel factories. A...


Episode 4A - 1949: Sayyid Qutb's Bad Trip

In the late 1940s, a middle-aged Egyptian writer & civil servant named Sayyid Qutb went to study in the United States. He had recently established himself as a critic of the Egyptian government, & was traveling abroad in part to escape a potential crackdown on political dissidents by Egypt's monarchy. However, Qutb soon found that he loathed American society even more than he disliked the Egyptian status quo. He found New York, Washington DC, & California to be dens of iniquity. He even...


Episode 6 - 1951: Firing a Caesar

The Korean War reached a key turning point when President Harry Truman removed General Douglas MacArthur as the conflict's top strategic commander. MacArthur provoked the decision with his statements and actions that undermined the Truman Administration's military policies. Nevertheless, the American public was outraged that an unpopular small-town politician like Truman could end the career of a revered war hero like MacArthur. Congress considered impeachment for a time, but it backed down...


Episode 5A - Special: Thoughts on "OK Boomer" & the Late 1940s

This episode investigates the intergenerational argument over the phrase "OK Boomer" that has been spreading on social media during late 2019. Is it a well-justified Millennial pushback against bossy, out-of-touch Boomers? Or is it just an excuse for younger generations to be dismissive of older people? We examine the evidence & reach a nuanced verdict. Then, we map out a whirlwind overview of the period between 1946 & 1950, including such topics as: the rise of the imperial presidency; the...


Episode 5 - 1950: Plunging Back Into War

Cold War tensions finally boiled over into a heated military conflict during the Summer of 1950, when Soviet-allied North Korea invaded US-allied South Korea. In response, President Truman called General Douglas MacArthur away from his role administering the American occupation of Japan in order to fight the Communists on the Korean Peninsula. MacArthur's bold military strategies allowed the Americans to recapture South Korea for capitalism, but the general underestimated the danger of...


Episode 1A - 1946: The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials

This supplemental episode examines the post-World War II trials in Nuremberg, Germany, during 1946, where US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson led the prosecution against prominent Nazi leaders such as Hermann Goering & Albert Speer. Some of the USA’s WWII allies had recommended executing or imprisoning these infamous figures without trial, but the Americans believed that it was important for them to get a fair trial that would publicly prove their guilt & expose their crimes. Dozens...


Episode 4 – 1949: The Curse of the Cold War

In 1949, a re-elected Pres. Harry Truman attempted to push through a Fair Deal of domestic reforms, but with little success. Instead, the US government’s attention fixated upon the “Red” threat after a Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War & the Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb. As a charter member of the new NATO military alliance, the United States committed itself to counter these red gains by crushing Communist influences, both at home & abroad. This show profiles some of the...


Episode 3A - Special: Suburbanization Supplemental & Podcast Update

The late 1940s witnessed the birth of modern suburbia, as economic prosperity & declining inequality combined with newly-generous lending policies allowing millions of Americans to own their own homes for the first time in their lives. American families in an ascendant middle class could now afford cars, which began to transform the residential & commercial landscape of the nation. So-called "white ethnic" immigrant groups experienced more acceptance & assimilation in the suburbs, but...


Episode 3 - 1948: From Accidental President to True Man of the People

In this overview of the key events of 1948, we take a closer look at the unlikely presidency of Harry S Truman. Presidential challengers Republican Thomas Dewey, Progressive Henry Wallace, & Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond collectively wanted to know, "do we defeat Truman?" in the '48 presidential election. Meanwhile, Americans successfully faced down the most serious challenge of the Cold War so far, overcoming a Soviet blockade of Western forces with a massive airlift of supplies into West...


Episode 2 - 1947: Scaring the Hell Out of the American People

Tensions between the US & USSR had been building even during their awkward wartime alliance, but it was in 1947 that the Cold War became a staple feature of the post-WWII American political & diplomatic scene. This episode indulges in a very brief & oversimplified history of the Soviet Union, and then explores what caused the souring of US-Soviet relations and describes the governmental maneuvers that followed (including the founding of the CIA & NSC, passage of the Truman Doctrine's...