The 1950s was a period of immense change and development in the United States, with significant advancements in science, technology, and culture. It was also a time of political tension, as the country grappled with the Cold War and civil rights movements.
Test your knowledge of this pivotal decade with these ten tricky multiple-choice questions on 1950s US history. Best of luck!
- Who was the President of the United States during the 1950s?
The correct answer is Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- Lyndon B. Johnson
- Harry S. Truman
- John F. Kennedy
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
- What was the name of the first artificial satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957?
The correct answer is Sputnik 1.
- Vostok 1
- Luna 1
- Explorer 1
- Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite to be launched into space, marking the start of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
- Which popular fast-food restaurant chain was founded in 1955 by Ray Kroc?
The correct answer is McDonald’s.
- Burger King
Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955, and the company has since grown into one of the world’s largest fast-food chains.
- Which U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in 1954?
The correct answer is Brown v. Board of Education.
- Brown v. Board of Education
- Roe v. Wade
- Plessy v. Ferguson
- Miranda v. Arizona
Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.
- What was the name of the popular television sitcom that aired from 1951 to 1957, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz?
The correct answer is I Love Lucy.
- The Dick Van Dyke Show
- I Love Lucy
- Leave It to Beaver
- The Honeymooners
I Love Lucy was a popular television sitcom that starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, a married couple living in New York City.
- What was the name of the U.S. policy that sought to prevent the spread of communism during the 1950s?
The correct answer is Containment.
Containment was a U.S. policy aimed at preventing the spread of communism during the Cold War by providing economic and military aid to countries threatened by communism and using military force if necessary.
- Which U.S. Senator led a series of investigations into alleged communist infiltration of the U.S. government during the 1950s?
The correct answer is Joseph McCarthy.
- Lyndon B. Johnson
- John F. Kennedy
- Joseph McCarthy
- Richard Nixon
Senator Joseph McCarthy led a series of investigations into alleged communist infiltration of the U.S. government, which came to be known as McCarthyism.
- What was the name of the music style that emerged in the 1950s, characterized by a blend of rhythm and blues and country music?
The correct answer is Rock and Roll.
- Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll emerged in the 1950s as a new music style that combined elements of rhythm and blues and country music, and became popular among teenagers.
- Which U.S. state was admitted to the Union as the 49th state in 1959?
The correct answer is Alaska.
- New Mexico
Alaska was admitted to the Union as the 49th state on January 3, 1959.
- In 1950, which country invaded South Korea, leading to the start of the Korean War?
The correct answer is North Korea.
- Soviet Union
- North Korea
North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, leading to the start of the Korean War, which lasted until 1953.
- Which popular toy was introduced by Wham-O in 1958?
The correct answer is Hula Hoop.
- Etch A Sketch
- Hula Hoop
The Hula Hoop was introduced by Wham-O in 1958 and quickly became a popular toy and fad among children and adults.
- What was the name of the U.S. civil rights organization founded in 1957 by Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders?
The correct answer is Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
- Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
The SCLC was founded in 1957 by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders to coordinate local efforts to end segregation and achieve equal rights for African Americans.
- Which 1950s television show featured a young Elvis Presley performing live for the first time?
The correct answer is The Ed Sullivan Show.
- The Ed Sullivan Show
- The Steve Allen Show
- American Bandstand
- The Tonight Show
Elvis Presley made his first live television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, which helped launch his career as a rock and roll star.
- What was the name of the U.S. government program that provided financial aid to European countries after World War II?
The correct answer is Marshall Plan.
- Truman Doctrine
- Marshall Plan
- Eisenhower Doctrine
The Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, provided financial aid to European countries to help them rebuild after World War II and prevent the spread of communism.
- Which 1950s fashion trend involved wearing full skirts with layers of petticoats?
The correct answer is Poodle skirts.
- Pencil skirts
- Poodle skirts
- Maxi skirts
- A-line skirts
Poodle skirts were a popular fashion trend in the 1950s, characterized by full skirts with layers of petticoats and often featuring a poodle appliqué.