This article was originally published in Psychology Today.
Growing up in the 1970s, there was a massive collective outpouring of nostalgia for the 1950s. The musical Grease debuted, followed by the movie American Graffiti, which spawned the TV show Happy Days. My high school held a 1950s-themed dance nearly every year. And these were just a few of the cultural developments reflecting the national obsession of yearning for the 1950s.
What Caused the 1970s Nostalgia for the 1950s?
Fear. From the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, the United States was home to assassinations of public figures, student protests, race riots, inflation, falling stock market, recession, unemployment, rising gasoline prices, involvement in the Vietnam War, and the threat of nuclear attack. Confusion, turmoil, and uncertainty ruled the day, all of which led to people wishing for a return to a time of tranquility.