Relationship Between WW2 and the Creation of a “White,” Suburban, Conservative Movement
After the war, conservative parties became the standard-bearers of frustrated nationalism in Germany as well as in Italy and other former Allied countries. In a process that began in the 1930s and intensified during World War II, conservative parties across central and eastern Europe were destroyed or co-opted by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany.
Change did not come without cost, unfortunately, and one of those costs was white backlash because of the erosion of the privilege they had come to view as their right. The historical scholarship of the past 22 years has shown that this backlash took many different forms, but one thread can be seen throughout: white Americans’ resistance to a changing racial reality seldom was immediate, often was veiled in non-racialized language, and always had justifications that had little to do with race. In general, white backlash stemmed from resistance to an integrative racial order that attempted, at least in spirit, to dissipate white privilege and create a pluralistic and color-blind society. Over the past generation, scholars have investigated white backlash against the civil rights movement. To study the evolution of the scholarship on the topic of white backlash against the civil rights movement, and its effects on the conservative resurgence at the end of the 1970s, eight books will be reviewed here: Lisa McGirr’s Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the American Right, Mark Brilliant’s The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941–1978, Jefferson Cowie’s Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, Kevin Kruse’s White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, Matthew Lassiter’s The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South, Ronald Formisano’s Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s, Thomas Sugrue’s The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, and Walter Greason’s Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey.
But it also requires thinking anew about how ideas about the economy are connected to those about sexual roles and racial hierarchies.
Bruce Caldwell, ed., The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek (19 vols., Chicago, 1988–), II, 211–12.
MacLean, “Neo-Confederacy versus the New Deal”; Lowndes, From the New Deal to the New Right, 68.