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What Is the Silent Generation?

Born between 1923 and the 1940s in the United States of America, the Silent Generation experienced vast cultural shifts. This is a relatively small generation as few people were born during this period which is between the two world wars and during the First World War. The Silent Generation is marked by people with conflicting ideas, morals and desires, some are even children of men who committed suicide during the financial crisis of 1929. Some of them have claimed that they are the least understood 20th century generation.

Surprisingly, the term ‘silent’ is not really a worthy description of some of them, as their discontent caused them to speak out. Most social agitators or people involved in and who led the civil rights movement and the women’s liberation and feminist movements were a part of the Silent Generation. There were many writers and artists born in the Silent Generation who would later change the American arts. Notable names are Martin Luther King, Gloria Steinem, and the Beat Poets.

Few people were born in this generation probably due to both the global and financial insecurity of that time and the Great Depression (1929 – 1939). However, as they grew up, their relative fewness allowed them to take advantage of new economic opportunities due to reduced competition. They laid the groundwork to harness the 20th century’s scientific and technological progress. The Silent Generation brokered peace with Germany and Japan against the chaos left by the Second World War. However, they faced the Cold War against Russia.

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