Silent Generation


1900 - 1940

in this generation

a short summary of this generation

There are several theories as to where the label Silent Generation originated. The children who grew up during this time worked very hard and kept quiet. It was commonly understood that 'children should be seen and not heard'.

During this time, the House Committee on Un-American Activities launched an assault on political freedom in America. This, in conjunction with Senator Joseph McCarthy's overzealous attempts to feed anti-communist sentiment in America, made it dangerous for people to speak freely about their opinions and beliefs. They became cautious about where they went and whom they were seen with. Therefore, the people were effectively 'silenced'.

In 1951, a Time Magazine article was written in which the children of the generation were described as 'unimaginative', 'withdrawn', 'unadventurous', and 'cautious'. Time Magazine used the name 'Silent Generation' to refer to these individuals. The name has been there ever since.

generations in this Database