Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

I have a question for everyone. When we talk about the "diesel era" for the purpose of dieselpunk what's the latest that we classify it? Would we go so far as to say early 50's? For example, according to Wiki "The first nuclear power plant built for civil purposes was the AM-1 Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, launched on June 27, 1954 in the Soviet Union. It produced around 5 MW (electrical)." Even if we just look at popular culture according to Wiki, "Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" (1955) became the first rock and roll song to top Billboard magazine's main sales and airplay charts, and opened the door worldwide for this new wave of popular culture."

Would that place 1954 or 1955 as our cut off? If not what should be our guide?

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Most people I think say 40's, but as for me, I say mid 50s. Things started changing after then.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is my end point for dieselpunk.

When the atom was used for war, humanity began to fear technology.
The only reason why I'd extend it to the mid-50s is that people (at least in the US) still had the same corporate ethos until that point, and still had a love for big cars and big machinery and all things "diesel". 1945 may have been the beginning of the end, but the feeling lingered about a decade more. The Vietnam war changed how people saw a lot of things, and that era finally came to an end.
The reason I propose the early 50’s as the cut off is that from 1945 to the first years of 1950’s there was little change in Western way of life. Certainly we had “the bomb” but, with the exceptions of some great minds who saw the writing on the wall (such as Orwell who coined the term “Cold War” in 1945), that had little effect on the day to day lives of everyday people. After the war most people just wanted to get back to their normal pre-war lives with an emphasis on making babies (hence the Baby Boom). But if we look at the early Fifties we see the type of dramatic changes that would replace many of the features that we associate with the diesel era. To prove my point let me list what I think are some important events of the Fifties (a few of these I mentioned earlier):

The first purpose-built jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, entered service in 1952.

The first nuclear power plant built for civil purposes, AM-1 Obninsk, was launched on June 27, 1954 in the USSR.

The decade of 1950s saw the end of the “Golden Age of Radio” and the start of "the Golden Age of Television" as the number of television sets exploded in the early '50s.

The election of President Dwight Eisenhower elected in 1952 whose administration in many ways embodied the 1950’s. He also was the first to use television political advertising.

In 1955 Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" became the first rock and roll song to top Billboard magazine's main sales and airplay charts.

The beginning of the end of segregation in the southern US started in May 17, 1954 with the Supreme Court Ruling of Brown v. Board of Education
I'm gonna go with Tome on this one. The end of WWII brought about the end of that rush for greater and better and grander things. Once Fat Man and Little Boy flew, the atomic age began to germinate its own brand of horror, and science became something to fear. At that point, combined with the horrors wrought by Hitler, humankind's capacity for wholesale atrocity crossed some line. I don't want to romanticize WWII or minimize the bloodiness of conflicts prior to that, but wholesale (successful) genocide and nuclear obliteration changed the tone enough so that I tend to see the hopefulness (even in the face of conflict) represented by the Diesel era to have taken a critical hit.

But that's just me. I have no authority to pronounce definitively one way or the other. :)
--athena
Another reason I'd extend it into the mid-50's is that in the 50's you still had a subculture that was devoted to the love of the big gas-guzzling sleek-styled automobile; namely, the Greasers. (And even if they didn't like the Greasers, the rest of the populace was in love with the cars.) This probably lasted until the zenith of streamlined cars, the famed '57 Chevy, and then died out during the Vietnam years.

Perhaps there are/should be two eras of dieselpunk... pre-atomic and post-atomic?
The bottom line in my opinion is culture, not whether one country or another had this or that weapon. Even the holocaust in all of it's horror had little effect. Looking back to us it may seem like the world had changed in 1945 but for the day to day lives of common people, especially in the US, it hadn't.

The world the soldiers came home to wasn't that much different than the one they left in 1941. They had the same day to day technology, the same musical styles, radio was still king (televisions were very rare in the late 40's), and people wore the same fashion.

The real cultural change didn't begin to manifest itself and impact the average family until the early to mid-1950's. It was then that decodence died and that I think marks the end of the diesel era.
There's always going to be a soft period between styles. People don't suddenly dump their mindset overnight.

Take steampunk for example. Everyone says "Victorian Victorian Victorian," but Victoria died in 1901. Between 1901 and the end of World War I, there was a soft period (Edwardian) where the aesthetic changes from steampunk to dieselpunk.

If people want to think of greasers as dieselpunk, then I have to disagree, but I can see their point of view.

To me, rockabilly, greasers, post-WWII style, and what we commonly think of as '50s culture is atompunk territory.
Yea I would put the Edwardian period in Steampunk as well... even though it saw the beginnings of diesel. The Great Race has characters and situations that are quintessentially steampunk, for example.
I wouldn't want to place rockabilly, greasers and such in dieselpunk either. I would be ok with calling them atomicpunk, for lack of any other term. Maybe that's the appropriate term for a 'punk' genre set in the 1950's, if such a genre ever develops.

Tome, I think when you pointed out that people don't change their mindset overnight then you're restating my point but in a slightly different manner. Unlike WWI, which I consider the "no mans land" (pun intended) between steampunk and dieselpunk, I think dieselpunk had a "soft period," (a phrase you used that I really like) between the late 1940's and the early 1950's that divided it from "atomicpunk."

Tome Wilson said:
There's always going to be a soft period between styles. People don't suddenly dump their mindset overnight.

Take steampunk for example. Everyone says "Victorian Victorian Victorian," but Victoria died in 1901. Between 1901 and the end of World War I, there was a soft period (Edwardian) where the aesthetic changes from steampunk to dieselpunk.

If people want to think of greasers as dieselpunk, then I have to disagree, but I can see their point of view.

To me, rockabilly, greasers, post-WWII style, and what we commonly think of as '50s culture is atompunk territory.
Not to belabor the point on how little effect the Hiroshima had I just saw the last of a documentary on The Military Channel about the efforts on the home front, specifically on the city of Philadelphia. In it an expert on that era said that after the bomb was dropped and Japan surrendered most Americans saw atomic weapons, "as just another weapon in America's arsenal."

Personally, '69.Manned spaceflight plus 2001equals Buck Rogers getting smashed to bits.

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