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Effects of the Cold War on Americans

  • Updated July 27, 2023
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The cold war was a war which was more based on ideologies than having army engagements. This was a war between the dominant world powers after the world war II, the Soviet Union and United States. This was a bit shocking because these two dominant powers were beforehand allies in the WWII. This rivalry became bigger due to their differences in ideologies, with United States pushing capitalism and democracy, and Soviet Union pushing communism and authoritarianism. And this propaganda war continued until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and one of the earliest causes of this Cold War was comments from the then British leader, Winston Churchill on anti-communism.

Culturally, the cold war affected Americans negatively and, in some ways, positively. The cold war caused Americans to either view issues in the sense of “Christian America” or “godless Communism” creating a dualist world among Americans. The cold war created a paranoia amongst the American society, with everyone fearing the Soviet Union was out to get them and could attack at any point in time. The issues from the cold war infiltrated into the American movie industry, Hollywood. This also led to the National Defense Education Act and the Interstate Highway Act.

The national security agencies encouraged Hollywood producers to produce anticommunist movies, so most of the movies produced during the cold war era were meant to stir patriotism amongst Americans and also to raise suspicion of communist acts in the country. Some of the movies produced during this period include Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), etc. These ideologies were also translated into books written on that subject. Books like The Fourth Protocol reflected fears of Soviet Union dominance and many other books. Positively, the Cold War also indirectly helped in aiding the civil rights movements because most Americans realized that most of their way of living was in contrast to the values they said they stood for and needed to change.

In terms of politics, this same propaganda war had a lot of effects. Most of the presidents known as anti-communist leaders who campaigned on the cold war ride were voted for by the people, Presidents such as Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan. The cold war led to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) under the Harry Truman Administration. Americans actually had to live in the fear of a nuclear catastrophe. And the announcement by Truman on the creation of the atomic bomb led to a more unstable world.

Also, the cold war changed America’s foreign policy to a large scale. The United States introduced containment, a policy which was to prevent the spread of the Soviet Union’s communist ideologies abroad and, and the Containment policy led to several military interventions by the United States, notably, the Korean and Vietnam wars which were fought to prevent the Soviet Union from extending its communist ideologies to Asia, and which led to the death of many American soldiers.

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Effects of the Cold War on Americans. (2020, Sep 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/effects-of-the-cold-war-on-americans/

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