American Life During & After the Cold War
American life during and after the cold war American life in the cold war… How was it? I will start off by telling you why the cold war is called the cold war.The term “Cold war” is used to describe the relationship between America and the Soviet Union after world war two from 1945 to 1980.Neither side ever fought the other because the consequences would be too appalling.
Although they did ‘fight’ for their beliefs using client states who fought for their beliefs on their behalf.
The Cold War was to dominate international affairs for decades and many major problems occurred –like the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Hungary and the Berlin Wall being just some. For many the growth in weapons of mass destruction was the most worrying issue. This was a huge and one of the biggest worries of the American people along with many others. Although the American life was full of worries and tribulations during these time, there was also major cultural, social and economic changes for the better to.
The Cold War touched many aspects of American social and cultural life, from the civil rights movement to survivalism, from Hollywood to the universities. The civil rights movement of the cold war where very interesting. The Cold War added some push to the Civil Rights Movement. . As a result of this, the African Americans came together with the some of the whites in the United States to protest against racisim that was real in the US. For quite some time during the world war, a few African Americans had united to fight for equal rights aswell but did not do so well.
After the world war, quite a number of the civil rights movements came into the limelight though. A significant period in the civil rights movements occurred between the years 1950s and 1960s when strong civil rights groups were formed and Martin Luther king Junior became the head of these civil rights pressure groups. This movement and many like it had a lot of influence on America and how they lead to an improved approval of constitutional rights. Even though the government was trying to silence the anti racism protesters leaving outside America.
America tried to look like they where all to perfect at home. President Truman felt that as a result of the cold war that was intense between the US and the Soviet Union, it was important that social increases were made in order to put the US at an advantage in this battle. As a result of this, the president’s committee on civil rights was formed; this policy looked over the need to tackle the civil rights issues in the country since it was seriously snooping with the country’s international relations and appearance.
The U. S. was declaring its democracy to be the best and most effective way of running a country and was claiming and trying to show to the world that Communism reduced human rights and individual freedoms. The irony was that in the U. S. , despite our so called “ideal” form of government, these rights and freedoms were being denied to American citizens right at home! , most particularly African Americans. This obviously did not go unnoticed by the higher ups in the government or by African American leaders.
It made for an uncomfortable hypocrisy throughout the Cold War, and was used as an arguing point by some leaders of the Civil Rights Movements. It was rather absurd to have the United States trying to shape discrimination in the other countries while it could not handle the discrimination within its own walls! But it makes more sense. America did not just randomly decide to be nicer to black people in the 1960s, instead of the 1920s or the 1890s. Instead, it ended segregation because not doing so would badly damage the fight against communism.
Civil Rights was therefore not just the right thing to do, but also vitally important to the national interest. Saying all of this is not to talk bad about the accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement, or to ignore the fearlessness of its leaders. Civil Rights was probably the best thing that happened to the United States during and after the cold war. It fundamentally changed the country from a system based upon bullying to what it is today. The American natural survivalism during the cold war was pure instinct. There was always controversy with nuclear warfare.
There is the morality of using nuclear weapons. They were many scared for their life during the cold war. They knew if either the Soviet or U. S. made a wrong move toward the other, they would be wiped out. After the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb in 1949, the American public was understandably nervous. They were aware of the destruction that individual atomic bombs did to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Boyer 145) But the general public did not know a lot yet about the risks of radiation and fallout.
One of their methods was to involve schools. Teachers in selected cities were encouraged to conduct air raid drills where they would suddenly yell, “Drop! ” and students would need to kneel down under their desks with their hands over or around their heads and necks. Some schools even distributed metal “dog tags,” like the ones worn by World War II soldiers, so that the bodies of students could be identified after an attack. Many of the people where skeptics of “spies”. Russian spies to be more specific. In the 1950s, the U. S. was a scary place.
Many people were convinced that a Communist plot to overthrow the government was about to happen and saw conspiracies in every side they turned or looked. As much terrible fears that where going on at the time, there was still time for fun and games. Escapes from the humble bow. American movies represented a lot of truth’s , scares and fiction of the American life. Or in other words presents films that reflect the anxieties, values, and beliefs of Cold War culture. Hollywood was often a target of the “bad Americans “ because of the variety of ideas expressed through movies and television.
Movie actors that starred in films that were not within the norms of traditional American life were said to be Communist sympathesizers who were attempting to brainwash Americans through propagandists movies. Producers crafted movies with broad audience appeal. A lot of the movies where about “A menace lurks beneath a tranquil surface. ” ( boyer 133). I believe this is where the big part of people looking over there shoulder or not trusting a lot of people came from. A propaganda fear the movies put into the American culture.