In many aspects of the American civilization, most of the second half of the 20th century was affected by the cold war. It became a serious issue because the United State advocated for democracy and capitalism while the Soviet Union advocated for communism and authoritarianism. The conflict became a global conflict because the two nations were regarded as the two most powerful nations especially after the World War 2. The Cold War was not like other wars because it was much of a propaganda war. The main reason as to why the United State was involves in the Vietnam and the Korean War militarily was to counter the expansion of communist. The paper explores the influence of the Cold War on the American culture, politics and economics.
Cultural war between these two superpowers had an impact on the day to day lives of the American people. Since the war was based on propaganda, the National Security Agencies in the US advised movies producers in Hollywood to come up with films that were against authoritarianism. Moreover, they were also encouraged to produce movies that praised the aspects of the American history. However, these movies did not only bring the aspect of patriotism in American but also led to suspicion of communist activity in the U.S. In time the anticommunist sentiments became uncontrollable eventually ending up working against the film producers in Hollywood. However, some of these communist were arrested and their lives ruined. As time went by, these anticommunist sentiments trickled down to local levels. For instance, the Better American League south California came up with almost 2 million names of people who were allegedly seen as being supporters of communism (Shad). The majority of these people lost their jobs, got blacklisted, and had their civil rights interfered with based on these claims. However, not all cultural aspects of the Cold War were taken to be negative. Even though slavery had been outlawed years ago, the black community was still regarded as second class citizens. The act of discrimination was still an issue in America. Therefore, President Truman came with a motion to introduce equality among all races in the United State. This move by the president was to show the rest of the world that America was a democratic nation that valued the rights of all its citizens despite the colour of their skin. Eventually, in the early 1950s, the country passed laws that outlawed discrimination which saw people from the black community getting a fair employment commission and right to vote (Shad).
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union had a direct impact in the political field of the U.S. The country came up with a policy known as “containment’’. The policy outlined the commitment of the U.S in countering the expansion of the Soviet power. This political doctrine led to the U.S being involved militarily in the Vietnam and the Korean wars in the aim of stopping further expansions of communism in Asia. The war led to thousands of deaths of the American soldiers. As a result of the country being so dedicated to the policy, it usually went out of its way in supporting dictators as long they were not communist (Shad). A good example the U.S supported was General Pinochet Augusto a dictator from Chile. Domestically, the political impact of the Cold War was witnessed when presidents who were considered as anti-communist were elected. A good example is President Nixon, Kennedy and Reagan (Shad).
Economically speaking, they existed differences between the Soviets and the American during the Cold War. The U.S supported free market capitalism while the Soviet Union promoted communism. Both countries touted the advantaged of the system they supported and the disadvantage of the others while claiming better choice for their citizens. During the war, Americans saw that it was a patriotic act to purchase consumer items to help the economy grow. As a result, the country grew to become the world’s economic power as it is seen today. Through the act of buying their own goods and showcasing the rest of the world its benefits, the country went ahead to convince other nations to adopt communism way of life. After becoming an economic house power, the U.S used this as an advantage against the Soviets during the cold war. President Reagan announced that the country would massively increase its military budget. Much of this money was used to strengthen the defensive system of the country and support of the militaries of its allies all over the world (Shad). As a counter mechanism the Soviet Union also went ahead to increase its military budget but eventually went bankrupt.
Conclusively, the Cold War had a direct impact on the American Society. The cultural aspect of the war between the two countries had both positive and negative consequences. The Mutual fear that existed between the two nations led to political confrontations, which could have eventually led to war. Economically, the war led to the U.S establishing itself as an economic house power. The war also led to the U.S establishing both new foreign and domestic policies.
Shad. “Cold War Influences On American Culture, Politics, And Economics”. Shad’s, 2014, https://tradshad.com/writings/cold-war-influences-on-american-culture-politics-and-economics/.