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How Did the Cold War Impact on US Domestic Policies?

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Sinead McCarthy

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of How Did the Cold War Impact on US Domestic Policies?

How Did the Cold War Impact on US Domestic Policies?
The Cold War affected domestic policy two ways: socially and economically. Socially, the intensive indoctrination of the American people led to a regression of social reforms. Economically, enormous growth spurred by industries related to war was aided by heavy government expansion. However, New Deal economics felt the greatest impact of the Cold War.
Economic Area
Economically speaking, the Soviets and the Americans we as different during the Cold War as they were politically. The Americans advocated free market capitalism while the Soviets promoted communism. Both sides touted the benefits of their system and the deficiencies of the other while claiming greater freedom for their citizens. For the Americans, this meant championing the innovation and affluence that capitalism brought; while correlating communism with oppression
The civilian population (at least in America) was subject to air-raid drills (hide under your desk!) and encouraged to build personal bomb shelters in the 1950s. This level of concern faded; however, awareness of the war was a constant. Fallout shelter signs in large buildings, protests over the placement of short-range nuclear missiles in Germany, the oft-quoted nuclear doomsday clock, photographs of dead bodies in the barbed wire of the Berlin Wall, as well as movies such as WarGames, Threads, Red Dawn and The Day After kept awareness high.

The Cold War was an important influence on almost all aspects of American society. Cultural antagonism between the United States and Soviet Union had both positive and negative repercussions. Mutual fear between the two countries led to political confrontations; some of which nearly led to world war. Differing economic philosophies resulted in opposing claims of what freedom meant, and economic competition led to massive military spending by both countries. Because of its broad influence, the Cold War was the defining event of the second half of the 20th century and impacted, to varying extents, almost all American foreign and domestic policy decisions.
The late 1940′s was a time when much change happened to the American society. As a result of the expanding threat of the Soviet Union, or its Communistic ideals, America took a stand that lead to the Cold War. Although the war did not involve fighting directly with Russia, it still affected American society and domestic policy. The war affected America so much that it lead to a fear of livelihood; precisely when Joseph McCarthy began his “witch hunt”. The Cold war lead to an enlarged fear of nuclear war; as well, it affected many of the domestic policies.
By Sinead and Sadhbh!
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