Impact of the cold war on the American Society
The cold war was sparked with the mistrust between the US and the USSR. The US was in support for capitalistic ideas with democratic ideologies while the USSR advocated for Communistic beliefs that also favored totalitarian leadership. The United States and the USSR were allies in the World War II. After the war, the Soviet Union became worried of the inversion by the countries in the west. USSR developed strategies to dominate the eastern part of Europe. The U.S .who was allies of the Western Europe were not happy with the increased influence of the Soviet Union in the world. They plotted a plan to destroy the Soviet Union in order to reduce competition over foreign influence and world resources (Post –WWII America and the origin of the cold war 5).A wave of rebellion against the US dominance started in 1946 in countries that were allied to USSR like Greece and Turkey. These countries began arming themselves in preparation for war. (Post- WWII America and the origin of Cold war 6).
Cultural and political effects
Political and ideological wars between the United States and the Soviet Union was not only limited to world dominance and European politics. The United States developed containment policy that was aimed towards stopping the spread of USSR powers in the world .The political doctrine of containment shaped the American foreign policy. The United States started to control the whole world by resorting to military interventions. The United States to a larger extent abandoned its self-determination ideas by deciding to back Pinochet.
The American politics were also shaped by the activities of the cold war. The citizens only elected presidential candidates who had anti- communist ideologies. This development saw the election of presidential candidates like Truman, Reagan, Nixon and Kennedy. The synonymous characteristic of these presidents is that they both launched an economic war fair against the USSR.
In terms of culture, the American government wedged propaganda against the communism. The national security apparatus urged the Hollywood filmmakers to produce anti-communism film. The primary objective of these movies was to show the American population and the whole world how wrong communistic ideologies were while at the same time praising American capitalistic ideas. The propaganda, which was spread in the movies managed to win the heart of Americans a fact that lead to an increase in patriotism and support to the government on its mission to end the dominance of the USSR in the world, got a significant boost. (Post –WWII America and the origin of the cold war 24).
President Truman was determined not only to stop the spread of USSR communist in the world but also within the boundaries of the United States. All aspect of the US life and culture needed to mobilize the cold war ideologies. The post war era saw the strengthening of the US family system which departed from the previous traditional family to nuclear family which advocated for small families of like two children which was manageable.
Anxiety from the red scare was another effect brought about by cold war on the American society. There was a great fear of communism in the US society. In this period, there were a lot of spies in the US and the communist sympathizers caused great fear. There were a lot of threats for those people who could be found associating with communism thus causing conformity so as not to be suspected to be going a against the grain ((Post- WWII America and the origin of the cold war 15).There red scare started the House Un-American Activities Committee which was established after WWII, The state was worried that there were a lot of non- Americans who were making films in the Hollywood. Since the films had a lot of influence to the audience and public, the government didn’t want communists’ sympathizers to produce films that could spread communist ideas to Americans. HUAC launched an investigation on the communists’ conspiracy in Hollywood. A number of film directors’ professions were destroyed. The loyalty programs were also introduced in both federal and private work places.Employeees was supposed to report their colleagues who were thought to be favoring communism. Those reported just on grounds on suspension were fired even without tangible evidence (Post- WWII America and the origin of cold war 16).
After war period also saw the boom in the number of babies which were born in the US. This is because many youths got married at a younger age unlike during the war when many parents worked a way from their families and the great depression. The conditions lead to development of new Suburbs because people had produced many children. There was a problem of housing making the government to launch a drive that saw construction of affordable housed in the newly developed suburbs (Post- WWII America and the origin of the cold war 18). McCarthyism was another aspect that heightened the Red scare. The Republican senator Joseph McCarthy got the national attention by alleging that some state officials were sympathizers of communism. However, investigations revealed that the accusation was not true. He managed to launch an offensive campaigned against many people .The public was told to be on the lookout in the event that communist people were within their midst. McCarthy ran out of favor from public when he accused high ranking military officials for being pro communism which was a lie (17).
As noted by (Post-WWII America and the origin of cold war) the youths became a very important segment of the US economy and culture during the cold war. The society departed from the previous culture where teenagers were viewed as were left at home. Strategies were made to incorporate them in the work force after school. The after school jobs granted American youths economic freedom. They started owning cars and their mobility was enhanced. This development started worrying the teachers, parents and the police over the autonomy of the youths. There were separate activities of the youths a fact that broke togetherness of many families. Sexuality of the youth, involvement in criminal activities, hairstyles and driving habits became an issue of concern to American adults. Furthermore, advertisers started targeting the youth since they were viewed as a potential market. Various brands were customized to suit the new trend of the youth’s lifestyle and tastes (25).
The impact of cold war on the civil right movement
The US advocated for capitalsm, freedom and democracy yet there were massive cases of discrimination in US. Women and blacks were treated as second- class citizens. The civil right group has been fighting the inequalities by advocating for legislations that could end the social justice. However, they didn’t have a lot of backing and huge support. The groups highlighted the US hypocrisy by claiming to be the land of freedom yet discrimination was highly rooted in its culture.
The clamor for social change by the black Americans who were being discriminated against by the white Americans in the 1950s and the 1960s saw the rise of the civil right movements. there was widespread segregation of blacks in the military, schools and even access to both public and pervade amenities like transportation and accommodation 9The civil rights movement -1945-1966 4).After the Nazi war, the American society was determined to spearhead both social and political equality so as to end the hypocrisy of the American ideologies of the cold war which advocated for democracy and human rights which was not a true reflection of what was being practiced on the American soil. The cold war gave the civil rights a good platform to push for their agenda of ending discrimination a fact that saw the US bow down to the pressure so as to maintain its relevance in the world as a true fighter of the world freedom (The civil right movement 4).
As highlighted by (The civil rights movement -1945-1966), black Americans who had been segregated in the south were now free to move to the north. The state also amended the employment act which gave blacks equal employment opportunities just as the blacks. The increase of the black communities in the north made them have significance influence in the northern politics in towns like Chicago, and New York. The laws had also been amended to grant Africans voting rights. The Double “V” campaign also saw the blacks get equal opportunities in the army and other sectors of economy. (The civil rights movement 1945-1966 5). In the education sector, the stare reviewed the law that burned segregated schools. Both Africans and blacks were allowed to attend the same schools.
The early years of civil right movement did not have momentum since their activities didn’t get endorsement from the president. The groups decided to use federal courts to fight injustices in the society but very little could be achieved. The blacks launched the Montgomery bus boycott which demanded the bus drivers to treat blacks with respect. They also wanted separate section of buses for blacks so s not to give their seats to blacks. The blacks boycotted the buses owned by the whites. The economic pressure to create changed was a great milestone in promotion of social justice in the US. The freedom rides where the whites and blacks shared a bus was a another boost to the civil right groups. The monument received much publicity from the media. The reporters constantly interviewed the activists who were arrested or hurt in the protests. The police also refused to protect the protesters while Kennedy the American president didn’t make any formal statement about the freedom rides. These ugly events caught the attention of the world and everybody condemned the US for their hypocrisy. This made the government to bow to the pressure from the public outcry so as to maintain the US international prestige (The civil rights movement 16).
After the assassination of Kennedy in 1963,Johnson who took over as the president saw the civil rights groups are a crucial campaigned strategy. The president signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 which was a brainchild of Kennedy. The act prohibited discrimination of any kind in the US (19)
Influence on the Great society
Racial inequality in the United States was one of the dominant features of the American society. The lacks, despite the end of the slave trade were still treated as second-class citizens. There was discrimination in job provision, access to social amenities and human right for the blacks was violated significantly.
According to the great society and the origin of the Vietnam war, Johnson who was the president of the United States in 1964 reiterated that, it was imperative for the United States to first of all deal with democratic imperfections that existed in the American society if its quest for providing world leadership, fighting of freedom and enslavement of countries governed by dictatorial and authoritarian regimes. The minority groups that constituted of black Americans got freedom (The great society and the origin of the Vietnam War 5).
Major steps to grant black Americans freedom in the United States started in the early years of 1950s. The government established a commission that championed for fair employment, passing of legislations that banned discrimination against black Americans and an increase in the registration of black voters was a critical benefit of the cold war. In addition, the 1954 ruling by the Supreme Court leads to the desegregation of public schools where the blacks and the whites were allowed to attend the same schools. In 1964, the government passed an act that banned discrimination that was been perpetrated to Africans in accessing both private and public accommodation facilities. The American government was forced to strengthen the human right movement so as to avoid repercussions that may come with the perception that the United states leadership was hypocritical .This is because the same freedom and democracy that they preached to the world was not real in the American soil where Africans rights and freedom were violated. Empirically speaking, it will be inaccurate to say that the cold war it the one that lead to the strengthen of the civil society movements, but rather, it helped both the leaders and the American community realize and self-reflect on the injustices that has been levied to black Americans thus making the cold war a roadmap to liberation of Africans in the United states (The great society and the origin of Vietnam war 6).
The great society initiative through the help of the civil right movements changed the US to enact an immigration reform act in 1964 which changed the engagement are resettlement of foreigners. The legislating abolished the racial aspect of granting people American citizenship basing on the quota system and embrace the idea where ones skills and his contributions to the American society was crucial in granting an immigrant citizenship ( The great society and the origin of Vietnam war 6). The US also welcomed the refugees from the communist nations a fact that made it diverse nation and not a society of the whites. Johnson also launched a drive which encouraged the Americans to spend less now for future. The cold war played a critical role in ending the Great society. The federal government spending on improvement of domestic affairs reduced and focus was placed on wars abroad to end the spread of communism and the influence of the USSR. The Great society and war on poverty became a thing of the past by the end of 1960s (The great society and origin of Vietnam War 10)
American citizens’ opposition to Vietnam War
Due to massive death of American soldiers and investment in the Vietnam War, the American civilians 1n 1960s began protests against their government involvement in the war. The US was in support of the French who wanted to maintain their Vietnam colony abroad The French could not hold on Vietnam rebels who had become communists a fact that made US to help France who had already been kicked out of the Northern part of Vietnam.Americasn funded almost 80 % of the war cost in terms of the military aid and weapons (The great society and origin of Vietnam war 10). The protests advocated for the unconditional withdrawal of the American withdrawal from the war. The movement’s anti-war peace movements comprised of students, the clergy, and civil right groups.
In 1968, Tom Hyden the pioneer of the Students for a Democratic Society led the United States anti-Vietnam war protests in campuses in the US. The protests also united those groups which were against the anti-communism ideologies of the United States government, colonialism and imperialism in the world. The movement encouraged the students and the society to question and criticize the government for being hypocritical for going against what they learned in school on peace and democracy (The great society and origin of Vietnam war).The involvement of the new left, capitalism groups like the Catholic worker movement were against the idea of the US participating in the war just for the war sake without tangible reason to justify the massive spending in the war. The protests gained prominence in the United States. Provocations of the anti-Vietnam War protesters by the police in 1968 caused riots in Chicago. Exploration of reports about abuses by the military escalated the anti-war demonstrations. The anti- war movement got its publicity from independent media and publishing companies. In addition, the outcry spread from the campuses to labor movements, black Americans and the middle-class citizens who formed the majority of the American population (33).
The anti-Vietnam war by the US got success in 1968 during President Richard Nixon reign. In his campaign bid, he promised bring peace in the world with honor without necessarily involvement in the war. Also, the precedent got a threat from the Congress who had planned to cut the budget for the war in Vietnam and massive protests in front of the white house made him to resort to peaceful intervention and withdrawal of the American troops in the southern Vietnam ( The great society and origin of Vietnam war 33).
Post- WWII America and the origin of the cold War.
The civil rights movement – 1945- 1966
The great society and the origin of Vietnam War (196-1968)