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How did the Cold War shape the American economy, society, and politics from 1945 to 1992 - Essay Example

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How did the Cold War shape the American economy, society, and politics from 1945 to 1992

Although slavery had come to an end before the 20th century, discrimination of Blacks continued". Though racism did not have a direct impact on the Cold War, it had to be corrected. America was on the forefront of civil and economic liberty. Hence, as Dudziak points out, to display that American society was free as compared to a communist one, America took measures to end discrimination (112). Top of Form Bottom of Form Efforts were made to give equal opportunities to the Blacks. Similarly, segregation in schools was abolished. Gradually discrimination in private places was also banned. The direct effect of the cold war on America society was on Hollywood. American movies had a great influence on the minds of Americans and people across the world. America leveraged this soft power to its advantage in the war against the Soviet Union. Hollywood was exhorted and encouraged to produce anti-communist movies. Behind the mask of patriotism, were prominent pro-capitalist voices. Suspected communists were weeded out by the government. However, there were detrimental effects to such measures. On the basis of insufficient evidence and unsubstantiated claims, many people’s lives were ruined. People were persecuted even at the local level in the name of being Russian spies. It was at the political level that the two superpowers, the US and the former Soviet Union fought a pitched battle. After WW II, most of the European colonies had become free and were charting out their course of action for the

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way ahead. Both the super powers tried to win over these newly independent states. The US created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the Western European nations. Meanwhile, USSR founded the Warsaw Pact with the countries of Eastern Europe. This resulted in an ideological divide between the nations of Europe, known popularly as ‘The Iron Curtain’. Both the groupings tried to assiduously woo new nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The US had no qualms in supporting dictators as long as they were not anti-communist. According to McCormick, apparently, democracy was only for domestic consumption. It followed a policy of containment of the USSR. It engaged itself in wars in Korea and Vietnam which led to huge loss of life to the US Army and severe criticism in the US (99). All this was in the name of reducing the influence of communism all over the world. The fallout of the cold war politics was that an arms race started. Apart from conventional weaponry, each grouping cultivated its own nuclear arsenal. In terms of the economic systems followed too, the two were poles apart. While the Americans followed a free market economy, the Soviets had a controlled economy. While market forces defined prices in the US, the Soviets followed a policy of intervention in prices. While entrepreneurship was encouraged in the US, the Soviets prevented all types of private business. A feature of the Soviet economy was planning. Using plans and targets, the Soviet economy improved vastly from its war-time position. This was a feature which was later taken up by many non-communist countries all over the world. On the propaganda front, the Soviets preached equality of all its citizens on economic terms. Meanwhile, the Americans talked about innovation and the affluence that free market brought in. The American citizens were exhorted to buy more in order to boost the economy. This paved way for the consumer

Summary

Cold War and American Society, Politics and Economy The Cold War that started after WWII was unlike any conventional war. It was not based on face to face combat rather it was one of propaganda. It pitted two economic and political systems against each other with a third and a neutral group watching from the sidelines…
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