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HIST 102 Survey of American History II M06: Discussion (9)

Question: What impact did the Cold War have on society at home? Could the Cold War have been avoided?

The cold war was a traumatic period for the United States. A country that once felt untouchable and at the brink of a new atomic age of possibilities now felt a threat of impending doom at all moments. An entire generation of children was indoctrinated into a belief in the evils of communism and the east and felt the constant anxiety of society ending the war at a moment's notice. This led to what can reasonably be described as paranoia among the population, and an increase in religiosity and

nationalism in the country as people struggled to reckon with the explosive growth of the ideology fundamentally opposing that which their nation was built upon. The post-war era saw incredible explosive growth in the American economy and culture, and now they were ready to expand on that growth, but the threat of the Soviet Union and Soviet backed states pushed back against this growth. Citizens became nervous and hyper-paranoid that communist ideals were going to infect the nation and a great mistrust of eastern culture, communists ideals, and people began. The US went into a stage of fundamentalism based on Christian values and the concept of America being a Christian nation was reinforced by the addition of many religious symbols to government properties. The effects of the Cold War on the US population can still be seen and felt in many aspects of 20th century life, especially with the recent resurgence of cold war era policies seen in Russia.

The Cold War was mostly inevitable from my perspective. Two clashing ideologies equipped with incredibly strong weapons were bound to come to a stand off. I do not see a way in which better diplomacy would have eased tensions, or a way in which one of the countries culture could have drastically shifted so as to prevent the war. In order to have prevented the war, an alternate reality where either the outcome of the war was different, the cultures of the country were fundamentally altered, or nuclear weapons were not developed so as to create the ability of an instantaneous devastating attack against one another.

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