How of organizations such as the Federal Bureau

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



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The Cold War between the United States and the
Soviet Union emerged and developed after World War II, though its origins go
back in history to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The Cold War was an
ideological, economic, political and military confrontation, but it never
actually was fought between these two nations on a battlefield. It was a war of
tensions and hostilities where the belligerents engaged each other around the
world but avoided direct conflict because of the dire consequences of such actions.
As the Cold War progressed until the collapse of the Soviet Union, it had significant
impact on the American society, economy, and politics.


Cold War prompted strong anti-communism within the USA. The hatred towards
Communism was so great that it eventually led to McCarthyism. During
McCarthyism, Americans were obsessed with the process of identifying the
Communists and removing those Communists from American society. The purpose of organizations
such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House Un-American
Activities(HUAC) became the ‘removal
of Communists’ and laws such as the Communist Control Act were passed to
identify, capture and remove Communists. The McCarran Act was also introduced,
which forced all Communist organizations to be registered within the US
government and banned Communists from carrying US passports and working in the defense
industry. Many were questioned without having done anything wrong, many lost
their jobs and some even lost their lives. This red scare continued to lead American
society up until the late 1950s. The Cold War also made many Americans fearful of
war. This fear of war was prompted by the arms race. One example is the Cuban
Missile Crisis, which caused high tension within the USA. It was a
13-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union involving
American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with resulting Soviet
ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. Nikita
Khrushchev began to
ship ballistic missiles to Cuba and technicians to operate them. After discussing
with his foreign policy and military advisers, Kennedy blockaded Cuba on
October 22, 1962. The two sides stood on the edge of nuclear war, but
Khrushchev surrendered six days later and the missiles were dismantled. In
return, Kennedy dispersed its own missile sites in Turkey. Apart from Cuban
missile crisis, Americans lived in constant fear as the Cold War could turn
into a hot war at any time.


Cold War also had an impact on the American people economically. The impact was
caused mainly by the increase in the amount of taxes. The United States used to
adopt isolationism previously, meaning that the USA did not intervene in any
other foreign matters to only concentrate on the domestic issues. As soon as
the USA decided to intervene in foreign matters, Americans had to pay more
taxes to support the USA’s actions. These actions, including the arms race and
other wars, required massive amount of capital. For instance, the Vietnam
War was one of the factors that used up massive amount of capital. The
Vietnam War was very different from any other wars because it was a guerrilla
war between Vietcongs. The Vietcongs had successfully planned the strategies to
kill many Americans without having America’s latest technology such as tanks
and airplanes. As the war developed, it was estimated that it costed Americans
$400,000 to kill one Viet Cong.




The timing of the Cold War was crucial and one of the most diverse in
the recent world history. Not only was it a war of diversity, but a war of
great length that lasted about fifty years (1945-1992). What made this time so
significant was that the whole world was involved in this war in some way.