How did the Cold War affect American culture?

The Cold War established the presence of an American eternal enemy, and politicians capitalized on this as a way to consolidate their own sense of power and control. The Cold War gave American politics and culture a clear and definable enemy that everyone could agree on. The Cold War became a driving force behind popular culture for decades. Themes such as nuclear war, dystopia, and espionage permeated film and literature, among other mediums.

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From the start, the Cold War had a profound impact on culture in the United States. It established a clear "us versus them" mentality that was reflected in the arts, athletics, and pop culture. Throughout it all, communism was portrayed as anathema to all that the United States stood for. Many Americans saw themselves as representatives of freedom and democracy and touted the virtues of capitalism. While this was not entirely responsible for the consumer culture that arose in the United States after WWII, it did support it to a certain extent. As a result of all this, ethnocentric and nationalistic cultural elements became widespread in the country. Movies, television, and literature were often used to bolster these attitudes, with many bordering on propaganda-like adoration of American values and vilification of the other.

The ever-looming threat of nuclear war also had a cultural impact. Throughout the Cold War period, a sense of anxiety over nuclear annihilation ran in the...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 935 words.)

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