The Cold War

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How did the Cold War affect popular culture?

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The Cold War played a key role in the popular culture of the 1950s. Even after Americans witnessed the destructive nature of the atomic bomb against Japan, nuclear also gained a connotation of being "good," as television began to push the "nuclear family" through sitcoms such as Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy.

This was important as the United States began to increase its nuclear arsenal in preparation for a possible nuclear war with Russia. McCarthyism made anything even remotely leftist a taboo subject, and it destroyed the reputation of many Hollywood actors and screenwriters. The United States also placed a greater emphasis on physical education for school-age children; it was important to have healthy men who would be eligible for a draft if necessary. To combat the atheism of the Soviet Union, "One Nation Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance under the Eisenhower administration in order to further demonstrate how life was "better" in the United States than it was in the Soviet Union. Church membership also increased during this period as clinging to one's religion and family values was seen as one way to fight communism at home. In popular movies from...

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