How did Cold War containment actions of the 1960s impact the lives of ordinary Americans? (ex: Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, etc.)

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These two episodes in the Cold War really did not have that much of a lasting impact on the everyday lives of ordinary Americans.  This is particularly true of the Bay of Pigs invasion.  Even the Cuban Missile Crisis did not have a long-lasting impact.  While the crisis was going on, people were, of course, quite worried about what might happen.  However, the fear that was brought on by the crisis did not end up affecting people that much in the long term.

During the 1960s, the aspect of containment that really made a huge difference in people’s lives was the Vietnam War.  Where the Cuban Missile Crisis lasted two weeks, the Vietnam War was going on to some extent throughout the decade.  Where very few Americans were directly involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, more than 2.5 million Americans served in uniform in Vietnam.  Something like 58,000 Americans died there.  This, of course, had a tremendous impact on Americans in general.

The Vietnam War also affected the lives of those who did not serve and did not have family who served.  It led to major dissension within the US.  Americans split very severely over the issue of whether to support the war. 

In these ways, the major containment action in the 1960s in terms of affecting ordinary Americans was the Vietnam War.