In what ways did the Cold War affect American society between 1945 and 1970.    Hello =) For my History class, i am to write a in class essay. I recieved two prompts that i must study. I...

In what ways did the Cold War affect American society between 1945 and 1970.



Hello =)

For my History class, i am to write a in class essay. I recieved two prompts that i must study. I would like some feedback if possible:

In what ways did the Cold War affect American society between 1945 and 1970.

I have come up with:

The United States built up a huge aresenal of nuclear weapons

Demolition of the Berlin Wall

Led to Vietnam and Korean War

United States becomes the most powerful country in the world?

Creation of NATO


Do you have anymore things you think i should add? I feel like my topics are too broad and i should focus more on american society. Can you give me any tips?




Expert Answers
larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You probably should give some consideration to the effect of the Cold War on Americans at home. One of the biggest changes was the response to the perceived threat of communism. Newspapers often carried ads with pictures of Nikita Khrushchev with his finger pointed upward declaring "We'll bury you." Because of the atheistic nature of Communism, Americans turned to organized religion wholesale. It was during this time that the words "under God" were added to the pledge of allegiance to the flag; and "In God We Trust" was added to U.S. Currency and Coinage.  The perceived threat of a nuclear attack led many Americans to erect bomb shelters in their back yards; major buildings bore "Civil Defense Shelter" symbols where one might go to escape nuclear fallout. School children practiced "duck and cover" drills, and many towns practiced air raid drills/signals weekly. The perceived threat of Communism was so great, American Civil Liberties were often threatened. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI wrote a book entitled "None Dare Call it Treason," which painted any dissention as of communist origin. Sen. Joseph McCarthy conducted hearings in which many Americans were falsely accused of affiliation with the Communist Party. Many lives were ruined, on the basis of rumor. The posted link below will offer more detailed information. 

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have a couple of suggestions.  The prompt asks for the effects of the Cold War on society, that is, the social effects on Americans from that long running conflict, so you may want to concentrate more on some of those specific effects and less on the events themselves.

One theme along that line you could focus on is the continual sense of fear Americans lived with, from Soviet expansion into east Europe, to their development of the bomb.  Fear during McCarthyism in the 1950s that communists were at work in the United States.  Fear of a "missile gap" between us and the Russians and a possible nuclear attack.  Fear of Sputnik and space technology, the idea that we were continually behind, and in the 1960s, the common acceptance of the idea that, after the Cuban Missile Crisis nuclear war was inevitable.

Secondly, keep in mind the prompt wants you to concentrate on effects up until 1970, so demolition of the Berlin Wall is out, since that happened much later, in 1989.

Lastly, an as another theme, consider the fact that Americans became much more patriotic, even nationalistic, and calling others' patriotism into question became an effective way for politicians to get elected, or to win support for specific policies like increased military spending or overseas interventions.

Yojana_Thapa | Student

Cold War (1945-1991) was a long period of tension between the two superpowers, United States and the USSR (Soviet Union). Cold war had a massive effect in the United States Domestic Policy and the American Society. Both the United States and the U.s built atomic weapons and missiles and challenged one another. American simply thought that Soviet Union had a power to turn every one into communists, the Domino theory. When one country falls into communism so does the others. Fear, aggression, and dominance describes United States in this era. Therefore, United States is affected in many areas including Domestic policy and mostly American society.

Primarily, American society is being affected and it is clearly shown through many events. Cold war creates fear within the people. Executive order 9835 passed by President Harry Truman to investigate the government employees.  It simply was to make sure that no American, especially government officials were communists. SO that all American would be on the same boat. America feared communism so they investigated threats of communism in U.S. House committee in Un-American Activities also disrupted the lives of the Americans in its hunt for communists.

Furthermore, the nuclear arms race which was a central to the Cold War. Many feared that the Cold war was mostly about the belief that the more nuclear weapons on country had, the more powerful and dominant they were. This definitely had a huge effect in the United States’ Domestic policy and American society. The whole world was in Danger, USA exploded the H-bomb in 1953. The Soviets also produced an H-Bomb in 1953. They both began building up stockpiles of nuclear weapons. It leads to US families building bomb shelters. Many were afraid of the destruction that it would cause. The federal government encouraged the building of these shelters. . The soviets increased its skills and power by launching the Sputnik.  This had a drastic effect on the education provided in the American society as depicted in . U.S began emphasizing science that’s they forgot about General education. This can show that U.S was so concentrated about the cold war, about the U.S, about the fear it created that they emphasized Science and felt that they had to retaliate with a massive force. It changed the domestic policy because science was more crucial as a result of Sputnik. The space race begins where both of these massive forces see who had the best science and technology in space.

In Addition, altering the Domestic policy, lottery draft systems for Americans were created as depicted in , as a soldier turn 18, he will be chosen randomly to serve in the Vietnam War. It changed the American society as well, because once the men are taken out the women’s role can be altered. Just like how WWII transformed the society where Women took a lead. The Percent of Federal money spent on defense increased in 1950 to 1960. Cold war affecting the United States’ defense budgets means it altered the society and the domestic policy because it reduced the domestic spending.

In conclusion, the Cold war generally affected United States’ Domestic policy and American Society. Cold War was more likely a challenge between USSR and United States. It created fear and aggression in the states because United States were mainly concerned about the spread of communism. It changed the Draft system because American need many men to serve in the military especially during this era. Mostly American rights were destructed in the hunt for communists. It decreased domestic spending while increasing defense spending. Therefore, the Cold War had a great impact in the United States.