Cold War America

Cold War America


The Cold War started as a competition between America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) because of the control of Eastern Europe and the future of Germany after the end of the second world war which occurred between 1945-1963. America, under the political leadership of President Harry Truman, was almost certain that the USSR was strategically expanding its political, geographical, and economic influence, thus America reacted by confining Stalin’s power to Eastern Europe while reconstructing democratic rule in Western Europe. This essay will analyze how contests in the global stage and a feeling of apprehension at home affected domestic affairs, people, and the way of life in America.  

The Containment Strategy

America adopted containment, which quickly spread to Asia. Containment referred to a straightforward plan of action advanced by American administrators against the Soviet Union at the end of the 1940s. At the period between 1946-1947, three major events took place and disturbed President Truman and his experts. At the beginning, USSR was compelling Iran to get away to get their oil and Turkey to gain entry to the Mediterranean. Furthermore, there was the civil war in Greece, between the kingship and the Yugoslavian Communist factions. Lastly, the European states experienced horrible hardships between 1946 and 1947, while communist factions in Italy and France continued to grow. In 1946, George F. Kennan, an American diplomat at the US embassy in Moscow, suggested to the U.S. State Department through a secret message that it was the right time to apply the containment strategy.

In 1961, President Kennedy raised the military financial assistance to South Vietnam and increased the functions of the U.S. Special Forces otherwise known as the Green Berets, to prepare the South Vietnamese army in unorthodox, minor group armed conflict strategies. At the beginning of 1957, U.S. President Eisenhower issued the Eisenhower Doctrine, which stipulated that the American troops can help any state in the Middle East that needs help against armed attacks from any country controlled by International Communism. President Truman’s 1948 Executive Order 9981 granted all American forces the permission to work together, irrespective of their race. Unionized workers made zealous demands and begun large-scale strikes in the car, coal and steel corporations after the Cold War.

The Postwar Red Scare and Its Consequences on Civil Liberties

President Truman issued Executive Order 9835, creating the Loyal Security Program, which allowed bureaucrats to probe any federal government worker for subversive activities such as treason and sabotage, but it was extended to make any person to be blamed of subversion, for instance participating in demonstrations or signing petitions. More than one thousand suspected political subversives, gay and lesbians were removed from federal employment. They were casualties of an enthusiastic hunt for anyone suspected not suitable for government work. Following the President’s initiative, numerous federal and local governments, businesses, churches, political organizations, universities, and other institutions joined the anti-subversion campaign, that contained administering loyalty oaths. Within the labor movements, some unions were banned by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) based on Communist domination around 1949. Many Civil rights organizations, for instance, the National Urban League and the National Association for the Colored People (NAACP) banned Communists together with their sympathizers. Consequently, the Red Scare expanded from the federal government to the farthermost cultural, economic, and organization American life.    

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) And Its Consequences on Civil Liberties

Once the Cold War was finished, the HUAC fueled the Red Scare by organizing broadly promoted public hearings in 1947 on supposed Communist intrusion in the cinema industry. Some directors and writers known as the Hollywood Ten were jailed on the charges of contempt for congress since they were reluctant to give testimony about their alleged associations. Hundreds of other writers, directors, and actors who were named in the HUAC probe became permanently blacklisted from any form of employment, becoming casualties of a secret but certain blacklist recognized by industry executives. In 1948, Mr. Alger Hiss, a former State Department official was accused of being a member of a covert Communist cell working in the government.

Mr. Whitaker Chambers, a former Communist, alleged that Hiss has given him confidential records in the 1930s. Although Hiss refuted the claims, Richard Nixon, a California Republican congressman continued to pursue the case against Hiss. At the beginning of the 1950s, Hiss was found guilty of misleading Congress concerning his Communist associations and was jailed for five years. At the time, the majority of Americans questioned that Hiss was a secret agent. Today, many historians admit that Hiss might have been a spy, because of the strong coincidental evidence against him. The 1990s Venona transcripts backed up Chambers’s testimony produced concrete evidence against Hiss.       


This essay analyzed how contests in the global scene and a feeling of apprehension at home changed domestic affairs, people, and the way of life in America. The United States adopted containment methods against the Soviet Union to confine the latter’s regional influence to Eastern Europe so that the United States could help Eastern Europe to reconstruct their democratic government. Contests on the international stage and a feeling of fear at home affected domestic affairs in the United States, and the Truman administration created the containment strategy and various legislation such as President Truman’s Executive Order 9835 and the HUAC (that resulted in the Red Scare). These events greatly affected American politics, people, and culture.






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