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The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union emerged and developed after World War II, though its origins go back in history to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The Cold War was an ideological, economic, political and military confrontation, but it never actually was fought between these two nations on a battlefield. It was a war of tensions and hostilities where the belligerents engaged each other around the world but avoided direct conflict because of the dire consequences of such actions. As the Cold War progressed until the collapse of the Soviet Union, it had a significant impact on the American society, economy, and American politics. The Cold War instigated strong anti-communism within the USA. The hatred towards Communism was so great that it eventually led to McCarthyism. During McCarthyism, Americans were obsessed with the process of identifying the Communists and removing those Communists from American society. The strength of this obsession increased greatly that Americans started to forget the fact that the US constitution guaranteed all Americans freedom to believe what they wanted to believe.
The purpose of organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House Un-American Activities became the ‘removal of Communists’ and laws such as the Communist Control Act were passed to facilitate the process of identifying, capturing and removing Communists. The McCarran Act was also introduced, which forced all Communist organizations to be registered within the US government and banned Communists carrying US passports and working in defense industries. Inevitably, many were questioned without having done anything wrong, many lost their jobs and some even lost their lives like the Rosenbergs, who were blamed for having passed secret information about atomic bombs to the Soviet Union. This red scare continued to dominate the American society until the late 1950s. The Cold War also made many Americans live in fear of danger of war. This fear of war was instigated by the arms race.
One example is the Cuban missile crisis, which caused high tension within the USA as the missiles in Cuba could reach the USA at any time. Until the U-2 planes found the missiles in Cuba, the fear was not significant as people knew that the missiles in the USSR could not cover such long distance to reach the USA. However, the missiles in Cuba threatened the USA’s security to a significant extent that many Americans had to live in fear. Although the attitude of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was existent, the missiles in such proximity alarmed many Americans at that time.
Apart from the Cuban missile crisis, Americans lived in constant fear as the Cold War could turn into a hot war at any time. The Cold War also had an impact on the American people economically. The impact was caused mainly by the increase in the amount of taxes. The United States used to adopt isolationism previously, meaning that the USA did not intervene in any other foreign matters to only concentrate on the domestic issues. As soon as the USA decided to intervene in foreign matters, Americans had to pay more taxes to support the USA’s actions. These actions, including the arms race and other wars, required a massive amount of capital. For instance, the Vietnam War was one of the factors that used up a massive amount of capital. The Vietnam War was very different from any other wars because it was a guerrilla war between Vietcongs. The Vietcongs had successfully planned the strategies to kill many Americans without having America’s latest technology such as tanks and airplanes.
As the war developed, it was estimated that it cost Americans $400,000 to kill one Viet Cong. The timing of the Cold War was crucial and one of the most diverse in the recent world history. Not only was it a war of diversity, but a war of great length that lasted about fifty years. What made this time so significant was that the whole world was involved in this war in some way. The world was split into two opposing teams and one minor mistake could have easily resulted in another world war. The Cold War is different from most wars for the simple reason of it was a war that was never actually fought.
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