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Cold War

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The cold War

The Cold War was a response to the perceived threat by the United States that Communism would interfere with national security and economic stakes in the world. It was a perceived threat by communist countries that the United States would take to the world. During the Cold War, the United States, Russia, and other countries made efforts to avoid another world war, while warring in proxy in other lands. The devastation caused by the hydrogen bombs exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the next technological advancements became only deterrents to the public. Governments had their own agenda which would result in worsening the strain between nations. The United States hid behind a curtain of nationalism resulting in increased hatred and mistrust between the people of the United States and Russia. Noam Chomsky reminds us that Communism is a broad term that includes those with the ability to get control of mass movements. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles once stated that, "The poor people are the ones they appeal to and they have always wanted to plunder the rich." So, in one view, the U.S. felt they must be overcome, to protect our doctrine that the rich should ravage the poor. This became another motivation for the Cold War. In his historical account of the events leading to the Cold War, Jacob Heilbrunn reports that after World War II, "realists... agreed that Soviet aggrandizement was responsible for the cold war." (Heilbrunn) They felt the reason, rather than Communism, Heilbrunn notes, was that "Stalin was pursuing Russian national interests that dated back to the czars." Others, however, accused the president and Congress "of following a consistent policy of economic imperialism, " tracing it back to the "Open Door Diplomacy of the nineteenth century, which outlined "an insatiable American appetite for new [economic] markets." (Heilbrunn) Heilbrunn says that Gabriel Kolko also felt that Roosevelt's anti-Russia stance was formed to create dominance by the United States in world economic markets. (Heilbrunn) Heilbrunn says that Leffler's A Preponderance of Power, has become the "sacred text of the neo-revisionists." (Heilbrunn) Leffler claims that U.S. security policy was established between 1940 and 1946 based on geopolitics, not economics. Truman was far from fearing a Soviet military attack and was defending American economic stability guaranteeing there would not be a return to the economics of the 1930's and wanted to create a Wilsonian liberal democratic order led by the United States. Leffler stated that "they were worried that the Kremlin might exploit these weaknesses to alter the balance of power... so they harnessed the economic principles of the open door to the national security interests of the United States. (Heilbrunn) Leffler describes the Cold War in this way: "...neither the Americans nor the Soviets sought to harm the other in 1945... The protests that each country's actions evoked from the other fueled the cycle of distrust as neither could comprehend the fears of the other, perceiving its own actions as defensive. Herein rests the classic security dilemma... U.S. officials... chose to contain and deter the Russians rather than to reassure and placate them, thereby accentuating possibilities for a spiraling cycle of mistrust." (Heilbrunn) In 1947, Ernest Bevin, British foreign secretary, "believed it essential to construct a defensive military alliance in Western Europe; and in December of that year he proposed to George C. Marshall an alliance that would guarantee Western European security and prevent further Soviet aggrandizement." (Heilbrunn) This proposal was realized in the North Atlantic Treaty and the establishment of NATO in 1949. Only an alliance such as this would halt Soviet infiltration and the gradual collapse of one western wall after another. According to Heilbrunn, the Soviet military buildup started after 1945. By 1950 American intelligence estimates suggested that the Soviets possessed 175 divisions, several hundred bombers capable of flying missions against the British Isles, 300 submarines and a substantial tactical air force. Heilbrunn states, "It Is easy enough now to scoff at the apprehensions felt by Truman and Acheson, but the threat that the Kremlin posed was the threat of intimidation and the ability to strike decisively is a seizure of power was possible. Indeed, it was Stalin's approval of North Korea's attack on South Korea in 1950 that finally provoked an American military buildup." (Heilbrunn) While John F. Kennedy was running for president, he charged Eisenhower with complacency in letting Russia create a "missile gap." According to Michael Moore, Kennedy was relying on "misinterpreted intelligence... worst case scenarios, anti-Soviet hysteria, and cynical domestic political calculation." (Moore) Messages similar to Kennedy's were compounded with hysteria in the media and from trusted individuals in government. During this time there was an outpouring of film and TV shows dealing directly or indirectly with the threat of nuclear war. The 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one such film. While receiving highly critical reviews from the media at the time it has transpired into a perfect image of the hysteria surrounding the threat of nuclear attack. Dr. Strangelove, humorously recognized the "evil" system of science and technology in the atomic age and in itself helped to reinvigorate a dynamic tension in America between the forces of cultural dissent and the forces of the political and technological status quo. This film along with others and their attention to accidental nuclear war and the profanity of the nuclear establishment summed up postwar cultural qualms about the corruption of American power and leadership and undermined the sacred cold war institutions of the bomb and its military and political bureaucracy. Dr. Strangelove tied together all of the culture's diversified atomic age concerns- "from the fears and expectations of accidental nuclear war and human extinction to the revisionist interpretation of anti-communism as an insane and internal menace, from the recognition of increased power and position of technology and militarism in American society and the accompanying dehumanization of that same society to the open understanding of America's system as an irrational and unworkable one, directed by leaders tinged with fascism, madness, and moral corruption." (Henriksen) These films at the time had an enormous effect on the majority of the American viewing audience. They were seen as motivation to the popular fears and intolerance toward Soviet military actions. The truth at the time was that Eisenhower announced



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