Questions to think about:
Why was there a cold war? Did Russian aggression make conflict inevitable, or did the United States overact to the battered Soviet Union’s quest for security? What was the effect of the cold war on the worldview and psychology of American citizens?
The Cold War began after WWII where the United States and the Soviet Union indirectly fought by using fear with the creation of nuclear weapons. Historians argue on whether this was necessary and if the US’s ego got in the way. Document 2 shows how Americans should try to understand their efforts. Secretary of Commerce Henry A. Wallace himself says how our efforts “make it appear either (1) that we are preparing ourselves to win the war which we regard as inevitable or (2) that we are trying to build up a predominance of force to intimidate the rest of mankind.” He basically saw the flaws in our motives and ultimately it wasn’t worth the nuclear arm race they were initiating. He agreed that we overreacted and he saw the consequences that would happen.
Document 8 deals with the new lifestyle of American citizens. Life Magazine titles “We Won’t All Be Dead” After Nuclear War in 1959. It was a policy that each family should be able to survive on their own for two weeks if they survived a nuclear attack. This article provided the harsh truth that the government can’t save everyone. It included where citizens can buy toolkits and how avoiding the topic of nuclear attacks isn’t helping anyone. This magazine emphasized the need for citizens to get active and start preparing for the worst.
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