The Cold War

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A large part of the United States’ identity as a country was defined by the events that took place during the early 1940s through the mid-1960s. During World War II, through personal sacrifice of its people and the reorganization of industry to meet war demands, the United States emerged as a dominant economic leader. The American free market system contributed to vast technological capabilities and expanding market opportunities. The Soviet Union, also part of the victorious World War II Allied forces, expanded its borders into neighboring countries to encourage a centrally-controlled communist economic structure. In theory, differing economic structures between the two new super-powers could remain a matter of choice, with the choice of one not affecting the other. In reality, the immense desire by both the United States and the Soviet Union to promote like-minded economies that ensured their own economic success created ongoing ideological clashes. The conflict was termed the Cold War, and while the opponents never fought each other directly, their ideological differences would escalate to military action in defense of countries outside their borders.

After the turmoil of World War II, most Americans were content to settle into their lives, often with a new spouse, and start their family. They did not favor engaging in a new international conflict; at the same time, they realized that a change in foreign policy may be necessary to prevent, rather than fight and win, any future wars (Goldfield, 2014). With public support for pre-World War II policies of isolationism diminished, President Truman adopted a foreign policy that supported the United States’ need to participate in conflicts which impacted democracy, even if they occu...

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...tate Office of the Historian: http://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/nato
U.S. Department of State - Office of the Historian. (n.d.). The Korean War 1950-1953 1945-1952 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian: http://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/korean-war-2
U.S. Department of State - Office of the Historian. (n.d.). The Truman Doctrine, 1947-1952 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian: http://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/truman-doctrine
Wright, J. (2013, July 23). What We Learned From the Korean War - James Wright - The Atlantic. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/07/what-we-learned-from-the-korean-war/278016/

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