The Culture of the Cold War

analytical Essay
3254 words
3254 words

The Culture of the Cold War

After world war one peace looked inevitable. Everyone was wrong about this because a few years later world war two erupted. This great war was supposed to be the war to end all wars. In this war it was crystal clear who was the good side and who was the bad side. Almost everyone figured that if the bad side was defeated then peace couldn’t possibly escape us again. We defeated the evil Axis powers, but of course another serpent would rear its ugly head from behind the curtains. This period of a “cold war” after world war two has become one of the most complex and studied eras since America’s birth. This state of paradoxes, paranoia, and public disorientation has only ended a few years ago, but its consequences will probably stretch on into the distant future. Stephen Whitfield exhibits flawlessly how the culture that has arisen from this extraordinary era is truly a marvel of the psychology of the human mind.

During the era after the war a truly devastating “specter”, as Whitfield puts it, was present. This monster’s birth came from the writings of Karl Marx whose views were almost completely opposite from all of our capitalistic views. With these teachings Vladmir Lenin had taken over the entire country of Russia. This revolution spread to a few other countries so many figured that it could quite possibly happen here. All those with any sort of power or holding in these present state of affairs would stop at nothing to keep halt a new sort of reign. These people, according to Whitfield, were politicians of all kinds, businessmen, clergy, almost everyone. By communism infringing on sacred trysts of American ideals it became more hated then almost any crime during this time.

There was a real r...

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...the other wonderful aspects of America that dominated the culture during this time. Whitfield truly demonstrated the unique culture of this era of the cold war. America was a conformist, paranoid nation that obeyed everything and anything which the authority commanded in fear of persecution. This oppressed culture is best expressed by the expulsion of all of these bottled up sentiments in the next decade. Our culture was based on the old FDR adage regarding World War II, “There is nothing to fear except fear itself”. The politics of this era created an invisible, evil scapegoat for all the problems in the world and kept the people under an almost Stalinist totalitarian rule with this propaganda for a little over a decade. The culture of this era was truly something else and Stephen Whitield really did a fine job trying to figure out what that “something” really was.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the "cold war" after world war two has become one of the most complex and studied eras since america's birth.
  • Analyzes how a devastating "specter" was present during the era after the war. the monster's birth came from the writings of karl marx whose views were almost completely opposite from our capitalistic views.
  • Explains that communism was loathed in america and the other democratic nations. stalinist russia had the worst of the world’s slave labor camps known as the gulag archipelago.
  • Analyzes how whitfield argues that it is wrong to extend sympathy to these american communists because they stand for ending american civil liberties that they saw as only for the upper class.
  • Analyzes how the red scare of communist infiltration was an invisible foe which made it quite aware to political leaders that finding the source and ending it was impossible.
  • Explains that the nuclear foreboding stemmed from the republican doctrine that we would engage any marxian movement with "massive retaliation".
  • Explains that communism was a horrible evil entity that was almost impossible to pin down. censorship and boycotting ran rampant through the streets of america condemning almost everything the least bit suspicious.
  • Argues that it is wrong to say that the culture of 1950's america coincides with the cold war.
  • Explains that republicans jumped on the movement of super anti-communism stronger and faster than the democrats. liberalism was seen as soft in the eyes of money because of their ability to ruthlessly fight invisible communists like barry goldwater republicans.
  • Analyzes how the paranoid ravings came about with the trial of democratic congressman alger hiss. whitfeild feels that there was substantial evidence against him to merit such a trial.
  • Analyzes how the fear of being caught if you failed to "act right" was savagely executed by republican senator joseph mccarthy.
  • Analyzes how joe mccarthy created his image as some invincible "demagogue" according to whitfield.
  • Analyzes how stephen whitfield describes the abstract ideologies that kept our culture pumping during this era.
  • Analyzes how truman's firing of macarthur for insubordination was cowardice in the face of the red behemoth.
  • Explains that macarthur's boundless bravado attitude was meant to aid in the amazing prosperity of this era. the fbi and justice department were going crazy to uphold this perfect family ideal because the "barbaric russians" didn't behave like the wholesome suburban nuclear family.
  • Analyzes how whitfield asserts that religion added heat to an already burning tension during this cold war.
  • Analyzes how the justice department aversion to communists and sympathizers led to the death of huac in the early sixties.
  • Opines that films, television, and media made a huge impact on our culture during the cold war.
  • Analyzes how whitfield feels that hollywood was thrust into the cold war in 1947 when huac came to los angeles.
  • Analyzes how the cold war coincided with the birth of a great new medium of our culture, television, which aided in killing some of the previous culture.
  • Analyzes how the proverbial "classic" era of the cold war ended with the end of stalin's reign and his excesses.
  • Analyzes how whitfield describes the changing entertainment culture with movies like the manchurian candidate, stanley kubrick's dr. strangelove and joseph heller’s novel catch 22.
  • Analyzes how stephen whitfield captured the essence of paranoia, fear, submission, and all of the other wonderful aspects of america that dominated the culture during this era.

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