The Economic Impact Of The Cold War

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The Cold War was a war like no other for the United States of America. For the first time in the nation’s history, the country was engaged in an ideological war with the Soviet Union, and the occurrence of physical battles between the two was nonexistent. Despite the fact that that Cold War was a new type of foreign dispute, the American lifestyle was still directly impacted. Like with World War II, the United States’ economy was directly impacted by the Cold War, as expected from any sort of international quarrels. However, in addition to the impact on the American economy, the Cold War unexpectedly influenced other aspects of American life as well. For example, American culture prevailed and was promoted like never before, and American higher…show more content…
The so-called “golden age” lasted from post-World War II until the 1970s, and was only fueled by the American practice of capitalism and consumerism. While it was not a war in the traditional sense, the Cold War still “…fueled industrial production and promoted a redistribution of the nation’s population and economic resources” (Give Me Liberty! 924), with both the West and the South benefiting from producing various types of military equipment. The United States waged a war on the idea of communism, challenging it with the “freedoms” offered by capitalism, and soon the “…measure of freedom became the ability to gratify market desires” (Give Me Liberty! 927) in the United States. It was claimed by House Beautiful magazine that the nation’s “…most powerful weapon in the Cold War...was ‘the freedom offered by washing machines and dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, automobiles, and refrigerators’” (Give Me Liberty! 928), as the standard image of American life was portrayed as luxurious compared to those of other countries, specifically the Soviet Union. However this prosperity brought did not last forever, for in the early 1970s, the United States’ economy declined as a result of the economic consequences of the Cold War. In an effort to strengthen the countries it had alliances with, the United States “…promoted the industrial reconstruction of Japan and Germany and the emergence of new centers of manufacturing in places like South Korea and Taiwan” (Give Me Liberty! 1020), stripping means of income from once-thriving American manufacturers. Consumed with ensuring the prosperity of their allies, the United States disregarded their own industries, and even went as far as to encourage American-based companies to invest in foreign manufacturing plants. This, overall, sent the United States’ economy into a decline, for they

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