Essay about War Workers And Cold War Communities

Essay about War Workers And Cold War Communities

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Ann Markusen’s work, “Cold War Workers, Cold War Communities” is a phenomenal, in-depth investigation into the different changes of the 1950s, such as industry, technology, occupations, and communities/culture. Markusen dives into how these pieces of society interacted between each other and makes sure to note that these segments were not just related through a single “cause and effect” relationship chain. Markusen explains the complicated relationships between these factors by utilizing ten years’ worth of research she’s done on primary and secondary sources that focus on the changing military industry, technology, occupations, and its related communities/culture. By unpacking these changes depicted in the outside sources, Markusen is able to make big connections on how these changes were related.
Markusen’s findings on the relationship between industry, technology, and occupations are fascinating. They seem so obvious as they’re being explained in the article, but they still so complex. It is already widely understood that warfare changed with the introduction of nuclear weapons. However, I never realized that with the change in technology came a change in the workforce, too. The new weapons technology required more advanced computer technology, lethality, stealth, reliability, and maneuverability in order to be competent as an unmanned deterrent.
The Cold War also brought with it a change in the job field of many. Due to the changing focus of weapons technology, the type of person hired to create these weapons were mostly scientists and engineers, who, incidentally, displaced blue-collar employees in both the defense and commercial fields. This displacement was caused by the changing type of occupational needs withi...


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...mmunities’ stability up to chance.
Finally, one of the more significant social changes Markusen talks about was the creation of a social “underclass” created by the closing of blue-collar jobs. Seeking out the newer industrial jobs that became available in the West, poor whites and blacks traveled to the area, only to lose their jobs when the “gunbelt” was formed. This sudden, massive job loss affected a large population, creating greater competition for a limited job pool and, inevitably, sequestering many of the poor blacks and whites to their inner-city neighborhoods for generations. Overall, Markusen expresses that her desire is for this article is to create a better understanding of the changes in society during the Cold War to better prepare for post-Cold War reconstruction. This is a noble cause that I appreciate and found very informative and effective.

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