Impact of the Cold War at Home The fear of communism and the threat of nuclear war affected American life throughout the Cold War. During the 1950s and
1960s, American schools regularly held drills to train children what to do in case of a nuclear attack. These notions, though idiotic today, allowed people to feel they had some control over their situation. These still shots show Bert the Turtle in his classic film role.
American citizens were urged by the government to build bomb shelters in their own basements. This was their safe place in case of a nuclear attack. Increasing domestic fears of communism The convictions of Alger Hiss, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for
spying for the Soviet Union, and the construction of nuclear weapons by the Soviets using technical secrets obtained through spying,. Alger Hiss (above) was convicted of espionage in the State Department. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (below) were convicted of selling atomic secrets to the Soviets. They were put to death!
Another Witch Hunt: Senator Joseph McCarthy played on American fears of communism by recklessly accusing many American governmental officials and citizens of being communists based on flimsy or no evidence. McCarthyism:
The hunt for communists led to the coining of the term McCarthyism-- the making of false accusations based on rumor or guilt by association. McCarthy, the feared red hunter, displaying the "distribution" of communists in different states. He was know for his phrase I have a list of known communists. No one ever saw the list.
Downfall of McCarthy: Senator Joe McCarthy became a very powerful man. He seemed to self-destruct as TV cameras showed the nation his bully tactics. He was not re-elected and left office in relative obscurity. The Cold War made foreign policy a major issue in every presidential election during the period. President Lyndon B. Johnson greets
American troops in Vietnam, 1966. 1976 Carter-Ford Presidential debates return, mainly because the incumbent, Ford, is in need of a boost against the challenger, Jimmy Carter. Instead, Ford blows it by stating flatly, "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.
Senator John F. Kennedy debates Vice President Richard M. Nixon in the first televised debates, 1960. Presidents Reagan and Bush saw the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s.
Cold War and Virginia: The heavy military expenditures throughout the Cold War benefited Virginias economy proportionately more than any other state. Its impact was especially dramatic in Hampton Roads, home to several large naval and air bases. Northern Virginia, home to the Pentagon and numerous private companies that contract with the military, was also impacted significantly.
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