Cold War Social Impact

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The Cold War lasted forty-four years and left a lasting social impact on the United States. The spread of communism and The Soviet Union left many Americans in a constant state of fear and paranoia. The space race between the United States and The Soviet Union significantly impacted the education system in the United States and the curriculum that was taught for years to come. The social emphasis on gender caused a crisis on American masculinity and feminism by influencing many to assume certain gender roles and feel that they were not masculine enough or too feminine because of their view on communism. The Cold War socially impacted the United States through fear, education, and gender. One of the main social impacts of the Cold War was …show more content…

The pressure for the United States to be better than the Soviet Union caused the education in the United States to be more focused towards math and science. Maddin says, “Sputnik woke the nation up, serving as a “focusing event” that put a spotlight on a national problem. In this case, he said, the problem was education.” The sputnik launched in 1957 and was the first artificial earth satellite. Marsha Thompson even says, “I believe because of sputnik we came as a country to realize that science, scientist, and engineers would make all the difference in our futures. The schools started changing; their curriculums became much stronger in math and science. It was more a goal to develop an engineer than attorney; it just really affected our schools.” From this quotation one can see that the space race influenced the education in the United States and changed it for the better. Bradt says, “Though Sputnik was a relatively simple satellite compared with the more complex machines to follow, its beeping signal from space galvanized the United States to enact reforms in science and engineering education so that the nation could regain technological ground it appeared to have lost to its Soviet rival” (Bradt). Although the Sputnik was not known to be technologically advanced it was the first thing to orbit the earth, it stunned people in the United States and caused an instant response. Marsha Thompson …show more content…

The fear caused by the Cold War caused people to want control anything they could, because they felt like they had no control over their enemies. This led to people trying to control the gender norms of the United States during the Cold War. Smith says, “The fear of conspiracy, which historians have long identified with radical right or left politics, in fact permeated the mainstream of American life, serving as a means to regulate, if not control, social change” (Smith 309). From this quotation one can see that the fear of the unknown and conspiracy caused Americans to want control over social change and more specifically gender. Smith even goes as far to say that, “By 1947, the Cold War had made the United States a new and permanent national-security state with substantial power to manipulate attitudes towards gender, sexual behaviour, and disease” (308 Smith). During the Cold War people began to be viewed as hard or soft. If you were hard you were strict on communism and its threats, but if you were soft you were not. Men who were seen as soft lost their masculinity and were looked down on. Cuordileone says the, “Cold War political rhetoric also reveals a growing concern about the masculinity of American men” (pg. 522). So not only were men beginning to be seen as soft, people were starting to worry about their masculinity. People were starting to believe that, “American males had become the

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