In the late 1940’s, the United States and Soviet Union had become locked in a Cold War. For about forty-three years, although no war between the superpowers of the United States and the Soviet Union was ever officially declared, the leaders of the democratic West and the Communist East faced off against each other. The war was a dreadful time for both sides, keeping all citizens on edge. Many major events in global history including the rise of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis were related to the Cold War.
There were many fears of the Cold War that the American people feared in the aftermath of the Second World War (Doc. A). The American people feared the Soviet for two reasons. One reason was why the American people feared the Soviet was because the Soviet had nuclear bombs. The other reason was that the Soviet was the first to put up an orbiting satellite, which was Sputnik. However, the American people greatest fear was communism (Doc B. ). Communist influence spread to China as well as Eastern Europe, and soon made is way to Cuba. From this advantage point, the U.
S. S. R. started exporting nuclear missiles and this was the last straw for the United States. In an address by John Foster Dulles, he spoke of this issue and seemed to reinstate the Monroe Doctrine while yielding the “big stick” formerly carried by Teddy Roosevelt in the Caribbean (Doc. B). This began our new “roll-back” policy which would involve the U. S. attempting to fight communism aggressively. With the Inauguration of J. F. K. in 1961, the United States further requested help from other free powers to protect liberty throughout the world (Doc.
I). This reflects our former NATO alliance in Europe to keep communism out. Eisenhower’s next attempts to supress the American fears would be to boost the amount of nuclear power we as a nation maintained. In a message to Congress, Eisenhower attempted to boost the education of the American youth (Doc. G). Eisenhower, at that time, was like worried because the U. S. ’ education had always been considered very low and we were in a deep arms race with the U. S. S. R. Especially with the Soviet launch of Sputnik into space.
Eisenhower believed that we must produce a new, smarter generation of scientists and engineers (Doc. G). This fear of an intelligence dominant Soviet Union gave an even deeper fear in the Americans. In Must U. S. Take the First Blow, this fear is clearly demonstrated. As the years progressed it became clear that the U. S. S. R. would be able to attack much quicker than the U. S. would be at trying to protect themselves (Doc. E). The arms race did continue for many years during the Cold War, as shown by J. F.
K. ’s Inaugural address when he says “we dare not tempt them with weakness,” showing that they must keep building their nuclear weapons (Doc. I). But while trying to ease the fears of the U. S. citizens, Eisenhower began the setup of bunkers and bomb shelters. The government sent out many pamphlets as well as instruction manuals and supplies which would help people “survive” a nuclear attack. Families could do practice bomb drills and go to their shelters which every home needed to be equipped with (Doc. C).
The fear of spies in America was also a major issue during the Cold War. There were even organizations set up by the government, which sought to pull out and incarcerate “spies” who were said to be giving U. S. information to the Soviets. The committees tried a lot of people who were thought to be traitors such as Whittaker Chambers. Chambers addresses the possible spies who he had worked with in supplying the Soviets with information (Doc. F). Often during this time people would even blame their own family members to avoid suspicion.
Through those measures taken by Dwight D. Eisenhower to ease the fears of the U. S. citizens during the Cold War era about the spread of communism, the promise of a nuclear global suicide, and the spying in America, he was able to successfully do what he needed to. However, after his presidency was up things began to escalate out of control. The “containment” and “roll-back” policies would eventually lead to brinkmanship and the creation of two more Asian wars that the military would be involved in.