The Cold War between 1945-1961 : How Did Media Effect Americans? Sierra Rain NOV. 29, 2013 Cold War First Semester The Cold War Between 1945-1961 : How Did Media Effect Americans? The Cold War affected Americans in many aspects of their personal lives. Americans were affected the Cold War mostly through media: radio, books, newspapers, comics and in the later years, television. The primary way to get news was gathering around the radio or television.
From these avenues of communication, families were constantly being bombarded with talk of communism and the fight against it. The war disrupted the very core of American living both psychologically and emotionally. Psychologically there “always” seemed to be the looming impending doom that the media portrayed. Emotionally there was always the threat of another big war and young men having to go fght. American families were very patriotic during this time period because of the contrast between the soviet- communism and the freedoms of America.
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They looked to the president for direction, inspiration, and assurance that America would not go into another war like the World Wars. The men and women of America were constantly bombarded with newspaper headlines such as: Experts Say Berlin Blockade Is Backfiring, London Has 6-hour Raids, and H-Bomb Capable of Total Destruction. Many of the movies made in the 1950s and 1960s were spy films and were used effectively as a “weapon of confrontation between the two world systems” democratic and communist.
These films created a paranoid atmosphere with “end of the world” scenarios, making the viewers have a sense of constant unease. Casting suspicion upon the communists by showing both a foreign and domestic threat aused psychological stress. For example, Pick Up On South Street is a spy films based out of the cold war era along with, Big Jim McLain, and Casino Royale, these movies depicted the “evil” communist hunting our secrets to use them against us. Throughout the Cold War era, both the film and writers/editors of newspapers and other media struggled to stay in business.
Each one tried to out do the other with the most disturbing or shocking “doomsday’ scenario story. Those media outlets that survived the initial downturn in economy at the beginning of the Cold War found that t provided a venue for them to become the biggest it had ever been. McCarthyism is an excellent example of media driven suspicion and paranoia. Something called “The Red Scare” peeked during the McCarthy years. Senator Joseph McCarthy was a huge focus of the media because of his crusade against so-called communist subversives.
President Harry Truman started something called the Loyalty Program, which required people to sign a document stating their allegiance to democracy and the even wrestlers had to sign an oath of allegiance to the United States. McCarthy was the force behind this movement. McCarthy made a list of 205 suspected communist and headlines rang with, “Spy Ring”, “Fifty Seven Card Carrying Communist” and, “McCarthy Charging Got Secrets. ” These articles caused “The Red Scare” to come to fever pitch. But when McCarthy started attacking the U. S.
Army and members of the media, it backfired on him because of his lack of evidence, which led to him being stripped of his power and reprimanded. During this time, news stories were followed closely not only concerning foreign threats of communism, but the possibility of ones on domestic soil which scared people. In the 1950s, news headlines included America has H-Bomb Truman Warns Russia, Hail Truman H-Bomb Order, Russians Win Race to Launch Earth Satellite, as we were in a full blown arms race with Russia which stretched emotions.
When we developed the H-bomb the Russians quickly followed with their version of the H-bomb. When the Americans announced a space program, it immediately started the space race, which the Russians won by launching Sputnik in October 1957. It wasn’t until January of 1958 that the Americans launched the first American satellite. Then later, in July of 1958, NASA was established. There was a constant roller coaster of emotion when finding out that Russia was potentially Just as strong as the United States or a worst-case scenario, become more powerful than America.
Media expanded quite rapidly during the Cold War and there were a lot of events that caused this to occur. It was also the reason why Americans became stressed out during the first half of the Cold War. The Cold War events were on daily news; headlines rang out on newsstands and constantly being talked about on radio. While Americans did carry on with their daily ives quite well, there was always a linger feeling of anxiety that America could easily end up in another war or have to fight even on their own land.
Much of this was media hype, even though there were legitimate events it often was blown out of proportion as media is known to do at times, it was much more prevalent then than it is now. Media became a huge force in the lives of Americans, as TV and radio were relatively new in some aspects; it covered the issues more in depth and up to the minute. By the mid to the end of the 1950s, news was more accessible as nearly 83% ad a television in their homes.
The Cold War did cause psychological and emotional stress in the lives of Americans because of the accessibility to the topics and world events in their daily lives. Websites: http://www. encyclopedia. com/topic/cold_war. aspx http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/what%20was%20the%20cold%20war. htm http://www. studymode. com/essays/The-Cold-War-And-The-Media-285939. html http://www. coldwar. org/articles/50s/SenatorJosephMcCarthy. asp www. lib. niu. edu/1993/ihy930341 . html Books: A History of the Twentieth Century, Martin Gilbert The Cold War, John Lewis Gaddis