The Cold War Era Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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1950 American intelligence estimates suggested that the Soviets possessed 175 divisions, several hundred bombers capable of flying missions against the British Isles, 300 submarines and a substantial tactical air force. Heilbrunn states, It Is easy enough now to scoff at the apprehensions felt by Truman and Acheson, but the threat that the Kremlin posed was the threat of intimidation and the ability to strike decisively is a seizure of power was possible. Indeed, it was Stalin s approval of North Korea s attack on South Korea in 1950 that finally provoked an American military buildup. (Heilbrunn) While John F. Kennedy was running for president, he charged Eisenhower with complacency in letting Russia create a missile gap. According to Michael Moore, Kennedy was relying on

misinterpreted intelligence worst case scenarios, anti-Soviet hysteria, and cynical domestic political calculation. (Moore) Messages similar to Kennedy s were compounded with hysteria in the media and from trusted individuals in government. During this time there was an outpouring of film and TV shows dealing directly or indirectly with the threat of nuclear war. The 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one such film. While receiving highly critical reviews from the media at the time it has transpired into a perfect image of the hysteria surrounding the threat of nuclear attack. Dr. Strangelove, humorously recognized the evil system of science and technology in the atomic age and in itself helped to reinvigorate a dynamic tension in

America between the forces of cultural dissent and the forces of the political and technological status quo. This film along with others and their attention to accidental nuclear war and the profanity of the nuclear establishment summed up postwar cultural qualms about the corruption of American power and leadership and undermined the sacred cold war institutions of the bomb and its military and political bureaucracy. Dr. Strangelove tied together all of the culture s diversified atomic age concerns- from the fears and expectations of accidental nuclear war and human extinction to the revisionist interpretation of anti-communism as an insane and internal menace, from the recognition of increased power and position of technology and militarism in American society and the

accompanying dehumanization of that same society to the open understanding of America s system as an irrational and unworkable one, directed by leaders tinged with fascism, madness, and moral corruption. (Henriksen) These films at the time had an enormous effect on the majority of the American viewing audience. They were seen as motivation to the popular fears and intolerance toward Soviet military actions. The truth at the time was that Eisenhower announced that the U.S. would use nuclear weapons to stop the war in Korea, sending the message that the United States was a force to be reckoned with. Still, there was unrest in Korea after the war, and in Southeast Asia, China and Chiang Kai-Shek were involved in a civil war, with the United States as Chaing s protector. Other areas

of conflict were the Sinai peninsula and the Suez-Canal. Attempts to introduce democracy to European countries such as Hungary and West Berlin had been stopped by Russian tanks. In Eisenhower s era, Moore states, Third World leaders had already become adept at playing Americans and Russians off one another. (Moore) This is because the United States and Soviet Russia were trying to build allies. When Israel invaded Egypt in 1956 in order to gain control of the Suez canal, they were supported by the U.S. Allies in Europe. Moore states Eisenhower was in a bind. If the United States supported its friends- the British, French and Israelis- Nasser might turn to the Soviet Union for help. After that, anything could happen. (Moore) Eisenhower cautiously condemned the invasion to the

United Nations. The invading troops withdrew and the Soviets stayed out of the commotion. Moore believes that the outcome of the Suez canal and the Cuban Missile crisis were the result of universal fear of a great war and as a result, war threats and counter-threats were becoming bluffs and counter-bluffs. The Soviets and the Americans were cautious of each other and it was understood that direct confrontation between the superpowers was generally to be avoided. In November of 1969, because of mutual fear of U.S. and Soviet leaders, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) began in Helsinki. The SALT talks discussed a mutual suicide pact based on equalizing vulnerability. IN 1972, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed, putting an end to the development of ABMs and the