THE ORIGINS OF THE COLD WAR, AND DESCRIBING THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE AND THE POLICY OF CONTAINMMENT OF COMMUNISM, THE AMERIAN ROLEI IN WARS IN KOREA AND VIETNAM, AND THE ROLE OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO) IN EUROPE..
The Cold War set the framework for global politics for 45 years after the end of World War II. It also influenced American domestic politics, the conduct of foreign affairs, and the role of the government in the economy after 1945.
The United States government’s anti-communist strategy of containment in Asia led to America’s involvement in the Korean and Vietnamese wars. The Vietnam War demonstrated the power of American public opinion in reversing foreign policy. It tested the democratic system to its limits, left scars on American society that have not yet been erased, and made many Americans deeply skeptical of future military or even peacekeeping interventions.
AMERICA’S MILITARY AND VETERANS IN DEFENDING FREEDOM DURING THE COLD WAR.
John F. Kennedy’s Presidency
A strong military was the key to America’s victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Millions of Americans served in the military during the Cold War. Their service was often at great personal and family sacrifice, yet they did their duty.
American military forces during the Cold War
• President Kennedy pledged in his inaugural address that the United States would “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” In the same address, he also said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
• During the Cold War era, millions of Americans served in the military, defending freedom in wars and conflicts that were not always popular. Many were killed or wounded. As a result of their service, the United States and American ideals of democracy and freedom ultimately prevailed in the Cold War struggle with Soviet communism.
• President Kennedy, a World War II veteran, was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas, Texas, in an event that shook the nation’s confidence and began a period of internal strife and divisiveness, especially spurred by divisions over United States involvement in Vietnam.
• Unlike veterans of World War II, who returned to a grateful and supportive nation, Vietnam veterans returned often to face indifference or outright hostility from some who opposed the war.
• It was not until several years after the end of the Vietnam war that the wounds of the war began to heal in America, and Vietnam veterans were recognized and honored for their service and sacrifices.
• Fidel Castro led a communist revolution that took over Cuba in the late 1950s. Many Cubans fled to Florida and later attempted to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro. This “Bay of Pigs” invasion failed.
• In 1962, the Soviet Union stationed missiles in Cuba, instigating the Cuban Missile Crisis.
President Kennedy ordered the Soviets to remove their missiles, and for several days the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Eventually, the Soviet leadership “blinked” and removed their missiles.
THE MEDIAINFLUENCE ON CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN CULTUREAND HOW SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AFFECT THE WORKPLACE, HEALTH CARE, AND EDUCATION
Dramatic advances in technology have affected life in America in many significant areas.
The American space program was a triumph of American technological prowess.
Technology can make communication and information more accessible.
In the early 1960s, President Kennedy pledged increased support for the American space program. The race to the moon continued through the 1960s. U.S. astronaut John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. In 1969,
American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to step onto the moon’s surface. He proclaimed, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Sally Ride was the first female American astronaut.
Over the past three decades, improved technology and media have brought about better access to communication and information for businesses and individuals in both urban and rural areas. As a result, many more Americans have access to global information and viewpoints.
Examples of technological advances
• Space exploration: Space shuttle , Mars rover , Voyager missions , Hubble telescope
• Communications : Satellites , Global positioning system (GPS) , Personal communications devices (cell phones)
• Beginning in the 1950s and continuing into the early 1960s, the communist government of North Vietnam attempted to install through force a communist government in South Vietnam. The United States helped South Vietnam resist.
• The American military buildup in Vietnam began under President John Kennedy. After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the buildup was intensified under President Lyndon Johnson.
• The scale of combat in Vietnam grew larger during the 1960s. American military forces repeatedly defeated the North Vietnamese forces in the field, but by fighting a limited war, could not force an end to the war on favorable terms.
• America became bitterly divided over the issue. While there was support for the American military and conduct of the war among many Americans, others opposed the war, and active opposition to the war mounted, especially on college campuses.
• After Johnson declined to seek re-election, President Nixon was elected on a pledge to bring the war to an honorable end. He instituted a policy of “Vietnamization,” withdrawing American troops and replacing them with South Vietnamese forces while maintaining military aid to the South Vietnamese.
• Ultimately “Vietnamization” failed when South Vietnamese troops proved unable to resist invasion by the Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese Army. President Nixon was forced out of office by the Watergate scandal.
In 1975, North and South Vietnam were merged under communist control.
• The Vietnam War demonstrated the power of American public opinion in reversing foreign policy. It tested the democratic system to its limits, left scars on American society that have not yet been erased, and made many Americans deeply skeptical of future military or even peacekeeping interventions.