Critical Thinking

First extensive economic growth after the war ended.

First of all, it affected the U.S. economy. One factor of this was military spending. Between the years 1948 and 1989, the military spent a total of $7,051 billion dollars. This averaged out at about $168 billion dollars per year. The United States spent at least $5.5 trillion dollars on the nuclear weapons program. $409 billion dollars was spent on testing weapons such as warheads and bombs. In order to move them aboard aircraft, missiles, and submarines, the U.S. spent about $3.2 trillion dollars. $831 billion was also spent on command, control, and other system used for the nuclear weapons. The United States also spent $937 billion on defending and protecting America from different forms of nuclear attack, mainly air, missile, anti-submarine warfare, and civil defense. United States spendings for nuclear weapons and weapons related programs between 1940 and 1996 cost nearly $5.5 trillion. This is 29 percent of all military spending and 11 percent of all Federal Government spending. The effects of the Cold War on American economy weren’t necessarily all disadvantageous. The U.S. experienced extensive economic growth after the war ended. Gross national product was bumped up to 500 thousand-million in 1960, after it was about $200 thousand-million in the 1940 and $300 thousand-million in 1950. This increase was a result of multiple things. One factor was the automobile industry, as the industry was growing extensively. Increases in housing also contributed, and (as mentioned before) the large amount of military spendings also contributed. After 1945, more and more effects came into play. Businesses became larger, and as a result, workers offered more and more services rather than goods. As a result of this, farmers fell upon harder times, as farming became like a business where it was more competitive. Many farmers left their land as it was too hard for them to compete with the increasing amount of people taking up this, as a result of increasing productivity. Effects on U.S. Culture The previous paragraph explained how the Cold War affected American economy and discussed the effects of growing businesses. This leads into how the Cold War also affected American society. More and more Americans began moving West, something that is still seen today with many large cities towards the West coast. Some examples include San Francisco, Los Vegas, Texas, and Miami. Not all citizens were moving to cities. Some had previously lived in cities, and moved into the suburbs. This was partially because of the post-war baby-boom, which led to larger families. Because of this increase in the amount of larger families, and therefore an increase for the need of cheap housing, new communities were built. These communities contained houses that were built differently than from the usual construction manor. Certain parts were developed in factories rather than at the scene and this was much cheaper than this other method. As these families moved farther West, so did businesses. These companies followed this population and created large shopping centers, contrary to the classic inner-city shops. When all of this occured, people needed a way to access this. This was solved when new highways were built. These super highways allowed people to easily access shops and housing faster. In 1956, The Highway Act of 1956 was created which gave $26 thousand-million to the cause of building new highways to connect different places all over the nation. Many more revolutionary products became increasingly popular during this time period after the Cold War. One such example of this is the telephone, an invention of Alexander Graham Bell’s from 1876. Millions were bought and used in their new homes. Another example of this is the television. In 1949, people were buying 250,000 television sets per month. Another popular product was the automobile. 8 million automobiles were produced in Detroit in 1950, which was 75 percent of the worldwide total amount. The development of technology and computers also came fourth and was nominated the “Machine of the Year” in place of the “Person of the Year” in Time magazine, in 1982. Evidently, the Cold War led to cultural advances and developments. Effects on U.S. Civil RightsNot just products and businesses were advancing, but also the population as a whole. Civil rights movements were spurred after the war. Some of this was because during the Cold War, many African Americans had served and had challenged racial injustice. After it was over, they began protesting for justice and equality. The government realized that though they were rallying for support from nations such as Africa and Asia, their chances of support would be lower if people from these places in the U.S. were being discriminated. Many famous protests and revolutionary events occurred during and after the Cold War. One famous leader in civil rights is Jackie Robinson. He broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947 when he when he began playing in the Major Leagues. He was a major civil rights activists, sending telegrams and letters to the president to support racial equality. His telegrams include one to President Eisenhower strongly advising President Eisenhower to veto the final version of the 1957 Civil Rights Act because it was too weak. Another telegram was to President Kennedy informing him of the “brutalities” inflicted upon protesters and peaceful leaders. Yet another was sent to President Johnson advising him to take immediate action against the terrible injuries inflicted upon protesters. He also wrote letters to presidents including one to President Eisenhower pushing him to take a stand immediately instead of waiting even more and another one to President Johnson thanking him for supporting equal rights and encouraging him to “press for justice” even more despite the Vietnam War.

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