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President Eisenhower In The Cold War

1560 words - 7 pages

The Cold War was a time of fear for the American people in the aftermath of the second World War, but also was a key period in which different presidents began and led various programs to fight Communism, both at home and abroad. President Eisenhower was elected in 1952, and various actions he took throughout his two term administration both assuaged and increased American fears related to Cold War problems. Eisenhower’s policies and programs of the Cold War included MAD and McCarthyism, which caused domestic fears, Brinksmanship and the creation of highways to carry military equipment through the Federal Highway of 1956 in case of foreign war, and his creation of NASA and the National ...view middle of the document...

Another fear causing policy used by Eisenhower was MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction. A military and war strategy, MAD states that in case of war, both opposing sides would use many large bombs and weapons of mass destruction, causing the annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. Under Eisenhower’s Mutually Assured Destruction, Americans were under constant anxiety that war would lead to the utter destruction of their homes and families, leading many to invest in bomb shelters in order to live through a MAD-driven atomic bombing by the Soviet Union. In Document C, Life Magazine shows a picture of a typical American family in a bomb shelter with beds, canned food and other supplies in order to live through a Soviet bomb attack. Bomb shelters and fear of Soviet bombs were a direct result of Eisenhower’s MAD policy, and even though there was never a Soviet bombing during the Cold War, this did not prevent the terror felt by citizens of the United States. Thus, Eisenhower’s policies for war and rooting out domestic Communist spies failed in that McCarthyism was only slightly effective at exposing Communist espionage, but mainly blamed innocent people and incited fear. Likewise, his policy of MAD was not detrimental to Communism (due to a lack of war with the Soviet Union), but rather also simply scared U.S. citizens and forced them to use bomb shelters and take other precautions against a war that was to never occur.
Eisenhower enacted Cold War policies in order to fight Communism away from home, but these policies affected life in the United States as well, both beneficially and detrimentally. One such program was caused by the Federal Aid Highway Act, which was signed in by Eisenhower in 1956. Document D shows how the Act led to the creation of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, which were made partially in order to better fight a potential war with the Soviet Union. These new highways created under Eisenhower were made to carry large, heavy military equipment and tanks in order to fight the Communism of Eastern Europe, and were designed to be usable as airplane runways for war, but had wonderful benefits for domestic living as well. Highways connected major United States cities, and increased travel, which in turn boosted the automobile industry, which helped the economy in America, a beneficial effect brought about by President Eisenhower’s efforts. Another foreign war policy was Brinksmanship, which Eisenhower used in order to intimidate the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Document E shows how the Soviet Union’s advances would make it possible for Soviet weapons to cause obliteration in America, and thus the United States was in danger if they let Communist forces “make the first move” in war. This document also shows that accepting the first blow of a bombing war would not end in a stalemate, but rather death and destruction in the U.S., and it pushed the idea that America must be always ready to use...

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