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Cold war paper? Confused on how to answer the question
By reeldancer123 Comments: 663, member since Sun Mar 28, 2010
On Mon Apr 22, 2013 03:59 PM

In my history class, we have been assigned a 15 page paper (woo! :/) about the Cold War.

We have to summarize from 1940 to 1952, and answer the questions he gave. Im having an issue with understanding how to exactly answer the question(s) he provided..

'To what extent did the Eisenhower administration provide real change in foreign and domestic affairs?' & Should the 1950s be remembered as a conservative time of peace and prosperity, or was there a strong undercurrent of insecurity and social unrest'


Im having trouble finding the answer to the first one, because in the email I sent him, he said " with Ike you need to answer the questions while comparing it to Truman"

I need someone else to read over that, maybe it will make more sense to a fresh pair of eyes, since Ive been stuck on this for a couple days.

2 Replies to Cold war paper? Confused on how to answer the question

re: Cold war paper? Confused on how to answer the question
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6362, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Mon Apr 22, 2013 07:14 PM
I lived through it I might be able to help. For one, the dates are off. 1939-1945, to include US involvement 1941-1945 are WW II dates. The Cold War, depending upon which historian one talks too start somewhere in the 1946-1948 timeframe...when the Soviet Union started pushing into Eastern European Countries and doing saber rattling elsewhere. Also contributing was the Chinese Communists taking over mainland China (1948-49.)

Eisenhower wasn't president until Jan 1953. Nowadays, we tend to be a bit nostalgic about the 1950s in view of later events of the 60's and beyond.

Things to consider domestically. How WW II and the relative prosperity of the 1950s both helped to overcome the depression of the 1930s.

Americans were able to do consumer stuff, buy cars, houses, and a substantial worker class was formed, and more movement to middle class. (I'm sure my worker class parents thought of themselves as middle class, LOL)

Measures which brought some stability to the world...e.g. rebuilding of western Europe, McArthur's rather benevolent rule in Japan, Marshall Plan stabilized things in spite of Soviet taunts. This benevolence helped to make Truman unpopular. While he could have run again in '52 (as he inherited Roosevelt's term) he stood no chance...nor did anyone else against the popular war hero Eisenhower.

The "Red Scare" Era of Joseph R. McCarthy and the fear it put to many until he was finally censured. (I remember this well, as a kid, I marched with my father, a trade unionist, in anti-McCarthy rallies in Wisconsin, his state.)

The Korean War....few American's understood it or why we were there. Called "Truman's Little 'Police Action'" because official war was never declared.

Paranoia that we were going to be bombed by the Russians (probably not feasible), but I was a kid who had air raid drills by hiding under our school desks. LOL, I lived in Green Bay Wisconsin...the only thing of any consequence made there was paper, like someone was going to bomb a paper factory.

Look at the role of US Secty of State John Foster Dulles (a man oft ignored now) he cobbled together a string of foreign alliances, NATO, SEATO, an additude that if you weren't allied with us, you were our enemy.

Undercurrents of unrest in the USA... Blacks still kept under thumb, few Civil Rights, virtually ignored in the media.

The idea that everything having to do with the Soviet Union was a race (Arms Gaps, Space Race) [lived through that too...the first satellite was launched in Oct 1957 - I was in 10th grade - and suddenly we were inferior to the Soviets and anyone in school with half a brain, including me, was being prepped in Math and Science so we could beat the Russians.]

Just some thoughts you may wish to consider. I'd like to read and critique your paper, but tomorrow I am leaving on a week's vacation. I will have a laptop with me (I think) but may not have time to do much with it. I'll be back May 2 if that is not too late.

Jon
re: Cold war paper? Confused on how to answer the question
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6075, member since Tue Dec 20, 2005
On Mon Apr 22, 2013 09:15 PM
reeldancer123 wrote:

'To what extent did the Eisenhower administration provide real change in foreign and domestic affairs?'

To me, this means "Did Eisenhower's administration actually change foreign and domestic affairs? If so, what were the changes they made? How did they play out in real life? If not, did they even try? Why didn't their attempts result in real change?" And when your professor says "compare him to Truman," he probably means just that. I would do some research on Eisenhower's foreign policy in the Cold War era, as well as Truman's, and make a list of the similarities and differences between them.

Should the 1950s be remembered as a conservative time of peace and prosperity, or was there a strong undercurrent of insecurity and social unrest'

This sounds like an opinion question. Basically, do you think people in the 1950s were all peaceful and happy, like many stereotypes of the American 50s, or was there some social insecurity underneath that layer of happiness?

My background is in the humanities (gender studies), so I'm inclined to believe that no era is exactly what it appears to be on the surface, and yes, there was definitely plenty of social unrest and insecurity going on in the 1950s. I think of McCarthyism in particular--the paranoia that Communists were anywhere and everywhere. That doesn't show peace or prosperity, that shows fear and instability. So that's the sort of answer I would give to that question.

Hope that helps!

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