Week 6: Cold War

Reading:  Foner, Chapter 23, "The United States and the Cold War, 1945-1953"

The essays we'll use offer students a chance to reflect on two key developments of World War II;  the internment of the Japanese Americans into concentration camps, and the decision of President Truman to use the atomic bomb against Japan.  Truman’s decision to use the bomb ended the Second World War but ushered in the new age of Cold War diplomacy and nuclear strategy.  The sections in this reader on the Cold War will engage students to think critically about the problem and expansion of the National Security State and the rise of the NSC or National Security Council.  Another section allows students to read and consider the consequences and reasons for the CIA’s direct intervention and arrangement of coups in Honduras and Iran in the 1950s.  Students may consider how does this policy decision continue to affect our relations with Iran today. The Cold War may be analyzed as a war for the Third World between Russia and the Communist Bloc and the West.  Finally the section in the reader on the Kennedy assassination may be read as a conclusion of a phase of the Cold War and the age of suspicion. Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1992) is a useful work for asking questions about the deeper politics of mafias and secrecy that abounded in the Kennedy White House. 
The domestic counter to the Cold War is the Civil Rights movement that grew all through the 1950s and 1960s.  The section in the reader “Nonviolence and the Civil Rights Movement,” may also be compared with the section “The Feminine Mystique and the Organization Man,” to compare the transformation of domestic life and the emergence of women’s rights and civil rights.  

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