The Cold War

The Cold War was a 44-year conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, the two largest superpowers in the world when it began in 1946. At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union was in shambles. They had 20-27 million war-related deaths, and Germany occupied several of their republics, not to mention the damage to their economy (Painter, 1999, p. 5). Because Stalin was afraid that Germany would recover and rearm with the Soviet Union as a target, he became paranoid and “it was desperate to protect its perceived vital national security interests in Eastern Europe in the face of U.S. hostility” (Shubert & Goldstein, 2012). Communism played a large part in the Cold War because the Soviet Union and Germany entered an agreement to assist each other previously since they held similar views. Once the Soviet Union was able to defeat the Nazi Party in World War II, the Russians felt they should let communist rule continue because the communists were now viewed as heroes. Also, it was Stalin’s goal to make the entire word “red,” according to Radchenko (2017). He goes on to say that another origin of the Cold War was Stalin’s pursuit of legitimacy and recognition from the United States. After World War II, Stalin could have joined with Communist-ruled Greece during their civil war, but he had promised Roosevelt and Churchill that he would not, which was a good faith decision to impress the United States and Britain (Radchenko, 2017, p. 97). The United States and the Soviet Union are both guilty of using propaganda and broadcasts as means to spread Nationalism. According to Mihelj (2011), several imperialistic “legacies” used Nationalism to “explain the persistence of cultural differences that separated them from their immediate neighbours, and presumably prevented them from functioning under a common political roof” (p. 635). Life in Western Europe was not as restrictive as life in Eastern Europe. The people under the Soviet rules in the East thought they were better off than those in the West, but in reality, they were subjected to bans on travel and limited time with visitors as well as no free press and no internet (Richmond, 2010, p. 62). Those who lived in the East did not realize that the West was thriving with performing arts and music. One way they found this out was after Stalin’s death in 1955 when they invited a U.S. tour of “Porgy and Bess” to Moscow. It was thoroughly enjoyed by the Eastern people (Richmond, 2005, p. 240). The Cold War changed women’s lives because the men were being moved into the middle class which allowed the families enough for women to stay home and raise children. It is what was expected of them, but they still gained employment, joined clubs and volunteered (Brennan, 2008, p. 20). Women had to begin working to keep up their newly attained middle-class status.


Brennan, M. C. (2008). Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace: Conservative Women and the Crusade against Communism. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado, [2008]. Retrieved from

Mihelj, S. (2011). Imperial Myths between Nationalism and Communism: Appropriations of Imperial Legacies in the North-eastern Adriatic during the Early Cold War. European History Quarterly, 41(4), 634. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Painter, D. (1999). The Cold War: An International History. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Radchenko, S. (2017). Bullies: A Psychohistory of the Cold War–from Truman and Stalin to Trump and Putin. Juniata Voices, 17, 96–109. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Shubert, A. & Goldstein, R.J. (2012). Twentieth-century Europe [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

Richmond, Y. (2005). Cultural Exchange and the Cold War: How the Arts Influenced Policy. Journal of Arts Management, Law & Society, 35(3), 239. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Richmond, Y. (2010). Cultural Exchange and the Cold War: How the West Won. American Communist History, 9(1), 61–75. (Links to an external site.)

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