The Cold War And The War On Terror

1024 words - 5 pages

Eerily, it seems that during the Cold War and the War on Terror, many of the feelings that citizens felt were the same, but what America called the enemy was different. Following the September 11th attacks, there was a feeling of paranoia felt throughout America similar to the paranoia felt during the Cold War. Americans did not feel safe, and an attack could come at any time. The fight on the home front looked different during the Cold War and the War on Terrorism. During the Cold War there was more of a correlation between fighting Communism, and buying consumer goods. During the war on terrorism Americans were asked to give up some of their rights in order to maintain their safety.
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In The Story of American Freedom, Foner writes, “A new ford now seemed as essential to the enjoyment of freedom’s benefits as the right to vote or workplace autonomy once had been.” During the War on Terror, consumerism was not stressed the way it was during the Cold War. What was stressed during the War on Terrorism was the idea that we had to return to the way America was before September 11th. If we could not do that, “The terrorists had won.”
The film Dr. Strangelove is very critical of the American government during the Cold War. The film features a commander named “Jack D. Ripper,” who orders an attack on Communist Russia because he thinks they are secretly trying to add fluoride to the American water supply. Later in the movie, the President calls upon a former Nazi to help him figure out how to deal with the repercussions of Ripper’s actions. Several times during the film, the former Nazi refers to the President as “Mein Fuher.” It was no accident on Stanley Kubrick’s part to have the President referred to as such. Kubrick successfully showed the similarities between dropping an atomic bomb and committing genocide.
The graphic novel series Watchmen is also quite critical of America during the Cold War. In Watchmen, Richard Nixon is in his fourth term as President, and nuclear war with Russia is becoming more and more likely. In order to maintain peace on earth, one of the characters simulates an alien invasion. The idea was that America and Russia would never resolve their problems and destroy the world, unless they could find a common enemy to fight. Both Watchmen and Dr. Strangelove imply that the Cold War dichotomy was evil vs. evil.
The War on Terror has also received quite a bit of criticism from popular culture. The song Road to Joy by Bright Eyes suggests Americans become more vocal about their displeasure with the War...

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