Contributions of World War II to Cold War Tensions

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The Great Depression

The American economy among those of other countries in the world was hit by an economic crisis that lasted for close to ten years. During this time commonly known as The Great Depression the country experienced a lot of financial strains (SAHO, 2017). There were various reasons why the depression was experienced varying from drought to the crashing of stock markets.

Strain from World War I

World War I had recently ended when The Great Depression started and most of the countries that had taken part in fighting had not fully recovered from the economic trauma they had received (SAHO, 2017). Europe for example, had borrowed money from America to assist them recover from the war and due to the economic crisis in Europe they only took but were unable to return what they borrowed. The trade relations between the two countries also reduced therefore slowly leading to The Great Depression.

Drought in America

The Great Depression in America was made worse due to the adverse drought conditions in some parts of the country and also Canada. The drought in return paralysed the agricultural activities in the country which brought revenue to the country (Ganzel, 2003). The farmers’ lives were greatly affected such that they could not sustain themselves or pay government revenue. The agricultural crisis greatly affected a sector that contributed to the economy of the country making The Great Depression even harder to overcome.

Collapsing of Banks

In 1929 close to one thousand banks had collapsed and with only a time period of one year the number of failing banks had rose to over double the number and a lot of people lost their money as the banks were closed. When people realized that banks were failing and could not be trusted to keep money for them they hurriedly withdrew whatever money they had banked causing more and more banks to shut down (Ganzeel, 2003).

Stock Market Crisis

Another cause of the great depression was the 24th October 1929 market crash which marked the beginning of America’s economic turmoil. Following the market crash, many investors lost money throughout the year; hence, weakening the country’s economy. The failure of the stock market also led to the loss of a great share of the country’s wealth that was sustaining it (Online Business Degree, 2018).

How the Great Deal Addressed Problems of the Great Depression

Following the calamitous 1929 Wall Street Crash, America plunge into what can be termed as severe economic crisis which lasted throughout the 1930s; a period that became known as the Great depression. In 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt took over the office of the presidency, he enacted a wide range of measures or rather programs all of which aimed at combating the Great Depression. These New Deal federal government sought to combat the depression by regulating America’s private industry, offering economic relief as well as growing the economy. Concerning this, the New Deal is in most instances summed up by “The three Rs”. These Include Relief, Recovery, inclusive of Reform (Sarah, 2016).

Relief Programs

Generally, the Relief programs were created to provide welfare payments to desperate and unemployed American citizens, example of these programs included the1933 “Emergency Banking Act” which sought to give welfare payments to people who had lost their finances in the Wall Street Crash (Sarah, 2016). Another relief effort was provided under the “Federal Emergency Relief Act” which provided what can be termed as federal grants; which were used to fund local soup kitchens, salaries for government workers, as well as direct aid to all the poor programs. Another relief effort was the 1935 Social Security Act which created an insurance system and financial support for the disabled, aged, and unemployed, based on both employee and employer contributions (Hardman, 1999).

Recovery Programs

Recovery programs aimed at fixing the country’s economy, concerning this, some of the key recovery federal programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps which provided employment opportunities to young men in federally funded jobs which were on government lands, the Public Works Administration established in 1933 which hired people to build different public amenities such as hospitals and schools (Hardman, 1999). On the other hand, the reform federal programs aimed at building an economy that was more secure and stable in order to prevent future recessions. Some of these reforms were created include the National Recovery Act which aimed at boosting the profit margins of business by establishing varying industrial codes which generally set wages, and prices.

Contributions of the World War II to rise of Cold War Tensions

The arms race; Although the use of the nuclear bomb successfully ended the World War II, to a great extent it also set stage for cold war tensions between the US and Soviet Union. Concerning this, during the last half of the 20th century, the US and Russia competed for what can be termed as superiority; thus in not only the development but also accumulation of nuclear weapons. With deterrence to a great extent at the core of the nations’ foreign policy, the US and Soviet Union worked towards increasing their nuclear as well as arms stock (Nick, 2017). During this period, the US spent approximately six trillion dollars; thus on its arms or rather nuclear weapons program which contained more than ten thousand war heads while on the other hand Russia only has half as many. During the arms race, the Soviet Union issued several threats, however, increased tensions cumulated in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crises which is considered the closest the global countries have ever been to what can be termed as a nuclear war (Nick, 2017).

Ideological differences

Ideological differences between the US and the Soviet Union also played a critical role in rising tensions between the two during the Cold War period. Concerning this, some of the ideological differences between the two were based on the fact that the US was a capitalist nation, however, the Soviet Union on the other hand was a communist nation (The Secrets of Radar Museum, 2011). Generally, being capitalist meant that the factor of production such as land could be owned by people, and a democratic form of government would rule, on the other hand, communists believed in the ownership of factors of production such as land by the government and in a totalitarian movement (The Secrets of Radar Museum, 2011). The communists having taken power in the 1917 Russian Revolution the US was afraid communism would eventually win, as a result, increased tensions with regard to the spread of communism into the US further increased the Cold War tensions.

Effect of Cold War tensions on American Culture

In America, the Cold War tensions led to a culture of fear of communism, as a result, this led to the emergence of anti-communist sentiments as well as movies. The fear of communism also created a culture of suspicion, and although some communists were rooted out, a large number of people’s lives were ruined due to unsubstantiated accusations of being communist, as a result, many were fired, blacklisted, while others had their civil rights violated. Tensions of the Cold War also had positive impacts, concerning this, prevalence of racial inequality in the US prompted President Truman advocate for the choice of freedom/enslavement, following this, during the 1950s and 1960s states began establishing fair employment commissions, through the Civil Rights Act discrimination was banned, laws against segregation were passed; hence, leading to desegregation.

Impacts of the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights movement advocated for the freedom of African Americans in America to have equal rights and equal treatment in America (Study Notes, 2012). After tirelessly voicing out their grievances about the discrimination, the movement brought about great changes in all aspects throughout the country.

Political Changes

Earlier not all black Americans were allowed to participate in the national duty of voting for their own leaders even though they took part in fighting for the country’s freedom. The Civil Rights Movement through leaders like Martin Luther King fought Jr. for their voting privileges and in 1965 the numbers of the registered voters increased and with time they continued to increase hence marking a political revolution in the country (Study Notes, 2012).

Social Changes

The Civil Rights movement led to the fair and equal treatment or view of people despite their colour or origin hence creating a good environment in all places be it at work or in learning institutions. The movement also helped to increase the number of black people assessing education by pursuing for acts that allowed them to join schools like the white people. This gave black people a sense of belonging and power (Study Notes, 2012).

Economic Changes

Conclusively, although blacks were given a voice through voting, they still suffered from other discriminatory practices in the country in that some organizations blocked out black workers and denied them work vacancies (Study Notes, 2012). This later changed in 1965 when an order was given out to consider the marginalized group together with the women by demanding that organizations include them in their workforces.


Ganzel B. (2003). Drought! Living History Farm. Retrieved from:

Ganzel B. (2003). Drought! Living History Farm. Retrieved from:

Hardman, J. (1999). The Great Depression and the New Deal. Ethics of Development in a Global Environment. Retrieved from;

Nick. M. (2017). Nuclear Arms Race During the Cold War. Stanford University. Retrieved from;

Online Business Degree, (2018). History Online: 1929 Stock Market Crash. OnlineBusinessDegree. Retrieved from:

SAHO (2017). What was the Great Depression and why did it start in the USA? SAHO. Retrieved from:

Sarah C. (2016). How did the New Deal help the United States during the Great Depression?. Socratic.Org. Retrieved from;

Study Notes (2012). Consequences of the Civil Rights Movement. Study notes. Retrieved from:

The Secrets of Radar Museum, (2011). Ideological Differences. Retrieved from;

November 13, 2023

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