Cold War

"The United States Pledges Before You . . .

...and therefore before the world--its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma--to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life."

—President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Atoms for Peace
United Nations, December 8, 1953

Cold War

— from the series America in the 20th Century

One could argue that many issues of American foreign policy in the twentieth century had their origins in the emergence of the United States as a major world power at the end of the 19th century. The Spanish-American war was the great conflict of the era, Teddy Roosevelt its great warrior. For nationalist Americans, empire building was intoxicating. The Washington Post editorialized:

“A new consciousness seems to have come upon us—the consciousness of strength—and with it a new appetite, the yearning to show our strength. . . . Ambition, interest, land hunger, pride, the mere joy of fighting, whatever it may be, we are animated by a new sensation. We are face to face with a strange destiny. The taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood in the jungle. It means an Imperial policy, the Republic, renascent, taking her place with the armed nations.”

Of course, not everyone was infected with the blood fever. Sober citizens, Mark Twain among them, vehemently opposed American imperialism in general and the Spanish-American War in particular. With the benefit of more than a century of hindsight, we know the consequences of that "splendid little war" were monumental. Indeed, its lesson endures today: "'Tis much easier to win the war than to secure the peace."

George Kennan

Video Chapters

Cold War is the critically-acclaimed ninth installment in the landmark educational series America in the 20th Century. More than two-hours in length, the program provides a comprehensive survey of the great geopolitical conflict of the twentieth century—from its the end of World War II through the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Cold War is presented in eleven video chapters. Preview them here or log in to the members-only Streaming Room™ to access the complete videos. Not a member? It's easy to subscribe now.

From World War to Cold War
Chapter 1 – From World War to Cold War
Reds Under the Bed
Chapter 4 – Reds Under the Bed
Third World Wars
Chapter 7 – Third World Wars
The Evil Empire
Chapter 10 – The Evil Empire
Chapter 2 – Containment
Confrontation or Coexistence
Chapter 5 – Confrontation or Coexistence
Kennedy and Crises
Chapter 8 – Kennedy and Crises
The Wall
Chapter 11 – The Wall
Red Star Rising
Chapter 3 – Red Star Rising
Cracks in the Curtain
Chapter 6 – Cracks in the Curtain
Chapter 9 – Detente´

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