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History Essay

1.  In your opinion, who started the Cold War? Explain in 5 sentences.

In one opinion, the Cold War was not started by one side or the other.  The Cold War was more of a culmination of political, cultural and ideological differences than anything else(Pierpaoli).  This being said, in fairness, both the West and the East provoked hostilities during the Cold War through various attempts to promote their respective political systems throughout the world.  Ultimately, the Cold War was not decisively won by the West; rather, the West was able to hold out longer than the East.

2.  List three major prolonged conflicts in the Cold War.

During the Cold War, three major prolonged conflicts that erupted were the Korean War (1950–1953); the Vietnam War (1946–1975); and the war in Afghanistan (1979–1989)(Pierpaoli).

3.  How did the Cold War influence society and culture? 3 sentences

The Cold War influenced society and culture in many ways.  Culturally, the Cold War gave birth to an entire genre of literature and motion pictures/television- the classic story of the “secret agent”.  In terms of society, the Cold War divided society in terms of whether people, in both the East and West, supported capitalism or communism, and the many facets that each system offered (Pierpaoli).

4.  Evaluate the role of technology on the Cold War.

Technology also played a role in the Cold War.  It was through surveillance technology that the United States was able to protect itself from Soviet aggression, such as the detection of missile sites in Cuba, a mere 90 miles from the US mainland (Pierpaoli).  Technology also helped the Soviets to detect an American U2 spy plane within their airspace- an incident which almost sparked World War III.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the nuclear weapon technology which both the US and USSR possessed held the potential to destroy the planet.

5.What was Watergate and how did it influence the Vietnam War? Briefly describe.

When one speaks of Watergate, they are usually referring to illegal actions taken by President Richard M. Nixon. Watergate is said to have begun when Nixon ordered one of his closest advisors, Henry Kissinger, to tap the telephone of a New York Time reporter in order to try to determine who was “leaking” information to the media about a secret bombing mission in Cambodia (Greene).  This influenced the Vietnam War in that the public learned of the many outrageous secret missions of the American military in Vietnam, raising public opposition to the war itself.

6.`A Short History of Terrorism,` write a paragraph explaining the difference in modern `terrorism` and its historical antecedents given in this article.

The single most remarkable difference modern terrorism and its historical antecedents is the fact that modern terrorism is not meant to advance the agenda of a particular nation, but is driven by the belief by many Middle Eastern nations that the United States is an evil empire which God would like to see destroyed (Greenberg).  This type of religious zeal gives modern terrorism its sharp teeth and deadly venom.

7. Write a brief essay explaining your views on whether America should move beyond Affirmative Action at this time. Support your position.

America should move beyond Affirmative Action for several key reasons; first, as we have seen in recent months, opportunities have opened up for minorities from the most powerful office in the United States to the areas of entertainment, the media, and the average job in any city in the nation.  Additionally, the increasing cultural diversity of America is transforming the demographic of the nation so that rather than minorities (Gryphon), there are any number of “mini-majorities” in place, thereby making favoritism for any given group both outdates and unnecessary.

8. Did women have a positive role in the progressive movement even before they had the right to vote? What was it? Describe briefly.

Women most definitely had a positive role in the progressive movement even before they had the right to vote because it was the women in society which held families together as men worked outside of the home for long hours, making the woman the essential person who fed/mentored the children, etc.  It was in roles such as these that women were already asserting superiority before they could cast a ballot (Friedan).

9. Did the U.S. do everything it could to help the Jews in Europe? Is our current foreign policy a reaction to this situation? Briefly describe.

In the final analysis, the US did not do everything it could to help the Jews in Europe, as there is evidence to suggest that the American government knew about the plight of Jews in Europe for several years before getting involved to protect the lives and interests of European Jews.  In a way, it can be said that our current foreign policy is a reaction to this past situation, as the US is both trying to prevent any aggression against the Jews of the magnitude of that of the past in Europe, and also compensating Jews for past injustices.

10. What were the roles of television and advertising in creating the consumer society of the post-World War II world? Briefly describe.

Television and advertising created the consumer society of the post-World War II world, as they both shared with millions of war-weary Americans a wide variety of products that were now available after years of rationing and scarcity due to the war effort.  This led to a consumer society, as American people not only grabbed the items that they needed and could not get for many years, but also those new items that had not been available before.  All of this made the nation one of hardcore consumers, a trend that continues today.

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