Friday, April 8, 2011

In what ways can the prosperity of the 1950's be explained by the Cold War?

The 1950s economic growth in the United States was owed primarily to the Bretton Woods system encouraging stable prices, less tariffs, flexible markets, and the defense spending. The Cold War brought a state of permanent mobilization and therefore the necessity of increasing the national security. As a consequence, defense-related industries, science and research in aviation and space experienced a significant development, creating a lot of jobs – one worker in seven owed his job to the military industry. Federal money covered most of the research costs, offering corporations like IBM the possibility on researching the integrated circuits which brought the computer revolution, and later the high definition television, audio-video players and many other electronic gadgets. The United States’ GPD more than doubled during the 1950s, bringing a 25 percent rise in the individual income of the working Americans.

As a Space Studies major student, I would also like to mention that the huge development in the space exploration is also owned mainly to the Cold War. The competition between the United States and the Soviet Union culminated with putting a man on the moon in 1969. The very expensive space flights imposed the development of computer sciences for supplying the necessary equipment. Since the more equipment was added, more fuel was needed, and the research for miniaturization, later resulting in the existence of the mobile phone or computer laptop. We also owe the existence of the GPS system to the same era of the Cold War. Developed for military purposes, the GPS was declassified by President Reagan and became a commonly used tool.

It is fair to say that the achievements determined by the Cold War have affected all fields.

Henretta, James A, and David Brody. “America: A Concise History, Volume II: Since 1877.” 4th ed., Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2010, 797

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