Task 2B asks you to discuss how two major historical events influenced American society. Note that the two events are in some ways very different, as the Cold War lasted more than 40 years, while the events of 9/11 took place in a single day. However, the effects of 9/11 on American politics lasted many years, and can still be felt today.
Below, we will give you a historical overview of each of the events, and some suggestions about ways they have affected US society. You may also find it useful to draw on the materials you have worked with in class.
The Cold War
After World War II, the two dominant powers in the world – the US, representing democracy and capitalism, and the Soviet Union, representing communism and totalitarianism - started a conflict. The long-lasting conflict between the two superpowers, called the Cold War (1947-1991), was sometimes carried on through indirect wars fought between other countries. These were called proxy wars. Some examples include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Soviet Afghanistan War.
Furthermore, the conflict also largely consisted of propaganda and efforts on both sides to achieve military superiority. The US and the Soviet Union tried to demonstrate their strength through military power and advanced technology. This became the Arms Race, during which each side sought to develop and build up large reserves of nuclear weapons.
The Cold War had a profound impact on American society, changing its culture, as well as on the everyday lives of Americans. During the Cold War, anti-communist sentiment in the US grew, alongside suspicion of communist activity in the nation. For example, many professionals in the entertainment business were investigated and jailed for producing communist propaganda. Often, the accusations against them were weak and lacked evidence, but many of these people nonetheless lost their jobs and had their reputations ruined. Also, left-wing organizations, minority and immigrant groups, the American Communist Part...