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Cold War in Everyday Life of Americans


Living at the time of the Cold War in the United States of America was challenging for the citizens due to a number of political reasons affecting their well-being. From this perspective, the principal factor worsening their conditions was of a psychological nature since various events, and the governmental responses to them created tension. This situation resulted in the perceived threats to the population, which were emphasized by authorities who developed different protective measures. Therefore, the challenges of this historical period, which affected the everyday life of Americans, included the panic related to atomic weapons, the methods for testing loyalty, and the blacklists for employees.

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The Threat to People’s Safety

The first piece of evidence of difficulties, which American citizens experienced during the Cold War and, more specifically, between 1946 and 1962 is the document published by the Federal Civil Defense Administration. In 1952, this entity prepared a program for increasing the awareness of people regarding the threat of nuclear weapons, and it evoked serious concerns in the population (Federal Civil Defense Administration, 1952). As per this source, “the evacuation of civilians threatened or affected by the enemy attack” was its main focus (Federal Civil Defense Administration, 1952). The incorporated advice on how to protect themselves was alarming, and the promotion of this necessity by governmental officials led to the spread of panic within institutions. The idea of being ready for unexpected attacks from the Soviet Union in the first place did not contribute to people’s perceived safety, which is to be ensured by the government. Hence, it can be concluded that this circumstance presented the primary source of pressure preventing them from achieving ultimate wellbeing.

Governmental Regulations: Employee Loyalty

The second document, which played a significant role in the creation of the population’s sentiments, was the report of the Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty. The publishing entity was founded by President Harry S. Truman, whose intention was to develop measures on revealing citizens, who could be described as “disloyal or subversive” for their “removal or disqualification from employment” (The Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty, 1946, p. 3). This condition added to the concerns of Americans in terms of their financial situation as the accusations of this nature indicates the impossibility of employment in the future. From this point of view, the environment was unfavorable for professional development as the lack of stability complicated this area of life.

The Fear of Being Accused of Being a Communist

The third publication, which was more specific in terms of applicable measures for eliminating threats adopted by the government, was the Hollywood Ten leaflet. It appeared in 1950, and the main message was the attempt to draw people’s attention to “a phony investigation of Communism in Hollywood” (“Hollywood Ten leaflet. 1950. Published papers and official documents,” n.d.). This scandalous event was crucial for the formation of citizens’ perceptions concerning their safety. In this case, the fact that no one is exempt from examination of their situations by the government increased the panic. In addition, the complications were related to the lack of justification for their actions, which led to confusion among Americans at the time.


In conclusion, the effects of the Cold War on the everyday lives of Americans can be described as the creation of panic based on political considerations. First, the introduction of preventive measures in the case of enemy attacks on the population resulted in perceived unsafety. Second, the investigations of employee loyalty were the practices, which established an unfavorable environment for promotion in the workplace. Third, the alleged accusations of being a Communist indicated the removal from employment, which meant the impossibility of achieving financial stability. Thus, living during the Cold War in the United States might have been accompanied by constant stress from the above circumstances.


Federal Civil Defense Administration. (1952). An organized evacuation of civilian populations in civil defense.

Hollywood Ten leaflet. 1950. Published papers and official documents (n.d.). Linus Pauling and the International Peace Movement.

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The Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty. (1946). Report of the President’s Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty, pp. 1-48.

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