Cold War Culture


The impact of the cold war extended its grave impact through different media, especially, music, movies and books. There were a lot of elements that were spotted in the society as an aftermath of the nuclear war and the conflicts of the superpowers. Many works derived their inspiration from the Cold War. The time period from 1953 to 1962, thus got to see Cold War themes entering the mainstream culture.

Culture during the Cold War was even seen in the everyday life and attitudes of the people. The art and motion cinema got affected as well the Hollywood blacklist dictated who would be creating, working, or starring in motion pictures.

Society and Culture During the Cold War

The Cold war had a lasting impact on the American social and cultural life. From the civil rights movement to survivalism, there were a lot of changes that were brought about. Changes of thoughts were reflected from Hollywood to the universities and there was a considerable reformation in the showcasing of the artistry as well from art and poetry to movies and comic books. The mode was sometimes blatant while sometimes really subtle.

The nuclear threat of the period of the Cold war as well as the Communist menace gave rise to the National Defense Education Act. Trust was lacking between liberals and conservatives and the effect could be seen in the society as well.

The London Olympics started during this time, in 1948 and was one of the prominent platforms to combat between the rivals. However, some forms of arts really helped ease Cold War tensions including artists from different countries visiting, art exhibitions and various other formal and informal cultural exchanges.

Cold War Culture Books

  • Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  • Arc Light by Eric L. Harry
  • Berts vidare betraktelser  by Anders Jacobsson and Sören Olsson 
  • Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • "Good Morning Comrades" by Ondjaki
  • Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois
  • Twilight 2000
  • Warday by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka
  • Red Storm Rising a 1986 novel by Tom Clancy
  • The First Team by John Dudley Ball
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Spy vs. Spy
  • The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
  • Masters of Deceit

TV Shows Culture During the Cold War

  • Airwolf
  • Danger Man
  • I Led Three Lives
  • I Spy 
  • Get Smart
  • MacGyver
  • Mission: Impossible
  • Quatermass II
  • Several episodes of Star Trek 
  • Scarecrow and Mrs. King
  • Ivan the Terrible 1976 sitcom
  • The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show 

Arts Culture During the Cold War

During the cold war, there was considerable rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union in arts, and the focus was mainly on ballet. Both the countries used to assert the previews of their country's ballets which was a mere attempt to prove their superiority over the other. It turned to a powerful political propaganda and started to be known as "battle for the hearts and minds of men."

Jazz was also used as a tool for showing off the United States democracy as it had been a democratic music form. The two countries also engaged in competitions in theatre, chess, and even who is going to reach the moon first.

The musicians of these decades were more or less inspired by the nuclear war. It was prominently to be seen in Bob Dylan’s Masters of War and A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall.

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