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Title: The Cold War and American politics, 1946-1952
Author: Bell, J. W.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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The thesis attempts to trace the role of the state prevalent in American political discourse in shaping politics and legislation in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This has involved linking developments in American foreign policy with changes in political views of the state at home. The aim of my research has been to set political developments at the centre of American studies in this period by arguing that they had a profound effect upon broader American society and its views of the wider world. This helps to explain why the political ideology of social democracy, or the involvement of government as a provider of economic and social justice, declined in America after World War II in contrast in most other industrialised nations. I argue that while traditional American hostility to government generally weakened during the depression and war, the Cold War encouraged Americans generally to associate the state with totalitarianism. Politically-promoted conceptions of life in the USSR and Great Britain in particular were used both to reorient American political priorities away from social reform and to marginalise those who attempted to take further the more progressive aspects of the New Deal. The association of the state with inimical ideologies abroad, and the notion that America was a socially cohesive nation, in which all citizens were 'free' and 'equal', formed a political orthodoxy strengthened by developments in foreign affairs. The dissertation analyses key figures in both political parties, as well as key pressure groups, in the period 1946-1952. It also traces the development of public opinion over the same period, and attempts to show how the images of others nations at the heart of the Cold War lessened the prospects for European-style social democracy in the United States in the later twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available