Cold War Effects on Contemporary American War Culture and Militarization

My research will be focused on how the Cold War era shaped modern era war culture and militarization. Present day war culture is potentially harming to our society, and the way conflicts are being handled are not indicating that we are on a path to success.

Many different sources point to the Cold War and the ideals of the time period as the main model for the way military conflicts are handled in the present day. War culture nowadays is considered fragmented, with small battles being fought as opposed to the entire country feeling like it was at war. The total war mindset of both WWII and the Cold War have driven the American government and people away from this idea. War in the present day is considered to be far away, removed from the everyday life of Americans. Yet with this idea, the style of modern war is much more of an everyday violence, which the American people have become accustomed to through media and rhetoric of politicians in the news. Patrick Deer elaborates on these ideas in his essay Mapping Contemporary American War Culture. Patrick Morgan discusses the impact deterrence had on the Cold War and the effect it now has on war culture in his book, Deterrence Now. He brings up the idea that the great powers of the world now have no reason to be threatening to one another because they are all on tracks to having similar governments, and the world market economy has been developing more and more. This has deviated from the previous track of nations having opposite ideals and working against one another, as seen in the Cold War. In Tom Engelhardt’s book The End of Victory Culture, he discusses the way victory culture came back onto the scene after a period of absence. In my RBA, I’m aiming to examine the hidden forces behind the violence we see on a daily basis in America today, and the ways in which the Cold War has driven these forces.


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