By the end of World War II humans had harnessed the Earth-shattering KABOOM capabilities of the atom. In so doing, they realized said kaboom came with malignant tumors in those who survived the blast, just as a cool bonus. Then, being idiots, the two most powerful nations on the planet strapped thousands of those devices to intercontinental delivery systems and pointed them at each other, saying, “Come on, motherfucker! I dare ya!”
--On This Day in History, Shit Went Down: May 22, 1947--
May 22, 1947, marks the unofficial beginning of the Cold War, when President Truman signed the Truman Doctrine into law. The gist? Commies bad. Contain that shit.
Unlike modern times where having them interfere in U.S. elections is seen as no big deal, back then Russians freaked Americans right the fuck out. Sure, they’d been allies in WWII and they’d even let the Soviets do most of the dying in beating the fucking Nazis, but that was a whole two years earlier, and capitalists couldn’t abide the geopolitical spread of that heathen pinko bullshit.
After WWII, the Soviets were actively trying to spread revolution throughout the world to get it to turn red, so they’d have more allies. They figured the U.S. was tired of fighting. They were wrong. ‘Muricans love a good scrap.
The Soviets already controlled most of Eastern Europe and were looking to the Mediterranean, which was still reeling from the war. The Truman Doctrine committed almost half a billion Real American Dollars to stabilize Greek and Turkish governments, so they’d be their allies instead. That opened the door to spending another $17 billion (almost $200 billion in 2021 dollars) in rebuilding Western European economies (called the Marshall Plan) to contain the threat of them embracing communism. It’s like that CeeLo Green song: Why go Atari when you can get a Ferrari?
I doubt I’ll ever own a Ferrari but you could help finance a new Toyota:
Then, of course, there were the wars.
Oh, Guatemala toppled its military dictator and had its first-ever democratic election then started giving land to peasants? Sounds commie to us. Send in the CIA and topple that motherfucker. Well, shit. Now we need to bomb Vietnam back to the Stone Age because they didn’t do democracy the way we wanted. Uncle Sam needs big strong men to help him again.
There wasn’t a peace treaty that ended the Cold War. The Soviets just ran out of money and imploded. The good guys outspent them. Hooray for capitalism! Want to buy some blue jeans?
Get the book On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down.
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