Cold War Essay

Submitted By sigcarter
Words: 2530
Pages: 11

The Cold War was a sustained state of political and military tension between the superpowers of the United States of America and its allies on one side, and the Soviet
Union and its satellite states on the other [1]. Politically, Australia would undergo a dramatic shift in policy with reference to how the government dealt with individual movements, as well as trying to avoid disentangling civil and political affairs with the obvious added pressures of the Cold War [2]. Publicly it became evident that with a world threat of communism, Menzies proclaimed that this sort of political and civil configuration was anti-Australian and began putting efforts into military preparedness and political superiority over the now know Communist Party of Australia (CPA) [3]. Australia at this point began to change both politically and civilly.

Australian culture had a theme of conservatism which was brought on by comfortability in the day to day of Australian’s, and the possibility of this changing brought about much tension [4]. The aftermath of Second World War saw transition and adjustment had to be made by policy makers to take into account a possible “economic boom, high employment, threat in inflation, high export prices” and high import levels all which had an impact on voters [5]. The danger of communism to both the public and politics was evident. Menzies realising this appealed to Australian’s, asking them not to be ‘woolly-headed’ about the danger of communism [6]. Australian civilians felt the pressure of the Cold War and were not oblivious to the threat of a Soviet attack being painted on the walls of the general population. This effected civil freedoms in the way that people were not quite sure whether they were safe to leave their houses or not [7]. Percy Spender spoke of immanent war during an ABC broadcast stating “...the world of today is divided, could well mark the beginning of the decline of Western civilisation...” and this meant Australian’s were close to a third world war of a nuclear nature [8]. It should be made clear however that Spender’s actions eventually became known for very Christian overtone’s [9]. However, overshadowing all this was fear and the spectacle of a world being split in two by head to head competition between capitalism and communism, as well as the ever present terror of nuclear war between the Soviet’s and American’s [10].

The Cold War was very much underway in the 1950s and it seems that this hidden conflict and almost childish stabbing in the dark was the key to the creation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the fuel that lit Menzies’ anti-communism fire [11]. This fear was driven by several variables. The first being that the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) was thought to have had many member working as spies for the Soviet Union, the second being that evidence supporting such claims was ignored and the third being Venona cables that intercepted an apparent attempt of espionage, bringing to the surface a need to address this communism issue on a public scale [12]. Australia’s concern’s were that communism would undermine plan’s for a peaceful future. However, this was concern was used as a scare tactic by the government in an attempt to gain support [13]. The civil population viewed this threat as an attack on their nation and started seeing people from foreign communist countries as suspicious and the rumours of a communist plot against America and her allies was cause for Australian’s becoming fearful of the CPA [14]. Thus, the Cold War was beginning to have an impact on civil freedoms to the extent that people were feeling fearful in their own country with the relation to the intermittent threat of a third world war outbreak in Australia. However, there was also another impact on civil freedoms at the other end of the scale with regards to human rights.

As the threat of communism became very real, Menzies did all he could to maintain power. One…