General History/Forgein Affairs


What do you think three of the most important effects that foreign affairs had on domestic life in the United States over the period from the 1930s through the mid-1960s?

I've been trying to find an answer for more than 3 weeks now, but I didn't  get clear answer from all of those I have asked, I hope you provide you from you.

Foreign affairs changed drastically from the 1930's to the 1960's.  In the 1930's the US was still tied to its long established tradition, set by President Washington, that the US should stay out of foreign entanglements and wars.  If other countries were not attacking the US, the US did not need to be involved.  Many considered US involvement in WWI a great disaster and a departure from that tradition.

Yet the attack on Pearl Harbor changed all that.  The US got involved fully in WWII, and Americans overwhelmingly supported the war effort.  After the war, many felt that continued involvement in foreign affairs would help to keep enemies from returning to attack the US again.  The US got deeply involved the Korean and Vietnam wars as a result.  The threat of Communism remained a continuing concern.

How did these events affect domestic life?  Well for starters, it meant much higher taxes.  The US did not even have an income tax until just before WWI.  What little money the federal government needed was mostly gained through import tariffs and taxes on liquor.  Even when the income tax started, it was much lower.  Almost no one paid more than 1% and even the wealthiest Americans paid a top rate of 7%.   But the costs of developing a wartime military greatly increased government needs for revenue.  After WWII, the US decided to continue a policy of high taxation and keep a wartime sized military in place all the time.  This has led to a much higher tax burden on citizens.

A second issue was the suppression of many basic rights.  The fear of Socialism and Communism became overwhelming at times.  People were often jailed simply for objecting to government policies or engaging in peaceful protest.  The government began to develop a much more extensive security apparatus, primarily via the FBI to track people whose political views were considered dangerous.  The US began to engage in more in depth spying on its own people.

A third result of changes was a massive growth in the power of the federal government and movement into areas traditionally handled by States.  Prior to the 1930's States handled just about all elements of government activities.  But the Federal government soon became much larger.  Much of the new responsibilities were described at least as national security measures.  For example, the development of the Interstate highway system was put forward as a national security measure, to ensure military forces could be rushed to any part of the country if needed.  Many social welfare programs were seen a way to prevent foreign socialists from gaining more support for much more radical social change.  

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

General History

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Michael Troy


My specialties are 17th through 19th Century history, especially in the Americas and Europe. I also have a fair knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman History, and some knowledge of Medieval European history. My expertise is focuses on Military and political history, but I`ll take a crack at anything.


I have been a guest lecturer at George Washington University. Mostly, I have just read hundreds of books about world history.


J.D. Univ. of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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