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Introduction

[Untitled]

PBS, “Television and the Family,” The American Century, accessed December 14, 2014, http://americancentury.omeka.wlu.edu/items/show/129.

The United States emerged from World War II unscathed in comparison to the rest of the world, which gave America the authority to shape the new world. The nation wanted to maintain this superiority and spread capitalism and democracy throughout the ravaged world. Although the United States was overall victorious, the immediate readjustment period brought both economic confusion and frustration since many feared a deep depression might occur if war time price controls were lifted. In order to combat this sentiment of economic uncertainty, a Keynesian policy was implemented, which sought low unit-cost production of goods and government intervention in order to sustain mass purchasing power. The emergence of the television also spurred economic growth and eased fears of depression.

This rise overlapped with the development of Cold War tensions, and they influenced each other in significant ways. Whereas the Cold War provided subject matter for the medium, television shaped the way Americans perceived and responded to the Cold War. Television selected, edited, and interpreted what it presented, and it played a strong role in shaping the terms of debate over Cold War policies. With the help of this media outlet, the United States promoted a consumerist culture in order to solidify their political position in world affairs, which culminated in the 1959 kitchen debate.