This Day in History
Cloudy and Colder

President Carter and Soviet Leader Brezhnev
April 11, 1977

Fear of and hostility to communism were nothing new in the postwar years. It was born of the Communist Revolution of 1917 - after all, not until 1933 did the United States recognized the Soviet Union. The overriding need to defeat Nazi Germany dictated an alliance between Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but even before the war was over the old antagonism between these nations flared up again. What might be regarded as an informal declaration of Cold War came in March of 1946 with Winston Churchill’s famous address at Fulton, Missouri, where he asserted that “from the Baltic to the Adriatic an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent” and called for the United States to take the lead in destroying it. With the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1947, and the almost miraculous success of the Anglo-American Berlin Airlift, the Cold War was formally on. It persisted until 1989, expanding to embrace Soviet satellites and China and contracting when these moved towards greater independence - not from communism, but from the Soviet Union. It plunged the two most powerful nations on the globe into an insensate arms race, each pouring tens of billions of dollars each year into new armaments, mostly nuclear. Again and again there was a threat that the Cold War might become a hot war. That catastrophe, which would spell destruction for a good part of mankind, was avoided.

The Cold War affected many countries, but probably none more profoundly than the United States herself. It called into existence a national security state, helped build up a military-industrial-labor-finance-science-university complex, and dictated intervention in the internal affairs of a score of nations throughout the world.

Literally done overnight, this painting was used as the cover for the April 11, 1977 issue of the international edition of Newsweek.

August's Archived Features:

Thursday August 1, 2019
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Saturday August 3, 2019
Sunday August 4, 2019
Monday August 5, 2019
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Friday August 16, 2019
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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.