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Dakota Midday: 'Cold War in a Cold Land'

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The United States and the Soviet Union were allies in the fight against Nazi Germany during World War Two, but after the war in Europe ended the alliance fell apart. The Soviets set up Communist regimes in Eastern Europe while the U.S. embarked on a policy of containment to prevent the spread of communist influence. With Mao’s Communist victory in China, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, and the Soviet’s successful test of an atomic bomb, there were fears of internal subversion in the U.S. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed after being found guilty of passing atomic secrets to Soviet Agents. The House Un-American Activities Committee investigated communist influence in Hollywood. Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy claimed there were over 200 communists in the state department.

In his new book, Cold War in a Cold Land, historian David W. Mills writes that the Cold War as it played out in Montana, North and South Dakota was not the Cold War of the American cities and coasts. While people in the Northern Great Plains watched out for Soviet aircraft as members of the Civilian Observer Corps, they also saw more opportunities than threats from the red menace.

Mills teaches American, European and military history at Minnesota west Community and Technical College in Worthington, MN. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed Cold War politics, attitudes and events on the Northern Plains.

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