Hot Spots in the Cold War examines the origins and outcomes of America’s involvement in Korea and Vietnam, with a particular emphasis on the contributions and experiences of New York veterans. In addition, the exhibition explores the domestic impact of the Cold War from the pervasive fear of global nuclear warfare to the debates and protests that divided the national at the height of the war in Vietnam.
Hot Spots in the Cold War provides a general narrative of the causes and course of each war, broadly examining America's political and military response within the context of the Cold War and a policy of containment of the spread of communism. Interwoven within this framework, the exhibition evaluates the American Cold War mentality and presents the social and political effects of the wars at home, including the Red Scare of the 1950's, the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Civil Defense initiatives, the reaction to the draft and the evolution of the countercultural movement of the 1960's.
Most significantly, perhaps, Hot Spots in the Cold War tells the story of the wars in Korea and Vietnam through the eyes of New York veterans and the realities of their wartime experiences. Using oral histories from the more than 2,000 interviews collected by the New York State Military Museum, the exhibition highlights individual men and women who served in Korea and Vietnam, providing a summary of their service with select quotes to illuminate and personalize subjects and themes within the exhibition.