From a Poet’s Window: Washington, 1949–1950
ith her poetry consultancy office window overlooking Congress, Bishop enjoyed a highly privileged insider’s view of emerging Cold War culture in spite of her secret outsider status. She literally could see the Capitol every work day as the national government began to formulate the Cold War and to commit the nation to the Korean War in 1950. She thus had a “forced” eyewitness view of the Cold War’s “arrival” in, or invasion of, daily U.S. life. Official Washington rhetoric overflowed with visions of its postwar national power to vanquish Communism and to save the world. The U.S. international news magazine Time
reported an example of this emerging dominant national discourse in its May 29, 1950, issue as it quoted a government spokesman on Cold War “containment” policy in its news report, “The Nation: The Good War”:
It is the only war in histor y where the question of destruction doesn’t enter into it at all. Everything we are doing is building up. We have rebuilt Europe, not destroyed it. … Now, if we carry on a smart, resourceful, cold war, the kind of war free people can carry on, Russia will be contained. … All we have to do is carry on intelligently, and at extremely low cost, the political, economic, military and informational measures already under way. (“The Nation” 1)
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