Cold War Imperatives and the Transformation of Spaces in Huntsville, Alabama

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Vallely, Leah
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Middle Tennessee State University
Escalating international tensions after 1945 encouraged American policymakers to continue to support Army research and development of guided missiles which had first begun in 1941. With encouragement from U.S. Army General Holger N. Toftoy, the United States Army selected Huntsville, Alabama for its centralized rocket and missile research and development site. Rooted in emerging Cold War fears and subsequent foreign policies, this decision fundamentally altered Huntsville. While tremendous attention has been given to histories that have chronicled the origins and conclusion of the Cold War, few have examined how Cold War processes help to explain transformation in the American South. Fewer still have written about the intersection of Cold War mandates and local change in southern communities. Drawing on numerous local newspapers, municipal and federal records, and oral interviews, this dissertation explores how and to what extent Cold War imperatives intersected with Huntsville—a small, agricultural town in the Tennessee Valley—and caused impressive and permanent economic, social, and cultural change.
American history