Sarah Miley, Bethany Williams, James Cuellar
Freedom and Totalitarianism
Aggressive states whose goals were to subdue all of civil society were a part of totalitarianism which also occurred with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. This then left no room for individual rights or alternative values. The Cold War thus reshaped the definition of freedom once again and national actions were taken to strengthen resistance to communism.
The Rise of Human Rights
The idea of unalienable rights began in the 18th century but reemerged at the beginning of the war. This was due to the atrocities committed during the war and was raised even more by the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter. For the first, individuals were held directly accountable internationally for crimes against humanity. Also, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identified unalienable rights in all aspects of living but had no enforcement mechanisms.
Ambiguities of Human Rights
The idea of human rights became so fundamental that the government had no right to violate them. However, tensions and debates throughout the idea revealed problems that still persist today. An example of this during the Cold War was the United States and the Soviet Union; each refusing outside interference on internal affairs and foreign policy. The Soviet Union violated democratic rights and civil liberties and the United States condemned non-political rights as socialism was trying to be advanced. A way to counter this problem was through the Freedom House, which assessed a nation's freedom based on political criteria such as suffrage and free speech.