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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois in the Cold War Era 1945-1975: University Politics

University Politics

University Politics in the Cold War Era

As the University of Illinois expanded in both size and scope, the stakes of politics on campus grew as well.  During the decades immediately following World War II, Cold War both increasing anti-communism and expanded militarization loomed large in many aspects of daily university life.  The manner in which students, professors, and administrators negotiated these politics often determined their success or failure during this era.  The career of University of Illinois President George Stoddard was cut short by what many people perceived as a soft stance on left-leaning student groups.  As the “military-industrial complex” developed in the post-war years, Illinois became further politicized by its increasing entanglements with the U.S. government.  The research and development capabilities of public universities were an important nexus between the military and defense industries and placed the actions of academics engaged in this sensitive research under close scrutiny.