The Social and Cultural Life of Americans during the Cold War

Better Essays
The threat of nuclear war in the 1950's was real and was one that was on the mind nearly every person in both the United States and the United Kingdom. After the end of the Second World War the world can be seen to be split into two sides, the East and the West, Communism and Democracy. After the Second World War the Soviet Union became paranoid with the West as well as the United States become paranoid of the Communist East, and after the Soviets had made their first nuclear bomb this created massive friction between the NATO alliance and the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc. Only after the soviet union had obtained the hydrogen bomb and began to stockpile nuclear warheads in the 1950's did the real fear of nuclear annihilation begin to…show more content…
This sense of paranoia that can also be accredited to the culture or nuclear preparedness. Families were advised to build fallout shelters and in schools children were told to duck and cover in the case of nuclear disaster. This sense that nuclear annihilation could happen at any moment was well established in American culture. However in Britain the fear on the bomb can be seen as lesser than that of the USA. As Peter Hennessy expresses in his book Having it so good, Britain in the fifties 'The wider, personal implications of the bomb perhaps burnt their way into the collective British psyche more slowly than might have been expected'3. Towards the beginning of the nuclear arms race, a lot of information was not disclosed to the public, such as the amount if casualties caused if the Soviet Union dropped bombs on Britain which was around 1,378,000 people, and the size of the bombs used was around 1.6 megatons of TNT. Although there were some civil defence films that tried to paint a picture of nuclear war none of them captured the threat of war and many films trivialised it as Spencer R. Weart writes 'the stage was dominated by tales of mutant tribes and so forth'4 this caused many people to downplay the threat of nuclear war due to the lack of decent portrayal of nuclear war, Weart writes 'Nearly three decades passed without any technically
Get Access