The irrational fear of Soviet invasion gripped our country for over 35 years. That fear led to the upper echelons of authority making decisions, which would create a feeling of near hysteria throughout the public. Americans feared that the Soviets were planning some nuclear attacks on the States, and were frightened by the thought that the Soviets might have a lead in the arms race. The words “race” and “gap” came to be used everyday when referring to anything the Soviets created, and Americans felt that the “gap” which kept America on top of the arms “race” needed to remain a “gap”. With our submarines constantly finding new ways to tap into Soviet intelligence, it seemed that America did, in fact, have the upper hand. This could have cause some to feel confidence instead of fear; however, this did not come to be so. The whole nation, from the very head of government to the bottom rungs of society, feared the Soviets. Was this fear justified? What caused such intense fear? This is what this paper will explore. We will use the movie Dr. Strangelove and the book Blind Man’s Bluff to look at why it could have been justified and also at the reasons for why such fear came into being.
We begin by analyzing why the irrational fear was justified. The movie Dr. Strangelove shows almost every aspect of Cold War mentality in the United States during that period. What amazes me is that the film was shown at all during that time, what with all the blacklisting and censoring that was happening. Newspapers, film, and books were being censored left and right; however, Dr. Strangelove tapped into society’s fear of our printed material being used against us. The Russian ambassador in the film claims that they learned of Americ...
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... that the whole world would be destroyed, the originally idea struck them as absurd and dangerous.
This is what happens in societies. People start out very zealous about a cause, then end up taking in to consideration what they were actually doing, and re-think their motivations. They begin to re-think all the fear they felt, all the confusion, and the rush for being number one. And once they re-think it, newer historians crop up who almost ridicule the fear that the previous generation felt. In fact, the generations themselves look back and feel somewhat ridiculous in their choices. This is when they begin to tell their stories to today’s historians, and it changes from “justified fear of the reds” to “irrational fear leading to irrational decisions.”
Sontag, Sherry "Blind Man's Bluff" HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1998
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