duck and cover

Lenz, Megan

Because of the nuclear power in both the Western and Eastern Blocs, the Cold War was evenly matched in terms of weaponry. This imminent threat of blowing each respective country to smithereens created a new precedent of war referred to as Mutually Assured Destruction. This concept prevented a full out war from beginning, simply because both powers had the ability to wipe each other off the face of the planet.  While this idea of mutual destruction essentially prevented a war, it instilled a gripping sense of fear in the people located at the home front. Propaganda stating that the bomb could come at any time increased this sense of fear, which in turn created a new social precedent. Behavioral patterns shifted to meet the changing mood of society: people were more cautious in their speech and actions, as the accusations of treason were many. Individuals had action plans regarding what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. Households created bunkers to protect them in the event of war. The concept of canning food became increasingly commercialized, as it was something simple to store in a bunker. This threat of the Cold War completely changed the way of life for many Americans on home soil.

Behavioral patterns shifted to meet the precedent of the time, which was set on containing communism and remaining safe in the event of a nuclear attack. People began to be more cautious in every aspect of their lives, because during this period, their lives were no longer private. The use of espionage was vast, creating a sense of distrust in every conversation that may once have seemed casual. Ads and campaigns were centered on the idea of protecting oneself from a potential nuclear blast, creating a sense of fear and vulnerability in the American people. Since they had no idea if and when the blast would come, they had to constantly live in fear and a sense of disenchantment, questioning if things are real or not. Schools spent a lot of time teaching and reinforcing the importance of “duck and cover”. This war created more fear than anything, and fear fueled the behavioral change in the social structure.

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