Will Darden

The Soviets tested their first atomic bomb in 1949. It was a signal to America that no longer were they the only atomic power. Americans now lived in real fear that a nuclear war could come at any moment. Both Countries governments produced larger and larger quantities of nuclear weapons. Live fire tests were extremely common. By 1980, 1600 nuclear bombs had been tested by both countries combined. This caused average Americans to really plan for a nuclear war. Bomb shelters were encouraged and subsidized by the american government. In 1961 the US Government started the Community fallout shelter program. This Centralized government organization gave loans to people to build their own shelters, and identified existing industry and public buildings that could be used as emergency shelters.

During the warmest part of the cold war, the 1960s, Survival rations were sent to these buildings. Some buildings were expected to hold over a thousand people immediately after an attack. The government owed $128,250,105 dollars in 1966, or 1,026,572,186.09, over a billion, adjusted for inflation today. The money had gone towards maintaining 63,000,000 shelters around the country. Even after these extreme measures, government studies estimated that up to 15 million Americans could die in a nuclear exchange, even if shelter was available. Government funding towards the project ended in 1965, but not before running up an impressive debt.

Emphasis on protecting American ideals, and the stirring of nationalistic pride dominated the propaganda at this time. Posters and magazines had extensive articles on how to survive. It was a part of the american daily experience at the time. Religion saw a revival in popularity and fervency. It was in part a backlash due in part to the soviets atheistic world view. Clearly the cold war had a great impact on the social imperatives of the time.