JPB
 
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 07:53 am
I plucked the following section out of a long article posted by JTT here.

I have distinct memories of Tuesday morning Civil Defense drills, meaning we had to dive under our school desks at 10:00 every Tuesday morning when the air raid sirens blasted. We were also instructed to know where the nearest CD shelter was at all times. I don't recall if any of my neighbors built bomb shelters in their back yards, but I know there were some in our town. I recall being taught about "godless dictators" and how we had to be prepared to fight to save our values.

Television was full of WWII hero movies and shows, but nothing (that I recall) that focused on anti-communism. I don't remember hearing much in my home that instilled fear, but it was certainly in the media and community.

Although I find the parallels being drawn between anti-communist and anti-islam sentiments interesting, there are other threads that focus on Christian-Muslim relations. I'd like this one to focus on the early decades of the Cold War.

Do you have memories of life in the USA during the 50s and 60s? For non-Americans, were you impacted by the tenor of the rhetoric at that time?

Quote:
The Totalitarian Myth

In 1951, the CIA and the emerging anti-communist elite, including soon-to-be-president Dwight Eisenhower, created the Crusade for Freedom as a key component of a growing psychological warfare campaign against the Soviet Union and the satellite countries it controlled in Eastern Europe. The language of this “crusade” was intentionally religious. It reached out to “peoples deeply rooted in the heritage of western civilization,” living under the “crushing weight of a godless dictatorship.” In its call for the liberation of the communist world, it echoed the nearly thousand-year-old crusader rhetoric of “recovering” Jerusalem and other outposts of Christianity.

In the theology of the Cold War, the Soviet Union replaced the Islamic world as the untrustworthy infidel. However unconsciously, the old crusader myths about Islam translated remarkably easily into governing assumptions about the communist enemy: The Soviets and their allies were bent on taking over the world, could not be trusted with their rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, imperiled Western civilization, and fought with unique savagery as well as a willingness to martyr themselves for the greater ideological good.

Ironically, Western governments were so obsessed with fighting this new scourge that, in the Cold War years, on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, they nurtured radical Islam as a weapon. As journalist Robert Dreyfuss ably details in his book The Devil’s Game, the U.S. funding of the mujahideen in Afghanistan was only one part of the anti-communist crusade in the Islamic world. To undermine Arab nationalists and leftists who might align themselves with the Soviet Union, the United States (and Israel) worked with Iranian mullahs, helped create Hamas, and facilitated the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the Cold War ended with the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, that era’s mind-set -- and so many of the Cold Warriors sporting it -- never went with it. The prevailing mythology was simply transferred back to the Islamic world. In anti-communist theology, for example, the worst curse word was “totalitarianism,” said to describe the essence of the all-encompassing Soviet state and system. According to the gloss that early neoconservative Jeanne Kirkpatrick provided in her book Dictatorships and Double Standards, the West had every reason to support right-wing authoritarian dictatorships because they would steadfastly oppose left-wing totalitarian dictatorships, which, unlike the autocracies we allied with, were supposedly incapable of internal reform.
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 08:29 am
Yes, I remember fallout-shelter signs on buildings and learning how to duck and
cover. (Remember that poster from the late sixties where the last two instructions
were "Put your head between your legs. Kiss your ass goodbye."?) I went to a
Catholic school so we took all that "godless" stuff kinda personally.

I don't recall ever being really worked up about it. They were the bad guys and we
were the good guys. And in the end we were sure to win. Didn't we just win
World War II all by ourselves? Well, yeah, the allies helped a bit, but everyone
knew who really did it. It meant little more than a sports rivalry and I hated the
NY Yankees a whole lot more than any bunch of dumb commies.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 08:45 am
@George,
Quote:
...and I hated the NY Yankees a whole lot more than any bunch of dumb commies.


Yeah, that's kind of what it was like in my household too. I was a kid though, born in '56, raised in a conservative, but not exactly pious family. All of my older siblings are much more conservative, god-loving (fearing), wave the flag, kill-everyone-else-if-we-have-to "true blooded" Americans than I am. I don't think it's a product of their upbringing. I wonder if it's an lifelong influence of the Cold War?
George
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:51 am
@JPB,
Maybe.

I think that the nation was mightily conflicted at the time. We'd just had a war in
which we were the good guys and had whipped the bad guys. Pretty cut-and-dried.
Well, if you leave out the atomic bomb and stuff, anyway. Then came Korea. So
complicated. And the "enemy within". Anyone could be a commie spy. Or
sympathizer. Tends to get a person on edge. Defensive. Things are easier
when it's us good guys against them bad guys.

And everything looks worse in black and white.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:58 am
I remember standing in long lines to take off my shoes to get on an airplane.

It is funny how so little has changed.
George
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:59 am
@maxdancona,
In the Fifties and Sixties?
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 10:08 am
@George,
I watched a video in a training class once titled, 'You are what you were when', which was a presentation by sociologist Morris Massey and his theory that adult values and outlooks are highly influenced by what was going on in the world when one is approximately 10 years old. He talks about generational differences in attitudes based on what the world was like for that generation as 10 year olds.

I was 10 in 1966 - the beginning of an era when we began questioning all authority and rejecting much of what we saw. It was still very much an era of the Cold War, but it was a different era than my older siblings saw as children.

Yes, black and white are both pretty scary and equally blinding.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 10:27 am
@maxdancona,
really?!?!?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 10:35 am
@JPB,
Sure,

We have strange and sometimes inconvenient rituals to react to an existential threat from an enemy who hates our freedom and can strike us dead at any time.

In our city we are have public announcements "See something, Say something". Occasionally we see soldiers with big guns and dogs. Our kids will certainly remember, particularly the ones who are now being put through pat downs that resemble molestation.

I think there is a lot of similarity. The antagonist has changed a bit, but not much else.


0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 11:12 am


Yellow and Black and Rectangular
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 12:21 pm
@djjd62,
Ya know what's even stranger than Yellow and Black and Rectangular? It's that I watched the last 60seconds of the video.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 08:11 am
@JPB,
Quote:
For non-Americans, were you impacted by the tenor of the rhetoric at that time?



hell yes.

It wasn't quite as crazy here as in the US, but the communists were monsters under the bed all right.

JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 08:59 am
@dlowan,
Do you think those monsters impacted how you view the world today?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 09:38 am
@JPB,
Probably.

I began researching the whole thing when I got to be about 11 or 12, and gradually uncovered the nonsense. Likely the disgust I felt with the bullshit I'd been fed all my life made me too sympathetic with the excesses of regimes like that of the USSR and China.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 10:10 am
@JPB,
Very Happy

i'll never understand why folks do that when that make videos
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 11:25 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
I plucked the following section out of a long article posted by JTT here.

I have distinct memories of Tuesday morning Civil Defense drills, meaning we had to dive under our school desks at 10:00 every Tuesday morning when the air raid sirens blasted. We were also instructed to know where the nearest CD shelter was at all times. I don't recall if any of my neighbors built bomb shelters in their back yards, but I know there were some in our town. I recall being taught about "godless dictators" and how we had to be prepared to fight to save our values.

Television was full of WWII hero movies and shows, but nothing (that I recall) that focused on anti-communism.
Remember I Led 3 Lives, starring Richard Carlson, as Herbert Philbrick ?
That was the real thing.
It was exciting. Subsequently, I met the real Herbert Philbrick. I was very honored.








JPB wrote:

I don't remember hearing much in my home that instilled fear, but it was certainly in the media and community.

Although I find the parallels being drawn between anti-communist and anti-islam sentiments interesting,[the commies and the Moslems both (each) want to take over the world
and enslave the Individual to their ideology]

there are other threads that focus on Christian-Muslim relations.
I'd like this one to focus on the early decades of the Cold War.

Do you have memories of life in the USA during the 50s and 60s? For non-Americans, were you impacted by the tenor of the rhetoric at that time?
In the 1940s, I remember the commie next door, Comrade Murray, telling us all every nite in the summer
about the glories of the Workers' Paradise in Russia, led by his hero, Comrade Stalin. (I was not impressed.)





Quote:
The Totalitarian Myth ["Myth" ?? was the commie myth as fony as the nazi myth?]

In 1951, the CIA and the emerging anti-communist elite, including soon-to-be-president Dwight Eisenhower, created the Crusade for Freedom as a key component of a growing psychological warfare campaign against the Soviet Union and the satellite countries it controlled in Eastern Europe. The language of this “crusade” was intentionally religious. It reached out to “peoples deeply rooted in the heritage of western civilization,” living under the “crushing weight of a godless dictatorship.” In its call for the liberation of the communist world, it echoed the nearly thousand-year-old crusader rhetoric of “recovering” Jerusalem and other outposts of Christianity.

In the theology of the Cold War, the Soviet Union replaced the Islamic world as the untrustworthy infidel. However unconsciously, the old crusader myths about Islam translated remarkably easily into governing assumptions about the communist enemy: The Soviets and their allies were bent on taking over the world, could not be trusted with their rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, imperiled Western civilization, and fought with unique savagery as well as a willingness to martyr themselves for the greater ideological good.

Ironically, Western governments were so obsessed with fighting this new scourge that, in the Cold War years, on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, they nurtured radical Islam as a weapon. As journalist Robert Dreyfuss ably details in his book The Devil’s Game, the U.S. funding of the mujahideen in Afghanistan was only one part of the anti-communist crusade in the Islamic world. To undermine Arab nationalists and leftists who might align themselves with the Soviet Union, the United States (and Israel) worked with Iranian mullahs, helped create Hamas, and facilitated the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the Cold War ended with the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, that era’s mind-set -- and so many of the Cold Warriors sporting it -- never went with it.

The prevailing mythology was simply transferred back to the Islamic world. In anti-communist theology, for example, the worst curse word was “totalitarianism,” said to describe the essence of the all-encompassing Soviet state and system. [Does this mean that the Moslems are NOT totalitarian???
If so, then WHAT are the limits upon Moslem authority over its citizens???]





My opposition to the commies, was as a libertarian supporter of laissez faire capitalism and of Individualism; it was secular.
In our opposition to communist slavery, my friends and I very seldom raised religious issues.
I don 't believe that I ever did, so far as I remember. The disputed issues were political and economic.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 11:36 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Thanks, David. I'm not going to address the Islamophobe issues in this thread. There's another thread for that in the link in the first post.

The Totalitarian Myth

Is it a myth? That's my entire point. I've never given it much thought, really. dlowen said she started thinking about it when she was 11 or 12. I started thinking about it a few months ago. The concepts of "mutual assured destruction" were certainly very real and both sides bought into the idea that the other guy wanted to force their ideologies and religions (or, lack thereof) down the other guy's collective throats. But was it all a myth? I honestly have no idea.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 11:43 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:

Quote:
...and I hated the NY Yankees a whole lot more than any bunch of dumb commies.


Yeah, that's kind of what it was like in my household too. I was a kid though, born in '56, raised in a conservative, but not exactly pious family. All of my older siblings are much more conservative, god-loving (fearing), wave the flag, kill-everyone-else-if-we-have-to "true blooded" Americans than I am. I don't think it's a product of their upbringing. I wonder if it's an lifelong influence of the Cold War?
If the commies had succeeded in conquering us, it might have had a significant impact on your life.

If in doubt about that,
look at anywhere that it actually happened; maybe Red China ??

Cambodia, with the pyramids that the commies made of skulls?

maybe North Korea ?

My friend, Donald, married a medical doctor who escaped
from Red China. She described the terror, and how the commies tortured her grandfather; not much fun.

It was a very serious situation.





David
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 12:10 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
Thanks, David. I'm not going to address the Islamophobe issues in this thread.
There's another thread for that in the link in the first post.

The Totalitarian Myth

Is it a myth?
It was as fony as the nazi myth
and the Jap myth, except that it lasted a lot longer.

See if u can take a hint from this:
In the Korean War, we captured a lot of Red Chinese and Korean POWs,
who were carrying pocket-sized diaries, that were well
kept up-to-date. The soldiers were under orders to keep records
of their thoughts and to submit them for examination by the
communist political officer. Thay said that if he doubted their candor,
thay 'd be in big trouble.

One of those ex-soldiers, who was liberated in the war from Red China
said that thay had been ordered NOT to think of sex; instead, to think of the Communist Party,
and this must be reflected in his daily report book.

The point is that the commies claimed jurisdiction of the MIND,
in the world of ideas, not only overt, objective conduct.
Not even Hitler went THAT far.

Censorship law in America partakes of this philosophy
that if we dislike it enuf, then we can control thought by law.
That 's a dangerous principle to accept; the seed has been planted (but that is another thread).



JPB wrote:
That's my entire point. I've never given it much thought, really. dlowen said she started thinking about it when she was 11 or 12. I started thinking about it a few months ago. The concepts of "mutual assured destruction" were certainly very real and both sides bought into the idea that the other guy wanted to force their ideologies and religions (or, lack thereof) down the other guy's collective throats. But was it all a myth? I honestly have no idea.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2010 02:19 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I remember standing in long lines to take off my shoes to get on an airplane.

It is funny how so little has changed.



Hogwash. What stood out in the 50's and 60's relative to air travel was the dress. We all wore Sunday-Go-To-Meeting clothes, there were no security checkpoints, and our family and friends said goodbye when we walked through the door of the plane.
 

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