By Alice L. George
For 13 days in October 1962, the US stood on the verge of collapse of nuclear struggle. Nikita Khrushchev's choice to put nuclear missiles in Cuba and John F. Kennedy's defiant reaction brought the potential of unheard of cataclysm. The fast chance of destruction entered America's study rooms and its dwelling rooms. looking forward to Armageddon presents the 1st in-depth examine this drawback because it simmered outdoor of presidency workplaces, the place traditional american citizens discovered their executive used to be unprepared to guard itself or its voters from the hazards of nuclear war.
During the seven days among Kennedy's declaration of a naval blockade and Khrushchev's determination to withdraw Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba, U.S. electorate absorbed the nightmare state of affairs unfolding on their tv units. An predicted ten million american citizens fled their houses; thousands extra ready shelters at domestic, clearing the cabinets of supermarkets and gun shops. Alice George captures the irrationality of the instant as americans coped with dread and resignation, humor and pathos, terror and ignorance.
In her exam of the general public reaction to the missile situation, the writer finds cracks within the veneer of yank self belief within the early years of the gap age and demonstrates how the fears generated via chilly struggle tradition blinded many american citizens to the hazards of nuclear battle till it was once virtually too overdue.
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Additional info for Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis
Most information about nuclear weaponry was secret, and because all-out nuclear war had never occurred, guesswork played a major role in predicting its results. Since the bombing of Hiroshima, total nuclear war had been a distant threat—a nightmarish prospect with little more likelihood than H. G. Wells’s Martian invasion. While Americans had a mental picture of nuclear war, they had yet to recognize American vulnerability. As Eisenhower’s director of the Civil Defense Administration said in 1955, ‘‘The American people have simply not accepted yet the possibility of an enemy attack on the United States from the skies by intercontinental bombers carrying these tremendous nuclear weapons.
6 At the same time that the United States was bound together by fright, it was barren of community because the suspicion-driven Cold War did not nurture trust, and in this long period of crisis, no circling of wagons could save American lives. The postwar era perpetuated terror toward the 8 introduction unseen Communist within the United States, and thus, it did not engender a sense of community. Even if it had, community action oﬀered little defense from the most likely conﬂict with the Soviet Union—nuclear war.
In the Cold War, the clash between these two impulses could not be resolved because nuclear conﬂict with ‘‘the other’’—the Soviet Union—could eradicate a key tenet in the American creed, the belief in tomorrow. AntiCommunism, with its quasi-religious zealotry, enraptured many Americans enough to make them accept a war that risked the next generation, but Americans’ natural optimism made it impossible to address the prospect of futurelessness. Arthur Schlesinger Sr. ’’ 13 Now, Americans encountered the possibility of erasing their children’s lives in a gamble to defeat a feared enemy.
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