Cold War Defrosted

Cold war illustration Colliers Magazine US soldier

Cover Illustration from Colliers Magazine 10/27/51 This Cold War era magazine imagines a “Preview of a War We Don’t Want” a cold war what-if, featuring Russia’s defeat and US occupation 1952-1960. Articles by notables-Robert E Sherwood, Lowell Thomas, Walter Winchell, Bill Mauldin and Philip Wylie among others.

The increasingly frosty relations between President Obama and Russian President Vladamir Putin sends a big chill down my spine, as childhood memories of the Cold War are quickly defrosted. The cold war world of black and white, us vs them feels like deja vu all over again;  the deepening mistrust and accusations of lying being lobbed by both the US and Russia is familiar.

Is the Cold War being taken out of deep freeze?

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

America patriotism illustration little girl, teacher, globe,1940s

Vintage Illustration from Community Silver advertisement 1943

It was 1956. The cold war was frozen solid.

Never were American dreams more potent or more seductive than in Cold War America when the USA stood united and confident in our role as leader of the Free World.

It would soon be my first Independence Day and my parents believed it was time for its littlest citizen to be introduced to her Uncle Sam and  “My America.”

What better place to be inculcated with truth, justice and the American way than at an honest to goodness Fourth of July parade.

Like most American  children I would be  inoculated with a strong dose of Americanism which if administered at an early age would build up your immunity to any opposing belief system.

That year, the theme of our local parade was the celebration of The Four Freedoms.

All across Long Island, residents were a buzz over the fact that our towns parade was being co-sponsored  by those Cold War crusaders of truth from “The Crusade For Freedom”.

Cold War Crusaders of Truth

Vintage Ad asking Sure i want to fight communism -but how?

Vintage Ad Radio Free Europe Truth Dollar Campaign 1955


The Crusade, was a privately funded donation drive that raised “truth dollars” to support Radio Free Europe, the radio station that broadcast news and current affairs to the enslaved people behind the Iron Curtain.

In the black and white cold war world of us vs them, we were convinced that the Russians were hell-bent on destroying  freedom and the American way of life and it would be up to us to contain them.

Who Can You Trust

Soviets Allies WWII Stalin Life Magazine

WWII Soviet Allies (L) Life Magazine cover 3/29/43 featuring warm and fuzzy Joseph “Uncle Joe” Stalin (R) Life magazine cover 2/12/45 featuring our brave ally a Soviet Soldier courageously driving on to Berlin

Like so many war born marriages it turned out our grand alliance during WWII  with the Soviets was more a marriage of convenience and our relations had turned frosty.

As if shifting gears between enemy and ally was as effortless as the automatic transmission in your Chevrolet, the considerable fury and fear that had fueled our hatred of those bloodless Nazis had been seamlessly and swiftly rerouted to those Godless Russians Commies, uniting our country once again.

Uncle Sam was certain that the Communists were not only concealing the truth but were waging a campaign of hatred against us and our peaceful, decent motives.

They were weaving fantastic stories and twisted facts about America unlike in our country where the government told us the truth.

Truth as clear and undistorted as the perfect picture you were promised on your new Philco television set.

True picture, no blur, no distortion, that was the American Way.

Cold Facts

American & Soviet Propaganda Cold war book illustration Uncle Sam

(L) Vintage Book The Soviet Image of the United States A Study in Distortion by Frederick C. Barghoorn Co. 1950 Harcourt, Brace & Company
The book claims that “Soviet propaganda against the United States is one of the main instruments of the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy Moscow, building the worlds greatest war machine, is seeking to turn world opinion against the US by accusing America of crimes against humanity of which itself is guilty>”

By exposing the calculated lies that Communists were spreading, and promoting the American way of Life, Radio Free Europe became a vital strategy in winning the Cold War.

The Crusade For Freedom had aired public service announcements on the radio all week leading up to the parade, as well as advertisements in all the papers.

“Every hour, every day, millions hear no other version but hating America”  Dad read aloud from a full-page ad in the NY Times, paid for by the Crusade and their Truth dollars. “The unfortunate people behind the iron curtain are fed a steady diet of lies and misstatements and the poor people are made to swallow that poison”.

Sugar Coated Goodness

Dad wanted us to realize how vital Radio Free Europe was.

As my brother mindlessly popped fistfuls of sugar crisps into his mouth -for breakfast its dandy, for snacks it’s so handy or eat like candy:  Dad tried to explain :“Just as mom feeds us wholesome good food, we needed to feed the poor people behind the iron curtain the good nourishing truth”.

America was not only the greatest nation in the world it was the very embodiment of freedom, democracy and progress.

With my made- in- the- USA regulation rattle in one hand and my National Dairy Council issued bottle of milk in the other I was ready to to be inducted into Uncle Sam’s service and pledge my allegiance to the land of the Free.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Excerpt from Defrosting The Cold War: Fallout From My Nuclear Family Copyright (©) 20013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

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4 comments

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