Cold war concerns of Russian aggression are coming out of the deep freeze.
Russia’s recent actions in the Ukraine feel straight out of the old Soviet playbook evoking a time when an expansionist Russia was viewed as a “hungry bear” whose insatiable appetite needed to be controlled.
Convinced that the Communist “imperialists” in Moscow were busy spinning a web of control hell-bent on forcibly enslaving free people everywhere, it would be up to the US to contain the cunning Russian bear.
The big chill almost made us forget that only a few years earlier this big brutal Russian bear had been our warm and fuzzy teddy bear of a wartime ally
During WWII, no one could hold a candle to those brave Stalingrad sacrificing red white and blue Russians.
Led by twinkly eyed pipe smoking “Uncle Joe Stalin they were our comrades in fighting the Nazis.
Songwriters cheered and praised our Soviet comrades as we whistled “You Can’t Brush Off a Russian” and “Stalin Wasn’t Stall’in.” Selling the Soviets to us like a bottle of Pepsi, one ditty went:
“The soviet Union hits the spot
12 million soldiers that’s a lot
Timashen and Stalin too
Soviet Union is Red white and blue.”
Like so many war born marriages it turned out our grand alliance with the Soviets was more a marriage of convenience.
Uncle Joe our warm and fuzzy teddy bear quickly turned into a cold-blooded grizzly bear ready to gobble up crippled Europe turning its starving shivering population into godless Communists.
As Soviet tanks angrily roamed eastern European streets our war born good will faded as quickly as Elizabeth Arden’s vanishing cream.
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 Russian commies.
As long as the aggression existed in the form of the Evil Empire and “their unrelenting drive to enslave humanity” the threat of an unwanted nuclear war would cast a long shadow.
The Hungry Russian Bear
The long shadow reached suburbia too.
What the danger of Russia and Communism posed to my ordinary suburban childhood was very unclear to me.
To help me understand the dangers of this big brutal Russian bear, my father dad would read me a bedtime story, a cold war classic which I begged to have read to me again and again.
While other children adored Goldilocks and her antics with the Three Bears, my favorite was a story called “The Hungry Russian Bear.”
“Once upon a time, there was a Big Red Bear who was very, very hungry.
“He lumbered through the forest eating everything in sight. His eyes were like saucers. No matter how much he ate, he always wanted more. Tramping through his neighbors forests, he gobbled up his neighbor’s portion.
Looking around, he licked his lips. Lo and behold he spied a quiet little mouse.
The Hungry Bear pounced and ate the mouse and all his food. Still hungry, he looked longingly across the big ocean to the other side, where there lay other lands full of all sorts of tempting goodies and treats.
The Big Red Bear would not be happy until he ate everything in sight. The bear just grew and grew.
Communist Russia, Dad explained to me was like the hungry bear in the story. It was a large and ravenous nation with an insatiable appetite.
Their portion of porridge was never going to be enough for them. Nothing not even Metrical could curb their appetite
To avoid ending up in the tummy of a Communist Bear, I, just like America was to be in a constant state of preparedness.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. 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.