Nuclear Ambitions

sally-edelstein-collage appropriated vintage images supersize the superpower

Off to the Arms races! Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

Well, we’re off to the arms races again as the supersizing of the superpowers begins anew.

Donald Trump wants to ramp up America’s nuclear arsenal. Fearing we’ve fallen behind, he boasts  he wanted to make the U.S. the top of the pack when it comes to nukes.

Trump’s nuclear arsenal ambition is déjà vu.

Supersizing the Superpower

For those of us who grew up during the 1950’s and 1960’s the cold war culture of  an arms race  was a subtext of our lives. It was a time when most Americans assumed the Unites States and the Soviets stood continually on the brink of nuclear war.

With the threat of  nuclear attack breathing down our necks, and our misguided fear of a gaping missile gap, we needed to build up our arsenal of nuclear  weapons, pronto.

When it came to Super Powers, American’s have long  believed in supersizing.

Land of Good and Plenty

sally-edelstein-collage-appropriated imaged -supersize-superpower

(Detail) Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

After all, mid century American’s  were the most envied people on the planet. You couldn’t help but stand and admire us and our technological know how and might.

Running rings around all others, no other country so accented the march of new ideas. Big trends begin in America. The USA stood ever ready with a more confident answer to all the demands of modern living.

Whether bombs, breasts or Buicks, bigger was better.

The magicians of Madison Avenue were working their magic in tandem with the MAD  men of the Military Industrial Complex working double time fusing a double set of desires for the nuclear family for more weapons of mass destruction and more ease of living-  Mutually Assured Destruction and Mutually Assured Consumption.

How Do You Rate?

With more bounce and zoom in every step, we could run faster, jump higher and win more often.

And in the dawn of the space age, it was to be America, naturally, who would steer us into space braving the dangers of the cosmic frontiers, safeguarding the cause of universal peace and freedom.

Off to the Arms Race

sally-edelstein-art-collage-appropriated vintage images -cold war

(Detail) Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

However, in 1957 when the Russians successfully launched Sputnik, the first man made satellite into space, we were shaken to the core. The very thought of Soviet technological supremacy in missile supremacy sent off a chain reaction of panic, ring fear levels and soaring defense spending. We would pay any price, bear any burden to fill any Missile gap.

Play Your Hunch

In the age of post war plenty, we had plenty to fear.

At a push of a button, a turn of a dial… Presto…it could all disappear if we didn’t defend them properly. It was critical to deter a nuclear war by keeping nuclear superiority. To live in peace, the cold war credo went we must have power.

Beat the Clock

sally-edelstein-art-collage-supersize-cold war culture

( Detail) Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

Like  contestants on the Game Show “Beat the Clock” we were thrust into an arms race with the Russians. By successfully launching a man made satellite into space, the Soviets had won the first lighting round and moved into the bonus stunts winning that challenge with the development of the ICBM.

Win Lose or Draw

Smugly the Soviets boasted: “Maybe next time will be your time to “Beat The Clock.”

Now like two contestants with fingers on the buzzer the first hot headed cold warrior to push the button- ding-ding-ding, would be “Winner Take All!” Of course in order to beat the clock we would first be playing “Break the Bank.”

Nuclear weapons both to protect and threaten became  the icons of the Cold War.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2017.




  1. Steven Blumrosen


    Great.collage of appropriation.
    Scary déjà vu.
    Thanks for the memories,

    Think I’ll dive under a desk,
    Check the EMP hardening of my IoT devices,
    Then go on Craig’s list for a pre-digital Buick or a surplus WWII US Army Jeep made in America by Rosie the Riviter and her pre-suburban coworkers.

    Good night and good luck,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ours – the Swedish one – but we never got to third base
    I haven’t got the time time to translate right now


  3. By 1988 there were an estimated 35,000 nuclear weapons armed and ready to launch. Today there are a mere 12,000 except the ones today are 10 times more powerful. I was surprised to find a lot of people do not believe nuclear weapons exist. In a forum two days ago we, two of us, were out numbered 100 to 1 by nuclear weapons deniers. Thank for reminding me I wasn’t the only wide awake living through a nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The same people that convinced us we were safe with the nukes are the same people that convinced Custer there were no Indians at the Little Big Horn.


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