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Cold War: 1950s – Battle For The Control Of Hearts And Minds – 1957 – Past Daily Reference Room

Communist Demonstrations - 1950s
Communist Demonstrations in the 1950s – It was, after all, a popularity contest – one that brandished slogans as well as sabers.
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The Cold War – a time of saber rattling, anxiety, fear, posturing, threatening, propaganda, but above all; Marketing. It was a war of ideologies. A war where confrontations were few, tensions were high, but in the end, World War Three never materialized and Earth was spared obliteration . . .so far.

But in the 1950s it certainly didn’t seem that way. America was gripped with a paranoia and fear of imminent war that lasted almost up to the time the Berlin Wall fell in the late 1980s.

It’s somewhat ironic that, in 1957 (the time of this broadcast) we were in the midst of the Red Scare, of Berlin, of NATO and of The Warsaw Pact, because we were convinced it was all going to be a land war, or a war of obliteration, thanks to the Atomic Bomb. In 2019, the ideologies may be different and the Communist Party as we knew it no longer existed, for the most part. No, it 2019 our paranoia and fear is of tampered elections and computer hacking – hostile acts that comprise no troop movements, but instead comprise juxtaposition of computer codes in dimly lit rooms to foment chaos of another kind. This war between East and West has nothing to do with Communist Ideology or Western visions of Democracy – it has everything to do with creating divisions from within, creating an aura of fear – not of obliteration, but of division and domestic unrest.

I suppose in looking at the world of 1957, some 62 years ago, our concerns were downright quaint to what they are now. But then as now, we were in uncharted territory – we had no idea how it would work out, or if it would work out – just as we have no idea how it will work out now.

Maybe the thing about history is the realization we’ve been down a version of this road before – had the same fears and anxieties, went to bed at night with the same uneasy feeling we may wake up in the morning different, or not at all.

To get an idea, or some flavor of the anxieties we experienced those decades past, here is a commentary by one of the leading broadcast journalists of the day, Cedric Foster to offer some insights and thoughts on this Cold War world of 1957.

Fascinating stuff, especially when you realize it eventually worked out. Something to think about as you contemplate tossing a brick at your TV.

From the Mutual Radio network, Cedric Foster, from May 1957.

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