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The Imaginary War : Civil Defense and American Cold War Culture - Guy Oakes

The Imaginary War

Civil Defense and American Cold War Culture

By: Guy Oakes

Hardcover Published: 5th January 1995
ISBN: 9780195090277
Number Of Pages: 208

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"Duck and cover" are unforgettable words for a generation of Americans who listened throughout the Cold War to the unescapable propaganda of civil defense. Yet it would have been impossible to protect Americans from a real nuclear attack and, as Guy Oakes shows in The Imaginary War, national security officials knew it.
Oakes contends that the real purpose of 1950s civil defense programs was not to protect Americans from the bomb, but to ingrain in them the moral resolve needed to face the hazards of the Cold War. Uncovering the links between national security, civil defense, and civic ethics, Oakes reveals three sides to the civil defense program: a system of emotional management designed to control fear; the fictional construction of a manageable world of nuclear attack; and the production of a Cold War ethic rooted in the mythology of the home, the ultimate sanctuary of American values.
This fascinating analysis of the culture of civil defense is a strong indictment of the official mythmaking of the Cold War. It will be essential reading for all those interested in American history, politics, and cultural studies.

"The author brings to bear on this history the power of an insightful social scientist, and in that respect alone makes a highly original contribution. This is a substantial contribution to the nascent field of the cultural history of the nuclear age."--Lynn Eden, Stanford University "Well written and intelligent....Oakes offers much new material that illuminates the strategic thinking and operational planning underlying this civil-defense propaganda operation."--Paul Boyer, University of Wisconsin, Madison "Oakes has impressively and succinctly analyzed the relationship of national security and civil defense to civic ethics....This study offers further proof that in war, hot or cold, truth is the first casualty. Highly recommended for all levels."--Choice "His book is neither complicated nor lengthy...Nevertheless, Oakes has told his tale well, avoiding the jargon which is common among social scientists, and not promising more than he delivers."--The Historian "...Oakes has written an engaging and original book that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the cold war. ...[A] concise and well-argued book..."--Peace & Change "The author brings to bear on this history the power of an insightful social scientist, and in that respect alone makes a highly original contribution. This is a substantial contribution to the nascent field of the cultural history of the nuclear age."--Lynn Eden, Stanford University "Well written and intelligent....Oakes offers much new material that illuminates the strategic thinking and operational planning underlying this civil-defense propaganda operation."--Paul Boyer, University of Wisconsin, Madison "Oakes has impressively and succinctly analyzed the relationship of national security and civil defense to civic ethics....This study offers further proof that in war, hot or cold, truth is the first casualty. Highly recommended for all levels."--Choice "His book is neither complicated nor lengthy...Nevertheless, Oakes has told his tale well, avoiding the jargon which is common among social scientists, and not promising more than he delivers."--The Historian "...Oakes has written an engaging and original book that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the cold war. ...[A] concise and well-argued book..."--Peace & Change

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Introductionp. 3
National Security and National Moralep. 10
Managing Nuclear Terrorp. 33
The Cold War Conception of Nuclear Realityp. 78
The Nuclear Familyp. 105
The Antinomies of Cold War Culturep. 145
Epilogue Liberal Propaganda and the Exigencies of National Securityp. 165
Notesp. 169
Indexp. 189
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195090277
ISBN-10: 0195090276
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 5th January 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.36 x 16.13  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.47