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Archive for the 'USH: Cold War' Category

How JFK made NASA his secret weapon in the fight for civil rights in America

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Most Americans know the name of the first black player in professional baseball — Jackie Robinson. But how about the first black professional in the US space program? 

That was Julius Montgomery. He was part of a small cadre of African American mathematicians, engineers and technicians who helped power the space race — at a time when laws kept them from using the same toilet as their coworkers. (Later, he also integrated the Florida Institute of Technology.) These men were the vanguard of what became a government strategy to integrate the South.

How Warner Bros. Animators Responded to the Cold War (1948-1980)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Warner Bros. animators, under the leadership of Charles M. “Chuck” Jones, launched their own, albeit mild, counter attack when they introduced Marvin the Martian in 1948, several years before The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Fail Safe (1964), Seven Days in May (1964), Dr. Strangelove (1964), or Boris and Natasha, the Russian spies in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The FBI files on being and nothingness

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The irony that emerges from the FBI files on Camus and Sartre, spanning several decades is that the G-men, initially so anti-philosophical, find themselves reluctantly philosophizing. They become (in GK Chesterton’s phrase) philosophical policemen.

Hoover needed to know if Existentialism and Absurdism were some kind of front for Communism. To him, everything was potentially a coded re-write of the Communist Manifesto. That was the thing about the Manifesto—it was not manifest: more often it was, as Freud would say, latent. Thus FBI agents were forced to become psychoanalysts and hermeneuts…Thus we find intelligence agents studying scholarly works and attending lectures.

But the FBI were “philosophical policemen” in a second sense: in tracking Camus and Sartre (surveillance, eavesdropping, wiretapping, theft) they give expression to their own brand of philosophical investigations. In particular, the FBI philosophy files reveal how the agency became so dogmatically anti-conspiratorial.

Five Myths About the Cold War

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Mark Kramer is director of Cold War Studies and a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Davis Center. More than 20 years since the U.S.S.R. disappeared, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is renewing old rivalries and sparking talk of a new Cold War, with former KGB officer Vladimir Putin serving as the West’s latest foil in Moscow. But how apt is the comparison?

Let’s examine some myths that endure about the East-West stalemate.

Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Despite public assurances that everything was fully under control, in the winter of 1964, while “Dr. Strangelove” was playing in theatres and being condemned as Soviet propaganda, there was nothing toprevent an American bomber crew or missile launch crew from using their weapons against the Soviets.Kubrick had researched the subject for years, consulted experts, and worked closely with a former R.A.F.pilot, Peter George, on the screenplay of the film. George’s novel about the risk of accidental nuclear war,“Red Alert,” was the source for most of “Strangelove” ’s plot. Unbeknownst to both Kubrick and George, atop official at the Department of Defense had already sent a copy of “Red Alert” to every member of the Pentagon’s Scientific Advisory Committee for Ballistic Missiles. At the Pentagon, the book was taken seriously as a cautionary tale about what might go wrong. Even Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara privately worried that an accident, a mistake, or a rogue American officer could start a nuclear war.”

This New Yorker article explores the film as fact.,

How the CIA secretly published Dr Zhivago

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Boris Pasternak’s famous novel Doctor Zhivago remained unpublished in the USSR until 1988, because of its implicit criticism of the Soviet system. But for the same reason, the CIA wanted Soviets to read the book, and arranged the first-ever publication in Russian.

When Pete Seeger Faced Down the House Un-American Activities Committee

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Amid all the tributes and accolades to Pete Seeger today, it’s easy to paper over the extent to which his career was almost destroyed by associations with communism and his refusal to testify to Congress about his time in the Communist Party.

When, in August 1955, he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he refused to discuss his political associations and activities, and chastised the committee for the entire inquiry. As he put it that day:

I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.

Seeger was later indicted by a federal jury on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 10 concurrent one-year prison terms, which he never served. In 1962, the convictions were overturned.

Seeger also discussed this, among other adventures, on Fresh Air in 1985

ATOMIC SECRETS, MISSING PERSONS AND GENERAL COLD WAR STRANGENESS

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

The Conelrad Blog is awesome…and disturbing

The Supreme Court’s Cold War Relocation Plan

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

 

Oak Grove Park_Aerial copy

In 1992 the Washington Post revealed to the world the surprising Cold War emergency relocation plan of the United States Congress. In remarkably detailed reporting the newspaper told the Strangelovian story of a massive government bunker built beneath the posh Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in the late 1950s. The irony of lawmakers riding out World War III under a five star hotel while the public sheltered in place was hard to miss. Needless to say, CONELRAD was intrigued to find, years later, a reference to the U.S. Supreme Court’s oddly similar contingency plan

Discussion: The Threat to America — From Our Own Nuclear Weapons

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

America’s nuclear arsenal has been subject to a terrifying number of accidents, miscalculations and inexplicable blunders, without a devastating catastrophe—so far. We talk with investigative reporter Eric Schlosser about how close we’ve come, how little the public’s been told, and whether we’re safer now than we used to be.

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