Crisis! Hysteria!

Crisis Hysteria QuoteAny illusion of cooperation between the U.S. and the USSR faded away with the Korean War, and the Cold War entered its most volatile era in both domestic and international affairs as General Dwight D. Eisenhower assumed the American presidency.  Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev proved an unpredictable leader who frequently and unabashedly threatened America with nuclear attack, often boasting of exaggerated missile capabilities.  Landmark Cold War events, such as the formation of the Warsaw Pact, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and the erection of the Berlin Wall all culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis – the closest America ever came to nuclear war on its own soil.  The constant threat kept America on high alert, creating an atmosphere of heightened fear that permeated culture and politics not just on the national level, but across Texas as well.  State politicians capitalized on the era’s concerns by voicing commitment to fighting the threat of communism at home while local residents built bomb shelters and Texans encountered Senator Joseph McCarthy’s blacklist. The heightened fear of communism and the nuclear bomb that took hold in these years would carry through to the mid-1970s.

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