The colors may be dirty and worn, but the symbol remains the same
(image by Rusty Knuckles Blogspot)
At the peak of World War Two, the U.S. was cranking out a Liberty ship in eight hours, a B-24 bomber every 63 minutes, and a Sherman tank every half hour. The Military-Industrial Complex, within a few short years of its coming into existence, had become the largest war machine the world had ever seen. By the end of the war The U.S. was the global superpower, and by signing The National Security Act of 1947 into law, President Truman created the CIA and the National Security State.
War became the foundation of the economy and the Military-Industrial-Security Complex had no interest in dismantling itself. There must always be A War. There must always be An Enemy. The Soviet Union, the most valuable ally of the United States during World War II, became The Enemy, and communism became the all pervasive threat.
From Adam Curtis's documentary Century of the Self Part Two -- The Engineering of Consent:
"In 1953 the Soviet Union exploded its first hydrogen bomb and the fear of nuclear war and communism gripped the United States.
"At this point Edward Bernays [Sigmund Freud's nephew] was living in New York. In the 1920s he had invented the profession of Public Relations and was now one of the most powerful PR men in America. He worked for most of the major corporations and advised politicians, including President Eisenhower. ... Bernays argued that instead of trying to reduce people's fears of communism, one should actually encourage and manipulate the fear."
Fear fueled the consent given to the Military-Industrial-Security Complex, and it made certain Americans were propagandized with high-test boogeyman.
In 1953 Senator Joseph McCarthy gave a speech in West Virginia where he said, "The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205 -- a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department."
McCarthy never made his list public nor produced any solid evidence there was even one communist in the State Department. But the Americans, listening to McCarthy's "revelations," were shocked to their core. The enemy was not lying in wait on some foreign shore. The enemy was in our midst. Within our own government.
Anti-communist propaganda was everywhere. From lurid Mike Hammer paperbacks to Hollywood films, communists were scheming to extinguish the beacon of freedom that was The United States of America.
The film Red Nightmare was produced by Warner Brothers and narrated by Jack Webb -- Sergeant Joe Friday from the radio and television series Dragnet. Though made for the Department of Defense, it was shown on television and distributed to schools as an educational film.
Red Nightmare begins with shots of a typical small American town, but as the camera pulls back we see it is surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by Soviet Army guards.
Webb tells us this looks like any American town but ...
"This is not an American town. However it can be assumed that such a town does exist, shrouded in secrecy, and protected by utmost security deep behind the Iron Curtain. You might call this a college town ... Communist style. As part of a long-range plan to destroy our free way of life these young communists are studying the economic, political, and religious institutions that are the very heartbeat of America. The courses here in this strangest of all schools ... espionage as a science, propaganda as an art, sabotage as a business. This nameless American city, deep in the vastness of the Soviet Union, stands as a symbol of Russian treachery, of long-range communist conspiracy."
Imagine the shock to the American psyche to see the Soviets had actually
constructed an Anytown U.S.A. to groom spies where they could perfect
their "Americanisms" so they could walk among real Americans
undetected. Did people watching Red Nightmare doubt Webb when he
said, "... it can be assumed that such a town does exist."? Because
of their fear-induced mania, when they saw the Hollywood sets, watched
the cast of Warner contract players enacting the crude simplistic plot,
audiences believed it was all true.
As William Blum wrote in his book Rogue State...
"During the Cold War, US foreign policy was carried out under the waving banner of fighting a moral crusade against what cold warriors persuaded the American people, most of the world, and perhaps themselves, was the existence of a malevolent International Communist Conspiracy. But it was always a fraud; there was never any such animal as the International Communist Conspiracy."
The cold warriors spun their ubiquitous false propaganda of a Communist
Conspiracy and drove it home so deeply and thoroughly, it drove the
country insane. Some moments of reason managed to slip through the
madness, but were for the most part, ignored.
In Eisenhower's speech, The Chance for Peace, he described a future without peace with the Soviets...
"The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.