Oh, the Irony Of It All….

| August 8, 2020

Back in 1983, before there was even the slightest hint that the Soviet Union was bankrupting itself by trying to annex Afghanistan, we in the Free World lived under the vague threat of instant annihilation by megaton Soviet missiles being launched toward us.

The irony is that by 1989, the USSR under Gorbachev had become flat broke and that melange of annexed satellite countries was beginning to disintegrate.  Even so, there were mildly entertaining horror stories about nuclear war, one of them being a 1968 film titled “Panic In the City”, in which an FBI agent tracks down a rogue Soviet scientist who is literally building an atom bomb in his basement in Los Angeles.  It was a short film, didn’t make much of a dent at the box office, and most people went on about their business. The tension in the movie was good, especially with good acting by Howard Duff as the government agent. The IMBD link is here.  if you want some quick thrills and a nosy female reporter played by Linda Cristal, it’s available at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Panic-City-Howard-Duff/dp/B07GSJG73Y

And remember, that was in the heart of the Cold War.  I think we were really more worried about inflation and Vietnam than about being bombed, although there were people who said that my hometown was a target city because of the railyards, the few factories that made heavy equipment, electronics, and tires, and the grain elevators that dotted the farming landscape. There was a university not too far away where major work in physics and computer languages was going on, and near that was a military base.  You could find the same things in my Dad’s home town in Nebraska. But we were something like 10 miles from “Ground Zero” because of all that industry. When you live in Flatland amid the corn, wheat, soybeans, and alfalfa, you’re usually more interested in going to the drive-inn on Friday night than you are in whether or not a nuke is going to pop 10 miles away. Even so, my folks kept water in glass gallon jars and plenty of canned stuff on shelves in the basement. There was a cistern with a hand pump out in the back yard, and we always had a garden.

A lot has changed since then.

This movie at the link below is “The Day After”, a 1983 TV movie that was broadcast about 7 years ahead of the collapse and dissolution of the USSR.  A little over 2 hours long, produced in Lawrence, Kansas. Have dinner or lunch first, pop some popcorn and get some cold beverages. It’s almost like a trip in a time machine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyy9n8r16hs

The collapse and demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics began 6 years later in 1989, officially completed in 1991. Gorbachev was succeeded by Breshnev, and now we have Vlad Putin, who had a lovely home built on a hillside overlooking the Black Sea. The front entrance looks distinctly like a bunker entrance.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union was caused partly by internal disintegration within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which began in the late 1980s with growing unrest in the various constituent republics, and ended on December 26, 1991, when the Supreme Soviet voted the USSR itself out of existence. Yes, there was warfare in Ukraine, involving the Russian Army, but it was brief and it ended. There were quarrels between the Azers and Baijanis over what was what in Azerbaijan. But that all ended.

Do we still need to worry about what the Russians are up to? Probably. After all, a satellite recently moving way up high over the northern oceans got a shot of a Russian missile being launched at sea. In reality, we do have to worry about everyone who despises freedom and free thinking, as we learned the hard way in September 2001 and before that. Maybe the current crop of SJWs and spoiled brats who can barely parse a full sentence correctly could benefit from having the bejesus scared out of them by a universal threat of violence beyond their wildest imagination.

But here you are: a satellite caught a Russian missile being launched at sea, in a very rare moment of timing. There is also, in the article at the link, a video of Russian missile target practice in the Arctic Ocean.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a33472839/russian-missile-test-open-source-intelligence-analyst/

Looks like Vlad is keeping his hand in. But really, shouldn’t he be spending that Nazprom gas sales money on improving the economy of Russia itself?

Category: America, Cold War, Historical, Nukes

Comments (32)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Yeltsin. Brezhnev was prior.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      You’re right. Sorry about that.

      But watch the movie tonight, after supper. It’s worth your time.

  2. Radioactive G-Spot says:

    I watched “The Day After” a few nights ago at work (don’t tell my boss). Even though some of the special effects are laughable (the bodies freezing and blinking to look like xrays), its still chilling after all these years. I had heard that President Reagan watched it and affected by it. Good post Ex.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Thanks. I thought it was kind of chilling when it was originally broadcast, but even more so now.

    • thebesig says:

      I watched it when it came out back in 1983. It was the “talk of the day” in school. As for Ronald Reagan, he saw communism in Hollywood and had been “fighting” against it ever since then.

      His fight against communism was a decades long fight. He knew that if the US flexed its military muscles slightly… The Soviets were operating at peak with regards to their economy supporting their military… That the Soviets would fall flat on their faces.

      So, he caused the US to flex its military muscles. I remember when he came out and announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI. Even though our scientists knew that something like this would take decades to make reality, the Soviets saw us as bringing this about in the near term.

      This was a lot of concern for the Soviets. If we refused to abandon SDI, the Soviets would be forced to compete harder… Something that neither their military nor economy was able to do. But, they kept at it, accelerating their fall.

      President Reagan knew exactly what he was doing with regards to his policies. He was vilified then just as President Trump is being vilified now.

      I’ve been a news junkie since 1982, and it was this back and forth between the US and the Soviet Union that got me interested in the first place.

      President Trump is doing something similar against the Chinese Communist Party… If he keeps at it he’s looking at similar results with the Chinese that Reagan ultimately got with the Soviets.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        The Chinese economy is starting to seriously tank, isn’t it? No one really needs what they’re selling, and while some curmudgeon on the East Coast has assured me that the EVs are going to outdo carbon-fueled vehicles, the polluting litter of those Li2 batteries will catch up with them like a speeding train about to wreck itself.

        IF only one could get AOC and her cronies lost in a junkyard full of used EV batteries that are completely burned out and useless…. and polluting the earth while they decay….

        • thebesig says:

          The CCP is starting to see the reality that their trade war against the US, and against other countries, is bringing. They’re starting to talk about an economy based on the Chinese consumer… Internal to China. This would set them back to where they were before they were allowed into the WTO.

          It doesn’t help them that companies are accelerating their moving their logistics out of China and moving them elsewhere.

          China is going to be finding it harder to maintain their military presence in the South China Sea, or to engage in their overseas initiatives.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          It’s also possible that they’ve stolen all the tech info they can for now, thebesig, and that they figure they can get along without us for a while.
          Unfortunately, their culture squashes innovation, so we can make leaps ahead of them.
          How do we bring our manufacturing base back home so that Amazon and MSFT and all those others have to pay real wages to our workers? There are empty factories in this country that were auto manufacturing plants before the 2008 crash.

        • thebesig says:

          They’re going to be having a hard time moving forward. Their economy is mainly an export one. When more operations move their manufacturing outside of China, they’re going to have to rely on something else.

          A reason to why they’re not “innovative” is that they don’t have free speech. Once the CCP is gone, and should China bring in a democratic form of government that allows people to freely exchange ideas, this would go a long way to changing.

          Those corporations, moving their operations out of China, are bringing them to other Asian countries.

          President Trump is setting the US to be an attractive place to invest and bring jobs in. The Democrats are fighting him every step of the way.

        • Beef Tits says:

          Absolutely correct. You won`t hear any mention however in the MSM

  3. SFC D says:

    You had me at Linda Cristal.

    • KoB says:

      Well we now know that the “D” stands for Dog. Not that there is anything wrong with that. You know we lost her back in June, don’t you?

      How many remember seeing Fail Safe in school back in the early/mid 60s? And we can’t forget Dr. Strangelove. Or maybe, with a Naval twist, On the Beach? And as I’ve commented before, during my days in the tactical nuke missile business, we war gamed any scenario you can imagine. We also had charts/maps of expected CONUS and ETO Targets we thought the Soviets would take out FIRST. China, officially (wink wink nod nod) wasn’t as big of a concern, what with crappy delivery systems and Nixon/Kissinger doing their massaging.

      The Ruskkies nor the ChiComs don’t really want to nuke us perse. That would contaminate the farmable land. Now an EMP or an overthrow/takeover from within? Whole different story. We have more, right now, to concern ourselves over domestic enemies than we do with a FIRST Strike Nuclear Attack.

      Be Aware…Be Very Aware…Eternal Vigilance!

  4. Hondo says:

    I sometimes have wondered if the USSR had anything to do with the making of “The Day After”. The Reagan defense build-up was threatening their entire defense strategy, and they knew they couldn’t keep up economically.

    What better way to cause us to “dial it back” than to slip a few $$$ into the hands of some well-meaning useful idiots in Hollywood to produce a propaganda hit-piece emphasizing the possible end of the world – and implying that it was all Reagan’s fault if it did happen?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That thought did occur to me, too, Hondo, but not when I watched the movie last night. Much earlier than that.

  5. 26Limabeans says:

    “On the Beach” was a great novel along with
    the movie that followed.
    Everyone headed for the southern hemishere after
    a nuclear exchange poisoned the north.

  6. STSC(SW/SS) says:

    My favorite is Fail Safe. I also liked On The Beach(original and remake). By Dawns Early Light and the television min-series WWIII.

    • Ex-Ph2 says:

      That movie was spooky, because it was possible and plausible.

      • STSC(SW/SS) says:

        Fail Safe was the only movie I saw that Dom Deluise played a serious role in.

        Another mini-series was Amerika in which the US fell to the combined forces of the USSR and the UN.

  7. Slow Joe says:

    The best movie from the 80s is Terror on the highway of death.

    Well, Hawk the Slayer was amazing too.

  8. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    One guy I went to high school claimed that he was in “The Day After”, he said he was paid $5 to run down the street screaming in the scene where the Air Raid Sirens go off!

  9. Bim says:

    On the British side, they produced a film called “Threads” In 1984-ish which you can still find on YouTube. In short, the US and USSR flex their muscles a bit too much and everything spirals out of control. It follows a few people as they go through life and offers the picture of a chilling aftermath with the complete breakdown of civilization and little to no hope for future survival.

    I caught it a couple of years ago and, despite the low budget effects, it made a lasting impression on me. It’s a bit of a grittier version of The Day After.

  10. M. Bibliophile says:

    Bim, I just watched “Threads” yesterday and was going to mention it but you beat me to it. Good movie, but like most anti-nuclear propaganda (ant it was), it overestimates just how trigger happy everyone was with actual nukes. The movie itself is good, and it captures the immediate aftermath well. I think it’s a bit over the top with the later stuff, but it’s still an interesting take and worth a watch for anyone into doomsday scenarios. Makes me glad I don’t live in a big city, I can tell you that.

    • Hondo says:

      . . . . but like most anti-nuclear propaganda (ant it was), it overestimates just how trigger happy everyone was with actual nukes.

      Indeed. If either side truly was “trigger happy”, the world would have ended either during the Cuban Missile Crisis, during the late 1970s, or on 26 September 1983.

      https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=70671

      https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=77181

      In both of the linked incidents, it was the level-headed judgement of a Soviet officer that prevented Armageddon.

      There was also two cases – one also during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and another during the Carter Administration – when issues with US early warning systems indicated an incoming attack. Fortunately during those incidents cooler heads also prevailed within US leadership.

  11. Chase says:

    Red Dawn was my jam in the 80s. However, I remember the original airing of “The Day After” and the controversy before it even aired.

    Funny story (sort of) happened when I was in school for emergency management a few years ago. There was a class called “Disasters in Film and Media”, which was WAY harder than it sounds because you had to debunk the myths and find the truths based on social theory vs. what was portrayed in the film. You’d watch a movie in class and then have to sift through a ton of research and answer a bunch of questions.

    Now, at the time, I was what they call a “non-traditional student”, which roughly translates that I was “older” than the average student. Fortunately for me, there were a handful of us about the same age slogging through to get our degrees to share the misery.

    So, about halfway through the semester, “The Day After” gets shown. We look around and see the younger kids rolling their eyes at the special effects in the film. That wasn’t a big deal, really. What really cut to the core was one if the questions for the film that was phrased as such:

    “Imagine you were alive when this film aired.”

    Interestingly, this led to an amazing discussion in class, because the younger ones didn’t get why it would have produced the anxiety that it did AT ALL. We older students were able to articulate why the film had such an impact on people based on our personal recollections.

    I can honestly say that the film, albeit old by the time this class occurred, still had the ability to make people think. Was it propaganda? Maybe, but maybe it also showed there would be no winners if one side or the other snapped off a nuke.

    Just goes to show even old films can still have an impact in the current day.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      IIRC there were warning for “The Day After” when it first came on and after every commerical.

      • Chase says:

        You are correct! I remember my parents debating if we were going to watch it because there were so many warnings! Then, it was a question of watching it all the way through!

  12. Jim says:

    Weren’t those movies on around the same era as “V”, that show featured the actor from “Beastmaster”, do not recall his name?
    Hard to believe that is 35+ years back, does not seem like that long ago.

    • Chase says:

      Marc Singer! “V” and “The Day After” both initially aired in 1983, with “V” being a two-part miniseries. A most excellent production for its time!

  13. Carlton G Long says:

    At least three of my fellow BASIC trainees claimed that their respective hometowns were “in the top 10” places that the USSR would try to nuke.