For those old enough to remember “duck and cover” drills at school, this article has you in mind. Back when the commies were the evil doers, the one thing we collectively feared above all else was nuclear war. I don't think huddling under our little desks gave anyone a sense of security but the ritual served an important purpose. It was a reminder of the horrors that awaited us if World War III ever started. Instead of fretting a temperature rise of a degree or two over a century, the kind of global warming that we dreaded involved instantaneous temperature spikes in the thousands of degrees. The 1965 hit song "Eve of Destruction" represented the fears of a generation with lyrics such as “If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away. There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave.”
Besides inspiration for songs and spy movies, the Cold War gave us the original acronym for MAD – Mutual Assured Destruction. The Soviet Union and the United States avoided direct military engagement since hostilities could escalate and nuclear war was viewed as suicidal by most. In the years following the Second World War, the USA and Russia became capable of destroying the world umpteen times over. Today, it may only be half of umpteen, but the danger is as real as it has ever been. The concept of communist domination of the world may be a relic, but the nuclear-armed ICBMs are not. A single American or Russian nuclear submarine has enough fire-power to replicate a thousand Hiroshimas.