An Unimaginable Fear Proven Imaginable Once Again

Matthew Farish, in his paper, “Disaster and Decentralization: American Cities and the Cold War”, discusses the popular flight from cities to suburbs during the late 1940’s and early 1950’ s. An important point that he made was that “the postwar climate was responsible for ‘feeding, not breeding’ the landscapes of fear, violence and misogyny already present in noir progenitors such as prewar hardboiled fiction and tabloid street photography.” The paranoia of destruction and an attack on people’s ways of life were already in their minds before the mass migration to the suburbs. Influx of immigrants and minorities had already put many white families on the defense, and the advent of the nuclear threat gave them a tangible reason to flee the city. It was evident in the popular culture and entertainment of the time period that underlying fear of urban life had been brewing in some parts of the population for a long time.

As for the imagery of the Twin Towers after 9/11 and their mirrored affect to that of the imagery to Hiroshima, I think that the non-stop barrage of videos and photos of the terrorist attack would have had more effect on the populace than even Hiroshima’s destruction. The fact that 9/11 was on U.S. soil, with U.S. casualties brought forward an already present fear of urban danger. The imagery of Hiroshima had sparked that fear decades before, but the tangible destruction at home threw gasoline on the flame of American paranoia and suburb flight. While Hiroshima’s body count and destruction outweighs that of 9/11 enormously, the fact that paranoia and fear was proved valid had a deeper impact on American psyche.


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