The anxiety of War

In Matthew Farish’s “American Cities and the Cold War: Disaster and Decentralization”, he addresses how American’s anxiety stemming from the fear of destruction that they saw in Hiroshima and Nagasaki fueled a migration from urban cities to the suburbs in order to provide security for oneself and their family. Farish conveys where this fear came from, “In the United States, a nation with a higher urban to non-urban ration than Cold War rivals like China and the Soviet Union, a city was, as Bernard Bride put it, a made-to-order target, and the degree of urbanization of a country furnishes a rough index of its relative vulnerability to the atomic bomb”. Americans adopted this idea that urban cities like New York, Chicago and L.A, were “made-to-order” targets and therefore left and sought shelter in suburbia.

Farish brings up a really interesting view that Americans had during this time about their fears over Hiroshima. The most chilling part to many about the scenes of the destruction at Hiroshima wasn’t the amount of bodies but rather that Hiroshima was the cultural capital of Japan and was still removed from Western influence. To them, it made it even more tragic that the city represented so much. This extends to the Twin Towers as well because New York City is such a cultural representation of America and the Twin Towers were the epitome of a bustling, American business. So while the deaths that happened in the 9/11 attacks were awful, it was the symbol of America falling and the destruction of us that really fueled the anxiety of Americans.


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