7 Cold War Memories Boomers Don’t Want to Relive

For baby boomers who grew up in the Cold War era, the latest headlines  – about the Russian annexation of Crimea and Vladmir Putin’s America-bashing speech – bring up uncomfortable memories. Who doesn’t remember that childhood fear of being herded into a flimsy bomb shelter with incoming Russian missiles overhead? As we worry about whether another Cold War could loom ahead, here are seven things we don’t miss about the first one:

1.  Duck and cover drills at school

duck and cover drill at school

2.  Home nuclear fallout shelters

Home nuclear fallout shelters

>> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter

3.  Mutually assured destruction: The idea that war could be avoided because anyone who started one would be blown away in the resulting firestorm.

Nuclear test 1956, Enewetak Atoll

Nuclear test, 1956, Enewetak Atoll


Discussion: Share your Cold War memories with others here


4. Russian bad guys (and women) in movies: Here’s Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love.

Lotte Lenya in From Russia With Love

5. The domino theory: If Vietnam fell, then Laos, Cambodia and Thailand would be next and the “dominoes” would never stop falling.

Vietnam action

6. The Berlin Wall: Built in 1961.

Berlin Wall

>> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.

7.  The Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain map

What are you glad the end of Cold War left behind? Are you afraid we’re entering a new Cold War era? Let us know below.

Credits: Duck and cover: Bettman/Corbis; Fallout shelter: National Archives via Wikipedia; Nuclear test: National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office via Wikimedia; Lotte Lenya in ‘From Russia With Love’: Getty Images; American troops in Vietnam: National Archives via Wikipedia; Berlin Wall: Roger Wollstadt/Flickr; Map of Europe: Created by BigSteve Via Wikimedia Commons


Also of Interest


See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more