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My mate sent some song lyrics to me, by some band. I read them after reading my story on my nuclear armed stealth jet being used in anger. I’m trying to make sense of the cold war I grew up in now, so many years later. It’s so crazy. The younger kids have no idea but my mate does, he’s only 21 but he tries to understand what it was like growing up under the shadow of the bomb and east v west. My other mate who shares my views and feelings on the cold war, tried to explain to his wife and oldest kid what it was about and how we felt in the early/mid 80s. She is 32 but she had no grasp of the situation. I guess ignorance is bliss.

For even now I’m stuck in the cold war, in my head there’s this stunning unreal battle played out over and over. What if? Who would win, what would it have been like? How many would die? What would the small air battles with hundreds of jet fighters have been like? In neighbouring neutral countries what would it have been like to see distant flashes of nuclear explosions and towering mushroom clouds soon to deposit fall out upon you? Killing you though you never took part, neutrality be damned! My own mother wasn’t scared of the nukes but I was and now looking back, as a historian it all comes rushing back to me.

I want a friend the same age as me in the east, a guy so there are no complications, to tell me his side of it. His own small cold war story, what he felt like, what he did, what he remembers now. To tell me where the missiles were based, near his town? Where was the Mig air base? Did his dad serve in the Warpac armies facing off his NATO counterparts? Would my eastern European friend have known of the sixty thousand plus nuclear weapons waiting to blow our world up? What would my friend think of my fascination of nuclear war and weapons? I try to make sense of the madness and it overshadows me like I’m nothing.

I grew up under the shadow of the bomb and of east v west...

lifecold wareast v westbloc of opposing forcesbeliefspasthistory


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