Episode-2148- Ryan Lewellin of the Cold War Cast

The 1983 TV Movie called “The Day After” Impacted Many Who Grew Up in the 70s and 80s, It Even “Depressed” President Ronald Reagan and Changed the Course of The Cold War.

Ryan Lewellin is the host of the Cold War Cast, a podcast that chronicles the history of the Cold War and tries to tell as much of the story as possible through the pop culture of the time.

Ryan has also written an ebook with in-depth analysis of Red Dawn from his historical and military perspective called “Wolverines: Reflections on Red Dawn”.

Today Ryan and I discuss dystopian fiction and lessons from it, including Red Dawn, The Day After, 1984 and The Twilight Zone.  We also discuss the mind set of people from the 50s-80s vs today in regard to the cold war threat, basic preparedness and other issues.

Resources for today’s show…

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23 Responses to Episode-2148- Ryan Lewellin of the Cold War Cast

  1. Does John Adam have a Spotify account? It’d be pretty neat to see TSP songs of the day in a playlist.

  2. I remember when the film 1984 was relased, I remember the next day our teacher discussing ‘what was the probability that the US would ever invade or bomb our country and if so what was the probability that Russia might come and defend and save us’.

    And we had to write an esssy about how our lives might change if our city was bombed etc.

    I remember thinking that the adults who run the world were stone mad .

     

    • Modern Survival

      What country did you live in?

      • Hi Jack, I grew up in Ireland Western Europe.

        At the time there was a low level gurela war going on in the north of Ireland between the British army and the Irish Republican Army.

         

        There were usually a few killed every day or every week, though ocasionally there were incidents where 20 or more were killed in a day. It lasted from around 1969 to about year 2000 then there was a peace agreement signed.

        There was one event called Bloody Sunday when British soldiers excuted 17 unarmed civilians who had been holding a peaceful protost holding cloth painted banners.

        Remember that Southern Ireland got independance from Britain around 1924 after a bloody war of independance often involving poor badly armed tennant farmers fighting pitched battles against the British landlords who were backed up by the British army and militias.

        There was a lot of fear at that time in the the South during the 1970s and 80s that the British army might push south and that people would be displaced of land or houses they owned because thats what happened prior to the war of independance in the south where by the Irish farmers were displaced of their farms which were amalgamated in huge British collective farms owned by British lords who ‘endlaved’ the dispossed farmers as labours who the worked and lived under terrible conditions.

        In the north Republicans rarely owned property, and mostly were not allowed to get jobs in government, ie teachers, fire men, police etc.

        In effect they had bad housing and had difficulty accessing university’s and hospitals. There was very high unemployment among Republicians.

        There was a sort of apartheid where by although they were allowed to vote, however the districts were carved out and adjusted by the British to insure that the British held power, this was called Jerrymandering.

         

        There was also a lot of fear about ‘internment’ whereby the British army could arrest people on suspicion and hold them indefinitely without being charged with any crime and without having access to proper legal representatives.

        It was a sort of ‘guantanam bay’.

        Also a lot of people disappointed during the troubles and both sides commited terrible atrocities.

        Although the troubles were often pained in by the global big media as being a partly religions or cultural divide, it was also about rich powerful verses poor alienated.  Whereby there were rich on both sides and poor on both sides. However in some cases the rich on both sides went to the opera together while the poor on both sides killed each other.

        Also there was a lot of fear and unknown as well as contradictions.

        The US was a close ally of the UK during the cold war, therefore the US was feared as a posible threat that could assist the British in bombing the south of Ireland.

        Irionically during those years many Southern Republican orientated people immigrated to both Britain and the US to work and avoid the troubles at home and many of them married British and Americans and done well. Many worked in Chicago, New York and Boston in construction, fire services and police. Many of those fire men killed in 911 were sons or grandsons of Irish immigrants who left Ireland to flee the British army and the troubles.

        There used to be drills in the schools to prepare us for if in the event of a British-US air raid bombing.

        Also during the second world war Ireland stayed neutral.

        Many Irish hoped Germany would win, many other Irish joined the allies to fight against Germany. After the war public opinion went against Germany.

         

        • Modern Survival

          Oh I know all about that, I have a friend who is from England, he was a member of the unit that did Bloody Sunday, not an active participant but simply a member of the unit.

          To this day he worries that it might become known and someone may use him or his family as some sort of revenge all these years later.  I think he is a bit over dramatic at this point with it, but I can also tell for a time, quite a long time after things were “over” he was probably right to look over his shoulder and perhaps more here in the states than in the UK.

          I also have friends in the North East, many of them Irish, first and second gen migrants.  They seem to hold onto some of the anger more than those that are still in Ireland, perhaps because they felt the need to leave, I dunno.  I am just glad that entire things at least appears to be over and done with.

    • To sum up, in the 1980s as a school child we were much more worried about being bombed by a combined British US Harrier Jets and F16s than being nuked by either side.

      The sight of an F16 on tv used to make me shiver.

  3. Hey Jack- I just want to say you’re kind of off base with your dismissive comments about duck and cover during a nuclear detonation event.

     

    Duck and cover is specifically to protect against flying debris, especially glass. Duck and cover was actually discovered in Hiroshima, and when Nagasaki was hit the people who lived through the first bombing put two and two together: glass literally shredded my loved ones apart and thermal radiation melted their skin, but if I duck under something away from a window, that won’t happen. Quite a few people who survived the first bombing ended up in the city during the second bombing, and using that knowledge they were able to save their lives and the lives of people with them by ducking and covering.

     

    If you see the flash that fills the sky with blinding light, and you’re not dead yet, getting away from windows and under something sturdy you’ll avoid being ripped apart by flying glass and debris from the shock wave.

     

    Not to mention the fact that the 100% lethal radius of a nuke is around 5 miles for nukes  we use today and maybe 10 miles for the bigger ones from back in the cold war. This means that most people will survive, and preparing is definitely worth it. Science fiction has made nuclear war look far different than it would actually be, and saying there’s no point prepping for it (especially when the handful of nuclear disaster specific preps are either free or cheap and easy) does a huge disservice to people IF it ever happens. Big if obviously, but it’s so easy to prepare for we should just do it.

     

    Just my two cents- I love your show, been listening for years and this is one of the few things I strongly disagree with you on.

     

    Hell, if you’re interested I could even do a call in to explain the myths surrounding nuclear war and the easy/free preps everybody can add to their existing preps.

     

    Keep up the good work man.

    • Modern Survival

      Dude I did a quick edit for you, normally I am the last to be a grammar natzi but it this case I think it was important to not ruin an excellent content. Last line, second paragraph says,

      “using that knowledge they were able to save their lives and the lives of people with them by ducking and covering.”

      Um one of those words accidentally had F where a D was supposed to be. LOL, seriously good comment man.

  4. Hello Jack,

    Thanks for yet another great podcast.

    Regarding Fallout shelters,back in the Carter Administration, CD aka Civil Defense was replaced by FEMA.

    With that the CD program lost both funding and awareness of Nuclear/Thermonuclear war. The ‘Standard’ shelter time was 14 days. The water, crackers and hard candies were basic survival rations, no proteins or the like. Survival was about ‘functional’ numbers of survivors, than a quality of shelter time.

    Thanks for all that you  have done, are doing and will do.

    Regards

  5. I think Jack’s Ducks would be roast ducks before they would have time to duck and cover in the pond or swale !

    If they survived they might have a Radient look and then their eggs might ‘glow in the dark’.

     

  6. One thing I often wondered is what is the probability of one of them going faulty and exploding in storage ?

    A sort of ‘own goal’

  7. I’m really looking forward to this episode.  The Cold War has always been an era I loved to study from numerous angles (from Civil Defense to geopolitical situations to military/weapons advancements and the “nuclear battlefield” to the pop culture surrounding the Cold War itself)

    And it looks like I’ve got another new podcast to listen to.

    • What I love about the Cold War is since the main event never happened, there’s lots of “what if?” to think about.  Hope to see you over at Cold War cast, Ragnar!

      • Modern Survival

        Long ago in Back Woods Home Dave Duffy wrote a column called, “The Best Wars” or something like that, he concluded that the best wars where the ones we never fought and used the cold war as one of several examples.

  8.  
    Nicholas – I have a Spotify account that I haven’t used in years. I’ve been working on a list of previous songs of the day.  It appears to me that the first song of the day was episode 1666 from 10/27/2015 so it is a lot to condense when I only work on it in my spare time. I’ll check out Spotify again and see if they have anything that might help.
     

    • Hi John, you have some great songs.

      Have you ever came across a song called ‘Waltzing Matilda’

      I think it is about the first world war 1914, I’m not sure exactly.

    • Thank you for the starting point! If I’m able to make significant progress, I’ll post a link.

  9. Reply function isn’t working for my original thread, but THANK YOU for catching that. It’s hard to catch typos when I’m doing comments on my slow, cracked phone on non-mobile sites. LMAO.  I don’t know if ducking with an F will help you survive a nuke, but it might be a good way to go out if you know it’s going to be a direct strike right where you live and you can’t evacuate? Lmao!

     

    Replying to Michael’s earlier comment about nukes going off in storage: Actually, there was such a high risk of that with the unstable high explosives used to trigger the nuclear reaction in early nuclear bombs that they kept the uranium core separate from the bomb until it was in the plane on the way to be dropped, where the plane crew would actually install it, in early bombs. That way, if the normal explosives in the bomb go off by accident, it’s not a nuclear explosion, just a big regular explosion.

    By the time ICBMs were in common use, they had stable enough explosives that it’s not a worry. At this point the oldest bombs might have their explosives degrading, but we use explosives that don’t just blow up on their own.

  10. The Reply to Comment  ‘clickey’ seems to have disappeared?

    Maybe it’s a fault of my Android.

  11. Waltzing Matilda is from the late 1800s.  That was actually a song we sang in elementary school in the mid 70’s so I know it well. Do a You Tube search and there are lots of choices to choose from. https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/australia/articles/the-history-of-waltzing-matilda/
     

  12. Jack,
    The mention of body bags as a prep in the bunkers has me thinking about how to deal with dead bodies. I’d love to hear what Jack would do.
    I mean grid down scenario even for two weeks (insert disaster of choice) if your wife had a sudden heart attack and passed away after Dallas gets hit by an f-5 tornado, and no one is coming to your house and you can’t leave what do you do with the body? Storage or burial, how long would you store before choosing burial etc. We’ve never shied away from the messy stuff before and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show. I know if you added the preparation for all our eventual deaths you could make a whole show out of it. Though TSP-Death could be a rather morbid topic.

    Thanks for another thought provoking show,
    Josh

  13. Interesting tidbit, but Rod Serling was a paratrooper, earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and was outspokenly anti-war afterward.