Friday, February 4, 2011

Fear ...

Not the ginned up, scary A-rab fear of our current generation that sent thousands of our young men and women to their deaths needlessly "fighting for our freedom", but the real, existential fear that was quite legitimate in 1942:


That terrifying [Axis] momentum was felt most keenly in the United States, which until recently was half convinced it could sit out this world war on the sidelines. Now a reluctant belligerent, America saw itself caught between two hostile, agressive powers, one over each coastal horizon.

In those early days after its involuntary entry into the war, panic must have been a palpable feature of the nation's mood. While it mobilised for the best, America feared for the worst. In its March 2, 1942 issue, Life magazine distilled that national anxiety into six maps, each portraying a different scenario for Axis invasion.


If you look over the maps at the link, you'll see we weren't worried about a couple goat humpers in a cave the press turned into supermen with super powers but large armies of industrial powers who'd already conquered major parts of two continents. They had a right to be scared. That is what "fighting for our freedoms" means. In the "War on Terror", we have more to worry about, in terms of losing freedoms, from our own government than we do from al-Qaeda.

If you don't know about Frank Jacobs' Strange Maps site yet, you should take the time to go through it. I always find it intriguing.

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