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Option B

Interviewee: Sarah Brown


Birth Year: 1934
Places Lived from 1945-1989: New York
Date & time of interview: April 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Question #1: What was the first time you remember hearing about the
conflict between the Soviet Union (or the USSR) and the United
States? Tell me about it.
I was sitting on my couch one day in 1945 with my family watching the
news, and thats when I first heard about it. I heard that they were both
using nuclear weapons against each other. I didnt know a lot about nuclear
weapons, but I knew enough to know that they are dangerous so that got
me scared.
Question #2: What does the term "Cold War" mean to you? What do
you remember seeing or reading in the news about the Cold War, or
conflict between the USSR and the United States?
Well, when I think of the Cold War I get really sad and scared. It was one of
the most frightening periods of my life. I distinctly remember reading about
how the Soviet Union fired missiles in Cuba, and it frightened the US
because it was just 100 miles away from Florida. Everyone around me was
talking about it. My friends, family and neighbors were all very scared
because it was so close.
Question #3: What books, movies, cartoons, or posters did you see
that villainized either country, capitalists, communists, or dealt with
the Cold War? How did they shape your impressions at that time?
I dont remember any books or movies at the time, but I do remember the
Beatles coming out with a song titled Back in the U.S.S.R. There were of
course posters everywhere that would hate on the Soviet Union so that
made my impression of them extremely negative, but thats all I remember
right now.
Question#4: What were you taught in school and at home about the
conflict? What did your school and family teach about nuclear threats
and nuclear war?
At school, they taught us different ways of protecting ourselves if someone
were to attack us, and the Soviet Union acted as our enemy in the
classrooms.
Question #5
Were you or any of your family members ever afraid that there would
be a hot war or nuclear war between the two countries? When did you
feel that way? If yes, did you do anything to prepare or get ready for
it?
I didnt meet anyone who wasnt afraid of that happening, so yes we were
all very scared and prepared for it. As I mentioned before, we prepared at
school by learning ways to protect ourselves if the Soviet Union were to
attack.
Question #6: What aspects of the Space Race, or competition to
explore space, do you remember? Was "Space Race" a phrase that
you remember using at the time? What did it mean to you?
I remember the Soviet Union being the first ones to launch a satellite into
space. The Space Race sort of sounded like a competition to me between
the two countries of who could explore space the fastest and gather
information.
Question #7: Can you think of any specific examples of rivalry
between the USA and USSR in other areas of life, such as sports?
In the 1980 Olympics, the United States hockey team beat the Russian
team and I remember hearing in the news that they were calling it a
miracle on ice. They thought it symbolized the end to communism and we
brought home a gold medal.
Question #8: Do you remember the Berlin Wall coming down? How
did it make you feel? How have your feelings about that era changed
since 1989 and the Berlin Wall coming down?
I remember hearing about it and feeling very relieved because that meant
we didnt have to worry about getting blown up in an attack because the
two countries werent in conflict anymore. A lot of people including myself
felt more secure as well.
Question #9: What lessons should students today take away from the
Cold War?
It should be understood that a lot of things happened in the process that
made new things end up happening and made it worse. Students should
also pay attention to their actions and the consequences that occur
because the Soviet Union fell apart after the Cold War because of all the
corruption.
Question #10: Would you have protected the people you loved if the
Soviet Union were to have attacked back then?
I would definitely have protected them, and they would have protected me
too. My family had a secure hiding place back then just in case, so if they
were to have attacked we would just go down in the basement and we
would be safe.
Question #11: Looking back at that time, was there anything you
would want to do differently?
I honestly cannot think of anything since we never knew what was going to
happen next. We could never predict, and we just really had to go with the
flow.

I learned that this time period was very scary to people, and that this was
the reason why the Soviet Union fell apart. I think a Russian adult would
have responded much differently to these questions, because they were on
the opposing side and naturally you are biased.