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Nuclear Nerves and Ballet Slippers

The Wende Museum's "War of Nerves: Psychological Landscapes of the Cold War" explores the golden age of psychological warfare, brainwashing, and propaganda; of The Manchurian Candidate and the CIA's wonder drug, LSD; of science-based attempts to influence impressionable youth and recruit useful idiots; of Madison Avenue efforts to make the atomic age stress-free, modern, and fun. (At top, Don English's photo of the 1957 winner of the Miss Atomic Bomb competition, a gimmick concocted to reassure Las Vegas tourists that nuclear tests are nothing to worry about.)
There are intriguing objects aplenty, ranging from an echt-modern Hideo Toyomasu poster, Save Life on Earth (1980s, top of post) to a rather less subtle collector's plate on basically the same theme. The chronology ranges well into the Reagan era. (Make that Reagan eras. Eight years before The Manchurian Candidate, actor Reagan starred in Hollywood's first Korean War brainwashing film, Prisoner of W…

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