I’m a child of the 1980s, which means that I grew up during the Cold War. The Soviet Union was always a specter in my life. My mother told me stories about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Living in her native Puerto Rico at the time, she talked about how scary it was to feel that we were stumbling towards a nuclear conflict. Luckily the worst was averted.
The Soviet Union was that boogyman that loomed in our collective psyche. It seeped into every part of our culture, including sports. We cheered when the Americans beat the Soviet hockey team at the Lake Placid Olympics of 1980. I remember feeling sad when the American Olympic team boycotted the 1980 Summer Games which were held in Moscow. The boycott was in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviets responded by boycotting the 1984 Summer Games held in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, as I got older, I started to have that very same fear of nuclear war. Most kids of my generation were fearful as well. Everyone lived in under this shadow of a world-ending conflict and there were some that were sure they wouldn’t make it to adulthood. The culture of the early 80s was filled with movies on war with the Soviets that could go hot. Of course, there were the disaster films that simulated what a nuclear attack would look like such as The Day After and Threads. War Games and the first Terminator movies showed us how computers could put all of humanity at risk.