Anti-Communism and American Identity Essay

Anti-Communism and American Identity Essay.



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Anti-Communism and American Identity

The Societal Setting and Relations at Fort Repose, Florida

            At the beginning of the novel Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, the society at Fort Repose is highly fragmented socially, culturally and politically. There are predetermined set of rules that govern the relations between genders, classes and races. Frank describes these relations as they were in the early 1950s when the book was first published. The Fort Repose community resembled the American society as it was during that time. Gender roles were clearly defined between men and women. Women were predominantly tasked with performing domestic roles and house chores (Frank 29). For instance, Helen, the sister-in-law to Randy was assigned the role of a cook as well as the major tutor of the children because she was a mother and a woman. The Fort Repose society strictly observed a racial hierarchical order that placed whites at the top of the pyramid. Randy and his family receive subservient services and manual labor from their neighbors who are African Americans. The black neighbors mainly worked in Randy’s household as groundskeepers and performed other servile roles. The American society of this time was similar to the one at Fort Repose because gender roles, class and race played a significant role in segmenting the society.

            As the novel progresses, social relations undergo a paradigm shift that invalidates former conventions and mentalities. Eventually, the status of everyone in the novel changes which redefines social relations. All these changes occur because of an imminent nuclear attack that threatens life at Fort Repose. The society grows towards cohesiveness and unity as they deliberate on the best course of action that would counter the nuclear attack. This dire situation makes it mandatory for the group to collaborate with one another in order to defeat the common enemy. The society forms a unified troop where everyone is treated in a similar manner and provides his/her strengths to the group. The nuclear threat attack initiates these changes in social relations for several reasons. First, only fit individuals survive during wartime. A nuclear attack does not recognize the race or class or gender but inflicts all in a similar manner. Secondly, hope and resilience are vital determinants of victory amidst tragedies. The group needed to cultivate and maintain these two traits. This resulted to a unified community whose teamwork would guarantee their glory and triumph during difficult circumstances. Finally, war is naturally destructive and should be avoided. Having witnessed the Second World War and its aftermath that ended in the preceding decade, everyone was cognizant of the destructive nature of war. This knowledge made many people disregard all existing protocols that would support and promote a nuclear attack.

The American Civil Defense Program on Individualism and Self-Sufficiency

            The American Civil Defense Program plays a critical role in promoting and strengthening the American cultural ideals of self-sufficiency and individualism. The ideal of individualism focuses on the moral value of the individual whereby the person seeks promotion in pursuance of personal desires and goals. Individualists value independence that leads to self-sufficiency as they regard personal interests to be more important than state and/or group interests. These two ideals initiated the establishment of the civil defense program in the United States in mid twentieth century. The Ground Observer Corps (GOC) was the first such civil defense program whereby civilians volunteered to conduct sky surveillance in an effort to locate enemy aircrafts (Blazich). The invention of new weapons posed security threats to both individuals and society especially during the Cold War error. The volunteers would call their local filter stations to notify Air Force personnel of any suspicious aircraft that posed a threat to the American citizens . The Air Defense Direction Center (ADDC) would either shoot down or intercept the imminent threat. Individuals and observers adopted the civil defense program to protect their personal and community needs and interests. This promoted individualism amongst citizens and enabled the air defense to be self-sufficient in combating nuclear threats. However, the civil defense program disappeared in the early 1990s when nuclear threat was eliminated as USSR became Russia.

            The ideal of individualism and self-sufficiency disappear in real circumstances, as policies are developed to combat the threats. In most cases, these policies hinder individualism over civilians as the state exercises power over them. Majority of Americans view the fallout shelter as a conceptual solution to nuclear threats. This is purely imagination because many modern Americans regard fallout shelters as outdated techniques belonging to a different age. Popular culture is highly shaped by global threats of nuclear attacks as it developed at a time when people were engaged in civil defense programs (Gencarelli 69). Civil defense is not adequately prepared to address any impending nuclear threats according to popular culture. The same conception permeates the modern security as there some countries such as North Korea that pose nuclear missile threats to the United States (Baraniuk).

Works Cited

Baraniuk, Chris. “How Prepared Are We for the Impact of a Nuclear War?” BBC – Homepage, 22 Aug. 2017, Accessed 12 Aug. 2019.

Blazich, Frank. “Top Ten Origins: Civil Defense, Nuclear War, and Duct Tape | Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective.” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective |, 6 Apr. 2018, Accessed 12 Aug. 2019.

Frank, Pat. Alas, Babylon. HarperCollins, 2005.

Gencarelli, Thom. Baby Boomers and Popular Culture: An Inquiry into America’s Most Powerful Generation: An Inquiry into America’s Most Powerful Generation. ABC-CLIO, 2014.

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