In the early sixties, interest in atomic themes, now more accurately called nuclear, declined markedly. Fewer novels and movies depicting nuclear war were created, and if the A-bomb in the hands of terrorists and other assorted villains became a cliché of both Cold War thrillers and comic books, the plots seldom confronted the threat of nuclear war itself.

The Cuban Missile Crisis in particular seems to have frightened most Americans into a panicky avoidance of the entire subject. The treaty banning atmospheric testing helped to put the weapons out of people's minds as well. Not until the debate over America's placement of new intermediate range missiles in Europe erupted in the early eighties did the theme of nuclear warfare re-emerge in force in popular culture.

Note the long, slow decline in the number of nuclear war novels and stories published during the sixties and seventies, and the dramatic increase during the eighties. In the eighties and nineties, nuclear war was treated much more pessimistically.


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