Sure, and my grandfather was an officer at Santa Anita during the Japanese internment. Doesn't mean I would have accepted everything he said as true, had he ever talked to me about anything. But for anyone aware of world events during the Cold War, it's different from being told about them after the fact.
Originally Posted by Colin Robinson
More that it wouldn't be self-evident if you hadn't lived through it. When I was in high school, our freshman history teacher told us how many nuclear missiles were targeted close enough to the school to kill us. (Given our proximity to JPL and downtown Los Angeles, quite a lot.) One of my first political memories is the reference to another nation as an Evil Empire. It's hard to grow up in that environment and not understand how much US policy was shaped by what we thought the Soviets were doing and vice versa.
Does that mean I shouldn't be raising questions about the relation between world politics and space programs, because it should all be more or less self-evident to me?
Yeah, that's one HBs tend to miss.
I understand Ho Chi Minh sent Richard Nixon a message congratulating the USA on Apollo 11, even though North Vietnam and the USA were at war then. Apparently Ho wasn't aware that it was all actually a hoax.
Personally, I tend to think the "Cold War was a hoax" stripe of conspiracy theory is the only Apollo-related belief which is becoming more common as fewer people can actually remember the Apollo landings. It's hard to have experienced those years--and mind, I was -7 when Apollo 11 landed--and come away from it believing that the two powers were never really opposed to one another. The Cold War was a bit more visceral to a people whose childhood contained a completely reasonable fear that their species would be wiped out before they reached adulthood.
"Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"
"You can't erase icing."
"I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"