Cold War Captives: Imprisonment, Escape, and Brainwashing by Susan L. Carruthers

By Susan L. Carruthers

This provocative heritage of early chilly conflict the United States recreates a time while global battle III appeared forthcoming. Headlines have been ruled by means of tales of Soviet slave workers, brainwashed prisoners in Korea, and brave escapees like Oksana Kasenkina who made a ''leap for freedom'' from the Soviet Consulate in big apple. choked with attention-grabbing and forgotten tales, chilly conflict Captives explores a principal measurement of yank tradition and politics--the postwar preoccupation with captivity. ''Menticide,'' the calculated destruction of person autonomy, struck many american citizens as a extra instant possibility than nuclear annihilation. Drawing upon a wealthy array of declassified records, video clips, and reportage--from nationwide defense directives to motion pictures like The Manchurian Candidate --his e-book explores the ways that east-west disputes over prisoners, repatriation, and defection formed pop culture. Captivity grew to become how to comprehend every little thing from the anomie of suburban housewives to the ''slave world'' of drug habit. Sixty years later, this period could appear far-off. but, with interrogation recommendations derived from America's communist enemies now getting used within the ''war on terror,'' the earlier continues to be powerfully current.

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Under these conditions, the idea of returning home carried a hollow ring of irony. For many, the slim possibility of finding a house still standing, property intact, a familiar community, and a welcoming state was outweighed by the probability of discovering everything destroyed, looted, or appropriated, an alien set of neighbors, and scant chance of redress from an unsympathetic regime. 53 For Soviet troops who had fallen into German hands repatriation assumed an even bleaker aspect, since the Stalinist state treated prisoners of war as traitors—the fact of capture proving a soldier’s insufficient dedication to the motherland.

19 Clearly, these two accounts were incompatible, yet neither one added up to a coherent whole. In Lomakin’s narrative, the influence of mind-altering drugs was required to explain the oddity of Kasenkina placing herself in the hands of her alleged abductors. As Tolstoy recounted events, it was unclear why the schoolteacher—if she were eager to evade return to the USSR—would write a letter alerting the consul to her whereabouts, possibly even inviting him to come and fetch her from a place of sanctuary.

Roused to action by Hollywood’s fictional version of a real-life defection, she in turn inspired both cultural producers and consumers. While she may have been no Ethel Barrymore or Bette Davis, the “little Russian schoolteacher” agitated popular feeling in unexpected ways, catalyzing a string of copycat escapes and kindling a variety of rescue fantasies that were charged with both ideological and emotional significance. THE MYSTERY OF THE KIDNAPPED RUSSIAN For a clarifying moment, the Kasenkina story was remarkably muddled.

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