The road to the Catonsville Nine was long and winding. The action naturally reflected the state of the war and the antiwar movement in 1968, but its roots were in the culture of the Cold War and in the history of Catholic dissent in the United States.
The 1950s: Surface Calm, Underlying Anxiety
But with technology's promise came its threat, in the form of a Soviet nuclear attack. The country moved from fighting a world war against fascism to a similarly far-reaching global struggle against communism. The principles of U.S. foreign policy centered on protection of our growing international interests and containment of the perceived threat of communist expansion.
Fearing the bomb and isolated from their old neighborhood roots, many in this generation sought security through conformity and silence. But they worried about the future as they watched the present unfold on their TV screens. And for many young people, the horrific events of the civil rights movement in the South suggested that something was wrong in America.