the propaganda worked.
Of course Sean, in most cases propaganda works. Just imagine: if you hear something everywhere you go: TV, Radio, Newspapers, (hired) ppl talk about it at busstops, etc, you see billboards proclaiming it; if this is being kept up long enough, ppl will start believing. Just like we did in that we believed that those Eastern Europeans (we called them all "Russians" at the time, no matter where they came from - compare slogans like "The Russians Are Coming!") were only out to invade us, enslave us and send us to the mines in the steppes of Siberia. All because they were jealous of us. Jealous of our "freedom" (which was relatively, of course - even though we were able to say what we wanted, 1) nothing was done with your opinion and 2) if you had a very different opinion, you could expect a visit of the secret police - yes, we had one too) and jealous of our "richness".
I remember in elementary school we had a map of Europe on the wall where all the "good" countries (i.e. non-communist countries) were brightly coloured and the "bad" countries were just left grey. No details on them, just the capitals were shown in either a red square or circle. When I asked the teacher what was in those grey areas on the map, he said: "nothing. Europe is coloured and the rest is dangerous. No ppl live there".
In highschool we thought it was kinda cool, this Eastern Bloc. There you had these countries of which we only knew images that were taken with a telescopic lens and mostly had soldiers in it. We thought everybody in the East wore uniforms and everybody was equal. It seemed to us that this was so much better than the crap we had in the West: equality in the West? Don't make me laugh. If you had plenty of money, yeah, then you were a little more equal than when you didn't have any money. Freedom wasn't expensive if you had enough money to buy it. Most of us were just poor sobs to whom the idea of equality kinda appealed.
Edit: you must not forget that for the Dutch it was different than for the British or Irish: those were islands, relatively far away Holland directly borders Germany. For me, being born and raised near the German border, the Iron Curtain was only 250 km away. That made it very close, hence the propaganda was different too.
M-G (wanted to write more and will, but first: coffee!)