I lived through the cold war. We would practice hiding under desks in case the Bomb was dropped. The siren was tested every day at 2:00. The cellar of the school was the town bomb shelter and periodically we'd line up and practice the attack drill. It probably affected me deeply but I can't say as I ever heard of any of my contemporaries having this kind of reaction.
"I've had two teenagers who were considering killing themselves, because they didn't want to be around when the world ends. Two women in the last two weeks said they were contemplating killing their children and themselves so they wouldn't have to suffer through the end of the world."
-- NASA Astrobiology Institute scientist David Morrison, on 2012 fears
Do we need a new Great Depression to shock the world back to reality, followed by a great War to give them a new sense of pride of self?
God, I hope not.