The Cold War wasn't a particularly wacky time, what with the mutually assured threat of worldwide nuclear annihilation and whatnot. But wars are fought by people, and people -- if the feces-wracked flow of the stagnant fjord of human history has taught us anything -- are truly, deeply stupid.
Yes, just like any other war, the War Against Communism churned out its share of moments that belong in a Three Stooges skit (where everybody gets sent to the gulag). What incidents are we talking about?
The Stasi Built A Citizen Scent Database Using Ass Sweat And Dirty Underwear
East Germany's secret police, as you might infer from the fact that they were called the "secret police," were a pretty sneaky bunch. Alongside more conventional tactics like a vast network of secret informants, one of the more clever tricks up their sleeve was a canine unit trained to pick up the scent of dissidents. No, they didn't send the dogs into crowds of protesters and tell them to remember the smell of capitalism. It was much trickier -- and stupider -- than that.
If they found suspicious items, such as fliers or simply the vague vibrations of freedom, the Stasi would seal the contraband with a dustcloth in foil. After a few hours, the cloth would be stored in a pickling jar, then the secret police would use the dust cloths to train their commie dogs to sniff out political dissidents. History hasn't proven that the dogs twirled their mustaches and wore monocles while sniffing out East Germany's dissidents, but history also hasn't proven they didn't.
Do you or don't you see a mustachioed fancy dog taking this group photo? Exactly.
Sometimes, the Stasi had to get sneakier to procure an odor sample, like breaking into people's houses and stealing their underpants. Yes, the Stasi went on actual panty raids. Samples were also procured after wiping down chairs following an interrogation, which tells you how those interrogations tended to go.
Adam Eastland/Stasi Museum
A shitty situation on multiple levels.