I am with the other poster: I don't think catharsis was what that was all about at all. It was more about scaring the SHIT out of people (and kids like me.) I was in junior high at that time and the threat of nuclear war with the USSR felt very real to me. Maybe not to all kids, but definitely to me. The Day After was really scary IMO. It didn't make me think "war is a bad thing" it made me think "we're all going to die!!"