The threat of a nuclear attack was very real during the 1950s and 1960s. The weapons became bigger and bigger with each test and there were enough of them to wipe out mankind many times.
The only time I really felt a sense of doom was during the Cuba Missle Crisis (October/1962) when President Kennedy confronted Soviet Premier Khrushchev over the deployment of missles in Cuba. Fortunately, the crisis was averted but most of the boomers felt that nuclear war could happen at anytime.
Many felt that they had to experience love, success and enlightenment very quickly or they wouldn't experience it all. In the 50s and 60s, we found outlets for our youthful feelings in rock music, alternate life styles, civil rights movements, anti-war protests and new age religions.
Personally, I feel, the emotional intensity/creativity of this time was brought on not only by the threat of massive global destuction, but the subconscious memory of it in a previous lifetime.
We know that information can be compressed into tiny bits and bytes on a hard drive. In a human being, I believe that pictures and sounds can contain our memories. This is "subatomic memory". Within my own subconscious, 50s and 60s rock songs brought back memories of an ancient civilization destroyed by nuclear weapons.
Why did this destruction happen? Perhaps, the answer lies in the song "One Tin Soldier".