Cold War Movies Perception
It is hard to overestimate the number of questions being raised in an attempt to assess the impact of nuclear weapons and the Cold War on society. Needless to say, any global conflict the cultural and political life of communities and the history of the United States makes no exception. The subject of the Cold War has been widely covered in art, and each artist is talking about the nuclear threat, and the Cold War presents his own version of how they affected societies all over the world. The paper tends to explain the cultural and political effects of the Cold War as the subject itself relates to Dr. Strangelove and War games. The following paper will attempt to argue that the negative impact of nuclear weapons outweighs the alleged benefits that come with the nuclear status.
The Cold War is a historically complex period in the history of humanity in the twentieth century. The Cold War, even though it has nothing to do with military actions, refers to the military tensions that occurred after the World War II. The foundation of NATO, complicated Eastern bloc relationships, the formation and the functioning of the Soviet Union – each of those events shaped the Cold War. To these days, there is no unambiguous approach toward defining the Cold War, which is probably, why describing the period and portraying it in the works of art is particularly challenging, not to mention the task requires great responsibility. Nowadays the Cold War is commonly defined as period between the 1940s and 1980d that was characterized by the increased degree of tension between the United States of America and its supporters on the one hand and the USSR on the other. Dr. Strangelove and Was Games portray the events that took place at around that time and prove that violence can by no means be tolerated.
The events portrayed in the film Dr. Strangelove revolve around future Mrs. Terdhinton’s preparing to throw a tantrum at her beloved after he abandons her in the middle of the night because of a bomb emergency. The major part of this story could be interpreted as a game of one character’s imagination if it did not become a trigger. The film has become a trigger by which the existing patterns of decision making were converted and then treated as the only true belief. The decision making patterns that the film portrays were nurtured in a fertile soil of gently and willingly cultivated prejudices and are all fatal errors. Stanley Kubrick, however, has made the film even more spectacular by calling it Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Rather than the portrayal of the characters, the images of the most pretentious, evil, funny cartoons actually make the film spectacular. Naturally, the portrayal of the ruling elite in the film proves itself to be very strange: General Jack Ripper, a fanatic, is a kind of a person that makes the system of selection of personnel possible. His idea of “precious bodily juices” is odd and incompatible with the ideals of humanity, loyalty, and tolerance. The vision of the Cold War that the makers of the film create is predicated on the armaments race as the distinctive feature of the period. In the film, war is like a game and the main rule is that the country with the most advanced weapon wins the particular round. Leaders know what is happening, but they choose to keep it secret unless it is out and becomes a part of citizens’ life.
The motives of weapons (bombs) and insecurity (fragility of the world and people’s vulnerability) are intertwined in the film Dr. Srangelove. Another distinctive feature of the period of the Cold War is living in fear. However, after some time people started to accommodate the culture and the fear was passive as an imaginary perception to many. In the film, it is ordinary people who are victimized because of the mistakes the authorities make. Ironically, the only character in the entire film that has some sense is a British flying officer. It is rather amusing to watch how the clergy tolerated the Cold War, except for its adverse negative aftermaths.
War Games is relatively a less haunting film if compared to Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. As far as the portrayal of the nuclear threat in popular culture is concerned, John Badham’s War Games that became a timeless blockbuster. Evidently, John Badham kept abreast and had a good command of the tendencies dictating the development of cinematography in the 1980s. The director managed to create a film that is entertaining and dynamic at the same time. Most importantly, however, the film can be deemed thought-provoking. In the presence of a virtually perfectly designed script that Badham quickly turns into a tense thriller, some comic moments occur as well. Badham delves into the very gist of the nuclear threat, reflecting on how it might have come to life and become an ever-present danger. The United States was the first country to use nuclear weapons in Hiroshima, Japan. However, in the years of the Cold War even more advanced weaponry has been invented. In fact, the film focused the current world situation where countries have developed advanced nuclear weapons to use against each other. By and large, Badham explores the connection between the Cold War and the armaments race throughout the world. By and large, War Games is the film that portrays an adverse perk of technology in the society. David Lightman gets the benefit of hacking into a computer server that hosts military information and blueprints that have a program which runs a missile installation service WOPR (War Operation Plan Response). It is worthy of note that the film War Games made the American culture easier to understand. First of all, the movie incorporated the subject of computer technologies. People, especially kids, grew more interested in computers. Secondly, the film has contributed to the foundation and establishment of the hacker culture. Many have become involved in hacking as a culture. David Lightman was able to find secret information on a nuclear attack that was planned to take place within the United States. The movie portrayed the actual political mood of the era showing the seriousness of the tensions.
Dr. Strangelove and War Games both show us that the calculus of unprecedented military power associated with the armaments race and the emergence of nuclear weapons affect different aspects of the life of society. The threat of the nuclear war showed how fragile the ma-made systems and vulnerable the living generations are. The reality that existed in the period of the Cold War and its respective representations in the films under analysis are different. It seems that reality at the times of the Cold War was not that absurd and terrifying and that people were capable of restraining themselves and making some weighed and smart decisions. The representation of struggle, even though it is hyperbolized, characterizes the event itself and the balance of forces quite accurately. The respective pictures of the Cold War in the films manifest themselves mostly through the expressive means the makers of the films use in each case. Certainly, nuclear weapons and the threat of the nuclear war are one of the greatest calamities of our age. Nuclear status of some of the world’s most powerful states makes their citizens feel protected, while the evidence does support that the citizens of non-nuclear states feel vulnerable and unprotected when the acts of military aggression, both direct and indirect, take place. There is unambiguous answer to the question whether nuclear weapons are a boon or a bane for America since nuclear weapons provide security and insecurity by virtually equal measure. After a careful consideration of different representations of the Cold War in culture, I presume that the world would be a happier, safer, and merrier place without the nuclear weapons.