In 1965, Peter Watkins produced a fictional documentary called The War Game
in which the aftermath of thermo-nuclear attacks in Britain was depicted. The BBC declared that it was "too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting"
and was not aired until 1985. Watch it here
(warning: graphic depictions of effects of radiation).
Related, When the Wind Blows
, 6, 7
), a sober animated tale of a British couple who try and survive nuclear holocaust based on the civil defense manual "Protect and Survive." (Previously
posted by champthom
on Jun 14, 2007 -
Tales from the DEW Line.
In the mid-50's, the Distant Early Warning, or DEW Line
, a series of radar stations along the 69th paralell, began scanning the arctic skies for signs of soviet bombers. Though cut off from direct contact with civilization, and often hoping that nothing would happen, staffers of these remote outposts still found plenty worth writing about or photographing (1
posted by Durhey
on Feb 2, 2007 -
At the end of the Korean War, James Veneris
was an American POW awaiting repatriation. But when his time came, he—along with twenty other Americans and a Briton
—declined to leave and chose to cast his lot with Mao and the Chinese Communist Party. Over time, almost all of these men became disillusioned with Marxism and eventually returned to their homelands
. The Cold War that informed their decisions has become a chapter in the history books but the story of Western defectors to the Communist bloc is just now being written.
posted by jason's_planet
on Jan 4, 2007 -
Diary of a Collapsing Superpower
- "Seventeen years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, and two years later the Soviet Union broke apart. More than 1,400 minutes published earlier this month in Russia from meetings that took place behind the closed doors of the Politburo in Moscow read like a thriller from the highest levels of the Kremlin. They reveal Mikhail Gorbachev as a party chief who had to fight bitterly for his reforms and ultimately lost his battle. But in doing so, he changed the course of history and helped bring an end to the Cold War."
posted by Gyan
on Nov 28, 2006 -
Now we're faced with a supposedly democratic
Russia where the opposition parties are established, crushed, united, their leadership changed
, all at the behest of the president. China, now clearly a capitalist state, albeit one without the democratic trimmings
, still calls itself communist
. Vietnam has gone much the same way
Some things remain the same, though. America's still meddling
in Latin America, just like it did during the Cold War
. The US Army is also fighting a guerilla resistance in Iraq, its leaders apparently ignorant of the lessons of history
, yet accusing others of exactly that
. It's just like the 60s, when it was just as obvious who had learnt lessons and who hadn't
posted by imperium
on Aug 30, 2006 -
The Cultural Cold War
by Frances Saunders covers the way in which the government, via CIA-influenced NGOs worked to alter the direction that popular movies and animations took during the first half of the Cold War. [mi]
posted by longbaugh
on Jul 22, 2006 -
(more recent ones
are PDF only) from the Cold War International History Project. During the 40-odd years of the Cold War, diplomatic historians in the West only had access to documents--papers, memos, cables, and so on--from one side of the conflict. Since the end of the Cold War, the Cold War International History Project
has been going through diplomatic archives from the Soviet Union, China, and other countries, translating documents and illuminating the other sides of the conflict. Examples: discussions between Stalin and Kim Il Sung
prior to the Korean War. Chinese documents
from 1964-1965 on the Vietnam War. Letter to Brezhnev
from Czech hardliners requesting Soviet intervention in 1968.
posted by russilwvong
on Jun 2, 2006 -
Modern history is replete with assassinations that have a dramatic impact on national and international politics: the killing of Alexander II by anarchists in 1881 unleashed repression and anti-semitism in the Russian empire; the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914 in Sarajevo sparked the "great war" that drowned Europe in blood and inaugurated what Eric Hobsbawm calls "the short 20th century"; the assassination of the liberal Colombian politician Jorge Gaitan in 1948 (a day after he had met a Latin American youth delegation that included the 21-year-old Fidel Castro) helped spark a civil war – the violencia – that continues to this day and the shooting down on 6 April 1994 of the plane carrying Rwanda's and Burundi's presidents, Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira precipitated the Rwandan genocide. Political killing in the cold war [& thereafter]
provides an outline of the aftereffects of assassinations, covert killings, state and judicial executions.
posted by y2karl
on Aug 24, 2005 -
This paper outlines the major thesis of the larger work... that US foreign policy during the Cold War was not primarily about keeping the USSR out of Western Europe, but rather about promoting the global capitalist system on a worldwide stage... Three themes—strategic, economic, ideological—are introduced in support of this argument, and applied to the 30 case studies. They lead to the conclusion that in many of these interventions the US opposed leftist Third World personalities by supporting more right-wing local clients rather than centrists who were often available. These decisions almost always proved disastrous for the local societies affected, and often even were unfortunate for longer-term American diplomatic interests.U.S. Foreign Policy in the Periphery: A 50-Year Retrospective
. Related: With Our History, Spinning America's Image Isn't Enough
posted by y2karl
on Jul 1, 2005 -
The Wise Man.
George Frost Kennan
, (Feb. 16, 1904 — Mar. 17, 2005). Architect of the Cold War, father of the Marshall Plan
and the doctrine
in the "Kennan Century
In February 1946, as the second-ranking diplomat in the American Embassy in Moscow, he dispatched his famous "Long Telegram
" to Washington
. Widely circulated, it made Kennan famous and evolved into an even better-known work, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct
," which Mr. Kennan published under the anonymous byline "X"
in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Mar 19, 2005 -
A Walk in the Woods. Farewell
to the original Cold War warrior
: Paul Nitze
, the college professor's son who went to Hotchkiss and Harvard and worked as investment banker before going to Washington in 1940, where he quickly became one of the chief architects of American policy towards the Soviet Union
. His doctrine of "strategic stability
" became its cornerstone for half a century (Nitze held key government posts in Washington, from the era of Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan's
, when he was the White House
on arms control
By the end of 1949, Nitze had become director of the State Department's policy planning staff, helping to devise the role of Nato, deciding to press ahead with the manufacture of the H-bomb, and producing National Security Council document 68
, the document at the heart of the Cold War
: in it, Nitze called for a drastic expansion of the U.S. military budget. The paper also expanded containment’s scope beyond the defense of major centers of industrial power to encompass the entire world. (NSC-68 was a top secret paper, written in April 1950 and declassified in the 70's, called "United States Objectives and Programs for National Security").
posted by matteo
on Oct 22, 2004 -
The Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Posters, pamphlets, social protest material. 'In the morning hours of August 21, 1968, the Soviet army invaded Czechoslovakia along with troops from four other Warsaw Pact countries. The occupation was the beginning of the end for the Czechoslovak reform movement known as the Prague Spring. This web site contains material from the days immediately following the invasion, and they reflect the atmosphere in Czechoslovakia at the time: tense, chaotic, uncertain, full of pathos, fear, and expectation... '
Related :- the Berlin Wall
and East Side Gallery
; A Concrete Curtain: The Life and Death of the Berlin Wall
in Budapest, with its gigantic Cold War-era statues.
posted by plep
on Aug 12, 2003 -
Team B (from Outer Space)
Gordon Mitchell, author of Strategic Deception
, has recently penned a paper that investigates the process by which decisions about the quality of American intelligence are made. He highlights the role of Team B, a group of far-right conservatives who routinely debated against Team A, usually consisting of mid-level intelligence analysts. These debates were a commonplace during the cold war, and through a series of enthymemetic narratives that altered the conditions of proof, Team B was able to successfully beat Team A (time and time again) and move foreign policy further and further to the right. The cold war ended, and Team B ended with it. But now Team B is back in the form of the OSP, and the same movements are happening, this time challenging and compromising moderate foreign policy, including the more moderate portions of the Bush Doctrine. Is this structural device possibly to blame for the Iraq intel snafu, rather than some overt desire to lie and deceive? Your thoughts?
posted by hank_14
on Aug 5, 2003 -
Robert Meeropol, the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, writes about his parents.
I'm suprised nobody else posted about this yesterday--June 19th was the 50th anniversary of their execution for espionage
The executions at Sing Sing on June 19, 1953, ended a sensational Cold War case that still symbolizes the years when McCarthyism held sway and the government's word was accepted more readily than today. It was the first execution of civilians for espionage in U.S. history and it reverberated into the issues of dissent, anti-Semitism and capital punishment.
Pete Seeger and others comment here
; the Guardian here
. The Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Trial
(which features representations of the couple by Picasso, among others) notes that:
In August of 1993, members of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation re-enacted the 1951 trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. A moot trial was conducted with expertise and meticulous concern for accuracy. The unanimous verdict of the twelve jurors was "Not Guilty." This "trial" and its dramatic outcome was widely reported by the media - for one day only.
posted by jokeefe
on Jun 20, 2003 -
was a secret, cold-war era project to determine vulnerabilities of US warships to various chemical and biological attacks. While lots is known about what happened
, there's still a lot of information that hasn't been released yet.
In the early 1950s, the US Army sprayed the bacteria Serratia Marcesens
over San Francisco. While the government thought that it was safe, many people ended up checking into the hospital. One elderly man even died as a result of the US testing chemical and biological agents against it's own citizens.
posted by manero
on Jan 22, 2003 -
The New Frontier-
Preparing the law for settling on Mars. "Like the abandoned launch fields [at Cape Canveral], the Outer Space Treaty [of 1967] needs to have its valuable parts salvaged, and the dangerous ones demolished."
posted by Ty Webb
on Jun 4, 2002 -
The US may have killed 15,000 of it's own with nuclear tests.
Somewhere around 100,000 people died as a result of the bombs dropped by the US over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A new study shows that back home in the heart of the U.S., fallout from Cold-War nuclear tests may have killed as many as 15,000 people. This would be front page news everywhere if it had happened all at once - but since it took years for these people to die - it will barely be a blip in the history books.
posted by stevengarrity
on Feb 28, 2002 -
Secrets of the Cold War in Space.
Deep Cold is an website with detailed renderings, quicktime movies and information about the ideas and concepts being developed for both U.S. and Soviet presences in space during the cold war.
posted by moz
on Dec 7, 2001 -
Actor Ralph Meeker
portrayed hardboiled private dick Mike Hammer in the Robert Aldrich film "Kiss Me Deadly", a celluloid masterpiece of brutal cold-war paranoia that introduced the filmgoing public to the concept of suitcase nukes back in 1955. For some reason, I find the thought of Conway Twitty
films far more disturbing.
posted by MrBaliHai
on Nov 13, 2001 -
Students for Suicide Pills?
On October 12th, 1984, 1900+ students turned out to vote on a referendum asking that their university's Health Services be allowed to offer cyanide pills in the event of nuclear war.
57% of students said they wanted it.
posted by Fat Elvis
on Sep 4, 2001 -
Bob Kolody vs. Coca-Cola
"Throughout the late 1950’s and early 60’s the CIA began expanding its operations. In order to effectively fight the Cold War on a global scale, it needed to establish bases in every major country. This meant that agents would need a plausible cover in order to penetrate the borders of international frontiers. They couldn’t just show up with CIA stamped on their passport ... As a solution to the problem the CIA was able to convince Coca-Cola, one of the first truly globalized companies with product distribution operations in virtually every corner of the world, to be used as a cover for the U.S. intelligence agency."
posted by bytecode
on Jun 21, 2001 -
At the end of the Cold War, a lot of people professed to believe that the USSR's collapse "proved" that communism/socialism/egalitarianism (delete according to the size of claim you want to make) can never work.
Maybe. But this
got me thinking you could say the same about neoliberalism.
posted by Mocata
on Apr 24, 2001 -
Remember the movie "The Day After
?" Back in the Cold War days, we were all worried about someday being vaporized by a nuclear blast. Well now, in this post-Cold War era you can relive those wonderful memories with PBS' Nuclear Blast Mapper
. I popped in the coordinates for MetaFilter's server location, set the bomb to a 25 megaton blast and this is the result
. Think about that the next time you hear a country gets their first nuclear weapons.
posted by mathowie
on Feb 3, 2000 -