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4 Hollywood Sci-Fi Films From The 1950s And Their Cold War Perspectives

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€˜The enemy of my enemy is my friend€™. No proverb could be more suitable regarding the relationship between the two future superpowers €“ the United States and the Soviet Union €“ prior to the outcome of The Second World War. In the forthcoming years, their egos clashed in ideological, scientific, militant, economic, and in many other ways that threatened global security for the latter part of the 20th century. Both were member of the Allies during the preceding war, since €œNazi Germany launched a massive attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 [€] (and) [€] the United States offered material support€ (Hanhimaki & Westad, 2003, p. 2). However, €œby 1947 growing hostility between the superpowers was beginning to overwhelm their efforts at cooperation€ (Blackburn, 1996, p. 7). The Western media portrayed this growing hostility through television and film, and films €œwere profoundly influenced by those ideological conflicts, though manifested only indirectly, [€] and these fears were most fully expressed in science fiction films€ (Rollins, 2003, p. 75). This article will discuss how post-war American science fiction presents and engages with the issues of invasion, atomic power, and the €˜red threat€™ by using films exclusively from the 1950s. Why the 1950s only, you wonder? Because cinema can sometimes be both a powerful tool of persuasion while remaining a form of every day escapism during the tense times. The question you should be asking, though, is if films from the same industry always agree on a point of view regarding a massive case study, such as the Cold War. Foreign invasion had never been a significant issue for Americans, at least not to the degree in which it was for the Soviets. Blackburn labels the United States €œas a nation that throughout its history has been protected from much of the world by two moats €“ the Atlantic and Pacific oceans €“ [€] and have come to believe that war only occasionally interrupts the natural cooperation among nations€ (1996, p. 5). This all changed after Pearl Harbor, and The Einstein-Russell Manifesto from 1955 describes this proficiently: €œThe abolition of thermonuclear weapons, if each side believed that the other had carried it our sincerely, would lessen the fear of a sudden attack in the style of Pearl Harbor, which at present keeps both sides in a state of nervous apprehension€ (Hanhimaki & Westad, 2003, p. 282).
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Contributor

I'm currently enrolled in the Film Studies program at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. If you haven't guessed by now, movies and media are as a big of a passion for me as they are for you and would love to hear what you've gotta say as well!