The Cold War began in 1945 with the end of WWII and ended 44 years later with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Cold War was fought on many fronts, none of which included an actual battlefield. The main players in the Cold War were the United States promoting a Free Market Economy (laissez-faire capitalism) Capitalist Society and on the opposing Communist Socialist side were the Former USSR (Russia / Soviet Union), Nazi Germany, Chain, Korea, and other minor Asian & Eastern European countries. The four main battlegrounds for the war were, The Arms Race (Military Power), The Space Race, Political (ideological), & Economical. The Arms Race & Space Race players were mainly the US and the USSR, as both frantically tried to reach the moon first and produce the worlds first Nuclear and Atomic Bombs flagrantly spending large portions of their governmental budgets on building preventative military forces. The Political or Ideological battle was fought with spies and diplomats alike, but the main battlefront was newspapers, TV, and radio headlines laden thick with propaganda and biased media reports. The economical battle was fought on the playing fields of international trade with tariffs, sanctions, and trade embargoes.Topics on this DVD include:The Cold War Anti Communism Propaganda Capitalism Despotism Democracy / Free Society / American Freedom The Race To Space Historic Cold War American Freedom Films
Length: 11 Minutes
This interesting film investigates the spectrum of power and political structures from democracy to despotism. Instead of defining democracy as good and communism as bad, as many other films of this time did, Despotism takes a very different tact. Using a scale devised by an advisory board of educators who debated for months over the subject, this film looks at how different countries and governments score on the respect scale and the power scale. Looking at how much freedom of communication, to whom the heaviest taxes are levied, and where the concentration of power lies, different countries from Germany to the United States are evaluated. Not surprisingly, the U.S. does not fare well when measured by these standards, and the narration is careful to point out that despotism can occur in democratic countries. Thanks to the relatively honest appraisal of governmental types offered in this film, Despotism is a superb historical educational video.
Dont Be A Sucker
Length: 17 Minutes
Dont Be a Sucker is a bizarre film from the Cold War era which attempts to resist racism in America. The War Department film warns Americans against the trap of racial prejudice and religious persecution that the Germans fell into during the reign of the Nazis. Their history is given a brief recap, and the film says that Germans were suckers for waging a war against a religious minority. The film follows an average American named Mike listening to a man up on a soapbox ranting against Catholics, Blacks, and alien foreigners. Mike doesnt mind this hateful rhetoric until the speaker adds Freemasons to the list. Since Mike is a Freemason himself, he is confused. Soon, an old Hungarian man comes over and explains to Mike that everyones liberties must be protected or all people could lose their freedoms. He warns against selfishness, and tells Mike to forget about ‘we and ‘they, lets think about ‘us! Equality and diversity were not commonly discussed in Cold War era films, which were more about jingoistic propaganda. This film that encourages equality in America is a rare example of a more progressive way of thinking in Cold War history.
Freedom To Learn
Length: 26 Minutes
Freedom to Learn explores the implications of 1950s communist witch hunts through the story of Mrs. Orin, a high school social studies teacher. When a parent notices that her daughters notes contain information about communism, she confronts Mrs. Orin and eventually takes the issue all the way to the school board. Mrs. Orin must defend herself in front of the angry mob by explaining that she doesnt teach communism, but teaches about communism. She claims that her students must know about communism in order to understand current events and to make informed decisions about their own government. She also notes the irony of her being questioned about what shes teaching in a country that espouses educational freedom. The films conclusion is a chilling representation of the times – Mrs. Orin may not prevail in her quest for freedom of speech and ideas.
Griffith Park Relief Workers Demonstration
Length: 3 Minutes
This is a fascinating 1933 documentary that captures the widespread political demonstration by abused government workers. These workers were clearing brush in Los Angeless Griffith Park when a raging fire broke out. Instead of evacuating the untrained men and calling in fire fighters, city officials ordered the men to fight the fire themselves. Horrifically, 25 men were killed and many more were wounded before professionals arrived to contain the fire. This silent film documents the demonstration against the city to protest the needless death of these workers. Crowds with inspiring signs, placards, and speakers are shown. Many of the signs have nothing to do with the Griffith Park fire, including one that says, Fight Against Foreclosures of Small Homes. There is no sound, but there are title cards.
The Magic Bond
Length: 14 Minutes
This early Robert Altman-directed film promotes the Veterans of Foreign Wars fraternal and social organization as a way to benefit the community through its various programs. The film is packed with jaw dropping scenes, like soldiers in a burned down house in war-torn Europe that foreshadows Altmans later signature style of an ensemble cast with overlapping dialogue. Using war correspondents and a bombastic narrator to promote the idea that the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization, the focus is on a way to fight the neglect of veterans, apathy, juvenile delinquency, and smugness. The group sponsored community events such as marbles tournaments, voter information, assistance for disabled vets, and patriotic memorial events. The Magic Bond is a gem of a film by master director Robert Altman and is an enriching cultural experience.
Story of Enterprise
Length: 12 Minutes
Story of Enterprise is an exceptionally made capitalist propaganda film from the 1950s. Though unabashed propaganda, the film is based on the true success story of Thomas A. Carvelas, who went from ice cream stand owner to multimillionaire corporate head. Humanizing the advantages of capitalism with honesty and zeal, the film successfully glorifies the system of commerce that has been such a focal point in American history. Quintessentially 50s, American, and uplifting, Story of Enterprise is an enjoyable riff on the American Dream.
Tragedy Or Hope
Length: 24 Minutes
This over the top anti-activist and anti-communist film, Tragedy or Hope, is a bombastic moral majority inspired film from the 1970s. Why would a normally decent person like John Smith choose communism? Its a diabolic scheme funded by communists worldwide! These shadowy activist leaders and subversives are planning to destroy America. Kids are labeled dupes to hysteria, uncivilized music, and a general lack of conformity – all these traits leading directly to communism! Anyone looking for an exaggerated and absurd conservative film that rallies against hippie culture has found the perfect example in Tragedy or Hope.
What It Means To Be American
Length: 22 Minutes
One of the sunniest 1950s propaganda movies ever, What It Means To Be An American sparkles with smiling, friendly jingoism. As the cold war raged, videos like this one aimed to solidify the American identity: freedom, hard work, prosperity, and (implied) conformity. The film is often bizarre, as it marches down a mysterious collection of American privileges that other countries cant or dont enjoy: like sandboxes and luxury cars. But overall the film sits right at the bedrock of 1950s values and places them on an unassailable mountain peak. What It Means To Be An American is the pinnacle of 1950s conformist propaganda.