At any moment the world you know could be wiped out by the press of a button. Your hometown will become a war zone with soldiers, gunshots, and explosions. This is what the people of the 80’s felt in the US during the Cold War. The 1984 film “Red Dawn” perfectly illustrates the fears of the average US citizen during the Cold War.
The Cold War took place from 1947-1991. This was a war between the Soviet Union and the United States, right after WWII ended. The dispute was about the United States’s Capitalism, vs the Soviet Union’s Communism. This “war’ was not a traditional war, in the way that no armies were deployed, and no bullets were fired. The Cold War was a proxy war, which is when two or more powerful countries do not directly fight but have smaller countries do the fighting. The race to build nukes was what made people frightened. The United States built nukes, and the Soviet Union was close behind. Both Countries were aware of mutual destruction if one fired upon the other.
Once the Cold War began in the late 1940s, its effects worked their way into popular culture. The fear and demonizing of the enemy prominently were in horror and action movies. Red Dawn is a powerful resource because it portrays the average Americans fears and doubts during the Cold War.
A famous scene from the original “Red Dawn” shows Russian troops outside that preeminent symbol of American capitalism, McDonald’s. Ironically, this scene did become reality because Russian troops eventually ate at McDonald’s a few years later. This shows how Red Dawn realistically showed the people’s fear turning into possible realities. This terror became known as the “Red Scare”, relating to the red Russian flag. Even though the United States and the Soviet Union fought side by side in WWII, there was still tension between the two. During the end of WWII, there was a conference held in the city of Yalta, Russia, where Germany was split into four regions, each piece was equally given to US, Soviet Union, France, and the UK. The introduction of the atomic bomb made the Soviet Union wary of the US, creating a competition of bomb development.
“Red Dawn” has a great representation of what the United States would be like if the Soviet Union invaded the United States. When the film was released, the Cold War was in full swing dramatically affecting the lives of millions of Americans. The film displayed many fears and calamitous thoughts of the Soviet and Cuban invasion upon the United States home front.
“Red Dawn” is one of the best movies of its time, showing perfectly what it would have been like to live in this time of war. Every Student should watch this movie to experience and feel what it was like to constantly be living in fear of war.
Article by Joel Hamersley & Video by Hannah Dardano
History.com Staff. “Red Scare.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/cold-war/red-scare.
Red Dawn Movie Review . denobis.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/red-dawn-movie-review-1984/.
“Red Dawn.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Mar. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn.
Start of the Cold War – The Yalta Conference and Containment. www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-us-history/period-8/apush-postwar-era/a/the-cold-war-part-1.