Monday, April 21, 2014

"You're next!" The "Us vs. them" mentality of Cold War Culture

Watch the very ending of invasion of the body snatchers:


We did not watch the film in class, but the ending says a lot.  The man (Matthew) is now an alien.  The woman (Nancy) is the only person who successfully evaded the aliens.

So how does all of this relate to the Cold War?  Consider the ways in which Truman's Policy of Containment, as well as the McCarthy Era attempted to identify an "other" as the enemy.  Relate your understanding of the film to the historical context.  In what ways do you see the American government identifying and rejecting an "other" in their policies?  What was the threat posed to American society after the war?  Do we still see such fears and threats posed to our society today?

16 comments:

  1. Clearly there was a lot of identifying of the "other" during the cold war, in the US the other was Communism. This is shown by the Containment policy which said that the US would try to contain Communism from spreading. This implies that the idea of Communism is wrong and is like a disease that needs to be contained. The US also had McCarthy pointing fingers at many people whom he thought were communist, and later with HUAC which served to identify Communist Activity else where and to report it. This is similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers because there were some infiltrations (the aliens) who would come undercover and convince everyday people of their ideas. The ending is the ultimate fear of communism spreading and the US being the only anti-communist country left/ "human". Threats posed to our society currently that is really similar is probably what is happening in Ukraine. We want to have access and help the people who are rebelling their leadership but Russia is also in there trying to help the opposing side. We are fighting over the kind of rule, resources and power between Russia and the US, the threat that we have in going into the Ukraine is that they have nukes and so do we. So if we overstep our boundaries things could go way out of proportion and this causes fear of WW3 where the amount of nuclear weapons would just destroy us.

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  2. I believe that the American Government identifies and rejects an “other” in their policies because everything had to be American. The American people were very paranoid about the prospect of outsiders. The threat posed to American Society after the war was how the people were gong to come out stronger then before. How were they going to remain united, and lift the economy? I think that there are many fears posed by our society today. We are constantly at war with Afghanistan and Iraq because we are so scared of terrorists. The American government is continuously looking for the most minuet details in things in order to keep America safe. Sometimes this surveillance is judged by some to be a violation of privacy. This shows that we are afraid of anything happening so we will go to any length to prevent it from happening.

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  3. During the Cold War,the Americans would like to do anything that kept the United States in a safe position, the reason why McCarthy attempted to identify an "other" as the enemy and the practice of Truman's Policy was they wanted to process things in an American way. As shown in the movie, the body snatchers presented something (might be communism) that can soon spread out and affect lots of people, and the US was trying to prevented this from happening so it wouldn't have the horrifying effect as the body snatchers. Even today, the Americans still process things in about the same way, for example, the Iraq war, said that terrorism must be ended because the US didn't like it.

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  4. In the time of the Cold War, America did not wan't to lose their public safety. The US also had McCarthy pointing fingers at many people whom he thought were communist, and later with HUAC which served to identify Communist Activity else where and to report it. This is in comparison to Invasion of the Body Snatchers because there were some infiltrations who would come undercover and convince everyday people of their ideas. . As shown in the movie, the body snatchers presented something that can soon spread out and affect lots of people, and the US was trying to prevented this from happening so it wouldn't have the horrifying effect as the body snatchers. There could possibly be a World War iii, if we don't do everything to prevent war and violence.

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  5. This last scene, and the entire premise of the movie, embodies the idea that communism was a contagious idea, taking over the bodies of those it inhabited. It also tried to pray on the idea that you didn't know who was a communist so you always had to be on the look out for those who fell victim so you yourself don't become contaminated. It also gave the impression that you need to be frantic and that communism is such a threat that you may be the only one left supporting democracy. The ideas of that era went from the War on Communism to the War on Terror. Ironically, the modern day Sovi-, I mean Russians, are posing a much larger threat to global peace than they have in recent years.

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  6. This relates to the cold war because all throughout America was so concerned with the "other" ones and identifing them to know who they are and keep them away. America was very concerned about the influence of other countries, and they did not want this influence to affect our own. In this video it clearly shows how the "other" one is portrayed. A lot of the time they tried to single out who was communist and who was not, in the video the man pointed. This signifies and singles out the communists. I think there will always be threats and worries in the society of America. It is almost inevitable.

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  7. This relates to the Cold War since we see the man that is transformed in an allien and the woman is still "normal"and "American". It is what was happening by the time in the US and how everything that was not American was feared. The American government insisted in this idea a lot and they saw foreigners as enemies and communists. Everything was so American and education was lead to that idea of the "other" not being good or being bad and enemies.

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  8. I agree with Anni in that this relates to the cold war because America was so concerned with all of the "other" countries and putting a lot of emphasis on the other coutnries and what the other countries were doing. All foriegners and people from other countrys were evil and communist. Basically it says that america was what we all needed and every other country was evil.

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  9. Well this relates to the Cold War like Laura said the man turns into an alien (communist) and that was the enemy. The government did not want communist in America so this scared people and like the women was afraid of him. But there is not much to say, like the women was walking and called the mans name she did not know he was a alien in disguised. This is how Americans felt they did not know if there person right next to them was a communist.

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  10. I also has watched the 1956 version of the invasion of the body snatchers. The trailer we have seen was made in 1978. The original movie ends with only one guy yelling on the highway but nobody would help him. He is being chased by many human like aliens. That ending was easier for me the interpret. It is a metaphor of USA having no help at all if they did not contain the spread of communism. I see that movie in an anti-communist and pro Truman's containment policy position. The clip ending of the more recent version, I do not understand why it ends with the alien yelling at her. Maybe it means if the US don't do anything. Even their closest friend can become part of the communist.

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  11. The Invasion of the body snatcher is made to mock McCarthy's HUAC. The movie signifies the paranoia sentiment of the Cold War period. The aliens in the movie is an analogy for the communism; the fear in the movie implies the fear of the communism infiltration in U.S. It is obvious to see that the invasion of communism is definitely one of the biggest fear during the Cold War in U.S. Furthermore, Truman's containment policy exacerbates the paranoia within the country. MaCarthy's "Witch craft trial" brings the fear to another level.

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  12. During the time of Cold War era, communists were attacted and seen as a threat to the society and therefore, seen as an alien who would bring harm. This was shown by Trueman's containment policy and McCarthy's threat to communism. The fact that the man is an alien in the movie shows how amercans viewed communists. The fact that it is portrayed as "scary" shows the fear of communism among the nation. However, to some extent, fear of communism was exaggerated by the government and some innocent people were witch hunted by goverment and McCarthy exemplifies the point.

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  13. communism is the primary connection being made. it is the invader and the cause of all the strife, tension, and despair worldwide. american use of the truman doctrine states that it will use the means to to stop the spread of communism. all of the cold war era shows display the discomfort and fear worldwide. the fight for and against communism almost brought the world to a end as it does in the movie.

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  14. This film shows a society that is plagued by invading aliens. The aliens then take over the body of the hosts, so they look the same, but as we saw in the horrifying video, they clearly are not the same. It appealed to American's Red fear. People feared that Communists were infiltrating our country and spreading communism and disloyalty among American citizens. They thought of communists as foreigners, as people to be avoided, because of government policies. The containment policy started by the Truman administration entailed stopping the spread of Communism into surrounding countries. This made American's feel that communism was an ill that should be kept where it is, far away from us. It made communists seem like the "other." The McCarthy era persecutions also definitely classified communists as the "other" by making them into a hated group. Today, we fear terrorists as we once feared communists.

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  15. This clip, the ending of the Invasion Of The Body Snatcher, I think that the meaning of the character Mathew becoming an alien in the end and his friend being the only one who survived it signifies that the government had such a strong pull over people during the cold war that even if people didn't believe in the government and what they were doing, by the end of their reign, it was likely that people would be converted to believe like them. The woman represents the few people in the country that still would not give in during the cold war.

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  16. This relates to the Cold War in that people were afraid that Communists had infiltrated American life and government. Because of this fear, people would often accuse one another of being communists. The government had many ways of combatting Communism. Truman's policy was containment, trying to isolate communism and keep it from flowing into other countries. McCarthy would just accuse people.

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