16 November 2011
The victory of WWII may have been an achievement between, among others, the Americans, run by their democratically elected government, and the Soviets, run by the Communists. It, however, marked the beginning of a global power struggle between the two factions, which would be better known as the Cold War. Because the Americans had the ultimate weapon of annihilation in the nuclear bomb, that power struggle was largely through public relation campaigns, in among other propaganda battlegrounds as the Italian election following the war, in Berlin as Stalin and the Soviets tried to seize it in its entirety, and more formally in war on the Korean peninsula. Official and unofficial propaganda campaigns also happened on the home front. In the US, much of it was through network television, whose shows depicted American family life as perfect. But the global situation brought about strong anti-Communist sentiments, which allowed the McCarthy Communist witch hunts to occur. On the Soviet side, Stalin did whatever he needed, including falsely accusing, imprisoning and murdering people, in order to show he was in control. Much of his propaganda campaign was in order to raise money for nuclear bomb research at the expense of the Soviet peoples. But Stalin's death and the fact of the Soviets developing a nuclear bomb would change the face of the Cold War.
23 November 2011
In the mid 1950s, much of the direct battle between the US and the Soviet Union was not through contact, but non-contact, namely not allowing anything that represented the other to enter the country. As such, the Soviet regime banned something they thought was uniquely American: jazz music. But the new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev
, wanted to show the world that his country was not as repressive as many in the west believed. So he hosted the World Youth Festival in Moscow in 1957, inviting youth from around the world to have a basically western styled party. This opened the floodgates of Soviet youth being exposed to western trappings, including jazz music, which he could not suppress in its entirety following. Over the subsequent few years, this would lead to greater contact between the Soviet and US political leaders - much of it through sanctioned nationalistic trade shows - culminating in a propaganda war over of all things the washing machine. Another battleground was the space race, which was seen as synonymous to the arms race. On earth, two emerging areas were also becoming battlegrounds. One was Africa, where a plethora of newly independent countries were looking for financial support and guidance from the two superpowers. The other was Latin America, first specifically in Guatemala, where the United Fruit Company, an American company controlling commercial trade in Guatemala through the export of bananas, launched a Madison Avenue developed publicity campaign to show its newly elected government as being Communist, even though its policies were not Communist but rather anti-United Fruit. Although this campaign would succeed, it would lead to two anti-Imperialist revolutionaries, 'Ernesto 'Che' Guevara' and Fidel Castro
, being able to seize control of the government in Cuba. Castro was not Communist but Nationalist, which many Americans believe to be one in the same. Because of the deterioration of relations between Castro and the US, Castro turned to the Soviet Union for support, when Cuba truly became a Communist country. This battleground contained perhaps the tensest days of the Cold War, most specifically the Cuban Missile Crisis. And a traditional battleground re-emerged when the Soviet regime restricted travel between east and west with the sudden and surprise erection of the Berlin Wall.
30 November 2011
In the 1960's, the baby boomers, just reaching adulthood, increasingly factor into the propaganda battle of the Cold War. Although physical barriers, most notably the Berlin Wall, keep each side isolated from the other, they can't stop such items such as American and British rock music from crossing over, as hard as the Communists try forging their own brand of pop rock music with political messaging. In the space race, the Soviets clearly are winning the battle, with both sides trying to do whatever in space first, until President Kennedy makes a bold move which may ultimately put the west ahead if he and the Americans can achieve his proclamation. On the ground, both sides take a major hit internally with their propaganda machines, the US with the release of photos from one of their own about a massacre of civilians in Vietnam, and the Soviet Union with their actions to the Prague Spring and what the young activists in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union do in response. In the 1970's, much of the battle returns to the realm of the cultural - most specifically sports - with the Olympics, and the Canada-Russia summit series being two such examples. But the most dramatic of these sporting battles may be the Fischer/Spassky world championship chess competition.
6 December 2011
In the 1980s, three people dominated the propaganda agenda in the Cold War. The first is US President Ronald Reagan
, a staunch anti-Communist who would do anything to denounce it while putting the US in a positive light. He wanted to look tough, especially through a military build-up since he believed the Soviets far out-muscled the Americans militarily. But his propaganda changed as world issues around him changed, most specifically Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov
inviting Maine schoolgirl Samantha Smith
to the Soviet Union for a goodwill visit, and the Soviet military shooting down a commercial jet in Soviet airspace. The second is Polish national Pope John Paul II
. His succession to Pope was at a tenuous time in Poland. But his anti-Communist stance allowed Lech Walesa
and Solidarity to rise in Poland. However, the Communists would not go down in Poland without a fight, which was led by General Wojciech Jaruzelski
. And the third is Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev
. Despite being a Communist, his growing up period during Stalin's reign shaped his view that Communism should be transparent, which was dubbed glasnost. Although Gorbachev was viewed with great esteem worldwide, he was viewed less so by the Soviet peoples who saw that the propaganda did not match their reality.
You may add a new episode for this TV series by clicking the 'add episode' button