Remembering the Cold War -or- Dreams of Nuclear Warfare

The Spy that Came in from the Cold

"World domination, same old dream." James Bond (played by Sean Connery) in Dr No

After World War II, only two Superpowers remained.

In dreams, J.W.T Redfearn Dreams of Nuclear Warfare (in; Nathan Schwarz-Salant and Murray Stein (eds.) Dreams in Analysis) provides an apocalyptic Christian and Jungian view of the nuclear apocalyse found in his patients dreams, the paranoid-delusional dreams of world destruction. For one patient of Redfearn the cause of the atomic bomb dreams could be traced back to hatred towards both mother and father who were seen as the authors of the paranoid roots for a chronic depression of the patient. The schizophrenic ego splitting defence mechanism is used to project a grotesque apocalyptic landscape of a mind situated in the midst of world destruction.

Western culture was geopolitically and oneirically dominated by the Cold War (which lasted from 1946 to 1990) shaping domestic and foreign policies, which characteristically featured imminent game theoretical MAD nuclear annihilation. The Cold War generated numerous films, such as the science-fiction allegory of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the James Bond spy film To Russia with Love, and the black comedy Dr Strangelove. The 1962 film Failsafe presented a fictional account of nuclear brinksmanship. The Cuban missile crisis was brought to the silver screen in the docudrama 13 Days. The Cold War imagination was quickened by the U.S.-Soviet space race, which the Americans won, despite conspiracy theories that believed the landing on the moon was staged. This idea was taken up in the film Capricorn One, in that a manned mission of a landing on Mars was a staged Hollywood style event to avoid political fallout. The military theatres of the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War were all conflicts in which the political heavyweights of capitalism and communism went toe to toe.

The popular culture of the Cold War provided a political brinksmanship story and a Hollywood dream factory metaphor for film, art, cartoons, magizines, literature, music, sports, games and toys and so on. Richard A. Schwarz Cold War Culture: media and the arts, 1945-1990 provides an A to Z encyclopedia of the allusions of the Cold War that features apocalyptic films such as "Failsafe", "Dr Strangelove", and "The Day After". From a dramatic comedy perspective, Whoopi Goldberg does a star turn in the completely underrated film "Jumping Jack Flash", which features the political uses and beginnings of the Internet era on film and in reality. The films signature song is "Jumping Jack Flash" (watch video) sung by the Rolling Stones and by Aretha Franklin. "By Dawn's Early Light" a film that was produced in 1990 reflecting the intensifying perception and concern that the Middle East was becoming the new geopolitical hotbed to trigger the nuclear apocalypse. The film The Sum of All Fears, starring CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Afflick) who uncovers the nature of nuclear terrorism in the United States, is really a plot to provoke the Superpowers to go to nuclear war.

In the film On The Beach starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardiner and Fred Astaire, no one really knows why or who started the nuclear apocalyse of WW III, they only knew that it did and had tragic consequences. During the era of the Red scare,  we find the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings and the blacklisting of many in the American entertainment industry for being communist sympathizers or perhaps agents? The metaphor of chess was often used as a Cold War personification of the Grand chess game of the superpowers strategic intelligence, the metaphor took on literal dimensions in the Spasky (Russia)-(America) Fisher chess dual of 1972, which closely coincided with the Canada-Russia hockey summit face-off for world domination. The Russian satelite Sputnick triggered the space race and the Rosenberg trial fueled the Cold War's grotesque paranoid-delusional imagination and apocalyptic landscape.

The durable Cold War film metaphor of outer space alien creatures that had played to Cold War anxieties found a Shakespearean ending in the film "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991) which lyrically concluded the Cold War madness. No sooner had the Cold War ended, we found that our eyes were being turned to the Middle East and the Holy Land where a perceived new threat, with new players, a new madness, a new battlefield was beginning to be contemplated, emerge and take shape. After the bloodiest century in human history forged by the minds of necrophilic characters, further blood lust and bloodshed appears to be human destiny? One may be forgiven for echoing Judy Dench, playing James Bond's boss "M" in Casino Royale, who says, "Christ, I miss the Cold War!"

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared, "The Cold War is over." 




All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.