The 20th century propaganda is legendary, but I chose this poster because of its clarity when it comes to the message and also because I liked the little allusions and “sub-messages”. The aim of this propaganda poster is to warn Americans of the dangers of USSR. The first thing people probably notice is the fact that the ship is heading towards the iceberg which by itself is already a threat but the allusion to Titanic only enhances it – Soviet Union is a threat to otherwise invincible US. Uncle Sam – the personification of the United States or its government – also helps to bring it closer to the audience and press on their patriotism. And finally the gravestones on the red iceberg, representing the countries that have already fallen victims of the USSR hinting, that when the USA fails to withstand the Soviet Union, their grave will be next one there.


Iron Curtain – the non-physical boundary that divided Europe into two (Soviet Union in east and neutral or USA’s allies in the west) from the end of WWII (1945) to the end of Cold War (1991). Soviet Union tried to block itself and its satellite-states from the West.

The events that were going to demolish it began in Poland and later gained ground in other SU states of which Romania was the only communist country in Europe that overthrew its government with violence.

The name as a metaphor dates back to 19th century and originally meant fireproof curtains in theatres and became the symbol of the Cold War thanks to a speech given by W. Churchill and the usage as a reference to SU by J. Goebbels from Nazi Germany.

Truman doctrine, policy of containment, arms race – president Harry Truman established (1947) that the US would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations reorienting the US’s foreign policy away from its usual attitude of not interfering with foreign conflicts. The main cause was the British withdrawal from providing help for Greece and Turkey. The aim for the USA was preventing the spread of Communism.

The arms race was a competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare between the US and the Soviet Union with their allies. They were trying to increase the quantity and quality of their warfare during peacetime to show the superiority and be ready for imminent attacks.

McCarthy era – an era marked by dramatic accusations that communists had infiltrated into the highest level of American society. The global conspiracy was created by a Wisconsin senator, Joseph McCarthy, who, in 1950, created a frenzy in the press, claiming that hundreds of communists were spread among several Truman administrations. Though he wasn’t responsible for the widespread fear of communism, he was the one to cause the suspicion.

As consequences, anyone’s loyalty could be doubted or accused of being communist sympathizers, governments resources were diverted and the political discourse was coarsened.

Korean War – began on June 25, 1950, about 75 000 North Korean People’s Army’s soldiers crossed the border between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south (North Korea vs. South Korea). It was the first military action of the Cold War.

By July, America had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf because they believed it was a war against the forces of international communism itself. The American officials were trying hard though to fashion an armistice with North Korea in fears of a wider war with Russia and China or even WW3.

The war came to an end in July, 1953, with 5 million soldiers and civilians having lost their lives. The armistice finally divided Korea into two official part and granted the return of prisoners.

Role of J. F. Kennedy – an American politician and 35th president (from 1961 to 1963 when he was assassinated – the height of the Cold War). During World War II, he commanded a series of PT boats in the Pacific theater and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his service. After the war, Kennedy represented the 11th congressional district of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953. He was subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate and served as the junior Senator from Massachusetts from 1953 to 1960. While in the Senate, he published his book  Profiles in Courage, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He was the second-youngest and first ever president to have served in the US Navy. As president, Kennedy confronted mounting Cold War tensions in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. He also led a renewed drive for public service and eventually provided federal support for the growing civil rights movement. His assassination on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, sent shockwaves around the world and turned the all-too-human Kennedy into a larger-than-life heroic figure. To this day, historians continue to rank him among the best-loved presidents in American history. (- 7 reasons women love JFK)

Bay of Pigs and the Cuban crisis – a failed invasion of Cuba in April, 1961, undertaken by Brigade 2506, a rebel group  of Cuban exiles sponsored by the CIA. The aim was to overthrow Fidel Castro and his increasingly communist government in order to replace it with non-communist and USA friendly one.

Some 1400 exiles landed at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. As the US involvement became apparent to the world, and with the initiative turning against the invasion, Kennedy decided against providing further air cover. As a result, the operation only had half the forces the CIA had deemed necessary. The original plan devised during Eisenhower’s presidency had required both air and naval support. The entire force was within three days defeated and either killed or captured (Kennedy, who had approved the mission took full responsibility for the failure).

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day political and military standoff in October, 1962, over Soviet Union’s installation of the nuclear-armed missiles on Cuba. The nuclear war was prevented with the US agreement with Soviet leader’s offer to remove the missiles from Cuba in exchange of USA’s promise not to invade Cuba and to remove its missiles from Turkey.

Space Race – Again, a competition between the US and Soviet Union for dominance in spaceflight capability represented in efforts to launch artificial satellites, uncrewed space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon. It began in August, 1955, with Soviet Union’s announcement to launch and artificial satellite in the near future, a response to a similar announcement by the USA made 4 days earlier. Soviet Union eventually “won” this one and was also the first to send humans in Earth orbit, but the race peaked with the US to be the first to send humans on the moon in 1969.

It’s hard to pinpoint the ending but it was over by 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Vietnam War (causes, outcome and consequences) –  an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to 30 April 1975. Originally between North and South Vietnam – North supported by communist Russia and China and South by the USA and other non-communist countries.

The causes revolve around American belief and fear that communism would expand all over Asia.

The US gradually started withdrawing its forces from Vietnam as a part of Vietnamization, leaving the fighting to South Vietnam itself. Soon after North captured Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam and the two parts were reunified as one communist state the following year. Estimates of the number of Vietnameses being killed vary from 1 million to 3.8 million.

As the consequences, the end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea. Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with Watergate contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s.

Richard Nixon and the Watergate Affair – an American politic and the 37th president of the USA from 1969 to 1974, being the first ever American president to resign from office.

The term Watergate has come to refer to the clandestine and and often illegal activities undertaken by the members of Nixon’s administration. Those activities included bugging the offices of political opponents and harrassing activist groups and political figures.

These were brought to light after five men were caught breaking into the Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972. At first Nixon downplayed the scandal but a series of revelations made it clear that the Committee to Re-elect President Nixon, and later the White House, was involved in attempts to sabotage the Democrats. In total 48 official were convicted of wrongdoing.

The role of Henry Kissinger – an American political scientist, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest. Kissinger later sought, unsuccessfully, to return the prize after the ceasefire failed.

After leaving government, he formed Kissinger Associates, an international geopolitical consulting firm. Kissinger has written over one dozen books on diplomatic history and international relations. According to a 2014 survey by Foreign Policy magazine 32.21% of “America’s top International Relations scholars” considered Henry Kissinger the most effective U.S. Secretary of State since 1965.

Counterculture, Summer of Love and Woodstock – a subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores.

Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when about 100 000 hippies, mostly young people, gathered together with San Francisco being the most publicized location.

Most of them were suspicious of the government, rejected consumerist values or opposed the Vietnam War.

Woodstock was a music festival held in 1969, on August 15-18. It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation. Joni Mitchell said, “Woodstock was a spark of beauty” where half-a-million kids “saw that they were part of a greater organism”

Pildiotsingu woodstock original tulemus

500 words

I can’t think of any film with more original approach or effect right now. And of all the movies we have watched I definitely had more opinions about it than any other. I could write an even longer essay.

“In Full Metal Jacket, Kubrick’s pre-filmmaking endeavors as a professional photographer and competition-level chess player are all too evident — scenes are so overly composed they seem contrived and artsy.”

(Thank you, the Hollywood reporter, I finally understand.) I didn’t know he used to be a photographer but now, that I come to think of it, it explains how the film managed to have amazing scenes and yet not work as a whole. Making movies is like writing a book – you won’t get a perfect book when you write perfect sentences but never read them together to see if they even fit. The director and screenwriter Stanley Kubrick had so much potential but he was too occupied with taking the perfect photos that he left the story in the background.

“The well-arranged characters are merely mouthpieces for differing points of views — pawns.”

Another reason why the movie was so confusing, were the characters. The real events, the ones we have learned about and are used to think of as real life, didn’t match with the over-the-top, surrealistic characters. None of them had a real personality, just one trait that had been stretched too far so it became just unreal and didn’t fit to the honest historical frame. Pyle was crazy enough to be fit for a horror movie, and Joker – we have no idea who he really is. A guy who jokes around and doesn’t take things seriously. In the “first movie” he is kind and helpful – he remains patient with Pyle and is good to him (excluding the beating, but even then we can see it comes hard for him). In the “second film” he is seemingly the same, but then he says, with full seriousness, “I wanted to see exotic Vietnam… the crown jewel of Southeast Asia. I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture… and kill them. I wanted to be the first kid on my block to get a confirmed kill.” like a sadistic monster. Changing characters are fine, but the movie is supposed to develop them, not jump from one extreme to the other.

“Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” is more like a book of short stories than a novel.”

And we get back to it. I could bring several similes myself – pieces of many different jigsaw puzzles pressed together, a game where one person starts to tell a story that’s made up on spot and then all the others take over one by one, making up the rest of it. The problem is that this is not how you make a movie (or put together a puzzle). I don’t support the most classic and boring structure but a film needs to have something that unites the pieces or at least one style, genre or principles it follows throughout it. Maybe the problem is just in me.

I can’t deny the “Full Metal Jacket” had something. For some reason it kept my attention throughout the full movie and I couldn’t get my mind off of it even later and yet it lacked something (maybe it was the incoherency or non-existence of real and believable characters) to make it a good movie. But it’s not a bad one either because then I would have forgotten about it. The best word for it is “mystery”.

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