The Cold War Fears of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Essay

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The Cold War Fears of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Stanley Kubrick's 1963 political satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, is a stinging commentary of the Cold War paranoia of the time. Kubrick addresses a myriad of themes throughout the picture, offering an even darker side to an already bleak situation. The movie is also layered with many levels of subtle motifs that require multiple viewings to fully realize. The director also uses several techniques to give an overall ominous feel to the picture. The movies title character is overplayed though making a few disappointing moments. This is overacting is a little disappointing but does little to diminish the greatness of the film.

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This part of the cold war was a symbol of everything that was wrong with the time. A small group of paranoids managed to suspend many of the freedoms we hold dear in their witch-hunts for "evil communists" lurking among us.

The movie also questions the wisdom of America's recruitment of former Nazi scientists with its portrayal of Dr. Strangelove. After the Second World War the United States, under the auspices of Operation Paperclip, brought Nazis such as Walter Schreiber, Kurt Blome and Arthur Rudolf into the US. They were granted citizenship in exchange for the sharing of their knowledge. These scientists' records were altered to hide their prior activities. The film implies that the recruitment of such individuals was a mistake that can have the most disastrous of consequences. The insane Dr. Strangelove is portrayed as the main player in a plot to force the US to make a first nuclear strike. It serves as a warning to think to the long term as to the consequences of our actions.

Several recurring motifs stand out in the film after repeated watching. Several times Kubrick creates an ironic motif by placing armed or fighting soldiers in front of signs stating "Peace is our Profession". A poster portraying the slogan is also placed behind Captain Mandrake as he receives and gives the orders for the nuclear strike. Kubrick uses this visual as a symbol to ask if preparation for war is really an effective method to achieve peace. So

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