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Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Film series at Beaumier educates about Cold War era


During the decades of the Cold War, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union plagued minds around the world with the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction. Although most NMU students today were born years after the Cold War ended, those times are still remembered by many others, and efforts are being made to raise awareness about what life during that era was like.

In conjunction with its “Cold War and the U.P.” exhibition, which is on display now until March 31, the NMU Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is also showing the “Cold War Film Series,” featuring movies about this tumultuous period and made during it. Each showing is free admission, free popcorn, and will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays every two weeks, and will be screened in the seminar room of the Beaumier Alumni and U.P. Heritage Center. There are five more movies in the series.

Beaumier Center Director Dan Truckey will present each film and host an open discussion time afterward. This Tuesday the center showed the 1964 film “Seven Days in May,” a drama which depicted the clashing politics of defensive posturing versus those who sought a more peaceful solution, Truckey said.

“Your average student has no experience with what it was like during that time,” Truckey explained. “It wasn’t totally bloodless. There were proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam, and around the world there were different hot spots. But for the most part it was a conflict-free conflict. It was war of words, a war of economies, a war of influence, and also a war of fear.”

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These films help convey the mindset of fear and paranoia that so many people had during that era, Truckey said. It was a time when neither the United States nor the Soviet Union trusted each other, and both were anxious about the unknown of what the other was possibly conspiring to do.

“For most [people] today, we have our own fears [such as] terrorism,” Truckey said. “[But during the Cold War] you have people who lived their whole childhood, most of their life in fear that the world would no longer exist, that it would finally come to a head and the world would be obliterated by nuclear weapons. It had quite an influence on our psyche as a society.

“That’s why it’s so important. It’s to help students today understand what it was like to live in a time when that was a constant fear that at any time these things could happen, and how do you live your life when tomorrow we could be gone?”
These films, made during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s are worth viewing because they are representative of their time,
Truckey said.

“We specifically picked films that were made during the time,” Truckey explained. “There have been a lot of great films made during the last 20 years about the Cold War, but they were made in retrospect, with hindsight. What we wanted to do was capture how people during that time were thinking.”

The next screening will be on Jan. 30 with the 1962 Soviet film “Nine Days in One Year,” which will be in Russian with English subtitles.

“It’s an interesting film because it was made in the Soviet Union in the ’60s and it’s about the dangers of nuclear energy. It’s an interesting take because you think of the Soviet Union at that time that it was very controlled. There was no way that a film critical of government policy would be shown. And it’s not necessarily critical of government policy but of the dangers of this [technology]. It’s very unique. We wanted to have one film from the Cold War period from the Soviets,” he added.

Truckey said he values the open discussion time after each film showing because many students have questions or want to learn more about historical subjects these movies bring up.

“It gives us a chance to talk about the film, our impressions of the film and tying it in to what was actually going on and what happened later,” he said.

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