UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1950's

The Cold War: Korea, 1949-1953.

In June 1950, North Korea invades the South, with Stalin's blessing. The United States, backed by the United Nations, defends South Korea, and then is confronted by communist China. In mid-1951, the war grinds to a bloody stalemate but eventually an armistice is signed. Aggression has been contained. 1998. 47 min.

The Cold War: Marshall Plan, 1947-1952.

The United States adopts the Truman doctrine, pledging to defend freedom worldwide. Secretary of State George Marshall plans to bolster economic recovery in Europe. Seeing this as a threat, Stalin forbids his satellites to participate. The world effectively divides. 1998. 47 min.

The Cold War: Reds, 1947-1953.

Following Stalin's domination of Eastern Europe and the loss of China, American democracy falls victim to anti-communist hysteria, but survives it. Eisenhower is elected President. In the Soviet Union, Stalin reinforces the climate of terror on which his rule is based. When he dies in 1953, the Soviet people mourn the end of an era. 1998. 47 min.

The Cold War: Sputnik, 1949-1961.

In the mid-50s, the Soviet Union seems to be forging ahead. In October 1957, the first Soviet satellite Sputnik orbits the earth--to the dismay and fear of the United States, frustrated by its own ineffectual space program. In 1961, the Soviets launch Yuri Gargarin into space. America will have to meet the challenge. 1998. 47 min.

The Cold War: The Wall, 1958-1963.

The fate of Germany remains unresolved. West Germany has been admitted to NATO. Within East Germany, Berlin is divided between East and West by an open border. Thousands seize the chance to flee the communist system. To keep their people in, the East Germans, with Soviet backing, build The Wall. 1998. 47 min.

The Cold War: Vietnam, 1954-1968.

Vietnam has been divided since the end of French colonial rule. The North is run by communists, the South by anti-communists. Ignoring warnings against involvement in a nationalist struggle, the United States commits its armed forces. American protests against the war mount as the U.S. begins to realize this is not a war it can win. 1998. 47 min.

The Eisenhower Presidency, [with] Stephen Ambrose(Conversations; 71).

A conversation with Stephen Ambrose, Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, on the Eisenhower presidency, Eisenhower's skills in crisis management and management of large bureaucracies, his sense for the media, and his foreign policy. Recorded in 1987 at the University of California, Berkeley. 30 min.

The Man Who Drew Bug-Eyed Monsters.

Examines the Hollywood-to-Nebraska career of Reynold Brown, the man who created the realistic to surrealistic movie posters that enticed a generation of movie-goers. 59 min.

The Marihuana Story.

"This Latin import [from Argentina] is a serious, carefully made examination of one man's attempt to penetrate the drug-drenched shadow-world that claimed his wife as a victim--only to fall victim himself." Videocassette release of a motion picture originally produced in 1951. In Spanish with English subtitles. 84 min.

The Satellite Sky (The American Experience)

Film and television clips from the 1950's tell the story of the beginning of space exploration. 1990. 58 min.