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Cold War

1 Season

Season 1
4.4 out of 5 stars (31) IMDb 8.6/10

CNN's Cold War is a sweeping look at nearly five decades of global history - a crystallization of a massive, three-year-long effort helmed by award-winning documentarian Jeremy Isaacs.

Starring:
Kenneth Branagh, Anatoli Dobrynin

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Season 1

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1. Comrades

Though ideological enemies, the Soviet Union and the United States are allies against Hitler during World War II. At the end of the War, Europe is divided and the one-time allies now confront each other. The United States has the atomic bomb.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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2. Iron Curtain

The Soviet Union dominates Eastern Europe. Churchill warns about the consequences. Stalin insists that the governments of the Soviet Union's client states be pro-Communist. Impoverished after the war, Great Britain opts out as a world power.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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3. Marshall Plan

The United States adopts the Truman Doctrine--it will defend freedom, worldwide. Secretary of State George Marshall plans to bolster economic recovery in Europe. Stalin sees this as a threat, and forbids his satellites to participate. The world divides.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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4. Berlin

Berlin is a Western enclave in Eastern Europe. The Soviets blockade the city, but the allies airlift in supplies. NATO is formed. In August 1949, Soviet scientists explode an atom bomb, establishing nuclear parity between the two world superpowers.

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5. Korea

Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China--the country is now lost to the West. In June 1950, North Korea invades the South, with Stalin's blessing. The United States, backed by the United Nations, defends South Korea and confronts China.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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6. Reds

The world is polarized across an ideological divide. Following Stalin's domination of Eastern Europe, and the loss of China, American democracy succumbs to a bout of anti-communist hysteria, but survives it. Eisenhower is elected President.

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7. After Stalin

Thaw is conceivable with Stalin dead and Eisenhower in the White House. Stalin's chief of secret police is arrested and shot. Krushchev outmaneuvers Malenkov, for power and visits the West.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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8. Sputnik

In the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union seems to be forging ahead. In October 1957, the Soviet satellite Sputnik orbits the earth-to the dismay of the United States, which is frustrated with its own unsuccessful space program.

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9. The Wall

Stalin's death has brought about détente, but the fate of Germany is unresolved. West Germany is admitted to NATO. Thousands of East Germans escape to the West through Berlin. At the Vienna Summit in 1961, Khrushchev bullies the inexperienced Kennedy.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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10. Cuba

Contemplating U.S. missile power installed around the Soviet periphery, Krushchev decides to install short and medium range missiles in Cuba, America's backyard. The sites are detected and the U.S. blockades the island.

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11. Vietnam

Since the end of the French colonial rule, Vietnam has been divided. The north is run by Communists, the south by anti-Communists.

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12. M.A.D.

The USA and the USSR confront each other, each armed with nuclear weapons. Each side must deter the other. Bombing the enemy could mean provoking retaliation and self-destruction.

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13. Make Love Not War

Western Economies grow and prosper, fueled partly by armaments production. Rejecting their parents' affluence and the Cold War, the young protest and rebel. There is racial violence in U.S. inner cities.

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14. Red Spring

In the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, denial of freedom and incentive stifles ambition and achievement. The young lust for totems of America's youth culture--blue jeans and rock-and-roll.

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15. China

Chinese Communists are victorious in the longest civil war in 20th century history. Mao Zedong's reforms are popular, but in 1958, he embarks on a series of catastrophic changes. A famine that kills 30 million people follows.

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16. Detente

The North Vietnamese overwhelm U.S.-backed forces in the South and the United States steps up its bombing campaign. Nixon goes to the Kremlin to meet Brezhnev and signs the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT).

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17. Good Guys, Bad Guys

Across the world, the two superpowers back surrogates engaging in ideological and, sometimes, physical conflict. In the Middle East, the United States arms Israel; the Soviet Union arms Syria and Egypt. In 1967 and 1973, the two weapons systems clash.

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18. Backyard

The United States has always regarded Latin America as its own back yard. In 1954, Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz is overthrown by U.S.-backed forces. Arbenz is leftist, not Communist.

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19. Freeze

As the United States absorbs the hike in OPEC oil prices and concerns for human rights in the East grows, the spirit of détente ebbs away.

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20. Soldiers of God

Afghanistan is a brutal war that costs the lives of almost 15,000 Soviet conscripts and an estimated one million Afghans. "It was the Soviet Union's Vietnam syndrome," says Soviet aide Anatoly Chernyaev.

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21. Spies

Even before the end of World War II, spies prepare for post-war world order. Beginning in 1944, KGB spies infiltrate Los Alamos, stealing information about the atomic bomb.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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22. Star Wars

Ronald Reagan pledges to defeat the "evil empire," but abhors the idea of nuclear war. He is prepared to increase arms expenditure significantly to protect the United States.

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23. Wall Comes Down

The dominoes fall: incredibly quickly, the Soviet bloc is breaking up, virtually without bloodshed.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: May 8, 2012
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24. Conclusions

The United States proves the stronger and the Soviet Union implodes. The balance of terror that has kept the peace in Europe for more than 40 years vanishes, but no new world order readily emerges.

TV-NR CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: January 31, 1998
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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CNN's Cold War is an incredible documentary. it's really one of the best ever made. It interviews everyone from heads of state like Margret Thatcher and Fidel Castro to interviews of the actual North Korean soldiers who started the Korean War. They interviewed the East German border guards who disobeyed their shoot to kill orders and just opened up the gates to West Berlin. I was amazed that they even found those people.
It's narrated by Kenneth Branagh and the best episodes are Iron Curtain, Marshall Plan, Berlin, The Wall, Spies, Star Wars and The Wall Comes down. My all time favorite episode was Berlin. I was amazed to learn that the United States nearly caved into Soviet pressure in the early days of the Cold War. The officials from the United states only walked away from the negotiating table only when hundreds of thousands of Germans flooded the streets and demanded their freedom. After watching it I just wanted to start singing the "Do you hear the people Sing? anthem from Les Miserables.
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The 1960s were an odd time in the life of Russia, which was then the heart of the Soviet Union. On the one hand, the Soviets got themselves enmeshed into the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was clearly a warlike adventure by Khruschev that was destined to and did end badly. On the other hand, Khruschev was motivated to try to improve the Soviet standard of living and ease up on the worst aspects of Communist repression from the Stalin years. To some extent he succeeded, and this episode tells this story in an interesting and impactful way. The Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia during the Brezhnev-Kosygin years revealed a backlash against liberation. This too is told here and makes a fascinating story. For those of us who lived through this period, this episode "Red Spring" give an interesting and persuasive perspective to those events. Recommended. RJB.
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Cold War stunningly chronicled that I had to binge watch it. I had watched World War propaganda video's directed by Frank Capra as well as many other documentaries. It left quite a bit of curiosity on what happened next. Sure there were many documentaries available. But having read a blog, this video was highly recommended to provide continuity. Sure as hell this was the that documentary. This is fast paced and gallops from 1945 to 1991 in 10 hours of videos. A must watch for all those wanting to know what happened next just like me, what happened to the world stage and how many countries got affected. What transpired in this period still has roots to the world we live in today and many of current issues are connected or started during this time. At school, I had taken Science and Maths and hated history and hence missed quite a bit of knowledge of the history and used to shy discussing politics having lacked background and used to have low esteem during those times when friends and colleagues talked and voiced strong opinions on certain topics. I wish I had seen this Video series by then. I could not find this in my local library so ended up buying from Amazon though it was pinch, but I have no regrets. Cold War reshaped Geo political landscape of all countries and defined the governments, Industries, Politics of all countries directly or indirectly involved in it. Rivalry for dominance of ideology divided the world map. Created factions within countries and led to many internal wars on so many countries supported by super powers. Human toll was appalling. Rivalries led to tehnological advancements with sheet intent to outwit each other. I wish I had seen this before. There is so much knowledge in this past that this video series brings to life as though you are living in that period.Read more ›
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This series tells the story, without obvious bias or triumphalism, of the Cold War. Through such a telling and through recently opened archives, little known nuances are touched upon to show the give and take between the two great powers. There were many times the two came close to direct conflict and the destruction of the world. Each time there were those who brought us back from the brink of destruction. As much as each side demonized the other, both clearly had cooler heads than their rhetoric suggested. Though nuclear war was averted, there remained the many lives lost to the proxy wars of those caught in the political net between the two super powers. A sad but revealing history of our recent past.
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Not a bad history lesson for those that have an interest in the topic. I'd consider the series to be along the lines of a high school level history class but that's not a bad thing. The series condenses a lot of history into each episode but they flow fairly well. The episodes are not strictly in chronological order because some of the episodes deal with subject matter that overlaps other episodes, for example the episode on spies overlaps most of the cold war while the one on the fall of the Berlin wall is relatively narrow in time line.
This would be an excellent way to spark the interest in a younger person that likes history but wasn't exposed to the topic in his/her education. The Cold War shaped a large portion of the second half on the 20th century and was instrumental in the policies of America for many years. Lives were devoted to the effort to resist Communism, some lives were lost, others damaged. Enormous sums of money and portions of our GNP were dedicated to this fight yet many of the current generation have little if any knowledge of the matter.
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